In this blog post we discuss kitchen extensions and side returns. Read on for our tips and advice.
Our guide to kitchen extensions and side returns
A roomy kitchen extension is a huge selling point, but what matters is how well it's been done. Don't tack a box on the back of your house. The kitchen needs to be bold and imaginatively designed so that it creates extra space and uses it to the best effect. You want a chic, light-filled space with subtle but well-defined areas for eating and cooking, not a kitchen that's a corridor to the back garden. It can be traditional or modern, but I'd always put in as much glass as is permitted within building regulations. One spectacular room can sell a house, and for my money a big kitchen full of glazing or, even better, a retractable roof you can open on balmy evenings is a real winner.
Don't just extend backwards but sideways, too. Those dank, dark passages beside terraced houses - the side return - were probably used by the Victorians on their journey to the outside loo. But today they are wasted space. Extending the kitchen into them makes the layout of a period terrace much more relevant to today's lifestyles. Often the gain in square footage is modest but it makes a huge difference to the room, bringing light through glazing on the roof. You will certainly need to comply with building regulations, who will require you to check weight loads with a structural engineer. The outside wall is generally supporting several floors above and, without the correct support, your house could collapse. Nowadays the technology is there tocreate incredible open ground-floor spaces using portal frames, concealed structural beams and pillars, but it will be costly. If it matters whether you make your money back, check that your postcode can stand it.