Kitchen extensions: Expert advice on making the most of your home
Slowly but surely, the kitchen has become the hub of the 21st-century home. Once separated into different rooms, our cooking, dining, and living areas have now blurred together into bright open-plan layouts. A multi-functional kitchen with a fantastic design is now high up on the modern family’s wish list. Still, creating such a kitchen will often require creating additional space in a household. There are numerous ways to open up additional space in your home and transform a dated interior into something marvellous. One of the most popular ways to achieve extra space for your fantasy kitchen is by removing adjacent walls to combine rooms. Or perhaps you could add a side or rear extension to your home, converting a little-used garage into a modern, multi-functional kitchen. Whichever path you choose, a new kitchen that fits your lifestyle will require careful planning.
A kitchen extension will do wonders for your home. No matter if you are looking to create a huge open plan room for more cooking, dining or entertainment. First of all, you need to take careful steps to ensure that you are on track for success from the very start. Other than the practical bits of building such as appointing an architect or builder or getting planning permission at the very beginning, you should get a feel of how large the extension will be and whether it is doable in the first place. Follow the advice below to make sure that yours is designed and planned properly from the very start.
Planning a kitchen extension
The volume of space you need for your kitchen extension will depend on how you specifically plan to use it, so you best start there. It’s not smart to spend a tremendous amount of money on an extension that is too small. Too big isn’t always a bonus either, since a room that’s out of proportion to the rest of the home isn’t a good asset.
Creating an open-plan (or semi-open-plan) space is often the best way to use the new extension. The most important thing while creating an open-plan kitchen is getting the space and the layout right first, before deciding on the design, kitchen units and other details that should come later on in the process. Write a list of all the features that you already have in your cooking area, then add the features and appliances that you wish to add to the new space.
Where to place the kitchen extension
The first step is to assess which area of your home will benefit the most from an extension. There are quite a few options as to where you could extend your home. You could certainly extend at the rear or side of your home in order to gain extra space; in a terraced house, a side extension might be the best option; in a townhouse, it might make sense to do a simple basement conversion with a light well leading up to the garden.
If you go with extending the rear side of your property, bear in mind that no extension should overly compromise the garden. Try to find a balance between creating a workable space indoors and retaining as much garden space as possible. An experienced architect may help and advise you with this but do your homework too and visit as many homes with extensions as possible to see what works, and what doesn’t.
How much does a kitchen extension cost?
Depending on where you live, an average kitchen extension will cost you around £30,000. Many factors and decisions you make in the process will have a significant impact on the kitchen extension price. The final cost will heavily rely on the size of your extension and the quality of finishes. Basic kitchen extensions go from around £1,500 per m2. If you are going with a higher-quality finish, the price can vary between £1,900 – £3,000 per m2.
Find a good architect for the project
Once you’ve decided where you want to go with your extension, consult a highly skilled, registered architect to find out what can be achieved. An architect will provide plans and construction drawings for the builder in compliance with building regulations that have to be met. They will also inspire you with design solutions for the new kitchen and will present you with a number of options you can consider.
Where to put the kitchen within the extension
In a best-case scenario, the cooking area should be in the darkest part of the new room. Even though at first this might seem counter-intuitive, ideally, you’ll want the living and dining areas to be near the garden, at the far end of the room. These are the most important zones for taking advantage of natural light. Also, putting the kitchen at the end of the room that’s nearest to the original part of the house gives you some scope for incorporating a utility room behind it.
Do you need planning permission?
If the work falls under permitted development, you won’t need to apply for planning permission. However, you may wish to apply for a certificate of lawful development which proves the whole project is legal and according to local laws and rules. In case you need planning permission, you will have to apply for one at the local council and you may also need additional reports.
Whatever the case is, you will certainly need building regulations approval. If you are building on or close to the boundary with a neighbour, you will probably have to issue a party wall notice as well.
How long will the extension take?
Of course, it depends on the scale of the project, challenges accessing the site, how big the kitchen extension is, and how well you run your schedule. As a rule, a simple kitchen extension might take between 10 to 12 weeks, but if you’re doing a large kitchen extension, this could take anything up to six months.
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