Kitchen extension with floor-to-ceiling Crittall windows by Martins Camisuli

Kitchen extension ideas and planning tips

Planning a kitchen extension? This guide takes you from design to a project timeline

By Caroline Rodrigues | 26 August 2020

Transform your home and create a well-planned and spacious layout by adding a kitchen extension. A single-storey addition is a lower-cost option, but if your budget and local planning policy allows, go for two-storeys. Doubling the height won’t double the cost, as the foundations and roof will be factored into the overall cost of the project, whether on one level or two.

Read on for kitchen extension ideas, planning considerations and project management tips…

Staying within the rules

Some kitchen extensions can be carried out under permi­tted development (PD) rules, which means that applying for planning permission is not necessary. There are plenty of kitchen extension ideas that work well within these limitations. To see the legislation in full, visit the Planning Portal.

‘You can apply for PD if your extension, including previous extensions or other buildings such as sheds, does not exceed 50% of the total area of land around the original house,’ says Ana Martins of architect Martins Camisuli.

White paint and white wooden panels give this London kitchen extension by Holloways the look of a New England beach house

This kitchen extension in a west London conservation area has the look of a New England beach house. Photo: Kitchens by Holloways

Seeking planning approval

You might need planning permission for your kitchen extension, and further restrictions will apply if your property is in a conservation area or is listed. ‘We believe in submitt­ing an application for what you actually want, within reason, and seeing how the planners react,’ says Ana.

‘Planners are always open to discussions and are usually reasonable, unless your proposal is way beyond what is acceptable. Approach your neighbours to see what they might object to. They have a lot of power; an objection could destroy your plans.’

Bear in mind that party wall agreements may be required if work affects the boundary with neighbouring properties. All projects are subject to building regulations consent.

Transform your home and create a well-planned and spacious layout by adding a kitchen extension. A single-storey addition is a lower-cost option, but if your budget and local planning policy allows, go for two-storeys. Doubling the height won’t double the cost, as the foundations and roof will be factored into the overall cost of the project, whether on one level or two.

Read on for kitchen extension ideas, planning considerations and project management tips…

Staying within the rules

Some kitchen extensions can be carried out under permi­tted development (PD) rules, which means that applying for planning permission is not necessary. There are plenty of kitchen extension ideas that work well within these limitations. To see the legislation in full, visit the Planning Portal.

‘You can apply for PD if your extension, including previous extensions or other buildings such as sheds, does not exceed 50% of the total area of land around the original house,’ says Ana Martins of architect Martins Camisuli.

White paint and white wooden panels give this London kitchen extension by Holloways the look of a New England beach house

This kitchen extension in a west London conservation area has the look of a New England beach house. Photo: Kitchens by Holloways

Seeking planning approval

You might need planning permission for your kitchen extension, and further restrictions will apply if your property is in a conservation area or is listed. ‘We believe in submitt­ing an application for what you actually want, within reason, and seeing how the planners react,’ says Ana.

‘Planners are always open to discussions and are usually reasonable, unless your proposal is way beyond what is acceptable. Approach your neighbours to see what they might object to. They have a lot of power; an objection could destroy your plans.’

Bear in mind that party wall agreements may be required if work affects the boundary with neighbouring properties. All projects are subject to building regulations consent.

Structural considerations

As well as traditional masonry construction, alternative methods are worth considering, such as SIPS (structurally insulated panels), which are quick to build with. Whichever method you choose, the kitchen extension can be clad in any finish you want, from brick to render or metal. Improving the connection between the inside and outside space will certainly improve the way you enjoy your home, so the arrangement of windows and doors is key to the project’s success.

Sliding glass doors provide wide expanses of glass and slimline frames maximise views to the garden. ‘A three-panel set can be two-thirds open, not quite as good as the full opening that bi-folds provide, but they look far more elegant when closed,’ says Charles Barclay of Charles Barclay Architects.

Sliding glass doors with slimline frames maximise views to the garden. Project: Charles Barclay Architects

Photo: Gianluca Maven for Charles Barclay Architects

Single storey extensions

With single-storey kitchen additions, roof lights are recommended for bringing light into the kitchen as well as the centre of the house. ‘Use them sparingly and strategically, working to highlight the architecture rather than flooding the space with light indiscriminately,’ advises Charles. Roof lights come in all sorts of configurations, traditional raised lanterns are another option, while structural glazing can make a real style statement.

Filling in the side return and extending into the garden can create a generous kitchen extension

Filling in the side return and extending into the garden granted this home a generous kitchen extension. Photo: Martins Camisuli

Kitchen-dining extensions

Even if you don’t intend to use the space for formal dining, a large table provides a space for snacking, cha­tting or homework. Thinking about getting food from the kitchen to the dining table helps when considering the position of furniture and kitchen units. In an open-plan space, an island will divide the room naturally; just zone the dining area with a table, rug and sideboard. In a broken-plan scheme, include glazed or pocket doors for the flexibility of opening up the rooms for a party.

This copper-clad kitchen extension by UV Architects makes the most of limited external space by allowing the kitchen to into the garden

This copper-clad kitchen extension makes the most of limited external space by allowing the kitchen to into the garden. Photo: UV Architects

Project management timeline

Keep your kitchen extension project on schedule with this useful timeline:

WEEK 1-3: Consult with your architect or designer about the plans for your extension. They will put together a budget and fee proposal for the work so that preliminary drawings can be produced.

WEEK 4-7: Once the preliminary design is finalised, detailed drawings can be created.

WEEK 8-15: If your project requires planning consent, your application will be submitted to the local council’s planning department.

WEEK 16: If your scheme is approved following the eight-week consultation process, you can then put the project out to tender.

WEEK 20: Once you’ve selected a builder, work can start on site. Construction usually takes between three and six months, depending on the size and complexity of your project. You can use this time to source internal materials and products. Note that many kitchens often come with a lead time, so plan ahead.

WEEK 21-22: Groundworks.

WEEK 23-24: Building the structure up to damp proof course and sub-structure put into place.

WEEK 25-26: Construction of walls, external and internal.

WEEK 27-29: Roof structure to be built and finished with your chosen roof covering.

WEEK 30: Windows and doors fitted.

WEEK 31: First fix of electrics, plumbing and carpentry.

WEEK 32: Plastering and allowance for drying time.

WEEK 33: Second fix of electrics, plumbing and flooring. Kitchen cabinets and appliances installed.

WEEK 34: Final elements of decorating to be completed.

WEEK 35: Snagging inspection. This is a walk through of the extension with your contractor to identify any minor faults or errors so they can be resolved as quickly as possible.

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