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Kitchen Tour: A Small Extension Transforms a Dark Kitchen

Building into the side return added light and space plus a better connection to the dining area of this Victorian home

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An extension doesn’t need to be large to make a huge difference, and that was certainly the case in this period house. Building into the side return – a boost of just 4 sq m – was all it took. “The owners wanted to keep the existing dining room as it was, because they enjoy entertaining,” says Gozi Wamuo of TURN Architects, the partnership that undertook the project.

Extending opened up the garden-facing dining space to the kitchen, enlarged the latter, and introduced more daylight to both areas. And it wasn’t just the layout that was revolutionised: bespoke cabinetry, a palette of natural materials and a capacious walk-in pantry resulted in a tactile, fuss-free and beautifully functional kitchen.

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Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here A couple and their two sons
Location Stoke Newington, London
Property A Victorian mid-terrace house
Kitchen dimensions Around 30 sq m
Architects Gozi Wamuo and Andrea Jung of TURN Architects

Photos by Adam Luszniak

The extension into the side return was achievable without Planning Permission under the Permitted Development Rights regime.

Pride of place in the dining room goes to the couple’s 3.8m-long antique French oak dining table. To light the sizeable tabletop adequately and to create a feature, Italian-designed pendant lights were hung above it. They can be moved up and down as well as extended on the arms.

Franco Albini AS41Z pendant lights, Twentytwentyone.

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The kitchen was designed to have enduring style. Quality natural materials were key. “That’s why we’ve gone for wood, slate and a limestone floor,” Gozi Wamuo says.

The bespoke cabinetry is veneered in walnut – a timber the couple liked for its warmth. “The joiner used one piece and you can see the grain running all the way through,” Wamuo says. The units have a very dark grey plinth that almost disappears, making the line of beautiful timber prominent.

The long walnut shelf includes integral task lighting, and the splashback features crackle-glazed metro tiles, chosen for their simple beauty and easy maintenance.

The work surfaces are made from slate, which tones with the floor, but has a lively finish. The grey limestone flooring is composed of large-format tiles. “We wanted to achieve clean, modern lines with fewer visible joins, plus it’s practical for cleaning,” says Wamuo. It also works well with the underfloor heating that keeps the finished space uncluttered by radiators.

Kitchen units made by Joshua DuMond of biglittleprojects. Crackle-glazed tiles, Fired Earth. Brandy Crag slate worktop, Gordon Greaves Slate. Urban Grey limestone floor tiles, GDStones.

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At the rear of the kitchen is a panelled wall in warm grey that conceals a walk-in pantry. The tall cupboard at the end of the units on the right hides a fridge. The panels are spray-painted MDF and the door handles have been spray-painted black to match the kitchen cabinet ones.

There are no wall-hung units in the kitchen – one of the owners, at 6ft 2in tall, finds them head-bangingly awkward – and the pantry more than replaces the storage these would have offered.

Inside the pantry are floor-to-ceiling birch ply shelves, which are laminated so they can be wiped down. The cupboard is home to dried foods and infrequently used kitchen appliances.

The shelving unit (just seen, left) is designed to house a music system and has ports for phones and tablets. It’s fitted with lighting to highlight the objects displayed there, too.

Larder made by Joshua DuMond of biglittleprojects. Ilve 100cm range cooker, Nailsea Electrical.

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A full-height sliding glazed screen with a frame made from accoya – a long-life timber that’s modified to resist rot – replaced the wall and door between the dining area and hallway. (You can just see this above, on the right, but get a better view of it in the first image in the story.) It lets light penetrate the house and creates a view from the hall, while at the same time allowing the dining space to be closed off for get-togethers.

Alongside (seen on the left) is a sliding pocket door to the kitchen, so that area can also be closed off when required.

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The oak dining table has been teamed with black-stained plywood chairs. They’re understated in style, leaving the focus on the room itself.

Visu wood dining chairs, Twentytwentyone.

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The opening at the end of the dining room was extended by around 1m to better connect the interior to the garden. It’s fitted with bifold doors with framing that matches the anthracite finish on the side return extension.

The extension was constructed using reclaimed London stock bricks to match the original house. It’s finished in easy-to-maintain zinc that complements the brickwork. A three-section roof light keeps the extended kitchen daylight-filled.

Solarlux bifold doors, Thames Valley Window Company. Windows and roof lights, Grove Windows.

What do you think of this kitchen and its walk-in pantry? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.

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