From kitchen sink dramas to Aga sagas, we Brits do a lot of living in our kitchens, if playwrights and novelists like John Osborne and Joanna Trollope are to be believed. A come-and-go kitchen in which dogs, cats and chickens wander in and out at will has always been the centre of country homes, and now townies are following in their footsteps, even those who do little more in the way of cooking than defrosting their frozen meals in the microwave!
A kitchen is not just a place to prepare meals but to share them, whether it be breakfast with the family, elevenses with drop-in neighbours, dinner with friends, or tea in the adjoining conservatory or back terrace (French windows really open up the house to the garden). And that’s not mention its use as a utility area for washing machines, outdoor clobber and gardening paraphernalia!
No wonder then that a kitchen is the prime selling feature in new homes and the first choice for a home extension as families grow and demand for living space expands. So what are the options for a kitchen extension? Well, it really depends on your house type, your building plot and your budget, but there are typically three approaches you could take:
Opening up the Interior
Taking out the dividing wall between your existing kitchen and dining room and creating a kitchen-diner or kitchen living room is the easier and most economical way to expand without extending. If the dividing wall is a simple stud partition, no problem. If it’s a load bearing wall an RSJ (rolled steel joist) will need to be installed. Even then, it’s not a major job, and we’d be pleased to advise you on and carry out all necessary works.
A bit on the side
If you live in a traditional Victorian terrace, you can reclaim dead space by filling in the side return – the pokey passage between the redundant back door and the garden – and creating a glorious light-filled room with the addition of a glazed roof or a series of sidelights. Again, this involves no major works, and will leave you with an airier, more flexible living space.
Pushing back the boundaries
Finally, there’s the extension proper, in which the only limit (apart from your imagination) is the size of your plot and your budget. Since you’ll probably be extending beyond the building line, you may also need planning permission. But again, we’ll be pleased to advise you, prepare plans and make application on your behalf, should it be required.
We call this approach the ‘dream kitchen’, because you can create the space and layout you want from scratch and truly put your stamp on it. Of course, if you want to create a Disney style castle or an ultra-modern steel and glass cube, you might bear in mind that planning permission will be more readily granted for something in keeping with the existing style of the property!
Whatever option you go for, a home extension is an investment that will add considerably to the value of your home and, especially in the case of a kitchen, be a strong selling point should you ever come to sell the property. But that’s another story. For now, settle back and enjoy your own Aga saga!