Planning a Kitchen Extension? Read this!

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When my husband and I bought a late Victorian 6-bedroom property in leafy Surrey 5 years ago, we moved in with a 3-year old in tow and the builders were onsite within a month. Eight months of renovations ensued. We lived in three rooms and moved around as the builders finished each floor. The kitchen, however, was non-existent and we decided to make that Phase II of the refurbishment program.

So 18 months in, we decided to get cracking with our extension project. We had a really clear vision of what we wanted after spotting the cabinets in a magazine, but we never thought it would turn out this good!  We learned a TON along the way as we managed the entire project ourselves.

 

  

If you’re about to embark on a kitchen renovation of your own, here are some helpful tips that came out of our experience:

  • Plan, plan, plan. If you need planning permission, get your plans submitted as soon as possible. Because we live in a conversation area, we had to go through no less than three applications and lost a year in the process.
  • Have a vision. Start a Pinterest board (this was ours) and pin anything that takes your fancy. It could be an entire scheme or just the tiniest of details. I actually started collecting vintage accessories to inspire the look of the kitchen long before the work started. They served as a brand book of sorts, and now live in prime spots in the new space.
  • If something feels off, stop the work! Yes, it’s important you get on really well with your head builder (!) but you have to get it right first time. In our case, once the structure was up and covered in tarpaulin, I stood at the entrance and realised it was going to be too dark. We added the biggest Velux windows we could afford. This meant a slight kitchen layout redesign to reposition the cooker and hood between two of the windows, but it would have looked entirely different had we not fixed it.
  • Be smart about sourcing. We had a set budget for this kitchen extension so we looked for bargains to source items we felt we could compromise on (like second grade integrated appliances hidden inside cabinets); we also found an amazing range cooker on eBay for a fraction of its retail price. It was new, and we still didn’t have planning permission but we bought it anyway, and then lived with it stored in our hallway for an entire year!
  • Patience, patience. Things will take longer than expected, deliveries will get delayed or items will arrive damaged. It will all be worthwhile in the end!

Want to see the full finished article? Handy! We made the cover of At Home Magazine so you can read it here.

 

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