Building onto your home might make all the difference in getting what you want without the upheaval and cost of moving. A new kitchen extension will make you feel like you’re in a brand-new place. There are four main types of extension – single rear, side return, double-storey and wraparound. Once your extension style has been established, the possibilities are endless, with a vast choice of materials, sizes, glazing and finishes to create the perfect kitchen living space.
As the heart of the home, the kitchen is my favourite room, but it is a functional space and requires careful planning and consideration.
1. Do your research.
Do you actually need an extension? It’s essential to do your research before committing to a kitchen extension. I always ask clients, “do you really need a kitchen extension?” Often, clients have internally complex spaces, and the area doesn’t always work correctly. Therefore, they believe the solution is to add more space, and what you end up with is an even more complicated room.
Sometimes it’s not appropriate for clients to add an extension as they need to concentrate on reconfiguring the existing space. This is more cost-effective and results in a lovely outcome.
2. Consider how the space will be used
It’s necessary to consider the identity of the space, what you will use it for and who will be using the area. There are two ways of developing your kitchen living space. One is working from the outside in, where the designs are based upon the physical conditions of the property’s exterior. For example, if there is a drain running through the back or limited space, you need to design the space to fit the physical constraints. The other way of creating the room you want is to develop from the inside out. Here, you plan your perfect interior and then wrap the exterior around it. For instance, you may have some dead garden space to work with, an old conservatory or room in the side return. However, these are all great starting points for your kitchen extension design. Also, think about how you will use your new space throughout the seasons, make garden access easy, and the best ways to bring in more natural light.
The Myers Touch design ethos is grounded in creating kitchens with ‘light, space and laughter’ and ensuring that each unique design enriches household relationships and quality of life through efficiency, functionality and beauty. We’re highly experienced in transforming clients’ ideas into beautiful and practical places that will enrich and delight every family member.
3. Consider your kitchen layout before drawing up plans with an architect, and bring in your kitchen designer early
Once you’ve decided where you’d like your extension to be located, consult a RIBA-registered architect to determine what can be achieved. You will need plans and construction drawings for a builder and to show compliance with Building Regulations. Architects can be expensive, so I would recommend finding a designer or interior architect that will work from the inside out to ensure the kitchen extension flows from the rest of the property.
4. Think about the ‘kitchen triangle’
You must think about the ‘triangle’, but this is just one way to consider the flow of the kitchen and can be seen as a simple rule but doesn’t always guarantee success.
The kitchen triangle is based on the three main work areas – the sink, the fridge and the hob. According to the rule, these should be laid out to loosely form a triangle, enabling you to perform daily tasks with ease and without any obstruction.
Each side of the triangle should measure no less than 4ft and no more than 9ft. Ideally, the shape’s perimeter should be no less than 13ft and no more than 26ft – not too small and not too large. This will ensure that your working area is practical, comfortable and large enough – but not so large that much of your time is spent walking between one point and another. However, the changing needs of the modern family – especially over the past year – means you don’t need to stick to the triangle system. You can break this design principle, but it can be an excellent place to start.
It’s also essential to pay attention to aesthetics and functionality. If you only focus on one of these, then your kitchen may not work. Therefore, critical areas, such as kitchen triangles and zoning, will appear rather than be the main focus.
5. Make use of all the space
2020 redefined the way homeowners used their homes, in particular, kitchen spaces post-pandemic. Far more than just cabinetry and appliance options, we holistically design kitchen living spaces. A design stems from a deep understanding of our clients, their brief, how they want to interact as a family and live and work with the space around them. Ultimately, the kitchen space must be a practical, robust cooking and working environment whilst also being an area to relax, dine and work from and be a work of art that is a creative space.
It’s important to be sensitive and subtle when considering the space and ensure you maximise storage space to keep surfaces uncluttered; consider using pan drawers that offer a lot of storage and are easy to use. Also, make sure your rubbish bin is integrated to keep your open-plan space looking tidy.
6. Ensure the flow is correct
The great thing about extending is the opportunity to create a brand-new feel to your home. Open-plan extensions are a great way to release free space and create flow with clever zoning areas to fit all your furnishings. Alternatively, contrasting wallcoverings can help define areas for cooking, dining and relaxing.
7. Maximise light
Consider how much glazing you want to include in your kitchen extension. This will help you make the most of light but should be done in conjunction with planning the different zones for cooking, dining and living, plus any utility space – since the more glazing you have, the less wall space will be available for cabinets.
When designing a kitchen, I like to start with a foundation of natural light, and a glass kitchen extension is a great way to do this. You can then arrange the lighting to illuminate architectural features. Also, consider the different seasons. Here, it’s essential to have lighting that lights up glass doors in the winter.
8. Island living - how important is the kitchen island?
A modern kitchen island has become the hub of the kitchen where the whole family can dine, socialise, relax and work. It provides a focal and central point in an extension. Put the hob on the island and not the sink and use a downdraft extractor to eliminate the need for obtrusive overhead extractors that could spoil the overall aesthetic. Include a hot boiling/drinking tap for speed and to keep surfaces uncluttered, and include pan drawers that offer a lot of storage and are easy to use.
9. Use structural features
At the design phase of the kitchen extension, ensure the architecture meets the requirements of the new space. The natural flow is so vital to ensure a cohesive living space. Don’t hide key structural features; instead, turn them into part of the overall design.
10. Get prepared to think about colours and textures
If you intend something spectacular instead of a standard finish on surfaces, make the decision early in your kitchen extension plans, as design mistakes can be costly. Enhancing the indoor/outdoor can be achieved using textures that match the bricks of external walls. Using wood can elongate the space, and timber brings warmth to cabinetry in cooler shades.
It’s essential not to commit to materials or finishes that are expensive and have permanency about them, as your design tastes may change over time. You may want to refresh materials at some point, but your new kitchen extension will last a lifetime.