Kitchen Tour: A Room That Beautifully Blends Cooking and Living
Three distinct but linked zones form an airy kitchen-diner/living space in this smart extension connected to the garden
Using almost the same footprint, Robert designed an airy extension that the family can all use and enjoy year-round. “It was about getting a single live/work/play space, particularly because they have young children. You can build the best playroom in the world, but they’re never going to play in it – they want to be underfoot,” he laughs.
Who lives here? A professional couple with two young children
Location Streatham, south London
Property A late Edwardian semi-detached house
Kitchen-diner/living area dimensions 7.2m x 7.8m at the longest point
Architect Robert Wilson of Granit Architecture + Interiors
Photos by Andrew Beasley Photography
The couple quite liked their existing kitchen, but as a space it wasn’t working for family life, as it was fairly narrow and an awkward shape.
“They had a dining table and chairs, but the room wasn’t big enough to get everybody in; it was all a bit of a squeeze,” Robert says. “There was also a funny little lean-to at the rear, so it was broken up.”
The striking gold velvet sofa, chosen by the couple, chimes beautifully with the wood tones and brings warmth into the centre of the room. “I like yellow – it’s like sunshine,” Robert says.
Robert chose a pale colour for the perimeter units and dark for the island. “One of the things with these through rooms is you have a certain amount of kitchen to fit in and, if you’re not careful, you can end up with a room that’s actually just a very big kitchen, because there’s lots of kitchen furniture,” he explains. “This way, the big bank of units recedes and the island matches the sideboard in the dining area and they’re talking to each other, so it’s more of a kitchen with furniture in it.”
From the left, there’s a fridge, ovens and microwave, freezer, dishwasher, pan drawer, pull-out bin cabinet, and a double-door larder with internal drawers. There’s also a wine fridge and two large drawers in the island.
An extractor fan and Sonos speakers are fitted flush in the ceiling. “There’s a surround-sound system in this part of the house that also links to the TV,” Robert says.
Kitchen, Roundhouse. Main units painted in Pavilion Gray; island painted in Railings, both Farrow & Ball.
“I think it works well as a kitchen,” he continues. “I’m not so much set on the cook’s triangle; I think it’s better to have the fridge in a slightly more communal space, so people can get drinks.”
The splashback and island worktop are marble-look sintered stone.
Calacatta sintered stone splashback and island worktop, Neolith. Unika island pendant lights in Grey, Northern. Luna 1-Light Dome dining room pendant, Wayfair.
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Just as the bespoke walnut media unit was designed to link with the dining table, so Robert has chosen the same porcelain flooring (with a bush hammered finish outdoors for grip) to connect indoors and out.
“If you start with something like a table, you think, ok that’s walnut, let’s stay with walnut as our main wood. Similarly, if you want indoor-outdoor, let’s pick a floor finish that works in and out,” he says.
The London stock brick is also a continuation of the garden wall and the extension as a whole.
Getting the light right in here was a challenge. “It’s south-west facing, so it gets a lot of sunlight, and the room could easily become overheated. However, if you didn’t have any skylights, it would be too dark,” he says. As such, there are only two quite modest roof windows – this one and a slice between the dining room and kitchen.
A utility room has been carved out behind the kitchen – accessed through the white door on the far right seen here. It means Robert could move all of the laundry equipment out of the main room, keeping it both quieter and less crowded.
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“The couple like having people round and everyone can spill outside and also back into the sitting room as well, so it works front to back,” he says.
Projecting bay window, Maxlight.
Despite the challenges, though, the project all came together beautifully and the owners are delighted with their new space. “They were great clients,” Robert says. “And they’ve just recommended us to friends, so they must have been happy!”
What do you like about this airy family space? Share your thoughts in the Comments.