Rear kitchen extension with a terrazzo island and colourful cabinets

Kitchen extension in white and green tones, with black and wood details, looking out to garden

Local heritage hotspots are celebrated in this south London kitchen-diner, like the curved window that mirrors Brockwell Lido and bold colours named after nearby streets. Fancy a tour?

KBB journo Louise O’Bryan finds out how the homeowners transformed this rear kitchen extension into a beautiful open-plan space…

Garden as viewed from kitchen extension windows
The Victorian house features a rear kitchen extension with a beautiful curved window. Photography: Rachael Smith.

Settling in the leafy south London suburb of Herne Hill was an easy decision for Tim Gloster and Mike Maylon. With its appealing, village-style high street and proximity to the larger hubs of Dulwich and Brixton, the area was an attractive option for the couple, not least because they loved walking in Brockwell Park and swimming in the nearby 1930s lido.

In fact, these iconic London hotspots would become a big inspiration for their house renovation and personality-driven rear kitchen extension, which is now the heart of their mid-terrace home.

The renovation

Previously arranged as two separate flats, the couple bought the Victorian house as a probate sale. Their ambition was to return it to a grand, three-storey home. “It needed a complete upgrade and reconfiguration. That meant we could start from scratch and create a home that worked perfectly for us,” explains Tim.

Working closely with their architect, the couple poured over many different layouts. Finally, they settled on a floor plan that maximised light and created a good circulation for socialising.

Kitchen design with extensive glazing at the back of the house.
Extensive glazing across the back of the house draws the garden closer to the living area. Kitchens by Pluck start at £20,000.
Terrazzo kitchen island sitting in black-hued kitchen space, next to dining area in wood, red and gold, and floor-to-ceiling windows in the distance
A metal-framed sliding glass door allows light through the Victorian house.

The couple wanted to usher the period home into a new era by combining the Victorian house’s existing façade with a modern rear kitchen extension.

“It was also important to us that the house embraced a sense of fun, with a welcoming flow throughout. By adding sliding glass doors between the kitchen-diner and living room, we can change the layout from open plan to closed off at the pull of a door, depending on how we are using the house that day,” says Tim.

With a passion for entertaining, the couple wanted a large enough kitchen-diner for friends and family to gather in while they cooked and made cocktails. “Adding a bar area somewhere in the kitchen was non-negotiable,” laughs Tim.

Open-plan kitchen-diner with bi-fold windows which flood the room with light.
Bi-fold windows cast light across the large dining table, which overlooks the garden.
Wooden dining table and bench, with flowers and candlesticks on top, suspended lights overhead and painting of giraffes in the background
Large format porcelain floor tiles from Claybrook; walls painted in Hollyhock Absolute Matt Emulsion by Little Greene.

The kitchen extension

To create more space, they extended the rear of the house into the side return and garden. However, they skipped the classic sliding glass doors onto the patio. Instead, they added a striking curved window that echoes the sweeping curves of nearby Brockwell Lido.

Kitchen space with worktop and island, in black, white and pink tones, opening to a garden.
In daylight hours, glass skylights cast natural light along the cooking zone. At night, black track lighting, from Lamp and Light kicks into action.

“It’s such a unique feature of the space and makes a wonderful perch for watching the garden,” says Tim. Beside this curved corner, a large bi-fold window connects the dining area with the outside. This allows a lovely breeze to flow through in the warmer months.

Once the plan for the new rear kitchen extension was finalised, the couple turned their attention to the design. “We spent a long time exploring interior magazines and online design sites to get an idea of what inspired us, and finally came across Pluck on Instagram. We really liked their quality and craftsmanship, and fell head over heels for their visible plywood finishes, bold colours, and retro style. Plus, their workshop is local to us in Brixton,” says Tim.

The kitchen design

Pluck’s co-founder, George Glasier, planned the kitchen to suit the couple’s exact wants and needs – from the custom spice drawer to the nook for their future dog and shelves for their curated treasures. “There are little touches throughout the design that are very personal to Mike and Tim,” says George, who also suggested bold, playful colours to reflect their vibrant characters.

The kitchen design includes a cosy nook for the homeowners' dog.
The kitchen design includes a cosy nook for the homeowners’ dog.
Pink-hued worktop with flowers and lemons on top against a white wall adorned with a neon sign that reads LIDO
The Lido handmade sign is from Neon Sign UK.

“We’ve used three different cabinetry finishes: a dark and brooding Coldharbour Grey sits opposite the warm tones of the London Plane timber units at the bar area, while the coral pink Ritzy of the island cabinetry is also featured along all the kick boards and the handle inserts, acting as a unifying tone to tie the scheme together.”

These bold colours, named after local streets and landmarks, have significance for the couple. “Even the larder’s vibrant internal colour was chosen because of its name, Lido, providing a brilliant burst of energy as you open the doors. The kitchen simply brims with their personalities,” says George.

Dark cabinetry with white worktops, black tap and wood shelving.
Pluck installed handleless cabinetry, with deep drawers, painted in London Plane on one side and Ritzy on the opposite side.
Open large larder cupboard with green-blue interiors, showcasing sauces, spices and all kinds of bottles
The dazzling blue interior of the larder cupboard pops against the neutral grey exterior and large-format porcelain floor tiles.
The central island is the focal point of the kitchen and features stunning terrazzo waterfall sides.
The central island is the focal point of the kitchen and features stunning terrazzo waterfall sides.

The room has two different ceiling heights, and this informed how the designer distributed the colour. For example, the darker Coldharbour Grey cabinetry sits under the higher ceiling, with its abundance of natural light thanks to the row of skylights, while the darkest corner of the room has a fluted glass cabinet that includes internal lighting, meaning this potentially awkward spot becomes an elegant and practical storage area.

“We love the bar area,” says Tim. “The ribbed glass and lighting look amazing at night time.”

Black wine fridge, bottle rack and ribbed glass cabinet, next to wooden cabinetry and open shelves
A bar area was at the top of the couple’s wishlist. The combination of a wine fridge, bottle rack and ribbed glass cabinet makes for the perfect set-up.

The details

But perhaps the masterstroke of the space is the maximalist terrazzo-wrapped island, with its tutti-frutti specks and luxurious waterfall sides. The perfect focal point in the sociable space, it acts as a bridge between the entertaining zone, where the drinks cabinet, wine fridge and glassware are located, and the more serious cooking area, which includes all the appliances and the larder.

“We chose the terrazzo because we love the random patterns and colours. It makes such a bold statement,” says Tim, who also admits that opting for handless cabinets was very convenient.

Black cabinetry with two built-in microwave ovens and terrazzo worktop with black induction hob
The terrazzo worktop, by Diespecker, adds a splash of fun and colour to the island.

“We really like the clean lines of handle-free cabinetry, so this was always going to be our choice. However, it also removed a decision – and there are too many decisions in a renovation!”

White worktop with flowers on top and storage drawer with spices underneath
Pluck’s handcrafted units provide stacks of storage for food and include a shallow, bespoke spice storage drawer.

Tim and George’s words of wisdom

Send off for samples of everything, from tiles and wallpaper to worktops, and lay them in situ. It’s amazing how the light changes and how they appear different from when you saw them in the showroom.

Terrazzo is a gorgeous material. However, it can stain and etch quite easily, so it’s best not to use it for worktops in busy food preparation areas. For this reason, we decided to keep it to the island only. We went for a more robust concrete worktop around the cooking zone or bar area.

Wooden shelves above quartz worktop, hosting books, glasses and bowls
Keeping the walls free of cupboards on one side of the kitchen helps the room feel more open, while also creating a handy display area.

When it comes to choosing terrazzo worktops, it’s worth knowing that they are priced individually due to the many variations for each project, including size, the preferred choice of material – such as resin or cement – plus any finishes and features such as cut-outs, texturing, and edges.

As a rough guide, a standard-sized worktop with a standard edge, polished and delivered within the London area, starts at £960 per sq m.

As originally told to: Louise O’Bryan | Photography: Rachael Smith

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