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Kitchen Tour: A Dark Room Becomes a Light, Modern Open-plan Space

Deep blue cupboards and a light-filled extension transform a dark and cramped kitchen

Houzz UK contributor. Freelance interiors journalist with over 20 years’ experience… More

It took the expert eyes of the team at Mustard Architects to transform the dark room at the back of this Victorian house into a light-filled, open-plan design.

“Our clients wanted to address the low levels of natural light and restricted space in their existing home to allow for sociable family living and larger gatherings, and to accommodate an expanding home-run business,” lead architect John Norman explains.

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Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here A professional couple with two children
Location Southwest London
Property A Victorian terraced house with four bedrooms and three bathrooms
Kitchen dimensions 34 sq m
Architect John Norman of Mustard Architects

The owners wanted to reinvigorate their tired, cramped and dark kitchen to include more space, more storage and more natural light.

This involved adding an extra 13 sq m of space to the back of the house – mainly on the side return. In this area, a newly installed series of skylights, supplemented by a row of industrial-style wall lamps, allows masses of light to filter into the once dark room.

The architects stuck to a simple yet workable layout, with a bank of units running either side, a sink station at the back and an island in the middle.

Downlights, Ecoled.

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The island measures 1400mm x 1900mm and includes ample storage, a wine fridge and a breakfast bar.

Simple, flat-fronted doors with integral handles are made from plywood and spray-painted in a rich blue shade. The island worktop is oak, while the perimeter worksurfaces are topped with sheets of stainless steel.

Views of the rear garden are framed by two large, oak-framed pivot openings – a window on the left and a door on the right. The result is an inside-outside space for dining, socialising and playing.

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Tucked into the back corner of the kitchen, the dining zone can be used for catching up on work, as well as enjoying family gatherings.

“The dining window seat projects into the garden by two square metres, and is mirrored with an external brick seat, enabling sociable conversation between the inside and out,” John explains of his favourite part of the design. “When the window is open, you feel half in the garden and can look up into the sky through the roof light.

“We didn’t extend right across the back, firstly because the clients didn’t need the space, and we try to create schemes with purpose rather than just large rooms, which can end up feeling a bit empty and disproportionate to the size of the house.

“The other reason is that the Permitted Development regulations don’t actually allow wraparound extensions.”

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Even though the owner has a separate home office in the loft, the dining table can be used on an ad hoc basis for work meetings for her online business selling decorative items for the home.

The dining table was made by the same carpenter who constructed the kitchen; the owners already had the Windsor chairs, but they’ve been painted in the same dark blue shade as the cupboards.

You’ll find a huge range of dining chairs in the Houzz Shop

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The original Victorian beams have been painted in an all-over wash of pure white to balance out the darkness of the kitchen. The floor is a seamless layer of polished concrete, with underfloor heating to warm up the hard surface.

“We used the owners’ existing Rangemaster cooker and extractor fan in the scheme,” John says.

Concrete flooring, The Concrete Flooring Company.

Discover what potential buyers don’t want to see in your kitchen

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The standalone sink unit – with a stainless-steel-laminated oak worktop and an integrated stainless-steel sink – sits neatly at one end of the kitchen.

“As well as the sink, it contains the dishwasher and cleaning products,” John says. “The clients wanted a big, sociable island everyone could gather around without a sink or hob getting in the way.”

Splashback tiles, Fired Earth. Sink; tap, both Franke.

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The side return extension stretches out the kitchen’s dimensions, and is the perfect zone for a seamless bank of push-to-open, full-height cupboards.

The tall, tongue-and-groove doors are stylish yet unobtrusive and disguise masses of storage space for crockery and a full-height larder unit.

Tell us…
What do you think of this stylish, deep blue kitchen? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.
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