A new kitchen extension creates an open-plan living, eating and cooking space that’s the heart of this busy household
Houzz UK contributor. Freelance interiors journalist with over 20 years’ experience… More
Call it serendipity, but when the owner of this detached house was searching for the right designer to create the dream family kitchen, he came across the solution quite by chance.
“The owner chanced upon us, as we are between two bike shops he uses,” recalls Nicholas McColgan, owner and principal designer at Snug Kitchens. “Both he and his wife had already spoken to other designers, but they hadn’t quite found what they were looking for. We got on very well and they came back for a design meeting.”
Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here A family with three children
Location Newbury area, Berkshire
Property 1960s detached house
Size 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
Kitchen-diner dimensions 5.7m x 4.2m
Designer Nicholas McColgan, owner and principal designer at Snug Kitchens.
The owners of this home had always wanted a big kitchen to make the most of the southerly aspect and garden view. The answer was a large extension – about 75 sq m in total – with an all-in-one kitchen and dining space occupying part of the new structure.
“The clients are a close family with an active social life, so they wanted a kitchen space that would become the gathering point for them all,” explains designer Nicholas McColgan.
A wall of bifolding doors makes the most of the garden during the summer, when the family can open up the back of the house for a seamless indoor/outdoor space.
With an effortlessly classic ambience, the new kitchen is handmade using a mix of painted and solid oak doors.
“The kitchen has a traditional, panelled door style, created in an authentic way, with each door fitted into its frame and mounted on butt hinges,” explains McColgan. “The tall units are made from solid oak, including the centre panels. With less expensive door construction methods [veneered centre panels], the veneer will not age in the same way as the frame, and this leads to a patchy door.”
The painted units are made from a combination of solid timber and moisture-resistant MDF.
Central to the large space, the island unit – measuring 2460mm x 1200mm – is kitted out with masses of storage, a dishwasher, a double Belfast sink and a boiling-water tap.
Classic Shaker Double 900 Belfast sink, Shaws of Darwen. Fusion boiling-water tap, Quooker.
A breakfast bar made from solid oak with a bleached lacquer finish offers a casual space for eating.
“The stools were kicking about in a cellar used to store furniture, and just happen to look great with the new kitchen,” says the designer.
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A pale grey engineered quartz worktop creates a hard-wearing worktop for the busy family kitchen.
London Grey worktop, Caesarstone.
A long run of base units, incorporating bespoke storage solutions and a range cooker, does away with the need for wall cupboards.
“We will often avoid using wall units if we can find other ways of supplying all the storage space,” McColgan says. “Modern kitchen layouts are often part of a much larger space incorporating dining and living areas. Because the kitchen needs to blend with these other areas, without dominating them, we try to design the kitchen to be quite subtle and furniture-like. Nothing shouts kitchen more than wall units, so we tend to avoid them where possible.”
Instead, a 50mm-thick, solid oak shelf (which matches the bleached oak tall units on the other wall) forms a decorative perch for artworks. Beneath it, a large panel of matching Caesarstone creates an unobtrusive splashback.
The owners love the Everhot range cooker, as it offers a traditional hotplate and an induction hob, and has a slightly more contemporary look than an Aga.
A worktop-mounted breakfast cupboard sits at the end of the run of units. A bifolding pocket door that slides neatly into the side of the unit is discreet and space-saving.
“This cupboard is a great way of keeping the family out of the main part of the kitchen and allows them to all get their own breakfast,” says McColgan. “There’s even a small fridge underneath for supplies such as milk and butter.”
Integrated fridge, Siemens.
The contents of the breakfast cupboard can be neatly hidden from sight when not in use.
The pale paint shade – Snug Kitchens’ own colour blend – looks fresh with the neat pewter door knobs.
Walls painted in Half Silver, Zoffany. Knobs, Crofts & Assinder.
On the floor, big slabs of stone are warmed up with underfloor heating. The dining table is a bespoke design crafted by a cabinet-maker. It’s specially made to fit the space and to seat 10; it’s also wider than a standard, shop-bought table, which is generally 90cm wide – this one is 110cm.
Stone flooring, Boniti. Table made by Simon Reynolds.
The full-height, floor-to-ceiling cupboards are made from solid oak with a bleached lacquer.
“It’s essentially a clear lacquer with some white pigment added to wash out the colour of the wood,” McColgan explains. “This takes some of the pink-orange out of the oak.”
At the centre is an integrated fridge-freezer with storage solutions either side.
The built-in double-door pantry cupboard opens to reveal tailor-made storage for spices and dried goods plus four solid oak drawers underneath engraved with ‘This’, ‘That’ ‘Secret’ and ‘Forbidden’.
The ‘Forbidden’ drawer is also lockable, so the contents can be secured when necessary.
“The treats can be kept under lock and key when the kids are around,” McColgan says.
An indigo sideboard adds some bold colour to the scheme. It’s packed with storage for everything from wine glasses, drinks and placemats to iPads and other family paraphernalia.
The magnetic panel that hangs above the sideboard is McColgan’s favourite feature. “By spraying liquid metal onto an MDF core – first iron and then copper – we ended up with a stunning panel in copper that tarnishes and ages in a very organic way, but also takes magnets to pin up the kids’ artwork. The finish also allows the use of wipeable whiteboard markers,” the designer adds.
“We then framed the panel in a silver-leaf frame and mounted it above the sideboard. It was our free gift to the family, as I was using the opportunity to experiment and prototype the idea.”
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The blue sideboard has leather strap handles.
Bespoke chopping boards slide perfectly into the island unit. “We made the chopping blocks in iroko with a bookmatched, sequential grain pattern,” McColgan says.
What do you think of this classic family kitchen? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.