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Room Tour: A Kitchen Extension Totally Transforms a Period Home

Drawing on the history of the Grade II-listed building, a sympathetic extension brings this home into the 21st century

Houzz UK and Ireland Editor.

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Nestling close to the beautiful façade of a Grade II-listed home, this contemporary, bronze-clad extension, designed by OB Architecture, is a masterclass in how to blend old and new. Intended to create a 21st century “gathering space” for a large family, the kitchen-diner/living area both references the past and looks boldly to the future, creating a fresh new chapter in the story of this family home.

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Room at a Glance
Who lives here A couple with five children
Location Surrey
Property A contemporary extension on a Grade II-listed building
Extension dimensions 80 sq m
Architect James Chapman of OB Architecture

Photos by Martin Gardner Photography

When the homeowners approached OB Architecture, they gave them a brief to replace the old extension and create a new “gathering space”, where their large, extended family could all spend time together and enjoy wonderful views of the garden.

“Although the existing house was a large space, and it had many rooms, the one thing it didn’t have was a centre and a heart,” architect James Chapman says. “Creating that heart was the aim of this project.”

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Because the original building was Grade II-listed, the design for the extension had to be carefully considered. “We very much wanted to steer clear of a pastiche, but we were keen for it to be part of the evolution of the building,” Chapman explains.

“The homeowners came across two books about the surrounding area,” he says, “and in one of those we found a sketch of this house dating back to 1836, showing the original extension.

“Finding that sketch was a lightbulb moment. It allowed us to show how our proposed extension drew on the historical building, as the footprint of the extension is on the original foundations of the previous structures.”

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This ‘before’ floorplan shows the existing 1960s extension and flat-roof garage. It also shows the foundations of the older structure, which was once a cluster of buildings attached to the main property, and it was this footprint that Chapman used as a starting point for the new design.

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This ‘after’ floorplan shows the new extension, which now houses a large, family-friendly kitchen-diner and living area, with a new chimney and fireplace and expansive views of the garden beyond. The utility room has been moved to the back of the space, along with the cloakroom and practical coat and shoe storage.

The flat-roof garage has been removed entirely; a new, timber-framed garage has been built in the grounds slightly away from the house.

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The resulting space more than fulfils the homeowners’ brief of a light-filled kitchen-diner with sweeping views.

The kitchen is tucked into the back of the space, with the seating and dining areas to the front, closest to the garden. Bifolding doors and glass panels wrap right around the extension, creating a seamless transition from inside to outside.

Kitchen, Kraftwork.

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The seating area is grouped around the new brick chimney and stone hearth, designed as a modern interpretation of the chimney in the main house. With easy access to the kitchen behind and sweeping views of the garden in front, this is a spot that invites you to relax and unwind.

While the space undoubtedly feels very modern, on closer inspection there are lots of elements in the new building that reference the original. “The oak glulam [glued laminated timber] beams that create the structure, for example, are very crisply detailed,” Chapman says. “They have a white oil wash that gives them an unmistakably contemporary look, which very much contrasts with the aged oak beams in the rest of the house, but the fact that all the beams are in the same material ties them together and creates a connection.”

Glulam visible frame, Buckland Timber.

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The dining and living spaces are neatly defined by the structural layout of the extension. Six vertical oak columns effectively create two ‘bays’ that house the dining and living areas. Vaulted ceilings increase the volume of the room, while triangular skylights draw extra light into the space, offering, from the far end, a little glimpse of the main house beyond.

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Parquet flooring marks the transition from kitchen to dining and living spaces, as well as bringing warmth and texture to the open-plan room.

“We chose giant parquet flooring in the extension to reference the existing parquet in the main house,” Chapman says. “It’s another example of how the design of the extension is influenced by the original building structure, but is a modern interpretation of it.”

Timber parquet flooring, Turgon Flooring.

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A glimpse through to the new extension from the existing building shows how the two spaces knit together.

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“We didn’t want the new extension to hide or block the original house structure,” says Chapman. “So the extension is actually set back slightly from the side of the existing house, and a glass panel [seen here] bridges the gap, allowing the corner of the house to be seen from both inside and out.”

Limestone floor tiles, Panoramics.

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No detail was overlooked in the design and construction of this extension. The bifolding doors, for example, have a dark bronze finish that matches the proportions of the leaded windows on the main façade.

“We wanted the window frames to have an anodised finish rather than powder-coated,” Chapman says, “so it took a little longer to get the finish just right, as the colour isn’t so easy to control when using an anodising process.”

Windows and doors, DWL Windows.

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The kitchen is located under the original roof structure, which has also been vaulted. In doing the work, the architects revealed the existing chimney breast, which was then repaired and restored (shown to the left in this photo).

A slim oak door frame marks the transition through from the kitchen to the utility room beyond. The impressive height of the room is maintained thanks to a seamless glass panel soaring up to fill the space above the door frame. This has the dual purpose of allowing light to flood through to the back of the house and showing off the original brickwork of the chimney.

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On the outside of the new chimney, a decorative stone panel features a motif that was taken from the main staircase in the house, and the shape of the Dutch gable façade. The motif has been reinterpreted as a large-scale, CNC stone-cut pattern and is a nice link to the original architecture.

The bricks were sourced from a Danish company. “We did looked at Flemish companies, to tie in with the Dutch gables,” Chapman says, “but eventually chose these, as they had a colouration that referenced both the red brick of the main house and the yellow of the stone. It fitted our notion of doing something different but sympathetic to the original. Architecture always works when it goes down to the details.”

Stone motif, Lambs. Bronze roof, Boss Metals. Bricks, Petersen.

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This view shows the side of the extension where the 1960s flat roof garage used to be. This was removed so this side of the kitchen could have floor-to-ceiling windows, letting light into the space and offering an extra vista from inside the extension.

To the right of this photo, a new, timber-framed garage has been installed that provides parking space away from the main house. This gravel drive is used as guest parking or as a turning space.

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“The owners were the champions of this project,” says Chapman. “While it was obviously designed for them to enjoy as a family, they were also clear that they wanted to create something of quality they could hand onto the next generation of homeowners. And I think they enjoyed the process!”

Tell us…
What do you think of this sympathetic extension? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.
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