We all love that feeling of the weather being mild enough to have the windows or the back door open. Aside from the feel-good factor, there are endless reported benefits of ‘bringing the outdoors in’; patients are reported to heal faster looking out onto trees* rather than a brick wall and studies have also shown that children who spend time around plants have better concentration**. A dose of nature…Few of us are lucky enough to have vast windows to allow that indoor-outdoor flow which explains why kitchen extensions are one of the most popular home improvement projects. Done well, an extension of this type will undoubtedly add to both the enjoyment and value of your home. Larger rooms
recently topped the list of criteria when shopping for a new home (according to homeowners survey by ratedpeople.com) so, in a tricky property market, it makes sense to look at what you can do with your existing home and where you can add value. If you love your street and local area, the children are settled in school but you need a little more living space then a kitchen extension makes a lot of sense. It offers the chance to add extra space in the busiest room of the house, to update your kitchen/dining space to a more contemporary layout whilst still staying in a location that works for you.
For most people, this project is a big investment. It is vital to really plan the space that you are looking for now but also look ahead to 5-10 years down the line when the family dynamics have changed. If time, space and budget allow then extending out into your garden allows you a blank canvas on which to draw up your ultimate kitchen. If budget is more of an issue then ‘adding-on’ e.g into your side return on a terraced house, allows for a wider, brighter kitchen and the option to add in a dining or relaxing space alongside the functional kitchen area. Victorian or Edwardian properties often don’t offer large kitchens in their original layout and incorporating your side return into your kitchen space can make a huge difference, using what is often a redundant space at the side of your garden.
The minimum cost of a kitchen extension is likely to be around £20k, you can estimate your project costs by allowing for £1200-£1800 per m2. Whilst Planning Permission isn’t always necessary for small extensions, it makes sense to always work with a reputable architect to ensure you have full architectural drawings and elevation plans where required. In addition, all projects will need to comply with Building Regulations. Although the most fun comes from choosing your kitchen units, flooring and other finishes, there are a number of less exciting elements to consider: moving gas, water and electrical points, drainage and pipework, ventilation, thermal heat loss and more. For this reason, always work with contractors who have been recommended and who you feel comfortable with.An extension is not a quick process, planning applications take 8 weeks and the building element usually around 12 weeks or so. Spring/Summer is the ideal time to undertake the work, a good number of people will be traipsing through your house and the front door will be open a lot!
Call in all those favours from kind friends inviting you round for coffees and meals and be prepared to camp out with your microwave/take-out meals in the lounge unless you are lucky enough to have somewhere to de-camp to whilst the heavy work is underway and the utilities out of action.
With the building work in hand, you can turn to thinking about the layout of the room, kitchen, flooring, furniture and how to make the very best use of your new space.
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