• Kookie Muhretti

Extending for a kitchen?Things you need to think about...

Updated: Feb 17

Today I want to talk about Extensions. This subject has been on my mind for awhile, as I have found more and more clients talking about it and doing it. True, the cost of extending works out cheaper than moving home, but if not planned correctly, you could end up with unnecessary costs and a useless piece of space... So I'm going to share some tips with you, to get you thinking, and as always, I would love to hear your thoughts by commenting below.


Think before you leap

The main reason behind this blog, is because I have seen many a client get excited about building an extension for a kitchen without really thinking about the space. When it came to me designing the kitchen, the space wasn't adequate enough to accommodate their dream. Well, here's your first tip: Create the extension around the kitchen not the other way round. Think about how you will use the space, who will use the space, how many people will be in that space and whether you need to accommodate wheelchair users or anyone with a disability. Are you a big family that needs lots of storage? Think about where you are going to store and how much storage you need. Is your space small and dark, maybe you need under cabinet as well as plinth lighting if adding more windows to your walls or ceiling aren't ideal. Ask yourself these questions, write them down and go over them. But most importantly, ask yourself the question what is your bug bear for your current kitchen. If you can get these answers nailed down, then you're on your way.


Get professional help

No, I don't mean go and see a psychiatrist. I mean enlist the help of an Architect. An Architect will draw up the plans for your space. With these plans everyone who is on the building team will know what to do. And if you can't be on site, get a Project Manager. They will ensure that your extension, stays within budget and that everything is going to plan. Not keeping an eye on either can mean spiralling costs and a space that does not work.



Contingency

Ever had a plan B even though Plan A seems sound? Having another plan will help relieve the stress of building as you never know what is lurking around the corner. Now a contingency plan not only covers you if planning permissions fails or other knacks, but having a contingency budget is also recommended. 5-10% of your budget should do the trick to protect you against the unexpected. So, to avoid being caught unaware, have a Plan B and even a C, just in case.


Function over Form

Don't we all love a kitchen 'To die for'? One that makes your visitors eyes turn green with pure envy? Well, let me stop you there. What's the use of a pretty kitchen that doesn't function the way you want it. Again, I have seen clients gush over quartz worktops, handleless doors that have gold profiles and Quooker taps that offer sparkling water, yet when asked about storage, they look at me perplexed. However, when their kitchen is fitted and doesn't function the way they need it to, that's when they wish they had to my advice. And believe me its an expensive mistake to make. Kitchens generally start from £10k with basic trimmings so you want to get it right. So, I am going to put that same question to you - What does your kitchen need to function well? Do you need a 900mm+ range to cook a whole lamb? Do you prefer gas over and electric hob? Do you need a pullout spice rack next to your oven? Do you prefer cupboards over drawers? Do you need deep cupboards to store large pots? Where will you store your bin? Do you bulk shop for a large family? Will you have a washing machine and dishwasher in that area? What does your kitchen need to function well? Once you've ironed out those knacks, you then have time to salivate over colours and styles of doors.



Let the light in

Now, not everyone will have the luxury of bi-folding wrap around doors that open out to a bountiful garden or a ceiling full of windows, but that doesn't mean you can't bring light in in other ways. Take for example Clerestory windows, they are a great way to bring in light from the top of your walls acting like sky lights. Or how about mixing spot lights with pendant lights? Having pendant lights above a dining table or island creates focal points within your space and then with the addition of spot lighting will caste even light in your room. And what are your thoughts on under cabinet and plinth lighting? A great way to set the mood in your space right? And if you want to go that much further - 'Hey Alexa soft lighting please'.



Storage

The thing we think we consider but may be not enough. Remember what I said earlier? If you need more storage, think about more wall space. Where will you stand your tower cabinets, appliance housing and fridge freezer? I want you to really think about your needs within that space. If you decide to have a bank of towers for integrated appliances remember that they will come roughly 600mm wide and from 570mm to 600mm deep . With that calculation, how many can you fit along one wall? Will you have enough counter space too? What about your base cabinets? Do you need a draw stack for your cutlery and cooking/baking utensils? Or a vegetable rack? Again, what does your kitchen need to function well?


Worktop/counter space

This is important for two reasons: If you cook/bake large amounts you will need enough counter space to again accommodate you. Think about how much is enough. When you take your baking tray out of the oven and place it on the counter how much space do you have left over? Does a 1metre run work for you or do you need 2metres? The distance between your sink and hob should be at least 600mm, so how much space do you have either side of your hob and sink? What about the depth? The depth of your base units will determine the depth of your worktop this can range from 570mm to 600mm, what would work best for you? Are you having an island? Will you use it for eating and entertaining only or placing a sink/hob on it? If you are placing a hob on your island will you have seating? Have you got space on your ceiling for an island extractor? Will children be able to reach and touch the hob? Then, it's about the type of worktop. Not everyone wants quartz not everyone wants laminate. What works best for you? Timber is beautiful, however, if the thought of oiling it every 6months to maintain and seal it seems arduous, walk away now. If you like granite but unsure about its colour inconsistency, maybe try Quartz. Or if you prefer a worktop that can be moulded from upstand to worktop seamlessly and is antibacterial, then Corian could be your answer. The thing I tell all my clients is this; everything has pro's and con's it depends on what works best for you.


I really hope that that got you thinking a little, as I wouldn't want you to make the same mistakes I've seen happen time and time again. I want to make sure you get the most out of your extension because if we are going to be spending more time at home, let's enjoy it rather than regret it. Because believe me, it's an expensive mistake to make.


Love, Kookie x

Kookie Muhretti