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Kitchen Tour: A 30-year-old Home Gets a Bright Extension

A complete kitchen renovation added spectacular views and much-needed light to this restaurateurs’ home in County Wicklow

Houzz UK and Ireland Editorial Staff. My background is in creative lifestyle publishing… More

In its original incarnation, this secluded, detached home wasn’t making the most of its prime location overlooking Blessington Lakes in County Wicklow. “The kitchen was in a completely different part of the house before,” says designer Will Healy of Jonathan Williams Kitchens. “It was much darker, quite cold and finished in pine throughout.”

The clients are the owners of two restaurants, so having a bright, welcoming and workable kitchen was very important to them. “The brief was to create a large family kitchen that’s the focal point of the house, with an airy, user-friendly finish and ample storage,” confirms Healy. “Together with the clients’ builders, we extended and created one big space where the whole family can congregate and entertain.”

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Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here A professional couple who run two restaurants, plus their two young adult children
Location Blessington, County Wicklow
Property A detached, late-20th century home set in about an acre of grounds overlooking the picturesque Blessington Lakes
Size 8.2m x 5.6m
Designer Will Healy of Jonathan Williams Kitchens

This kitchen wasn’t done by halves. Together with O’Neill’s Building Services, Jonathan Williams Kitchens created this modern extension, removing most of the back of the house to extend out, adding about 60 sq m in total to the home. The extension required two supporting beams, which were fitted with panelling to match the rest of the room.

“The builders were in the property for about four months doing the structural work before we came in,” says kitchen designer Will Healy. “We liaised with them during that time to plan in the plumbing and lighting, then came in to fit the kitchen itself. It usually takes us about two weeks from start to finish to fit our fully solid kitchens and have them hand-painted on site by our in-house team – so much planning will have gone in beforehand that it’s usually fairly quick.”

Claridge Inframe Collection kitchen units, Jonathan Williams Kitchens. Units painted in Slipper Satin, Farrow & Ball. Range cooker, Hotpoint. Fridge, Samsung.

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The view from the window is what this kitchen is all about and Healy designed the room to make it the focus.

“From the table in the window, and standing at the island doing the dishes at the Belfast sink, you get an amazing view over Blessington Lakes,” says Healy. “We wanted to make the window seat the main feature. It also has lots of pull-out storage underneath.”

Because this house is out in the open on its own, it had quite a cold feel to it before. The clients were keen to create an airy, open space, but one that had warmth and a cosy feel. This was achieved through the addition of a wood-burning stove and dark wood flooring.

“The client wanted wood rather than tiles, so we installed this flooring to give her the warmth she was after,” says Healy. “It looks like solid walnut planks, but it’s actually engineered walnut, which tends to be more affordable and durable.”

Read expert advice on choosing the perfect kitchen flooring

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Healy also designed the custom-built mantel over the wood-burner to integrate the area into the rest of the kitchen.

“We make our kitchens ourselves in our own joinery workshop,” says Healy. “This one is solid maple and includes solid drawers, plate dividers and, most importantly for our clients here, lots of easy storage.”

Of the process, Healy says it’s 90% his design and the rest is customised to the clients’ wishes.

“The way we work is that we chat with the client and get an idea of their brief and wish list, and then we get the design nearly all the way there. Our client then comes in to chat through it with us, and we’ll add bespoke touches just for them.”

Oven; microwave; dishwasher, all Smeg.

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“It took our client a while to find these,” Healy says of the unstated yet striking pendant lights. “But they work perfectly with this kitchen and provide task lighting where she needs it, above the island.”

To offset the dark wood floor, the client went for bright worktops. This Silestone worktop, though very pale, is guaranteed anti-scratch and anti-stain, with less maintenance involved than with granite or marble.

“Our client was happy with the technology behind this new quartz finish,” says Healy.

Pendant lights, Mullan. Silestone worktop in Tigris Sand, available from MKW Surfaces. Colonial bridge tap, Perrin & Rowe.

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“One of my client’s daughters was with her when we came to finalise the kitchen design and she came up with a lot of the great ideas behind this solid walnut pantry,” says Healy.

As you can see, with a wine rack on the top and three drawers underneath, plus shelving and door cabinets, there’s plenty of storage space.

“We personalise the engraving on our solid drawers with items and tasks specific to the family, or add kids’ names or special dates,” says Healy. “The spice rack on the door and the handy drawers mean everything’s at hand and you don’t need to bend down too much to retrieve often-used items.”

Block pillars on either side finish the design off nicely, mirroring the fridge unit opposite it.

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The pantry partially closed…

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…and totally hidden.

See more great pantry ideas

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“I’m ecstatic with the finished look,” says Healy. “Most of my job is such a process – there’s so much measuring and ordering and delivering. But because everything’s handmade, you can see it becoming more and more complete every day. The best bit is when the client gets back in the room and starts using it. It’s so rewarding seeing the client’s sheer delight.”

What do you make of this extended kitchen? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.

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