Before and after: we redid our kitchen extension to make it work for us

Instead of rebuilding their awkwardly laid-out extension, the owners made a few clever tweaks to create an all-in-one kitchen, dining and living space

kitchen makeover before and after
(Image credit: TBC)

'The kitchen was never right,' say the owners, 'but since we moved in 12 years ago, we'd put up with it and focused on other projects. We knew we could make more of it, but didn't want to reduce the size of our garden.'

On paper, the space was large enough to have cooking, eating and relaxing areas, so the couple took on a builder who had plenty of ideas and experience of designing shops. 'This meant we didn't need to use an architect,' they say, 'just a structural engineer.'

The builder helped the pair to plan one large rectangular space with a symmetrical roofline. In the original layout, walls split the space into three - a kitchen in the middle, an office to one side and a seating area to the other. 'The solution was to knock down the walls and change the roofline so  the rear wall came much higher,' the couple explain. 'We then put in full-width bifold doors.'

kitchen area with white wall and white countertop

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

'We were determined to keep the sightlines flowing out to the garden,' say the owners, 'so instead of placing the island horizontally, we put the units all along one wall so that the kitchen was confined to one area.' An aqua splashback and blue bar stools add a vibrant hit of colour to this neutral kitchen.

kitchen area with grey countertop with grey cabinets

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

The island worktop includes a stylish breakfast bar. It's a great spot for a morning coffee, but it also makes it clear where the kitchen section of the space stops. Twin ovens have been fitted on either side of the fridge-freezer, which gives a more balanced look than stacking.

kitchen area with grey cabinet and white countertop

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

To zone off the newly created dining space, one wall was painted in a glorious blue, which matches the splashback on the other side of the room. 'On sunny days, it's a lovely bright spot,' say the couple.

dining area with blue wall and dining table

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

'We've been able to move our old sofa into the newly opened-up space in front of the bifolds,' say the owners. 'The builders made the wall-hung unit from leftover bits from the kitchen and worktop.'

living area with white wall and grey sofa and white wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

This is the view from the outside, with the garden still fully in tact. 'Extending isn't always the answer,' the couple say. 'If you have plenty of square footage on paper, work out ways to change the layout to make it work for you.'

house exterior with bricked wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

The basic build took three months to complete and cost £34,000. It was a big project, but the owners are very happy with their remodelled extension. 'The new layout works so much better for us now,' they say. 'Everyone's got a bar stool and we can all be in here together, each doing our own thing and not getting in each other's way.'

Get the look

Buy now: Malmo Gloss Graphite cabinets, £128.60 for a base unit, Units Online

Buy now: ceiling light, £300, Taylor'd Lighting

Buy now: Accra floor tiles, £39.54 per sq m, Eurotiles & Bathrooms

Buy now: Silestone Blanco Norte worktop, from £400 per linear m, Consentino by Slees Marble

Buy now: IQ 500 American-style fridge-freezer, £1,489; IQ700 oven, £1,249; single oven, £859; and warming drawers, £449, all Siemens

Buy now: L'eau bar stools, £173 each, Calligaris

Buy now: Blue wall painted in Farrow & Ball Vardo Estate Emulsion, £43.50 for 2.5ltr, B&Q

Buy now: Destination print, £300, Betsy Benn

Buy now: yellow cushions, £15.99 for two, TK Maxx

This kitchen originally appeared in Ideal Home, June 2017.

Image credits: David Giles