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Kitchen Tour: A Light, Bright Kitchen Extension Opens Up a Family Home

A dark kitchen is ditched in favour of a modern, pared-back space that leads seamlessly into the garden

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

After reading about another of his projects on Houzz, the owners of this Victorian terrace approached architect Michael Schienke of Vorbild Architecture to design a light-filled, family kitchen within a new extension that would make the most of their garden.

“The owners knew they had to get a bigger kitchen and have a better view of the garden,” explains Schienke. “When we started, the original kitchen was dark and very traditional in timber.”

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Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here A professional couple with a young son
Location Surbiton, Greater London
Size of extension 5m x 3.5m; part of a Victorian terraced house with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms
Architect Michael Schienke of Vorbild Architecture

When the owners of this Victorian terrace wanted a bigger kitchen, the obvious solution was to extend into the garden.

“We tried for a 5m-deep extension, then 4.5m, but we settled for 3.5m,” says Michael Schienke, the architect who was tasked with the project.

The new, enlarged ground floor space is now home to a kitchen-diner and living area. A dual-purpose island unit – one side storage and appliances, the other side seating – effortlessly zones the room.

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The main design ethos behind the extension was to create an open space with natural light pouring through the back, side and top.

“We wanted to make this space as light-filled as possible, so the roof lights are centred on the extension, with dimmable LED strips positioned in their reveals,” says the architect.

This is in addition to the double-glazed, dark grey, aluminium-framed doors, which link the extension seamlessly to the outside space.

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A gloss white laminate kitchen with handleless doors manages to blend almost invisibly with the architecture of the room and its wraparound white walls.

“There was a traditional, Shaker-style kitchen here before in timber veneer,” says Schienke. “It was a bit dated and very dark. On both sides of the kitchen were existing enclosures with doors – one for the fridge and one for the boiler – the latter accessible from the outside. Both of these were removed to open up the space.”

Kitchen, Howdens. Walls painted in White, Dulux.

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The island unit is cleverly designed, with a built-in timber bench on the dining side to ensure the kitchen doesn’t appear overly clinical.

“The bespoke bench was a joint idea by myself and the clients,” adds Schienke. “It was made in oiled oak by a local joiner. We needed something at the back of the island, and the bench lifts up for extra storage.”

The table, in rustic European oak, works well with the bench. The bottom half of the seat is painted in a very dark blue to echo the splashback behind the hob and to add a sophisticated contrast.

Grange dining table, Heal’s. Bench and splashback painted in Black Blue, Farrow & Ball.

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A bank of units on the back wall houses the bulk of the kitchen storage and appliances, including a full-height fridge-freezer, oven, hob and various drawers and shelves.

“As the Howdens units had a maximum height, we created a down-stand from the ceiling to encase them,” Schienke says.

The white quartz worktop enhances the clean-lined look.

Worktops, Unistone Bianco Assoluto. All appliances, Lamona at Howdens.

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A full-length side window in the walkway between the main run of the room and the island unit allows even more light to pour through.

“We needed to get permission for this,” explains the architect. “The window was sourced by the builder. It’s an aluminium-framed, fixed safety glass light, with the frame colour matching the anthracite rear sliding doors.”

Sink, Howdens. Eiger tap, Franke.

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Extra-wide planks of engineered oak floorboards run throughout the entire space for a classic look that’s also practical for family use.

Natura 20mm Oak Ironbark Manor engineered wood flooring, FlooringSupplies.co.uk. Vilmar chairs, Ikea.

Read expert advice on how to choose the perfect kitchen flooring

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Bare bulb lighting above the island unit adds an industrial note. Each pendant is fitted with dimmable LED bulbs, which are long-lasting and energy-efficient.

Nordlux Funk ceiling pendant lamp holder in black, Lighting Direct. Gaia LED bulbs, Heal’s.

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The sliding doors glide back to reveal a stone patio with simple garden furniture.

Outdoor lighting allows the garden to be used into the evening during the summer months.

Eglo Riga Twin LED outdoor wall light in Anthracite, Lighting Direct.

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The 8m-long garden is still a sizeable space, even with the new extension.

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White pebbles are spread out over the flat roof membrane, creating a more aesthetically pleasing view of the extension from above.

What do you think of this light-filled kitchen? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.
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