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Kitchen Renovations & Extensions - and what you should be thinking about.

Updated: Apr 17, 2023

March 2023 - Rebel Design Studio

Images by Rebel Design Studio


Modern family life and how we use the spaces in our homes has changed a lot in the last 20 years. Open plan Kitchen/Dining/Living spaces are now the preferred option for most families because they provide the required flexibility and practicality that we need in the 21st century. We now want to be able to prepare breakfast and dinner while socialising with friends, keep one eye on the children as they do their homework or have a better relationship with our gardens. We sometimes want to have the television on while we go on about our day and we also want the living spaces to work for every member of the family. Some people like to sit at a table to eat whereas others prefer to eat at a breakfast bar or even on the sofa which I'm guilty of myself. Part of the reason for this, aside from not having children yet, is the fact that we don't have the space in our Kitchen for a table. I feel that we would use this more often if we lived in an open plan area or just had more space.


Having primarily worked on residential extensions and in particular open plan kitchen extensions, for most of my career, I have seen it all and hopefully the lessons I and others I have worked with can help you on your design journey. In this blog, I will speak to kitchen designers, past clients and contractors to extract their experiences of kitchen extensions, both good and bad.


The desire for a larger kitchen is usually the driving force behind a larger extension and renovation project. Most typical house styles such as Victorian or Edwardian houses may not always have had a downstairs toilet and if they did it was usually situated at the rear of the property or even outside! They also didn't have a Utility room, something which has become a 'must have' for most modern households. To incorporate these useful spaces into a traditional floorplan more often than not, requires a substantial extension and internal renovation.



Planning Your Kitchen Extension


Client Brief

One of the first things to do once you have decided to embark on a kitchen extension project is to prepare a client brief, outlining everything that you would like to achieve with the project. This should include an approximate size of the kitchen, if you need a separate Utility space, what kind of budget do you have, etc. Once you have defined a clear brief then you should appoint an architect or architectural designer to help you navigate the process. They will interpret your brief and provide you with different layout options and designs for you to choose from. You will probably find that for your particular house plan, there are probably only a handful if that, of layouts that actually make sense.



Who will design my extension?

You should engage the services of an architect or architectural designer who has experience with kitchen extensions. The designer will advise you whether your extension can be achieved under Permitted Development (PD) or a more formal Householder planning application. Depending on where you are located, different Councils have different policies with regards to how you can extend your property and this is where employing an experienced designer can add value to your project. More often than not, you may be able to achieve a larger extension under PD. Here, at Rebel Design Studio, we can advise you of what is possible in terms of planning restrictions, building regulations requirements, etc. and obtain any required consents for you.



How much should I budget for my kitchen?

This is one of the most asked questions in my experience and it is a difficult one to answer. It will greatly depend on how fluid your budget is and what your priorities are. You can spend £15,000 on a kitchen or you can spend £150,000. If your priority is to have an amazing kitchen as you are a keen chef, then a greater portion of the budget should be allocated for the kitchen elements such as the joinery and the appliances. If you have a definitive budget, this might mean that you have to compromise with the size of the extension or choose a lower standard of finishes such as lighting, flooring, etc. If however, you see the kitchen as a more practical space and do not fancy yourself as the next Gordon Ramsey, then you might choose a more basic kitchen design which will free up some of the budget to achieve a higher standard of finish elsewhere.


We think it is always wise to start the kitchen design experience as early as possible so you have an idea what your ideal kitchen will cost. You can also ask the kitchen designers to give low, medium and high range options so it will be easier to carry out some value-engineering if required down the line. It will also give you the opportunity to see what you are paying for in terms of quality of appliances, worktops, kitchen joinery, feature lighting, etc.



Where do I start when choosing a Kitchen Designer?

There are various factors that go into choosing any designer but when it comes to kitchens, a lot will depend on your taste and style. It is also useful if the designers are in reasonably close proximity to you as you may be spending a lot of time there, depending on how high a priority the kitchen is to your project.


We have worked with a company called Roundhouse in the past and have found them to be knowledgeable, experienced and organised in their approach to kitchen design. They have showrooms all over London including Richmond, Clapham, Guildford, Fulham, Cheltenham and their flagship store on Wigmore Street.


Founded by architects, Roundhouse is a multi-award-winning British company. They create beautiful, bespoke kitchens and furniture. Their designs feature a signature, understated aesthetic, influenced by contemporary architecture and design, using innovative materials, texture and colour. Roundhouse designs are made to measure in a huge range of stunning finishes, expertly crafted by their skilled cabinet makers in their state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Malvern, Worcestershire.


Recently, we sat down with one of their Design Consultants Oli Moss to discuss the kitchen design process and any advice they could provide to anyone starting out on their design journey. Here is what he had to say.

Oli Moss,

Roundhouse Design Consultant


Plan ahead

Thinking ahead is key when planning a kitchen extension. Consider everything and really think about how you will use the space – e.g. if you want an island but have an overhead skylight, there will be an extraction issue. If you’ve two walls of glass and want a wall mounted TV, then that will limit the space for kitchen cabinetry. Roundhouse encourages clients to really think about how they will use the space; for example; will it be more than just a kitchen where food is prepared, but a social space for family and a place to entertain? What proportion of the space will be allocated to the kitchen/living/dining areas? A must-have list is essential; are there things you just can’t live without? It helps to detail priorities, for example; if you are a keen cook you might want acres of prep space or you may want an entirely clutter-free kitchen so lots of storage space will be critical. Are there specific appliances that you must have, or maybe you have a desire for a particular work surface? It’s important at this stage to take everything into consideration.


How much should homeowners’ budget for different kitchen extensions?

Roundhouse advise that you ensure you get a good architect and builder – preferably one who has been recommended. You must have a plan of how much you want to spend on your kitchen – be frank about this upfront and your kitchen designer will be able to help you choose what you should invest in and where you may be able to save. If a client comes to Roundhouse before plans are drawn up, by consultation and collaboration your designer can influence what the architect may draw up. By getting to understand a client’s needs, a good designer will come up with creative ideas that may not even have been considered.


At what stage do you need to consider services, such as plumbing and electrics?

Once you’ve had your initial chat with a designer, at Roundhouse we’ll ask you to bring in your measurements and/or drawings, if you’re working with an architect. Based on our consultations with you we’ll produce a design, which may be tweaked and changed until you are absolutely happy with it. We don’t release drawings until commissioned. We produce a pack with detailed technical drawings (a guide covering all services instructions for the client’s builder), we have our own dedicated installation team and we expect all the plumbing and electrical and ducting work to be done in advance of the install following our detailed technical drawings.


5 things you shouldn’t overlook when planning a kitchen extension project

  • Flooring choices influence the type of kitchen finish used, for example if it were a timber floor, we wouldn’t normally recommend a wood finish, so we like to be aware of the type of flooring early on. Additionally if the extension flows directly to the outside with no change of levels then you may want the flooring to be linked seamlessly from the interior space to the exterior.

  • Worksurfaces & splashbacks need to be considered early in the design process, as there is so much surface on view in a kitchen it has a huge impact on the overall design.

  • Details Handles, light switches, power points, think about every detail , however small.

  • Sinks and taps will be influenced by the style of kitchen chosen.

  • Lighting after the layout is planned, consult a lighting specialist.

Here are a few examples of our kitchens that we have recently completed to give you an idea of what we can do here at Roundhouse.



Callaby Kitchen

Roundhouse Urbo handle-less bespoke kitchen in matt lacquer in Little Greene French Grey with feature cabinets in Antique Copper metal wrap. Worktops in Soft Concrete quartz, matt sanded finish stainless steel and a concrete breakfast bar/table. Roundhouse bespoke kitchens start at £35,000. Roundhouse 11 Wigmore St, London W1U 1PE 020 7297 6220 www.roundhousedesign.com.

Photography Heather Gunn

Images courtesy of Roundhouse Kitchens



Fabb Kitchen

Roundhouse Urbo handle-less bespoke kitchen in matt lacquer in Farrow & Ball Strong White and Little Greene Knightsbridge with worktops in Corian White Jasmine. Roundhouse bespoke kitchens start at £35,000. Roundhouse 11 Wigmore St, London W1U 1PE 020 7297 6220 www.roundhousedesign.com.

Photography Darren Chung

Images courtesy of Roundhouse Kitchens



Ridge Kitchen

Roundhouse hand painted Classic matt lacquer kitchen in Farrow & Ball Hardwick White (on the sink and tall run) and Farrow & Ball Lamp Black (on the island) and Rustic Oak and Driftwood veneer in open top box cabinet. Solid timber wine rack. Boxed Blackened Steel table base (at the end of the island). Worktops; Honed Calacatta Ora Marble for the sink run and splash back, Black poured concrete on the island Roundhouse bespoke kitchens start at £35,000. Roundhouse 11 Wigmore St, London W1U 1PE 020 7297 6220 www.roundhousedesign.com.

Photography Darren Chung

Images courtesy of Roundhouse Kitchens


Contact your local Roundhouse showroom to help with your new kitchen.



Rebel Design Studio - Case Study No. 1

Epsom House Project


A project that we worked on with Roundhouse was our Epsom House project. They worked with the clients to create a stunning handle-less matt lacquer kitchen. The clients were delighted with the end result.

An external covered kitchen area was incorporated into the design in materials to match the internal kitchen by Roundhouse. This continuity of materials in conjunction with the invisible corner glazing creates that 'inside/outside' feeling when the doors are opened back on those rare warm days. This is also accentuated by the fact that we chose the same tile flooring for the patio as for the internal floor which extends the kitchen out on to the patio.


Kitchen drawings by Roundhouse, Photography by Rebel Design Studio



Rebel Design Studio - Case Study No. 2

Riverbank House Project


This was a project that we worked on for our clients in South West London. The clients wanted to open up their beautiful Victorian property that overlooked the River Thames. The current layout had a separate Kitchen, Dining Room and front Reception Room, all with great proportions. The intention was to create an open plan space that all of the family could use as a family yet retain their own spaces at the same time. The client worked with DayTrue and River Woodwork to design their kitchen and we sat down with Rachel to discuss her kitchen design experience and any advice she had to offer.


How did you find the whole kitchen design experience?

Having both had very limited experience in the kitchen design process, Warren and I were at a loss to know where to start. We were completely overwhelmed by the volume of online choice and suppliers, so trying to navigate our way through seemed impossible and we were certainly floundering. Most showrooms and sites seemed to be sales driven as opposed to design driven, which was frustrating as we definitely recognised the importance of a good design team, but weren’t sure who would offer us the best value in terms of design, product and cost. Fortunately, we were still in touch with a really good designer who had previously helped us with our bathrooms in the first phase of our renovation. He had just started working at DayTrue and felt that our aesthetics would be a good match. The DayTrue team really excelled at understanding our requirements and walking us through a curated shortlist of appliances, fittings and materials that gave us confidence in the final design solution.


We also got a lot out of the process because we invested significant time to think about how we would use the space, conduct thorough research of every item, and visit all the appliance showrooms to satisfy ourselves that we were making the right decisions. This journey was invaluable, and by allowing ourselves 18 months of planning time and utilising our architect to model our plan using the latest 3D software, we were able to enjoy the process and have a high degree of confidence that our final solution would meet our needs and expectations.

Where did you get your inspiration for the overall material palate that you chose?

Our key words were Eclectic, Timeless & Elegance. The idea being that we would create a neutral backdrop using resilient materials that would allow our furnishings and belongings to bring the drama and character to our space, rather than the fixtures. We worked closely with River Woodwork and Forbes Rix Design to really refine our choices.


Having now lived with the new kitchen for a while, would you have done anything differently in hindsight?

From a design perspective, there are only a couple of very minor changes that we would make, however I think they would have been very difficult details to establish up front without working with an extremely experienced specialist kitchen designer. As it was, we really appreciated the value that an experienced designer can bring to a project.


You went with a downdraft extractor for the hob, how is this working out?

Our downdraft system is a huge success and absolutely worth every penny! We investigated several options, but Bora are the leading technology specialists and we were able to visit their Lab in Bermondsey several times to demo their system. From an aesthetic perspective it meant we were able to cook in the central island without any ugly obstructions protruding from the worktop or the ceiling, so we could maintain clean lines throughout. From a functional perspective, it’s just extremely efficient and way quieter than a ‘normal’ extractor fan, meaning we can still have conversations and watch TV whilst the downdraft extraction is in operation. We were slightly nervous about residual smells, but it has exceeded our expectations and proved to be the perfect solution for us because we were able to run the ducting down to the cellar below and extract unwanted smells out of our side alleyway.


You chose a breakfast bar style island, do you find that this style has been useful with the additional seating over just an island with cupboards.

I think it’s really important as the end user client to really understand how you want to live and use the space. There are always going to be compromises, so by knowing what’s important to you upfront, means that you will make the right decisions throughout the project. We are a family that loves to cook, drink and socialise together, it’s a huge part of our day and our kitchen is the heart of our home. Having this layout means that up to 3 of us can be cooking or doing food prep, whilst someone else is making drinks, whilst others can be sat at the ‘bar.’ Our design allows us all to comfortably occupy the same space and interact with each other without it feeling crowded. Other people may not spend so much time in the kitchen and prefer an alternative approach but for us it really is a perfectly designed solution for how we choose to live.



Drawings by River Woodwork

Photography by Rebel Design Studio



From the Contractor's Point of View

A chat with Greg Muczyn from Orange Construction Ltd.



For the last 10 years or so most of the projects we have worked on around the South West London area have been built with the help of Orange Construction Ltd. including the case study projects above for Rebel Design Studio. It is run by Greg Muczyn and we sat down with him recently to hear his thoughts on kitchen extension from the construction side of things.



Have you any feedback to provide for anyone planning a kitchen extension, particularly with regards to the kitchen design itself?

Have the final kitchen design incorporated into the architects drawings before it goes out for the tender. This makes everyone's life easier.

Any guidance on electrical or plumbing issues to look out for when designing a kitchen?

Electrics are normally not a major issue. Drainage/sewage can sometimes be problematic. It all depends on the location of the existing drainage runs, manholes, build up of the sub-floor etc. This could have impact on the final design of the kitchen. Having said that there is always a solution to any problem but it usually comes with a higher cost. Pipes can rerouted , manholes can be moved but it will have an impact on the overall budget.


Any advice when installing an in-line ceiling extractor fan?

Ideally decide if you are going to have this type of extractor hood at the designing stage. Incorporate this into the design and indicate this in the tender. It will be easier for the contractor to alter the ceiling if needed during the construction works and they can factor the cost of that into the tender. Secondly you need to decide if you are going to have external motor (quieter ) or an internal motor(louder).

Is it better to tile under the kitchen units or stop the floor tiling at the kicker board?

In my opinion it would be better to install the floor under the kitchen units. It is much more practical and a neater finish.

Do you prefer to have the kitchen installation in your works package or do you prefer for the Client to look after this themselves and why?

That would depend on the kitchen itself. If it is an off the shelf kitchen I don't mind installing it but if it is a bespoke kitchen made to order then I would prefer the designer/supplier to install it. I don't mind helping and advising during the design process.

Project by Orange Construction Ltd.


In Summary:


Kitchen design is an important aspect of creating a functional and stylish space that can be enjoyed by everyone in your household. Whether you're starting from scratch with a new home or renovating an existing kitchen, the design choices you make will have a big impact on how the space feels and functions.


One of the first things to consider when designing a kitchen is the layout. There are several common layouts to choose from, including U-shaped, L-shaped, galley, and island. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to consider how you'll be using the space and what your priorities are. For example, if you like to entertain guests while you cook, an open-concept layout with an island may be a good choice. On the other hand, if you're looking for maximum efficiency, a galley kitchen with a streamlined design may be a better fit.



Once you've settled on a layout, it's time to start thinking about the details. One of the most important elements of any kitchen design is the cabinetry. Cabinets can set the tone for the entire room, so it's important to choose a style and finish that you love. You'll also need to decide on the type of cabinet door and hardware you prefer. For a modern look, consider sleek, handle-less cabinets in a high-gloss finish. If you prefer a more traditional look, opt for shaker-style cabinets with classic hardware.

Images courtesy of Roundhouse Kitchens


Another important element to consider is the counter tops. There are many materials to choose from, including granite, quartz, marble, and butcher block. Each has its own pros and cons, so it's important to do your research and choose a material that fits your budget and lifestyle. For example, if you love to cook and do a lot of food prep, you may want to opt for a durable and heat-resistant material like granite. If you're looking for a more budget-friendly option, butcher block can be a great choice.

Images courtesy of Roundhouse Kitchens


Lighting is also an important consideration in any kitchen design. You'll want to make sure you have plenty of task lighting for cooking and food prep, as well as ambient lighting for entertaining and socializing. Consider adding under-cabinet lighting to illuminate your counter tops and create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Pendant lights above an island or dining table can also add a stylish touch to the room.

Images courtesy of Roundhouse Kitchens


Finally, don't forget about the finishing touches. Adding decorative elements like artwork, plants, and colorful accessories can help personalize the space and make it feel like home. You may also want to consider adding a back-splash to protect your walls and add visual interest to the room. There are many materials to choose from, including tile, glass, and metal.



In conclusion, designing a kitchen requires careful consideration of many different elements, from the layout and cabinetry to the counter tops, lighting, and finishing touches. By taking the time to plan your design and choose materials and finishes that you love, you can create a space that is both functional and beautiful.

 

So if you have a kitchen extension project in mind, don't hesitate to get in touch with Rebel Design Studio.


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