STEP 1: KNOW YOUR SPACE

The ground floor consisted of a lot of disconnected spaces - the ‘boiler room’, kitchen, ‘green room’ and lean-to. There was also a lot of wasted space externally, along the side return.

We employed an architect in order to extend into the side return and glaze above it. This was a key part of the transformation, providing a sight line from the front door to the garden. Together with the full width bi-fold doors, it provided an immense sense of space and light.

Know your space - 5 things to consider

Your architect will give you lots of guidance. It's useful to think through the following questions before your first meeting:

1). How will you / your family use the space?

i). As a kitchen/dining/living space

ii). As a kitchen, casual eating area and relaxing space (with sofa, TV), with a formal dining room elsewhere

2). What would you like to include in the space?

Write down a list of all the things you'd like to include in the space i.e. kitchen units, pantry, island, large free standing appliances. Also consider, built-in book cases, utility space, office space and space for displaying art and treasured items, which will personalise your home. It's important for the architect to get a feel for your vision and advise whether this is achievable. For example, our utility room was cleverly hidden behind the American style fridge/freezer and its housing.

Ingenious Design Ideas

Built in bookcase

Image courtesy of buildteam

Concealed office space

Image courtesy of Flickr

Nooks and crannies for displaying art /treasured pieces and built in shelving for books

Image courtesy of TrendLand

Concealed bar

Image courtesy of Juma Architects

Window seat

Image courtesy of Open Practice Architecture

3). Flow?

Where will you and your family congregate i.e. around an island / around a table / seating area / where will the highest footfall be? It's important to allow adequate space in these areas. If you are considering an island, you ideally need 1 meter between the wall/units and island (minimum of 90 cm).

4). Immovable Structures?

Are there any structures in the existing area that are staying, or in the new plans that need to be taken into consideration? i.e. pillars/structural steels, windows, chimney etc? Are there structures you'd like to add, like a faux chimney for a shaker style kitchen?

5). Practicality, Practicality, Practicality?

Now's the time to maximise your storage options. Architects can present you with stylish built in storage solutions. Open plan living works best when there is a place for everything and everything is in its place!

We found it really helpful to create a mood board, capturing the features we were trying to include in the design of our space. Pinterest is a great place for collating ideas, that can be shared with your architect virtually.

I not going to explore planning permission/permitted development in this blog, as there are ample sites offering specialist guidance. In addition your architect will have specialist knowledge of your local area. So let's move to the next phase ... Step 2: Designing your kitchen

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