A Guide to Extending Your Kitchen
If you are unable to extend your property, you may imagine that there is little potential of creating the open-plan kitchen that you desire. The layouts of older properties were formed by the habits of the time, with small kitchens tucked away at the rear. The most cost effective way of forming a more open space with a greater degree of natural light, is to knock through partitions and combine the kitchen with existing rooms such as a dining or boxroom. The aim should be to create a vibrant, social focal point to your home.
Before you begin gutting your property, it is worth considering its positive aspects as well as the negative. Living rooms in Victorian properties for instance, are attractive and well proportioned and the removal of walls may be detrimental to its character and value.
The new space will probably accommodate a number of functions, including cooking, dining and relaxing. A starting point should be to subdivide the room into separate areas, to ensure that all these can be accommodated. The position of services, windows and doors will define how best to set-out the space.
The opportunity exists to create a truly contemporary area within your home, and this can be accentuated by the use of a stylish and modern kitchen. A kitchen can be a linear line of units along a wall, or an L-shaped and U-shaped grouping to one end. The exact position of the fittings may be constrained by the existing gas, drainage and extract routes. The flooring can also be used to unify the space, although you should investigate the suitability of materials such as timber in wet areas. The design of the ceiling should not be neglected, especially as any structural alterations or the routing of extract ducts may result in down-stands in the soffit.
The removal of partitions may also improve daylight penetration into the centre of the house. As part of the project, you may therefore decide to form new or increase the size of window or door openings on the external wall. If you have a roof directly above, a new rooflight is an ideal way to create a focus as well as maximising natural light.
The removal an internal wall or forming a large opening, especially to an older property, may seem daunting. A Structural Engineer should be consulted early in the process to establish what walls, and how much of them, can be safely removed. Engineers will design and certify any supporting structure, which will depend on the span of a new openings or the construction of the house. Internal alterations to non-listed properties do not usually require Planning Permission. Any work involving structural changes or modifications to drainage routes will be subject to Building Warrant. If in doubt contact the Council Building Standards Department.