The latest job to go to site (and nice weather it is for building too) is a micro-extension to a semi-detached house. The original layout of the house had a very narrow and low-ceilinged kitchen built out the back (image below), that the owners had gamely lived with for years. But eventually thoughts of a bit more elbow room while cooking began to get more insistent. And for all this time the fridge was sitting in the dining room, a proverbial mile away from the rest of the “kitchen triangle”. SmallSpaces and I think in the end it was trying to figure out how to find space for it in the kitchen that led to me being called in to see what could be done.
In this case the downside to the layout – narrow kitchen stuck out the back – was also responsible for the great view of the garden from the dining room. There is a very old granite wall along one side that catches the sunlight beautifully. So from the start there was a conflict between enlarging the kitchen on the one hand, and preserving the view and connection to the garden on the other.
So, between myself and the clients, we talked about it – figuring out what the priorities and compromises would be – setting the ground rules for the design. We then looked at different options and decided that the best version would be to plan the expanded kitchen so that it left the dining room double doors in place, preserved the view and pushed the bulk of the new build towards the back of the garden, creating a kind of half-enclosed courtyard. The kitchen gets big enough to fit a reasonable number of units, and more than one family member at a time; the new “corridor” becomes a kind of larder space with built-in storage; there is a window seat in the expanded kitchen, but the dining table will stay in the original dining room (which at long last will no longer contain the fridge). And the decked area will now have two sets of patio doors opening on to it – making it feel more courtyard-like and encouraging frequent use (weather permitting).
While connection to the garden was the driving factor, this plan also has a couple of other practical advantages: the angled wall means the existing manhole can stay in place, and the build can proceed without the clients having to move out – as all that connects old to new is one doorway – now sealed up against dust.
Construction started this week so I’ll aim to show the odd photo as the new kitchen goes up and gets fitted out.