Remodeling a kitchen is one of the top projects in period and country properties, with kitchen remodel ideas also proving popular in new homes too.
This is because a generous kitchen is now the epicentre for modern home life and a hub for cooking, entertaining, working and more.
From side and rear extensions to conservatories and basement designs, there are a number options available.
To help you decide on the most suitable extension for your needs, start by asking your kitchen designer for advice. Extensions are now a common request, so many kitchen companies will be able to recommend a good builder or architect to help bring your kitchen ideas to life. It's also worth asking friends and family for recommendations of tradesmen in your area.
Best Kitchen remodel ideas for remodeling a kitchen
Charlie Kingham, director of Charlie Kingham Cabinetmakers, lists the main benefits of taking steps to remodeling a kitchen: ‘Firstly, your kitchen will become a more sociable space. Secondly, you can improve light-levels, traffic flow and overall comfort so that cooking is more pleasurable. And thirdly, done beautifully, you should see a return on investment, if not profit, when it comes to your property’s value.’
Here, we take you through the options for your kitchen remodel – plus give you plenty of inspiration for choosing the right kitchen layouts and designs.
1. Take the kitchen out to the conservatory
Light-filled from morning until night, expanding a kitchen via a conservatory is a particularly popular kitchen extension idea in properties that are North-facing or generally dark inside.
It can also be the best way to maximize a great view. Although conservatories often come under your ‘permitted development’ rights and don’t require planning permission, if they are open to the main house (i.e. not self-contained, with a lockable door) building regulations do apply.
The main downside to locating a kitchen inside a conservatory revolves around heat loss/gain. Unmanaged, conservatories can be unpleasantly hot in summer and chilly in winter.
Solar control glass, underfloor heating and automatic ventilation can all be used to ensure a comfortable environment year-round but will add significantly to your kitchen renovation cost. Part of your budget should be allocated to these aspects appropriately.
Be aware that so much glazing can also limit a kitchen layout and design, as there are fewer solid walls to support cabinetry.
2. Be aware of bleaching issues
It is also important to remember that, all heavily glazed structures require careful consideration when it comes to choosing the finishes and materials for cupboards and worktops, as bleaching is an issue.
As well as using glare-reducing glass and installing blinds, it pays to select paler kitchen countertops that won’t show the effects as noticeably.
‘Using UV protective varnishes on woods and light paint finishes on stable materials will significantly minimize sun damage to furniture and cabinets,’ says Peter Humphrey of Humphrey Munson.
3. Take it down to the basement
A basement conversion can offer a whole extra floor of space within your home’s existing footprint and is perfectly placed for a generous open plan kitchen and diner that opens out onto the garden.
If you love entertaining at home and want a spacious kitchen-dining-living area to suit all the family, but don’t have enough space on the ground floor, a cleverly designed basement conversion or lower ground floor extension might be just the way to create what you want.
'Basement kitchens can command the same square footage price as other floors in a property, as an average, and they have become far more accepted over the last few years thanks to modern engineering and design,' says Michael Wilson, director and head of sales for London-based estate agents, Mountgrange Heritage.
4. Extend your kitchen into the side return
If you are struggling for cooking and dining space, creating a bigger kitchen with side extension ideas could be the answer.
For period terraced homes, the path or back garden to the side of a kitchen at the rear - called the side return - can be extended into to create a kitchen that runs the full width of the house. You can also combine rear and side extensions for a stunning wrap-around kitchen.
One of the most popular building projects for homeowners, the side return extension can create a big open-plan room with space for dining and seating. As well as adding more space it can also increase the value of your home, if you decide to sell, too.
Extending out to the side is a good option if you live in a semi-detached or detached home, as it doesn’t mean using garden space. You may lose side access to your garden though, and planning permission can be trickier as it will be determined by how close you are to you neighbour’s boundary.
Remember also to consider how light will reach the rooms the new space will extend over.
5. Sympathetically add a kitchen extension to a period building
When thoughtfully designed, a modern kitchen remodel can enhance an older building, enabling you to create a home which is more suitable for modern living.
Perhaps you could add a light-filled, open-plan kitchen-diner which opens out onto the garden, or a family living space with floor-to-ceiling glazing.
Many period homes suffer from a lack of light and space – or indeed from unattractive additions – so a well-planned extension can transform the flow and feel.
‘Start by understanding what is special about the existing building: an extension should respect what is already there as well as adding another layer of history,' advises Trevor Mitchell, Historic England.
'Generally it’s best to avoid the front elevation: the extension should sit more quietly to avoid a shouting match between old and new.'
6. Choose materials carefully in a period building
Careful choice of materials is crucial. An expanse of glass – paired with characterful brickwork – is often effective. Not only does it serve as an attractive foil for a period home, but can introduce a sense of light and space. Glass walkways are useful in delineating the transition between two phases of development as well as creating visual separation.
Do consider the scale of the kitchen extension: the aim is to complement rather than dwarf the original property and planners will tend to look more favorably on a design which respects the proportions and keys features of it. It’s also worth doing some research on the building’s history to contextualize its heritage.
7. Build your kitchen around existing structural support
As we gain more experience and become more imaginative with our kitchen projects, embrace the realization that when designing a kitchen, moving it to an entirely new space when remodeling can make it an even more successful design.
Robert Burnett, Head of Design, Holloways of Ludlow Kitchens, comments on the logistics of removing wall and working around structural beams to change a kitchen space:
‘If the aim of removing a wall is to create the appearance of a single large room then consider positioning the supporting steel beam within the ceiling space. This may be more disruptive and expensive than locating the supporting beam below the ceiling, but it helps remove any visual reminder that the space was ever split, especially if there are no visible columns – and has the end result of a clear and uncluttered transformation’
8. Extend your space by moving walls
It’s important to retain a sense of integrity when remodelling a kitchen. Employ an architect throughout the building process, as they will be able to follow the concept through from the initial sketch to the smallest detail and liaise with the builders to ensure that your plans are brought to life.
In this space, 'the basement floor was lowered to improve the head height, the un-used rear courtyard was fully enclosed, and a glass roof was added for light,' explains Tom Rutt, found of TR Studio.
How can I remodel a kitchen?
There are several ways to remodel a kitchen and scale-up space, from combining adjoining rooms to building a completely new room, or digging out the basement. Be under no illusions – all the options require time and money. However, once the dust has settled, it is a decision few regret.
Some of the largest properties come with surprisingly small kitchens, allocated in the days when cooking was done behind closed doors. Reconfiguring the existing space, and perhaps stealing extra inches from a wide hallway, unused storeroom or internal garage, will usually prove far easier, quicker and affordable than any new-build project.
How much does a typical kitchen remodel cost?
In US dollars, a kitchen remodel is around $48K-$137K.
'Generally, you can expect to pay anything between £35K-£100K for the cabinetry, worktops, sinks and taps, before considering your appliances and any additional style elements or features,' says Will Lyne Master designer and co-owner of UK luxury brand, Christopher Peters Kitchens and Interiors.
'Personally, we recommend our clients allocate between $13K/£10K and $52K/£40K for this, plus $13K/£10K-$20K/£15K for any structural work required before the installation begins. It’s imperative that the foundations – literally and figuratively – are in place and sound before you start thinking about cabinets, especially if you’re opting for a handmade kitchen that could last 20-30 years.'
According to George Forsyth of Drew Forsyth Co: 'It is difficult to pin-point exactly how much a kitchen remodel will set you back, as it will depend on several factors, including whether you are opting for bespoke furniture or an 'off-the-shelf' alternative.
Structural alterations, such as removing walls, extending the space and re-siting plumbing and electrics will also have an effect on the overall cost. This is why budget plays such a vital role in the process and should be one of the first areas to address when planning your kitchen renovation.
Setting out your budget early on will help you make practical and informed decisions, to ensure that you get the best possible end result. While how much to spend on a new kitchen will be down to personal circumstances, as a guide, it's usually 5%-10% of the value of your home.
What is the most expensive part of a kitchen remodel?
One of the most expensive components of remodel projects can be the new kitchen itself - especially if you are opting for bespoke kitchen cabinet ideas, such a cabinetry that is handcrafted and hand painted, or considering kitchen flooring ideas such as marble or stone.
With that being said, high-end appliances can certainly add a significant cost to the project, depending on which brands you opt for.'
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space.
Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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