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Opening up your home

The kitchen was once the preserve of the downtrodden housewife, but is now the hub of modern home life, where the whole family often gather. Opening up the home with a kitchen extension has become a desirable and often necessary undertaking for many. A kitchen extension can be the perfect way of meeting your needs, adding value to your existing property and foregoing the stress of moving.

Open plan living has become one of the most popular formats for the modern home, and for obvious reason. A single-storey extension can transform a cagey kitchen into a social gathering point for both family and friends.

Merging cooking, dining and living space into one light-filled room can really open up your home, allowing you to spend more precious time with your family. Features like islands, can create a relaxed dining area for everyday. And when entertaining, forget the stuffy dining room. Your parties can take on an informal air, centred around a light and airy open plan space.

Features to consider

It is not just one area of your home that could profit. A conservatory kitchen extension also has the ability to optimise an underused garden. Wall-to-wall glass bi-folding or sliding glass doors can flood light into the room, while giving your home a modern edge, and providing a sense of even more space. In the summer, the entire wall can be opened up, virtually extending your kitchen into the garden. This feature can create the environment for easy al fresco dining and hassle-free garden parties.

The planning process

You’ll need to start by establishing how you plan to use your kitchen extension. For instance, do you want a formal or relaxed dining area? Do you want to include living space? Would a separate larder area be useful? Will you often use the room for entertaining? It is useful to have thought of your answers to such questions before talking with a builder. You can then talk through your needs with them knowledgably, planning zones for cooking, dining and living.

Another important consideration is the balance of indoor and outdoor space. Think about how you use your garden. Will you be able to use it in the same way when your extension is in place? You don’t want to get wrapped up in your kitchen design and later end up wishing you had an extra metre or so of outdoor space. This can also be an important point to think about if you ever plan to sell your property, as garden size can be a ‘make-or-break’ for potential buyers.

Planning Permission Considerations

Of course, planning permission must be your number one priority. To find out too late that your extension is against regulations could be extremely costly and disruptive. Having an architect or an architectural technical designer draw up plans in line with building regulations could really save you a lot of time and money in the long run. You’ll need to keep on good terms with your neighbours. As the Party Wall Act requires you to serve them planning notices, you’ll need to keep them sweet.

Listed buildings require additional consent, however small the changes. Also, keep in mind that if you are planning a modern look including lots of glass, you may need to check that the amount is under newly introduced legal limits. Bear in mind that the process of acquiring planning approval will likely take a minimum of three months.

Designing your Kitchen Extension

When your kitchen extension has been approved, your next step is to start designing a layout that works for you. A kitchen designer can assist you in planning what sort of unit arrangement would fit the space best. For instance you may want a galley, L-shaped or U-shaped design, or the incorporation of an island. You’ll also need to think carefully about the appropriate placement of lighting to maximise the advantages of the new space.

Once your layout is finalised, and supplier is chosen, your designer will be able to draw up the detailed plumbing and wiring plans necessary for the builders to work to. You’ll need to have plastered and decorated, and have had the floor laid before the installation of your units by the supplier. You can expect the work prior to the kitchen fitting to take around seven to ten weeks, and the actual fitting to take a further couple of weeks.

It is likely your new kitchen extension will take around five to six months in total, so you’ll need to have your microwave in an easily accessible place! But when the build is completed, you can relax and enjoy an area that will truly revolutionise and add value to your home.