Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Living with Building an Extension

We see the results of renovations and extensions often, the lovely styled rooms all painted and pretty. Design Sponge posts regularly before and after photos of projects. But we don't see much of the process, the rubble and dust, the build site, the months of living in upheaval, the stress on families and relationships.

Since February there is a project that I have helped on the planning and design of an extension and new kitchen. Each month goes by and each step an achievement. Last week the kitchen was installed.

 This was the original kitchen, with the stove and the sink separated, the fridge around the corner, little surface for preparation, it was inefficient and unpleasant to work in. The building is a 1950's home built for military families. It is a solid piece of architecture, rooms with enough space and a window in each room. So it has good bones. It was efficient at the time for the way people lived then, but today with our preference for open plan for gathering of friends and family it became too congested.

We began the project with several discussions of how best to use the space, to make it more efficient, bring in more light and more accessible to the large garden.

Staying in budget was essential, so dashed were plans of going for planning permission. We worked within the limits of an extension of 3m x 3m, anything over meant we would have to apply for permission and would take that much longer and extend the costs.

It was a building extension of recycling and reusing, keeping the existing utility space, thoroughly insulating it, replacing and enlarging the doorway directly onto the garden. Reusing the windows which were replaced by doors helped stay in budget. Then adding the kitchen extension next to it with a glass roof. Changing a window to French doors leading from the living room to the garden helped to make the space flow and link to the outside.

When the back exterior wall was taken down after the extension with a glass roof was built, you can see how open plan makes a more agreeable space. But you also see the upheaval a family has to live with, for example all the kitchen equipment and food supplies have to be moved. You wind up living out of boxes when you are still feeding a family.

Just after the kitchen was installed, my builder, the best builder in the world, sent these photos:

Using an Ikea kitchen with hard wood Iroko worktops kept us in budget. Still lots more to do, finish the painting, install the lighting, the flooring, then the styling.... stay tuned!

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