Large extension with traditional blue kitchen

Classic dark blue kitchen in the large extension

There’s absolutely no convincing Jane Woof, an interior designer who has renovated her own kitchen in Colchester, to consider different options for her space – none at all. And I like her immediately. Right down to the smallest details, she spent months meticulously planning a large extension to the side of the Georgian-style four-bedroom detached house, ready for her dream kitchen, utility, boot room, cloakroom and new hall. Sounds nice doesn’t it?

Jane tells me the main thing she wanted to achieve was a large, light space with plenty of room for walking around and better flow with the rest of the house. Hello, extension. She also wanted a large island, plus a giant double-door fridge-freezer and lots of storage. “Building an extension created room to improve the flow through spaces and also gave me the opportunity to have the large, light and airy kitchen I’d thought about of for years,” she says.

Large kitchen island under skylight
Jane was keen to include as much storage as possible in the design – including base units large enough to fit pans with their lids on, a bi-fold door china cupboard, and a larder.

What I admire about Jane is that she didn’t want to compromise on anything. She knew exactly what she wanted, so was willing to spend her budget on getting exactly that. Of course, this likely meant that costs were higher than, say, if she’d shopped around for alternative ideas. However, with such a clear vision, the direction was perfectly set out – very decisive indeed.

“This did mean the project as a whole took longer than first expected – ending up being a year in total,” she says. “I was totally comfortable with all of my choices.”

The gorgeous skylight shines light on the kitchen island

Lots of drawer storage in island in the large extension
A warming drawer is a great feature for anyone who likes to entertain. It also doubles as a proving drawer for baking.

I ask what inspired the colour scheme. “I’ve been a fan of grey for a while and often use it in clients’ homes. But when it came to choosing a colour for my space I decided I was all ‘greyed out’. So I wanted something bold and different that would feel new. Plus, with two black Labradors, white was out of the question.”

Breakfast bar on an island
Her favourite part of the large extension, Jane now spends much time at the island with family and friends. “It’s such a sociable part of the house now,” she tells me.

At first, Jane thought she would have different shades on the island and wall units. However, she found it tricky to find complementary colours to work with the white marble worktops she was adamant on. So she went for one statement shade instead – and what a result.

“I love how the dark blue contrasts against the marble,” she explains. “For the cabinets, I wanted a bespoke French-style door with chunky mouldings for a look in keeping with the era of the property. But I added leather and chrome handles for an up-to-date twist.”

The row of three ovens is perfect for large-scale entertaining

Row of ovens and induction hob in the large extension
A row of three ovens was installed at eye level behind the island, completing the working area of the kitchen. Additional storage provides an ideal place to store smaller appliances and frequently-used cooking equipment. Handy.

Thanks to the large extension, there’s plenty of space to play with. So when it came to the layout (as well as Jane’s plans for a big island), she needed some help. She drew up her ideas on a plan and then went in search of a kitchen company who could take her thoughts to the next level.

A friend recommended Richard Davonport at Davonport and together they came up with the ideal solution for the large extension. One side of the kitchen space would be designated for cooking and the other for socialising. “I left the layout up to Richard and told him I wanted to include a row of ovens behind the island. It took six or seven attempts before I was sure the design was perfect and I even asked for line drawings instead of computer-generated renders so I could see every detail, including skirtings and mouldings.”

The navy blue kitchen cabinetry is just so exquisite

Traditional style bespoke kitchen in dark blue
A large extension to the side of the property created the new kitchen space has offered ample opportunity to improve natural light and flow from the rest of the house. The large skylight and paned windows were designed to be in keeping with the era of the property, maintaining a sympathetic look throughout.

The island heavily influenced the design of the layout and includes the room which housed the old kitchen. This is now used for additional storage and appliances, including the large fridge. The latter wouldn’t fit in the main space without imposing on the design.

Being in Jane’s home with its large extension feels very welcoming. Although new, the kitchen feels like a well-established part of the house and as though it has been there for years. I think this is largely due to the careful attention to detail. Jane ensured designers crafted each architrave, moulding, door and drawer front with a classic finish in keeping with the property. Even the pantry has its name carved into its front, alongside the cold store. They say the devil is in the detail, and it really pays off.

Bespoke breakfast cupboard in the large extension
The old smaller kitchen is now a storage space. It also houses a large, double-door Liebherr fridge-freezer, which Jane knew she wanted from the start of the large extension redesign. Its generous size meant it would impose on the look of the main kitchen space, so Jane placed it in this area instead. The words ‘pantry’ were engraved into the top of the cabinet.

The stunning drinks cabinet holds glassware and bottles

Bespoke storage for barware and glasses
A fabulous drinks cabinet sits to the right of the dresser, balancing out the fridge-freezer on the other side.

Before I go, I ask Jane, “Any regrets?” “No regrets,” she replies, “I’d encourage anyone renovating their kitchen to spend lots of time researching and to not compromise on anything they want.” Well said, Jane. I couldn’t agree more.

Photographs: Darren Chung

So did you love this large extension as much as we did? Then check out inspiration gallery: modern kitchen extensions.

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