11 Jan 2021

A Room With A View


More square footage to enjoy as a family was just one of the driving factors behind one couple’s decision to extend the ground floor of their Manchester home, with the opportunity to make the most of the views of their gorgeous gardens too good an opportunity to pass up.


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As part of the work, the couple wanted to create an additional dining and seating space within the extended kitchen, while ensuring that the garden can be enjoyed by all come rain or shine too. One of the biggest decisions of the entire project was even based on this requirement, with the AGA being sited under the kitchen window so that the chef looks directly out to the rear of the property. “Most clients might feel nervous about taking such a step and would choose to have an extractor or chimney breast and treat it as a main feature, but, in fact, if an AGA is used in the way it’s intended to, most of the fumes and cooking smells are extracted from the ovens and ducted out,” explains Designer Andrea Hardaker of Drew Forsyth & Co.

Decision made, the cooking zone was established in this section of the extension, with the sink integrated into the island, leaving the remaining wall for tall storage and cooling. The perfect, if unconventional, working triangle.

That wasn’t the only big decision that the couple made. By changing the entrance and front door, the hallway is now flooded with light and creates a sense of grandeur upon entrance to the property.

“Often, extensions are added to properties and in themselves are successful, but it can be to the detriment of neighbouring rooms which can end up losing light and become out of scale,” Andrea explains. “This property increased in size to the extent that a new large front door and entrance was appropriate. Leading on to the kitchen-diner, it creates a great sense of harmony through the Crittall doors from the hallway.”

The kitchen area itself remains unchanged in terms of footprint, and because of its relatively compact size, the challenge was to use the space well, maximising storage without overcrowding it with furniture. The brief was for a pared-back, elegant design after all, and the size of the room was the main challenge, ensuring that the homeowners had adequate space to store everything, include all the appliances but still have a calm and simple design.

“Making sure that everything had a place in the storage was the biggest challenge,” admits Andrea. “It’s always difficult to empty cupboards and guess where things will go in a new kitchen, so we laid out the crockery in another room, and that helped to assess our needs.

“We chose a painted style in the frame but with flat drawer fronts and crisp edges to the pilasters,” explains Andrea. “We avoided using a cornice by taking the furniture up to the ceiling to create a sharp contemporary feel that doesn’t lose the hand-made aesthetic of really good joinery.”

A hand-painted finish meant the couple could choose the exact colour and finish, in Farrow & Ball ‘Worsted’ and ‘Pitch Black’. Choosing timber means the furniture has a tactile feel of traditional joinery, in keeping with the style of the house overall. The cooking section worktop with the AGA is dark ‘Belgravia Grey’, a contrast to the Westminster White quartz on the rest of the project. With black AGA tops, this avoids a chop and change of colour on this section, particularly as the upstand at the back of the AGA runs up to the underside and across the windowsill, creating a seamless look.

In such a characterful property, it was important to the owners that the new extension reflected that personality too, something that was made possible by having the kitchen made bespoke. “A ‘goal post’ was made to house the tall pantry, fridge-freezer and base and wall cabinets section, with light washing down the quartz splashback. This meant end panels and cornice could be excluded from the design, allowing us to maintain simple, clean lines,” comments Andrea.

“The pantry and island were very carefully kitted out with exacting requirements for storage; something we could achieve as we make all the internal fittings ourselves from timber, which is colour-matched with the carcases – internal pull-outs, knife drawers, spice drawers, pull-out shelves and non-slip mats to name a few.”

Even the smallest details are catered for, helping to pull the design together, including a pull-out bin that suited the couple’s recycling needs, with a little compost bin to keep the floor and work surfaces clear.

The finished project is an extension to be proud of, with stunning views of the garden beyond the kitchen window and inside a beautifully designed family kitchen living space in which to spend time together.

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