Planning a kitchen extension
Effective kitchen extension design requires many specialists coming together and it can be hard to know where to start. Knowing exactly how to plan a kitchen extension is tough, with many of our clients comparing a kitchen project to a ‘chicken and egg’ scenario. At Extreme we have been designing kitchens for home extensions for over two decades and we’d like to share with you some advice for a typical kitchen extension project to help get you started.
Define what you would like from your new extension
Will you need a one or two storey extension? Are you looking to increase space and improve the layout in other areas of your home or just the kitchen? Whilst your architect and kitchen designer will be able to offer advice, it’s good to think about what you’re hoping to achieve yourself first. Being specific about what you’re hoping for from the extension can help you to ensure that the end result meets your requirements.
As well as identifying what doesn’t work with your current space, be sure to consider what works well too. It can be easy to think about what you would like to change as it’s often more obvious. However, by identifying areas that you like, you will be able to ensure your new design ticks the boxes of those elements you want to keep as constants as well as new changes to be made.
Hire an Architect
To design your kitchen extension you will need the services of an architect. Your architect will be able to provide advice on the options available to you, along with producing the plans and construction drawings required for the construction phase of your project.
Find a RIBA-registered architect by researching online or recommendations from family and friends. It is important to be sure to check that they have all relevant insurances and to ask your architect to see projects that they have completed that are similar to yours. An architect that has worked in your local area may be more familiar with the local councils and planning which could make them better placed to offer recommendations.
Discuss your ideas and aspirations that you have for your extension with your architect, including the details of any particular brands or features that you would like included. This is so that they can factor any special requests into the design and budget. If you are looking for a very high specification finish to your project, perhaps even a bespoke kitchen, your architect will need to know this in order to provide you with a realistic budget.
Once you have an agreed layout for your extension, your architect will advise on whether you require planning permission.
Whilst there is no sure way to ensure that your planning application is approved, it can be helpful to look at similar properties in your road or local area to see how they have been extended. This can help you to gauge what the council has approved in the past, while also acting as a great source of inspiration.
Allow a minimum of eight to ten weeks for your planning application to be processed, but bear in mind that it can often be longer than this.
Hire a Builder
Once your planning is approved, you will need to appoint a builder to carry out the construction phase of your project. Your architect may also offer build services, or they can usually recommend companies to undertake the build. Alternatively, recommendations from family and friends are always a great place to find trusted companies.
Gather quotes for building work from several companies for comparison, allowing roughly one month for proposals to be returned. Once you’ve settled on a company, ask your builder to submit a proposed schedule and check when they would be available to start the project, as sometimes there can be a delay if the builder is already committed to other projects.
Find your kitchen designer
Finding a kitchen designer often takes place at the same time as acquiring your builder’s quotes. It’s important not to leave this too late as the kitchen will be the heart of your home and there are many decisions to make. Giving yourself enough time for the design phase can help reduce stress throughout the project and give you the space to ensure you have covered all of the bases.
Along with allowing time for the kitchen extension design phase, the lead times from order to delivery can often be 16 weeks to accommodate order processing and production. For more intricate, bespoke designs lead times can be in excess of six months.
The kitchen also needs to be decided early in the process so that all of the services including electrics and plumbing can be positioned appropriately. Once the layout and design is agreed on, your kitchen designer will share the technical plans with your tradespeople to guide their construction.
Share the preliminary plans prepared by your architect with your kitchen designer. They will offer advice and create designs to suit your style, lifestyle and of course your budget.
Whilst your kitchen is on order and in production, building works will be taking place. Now you can make decisions about finishes, tiling and light fixtures.
It is very rare for a building project to run exactly to schedule and delays, whether a few weeks or a few months, are very often the norm. While these delays are never something we want to expect, it’s good to anticipate them up front and allow a contingency period. Your kitchen is usually one of the last stages of your extension project and it’s important that your kitchen installation begins at the right time when the environment on site is suitable. This is when being patient is key to achieving the best result as delivering your kitchen furniture and appliances to site too early increases the chance of damages, or moisture affecting your kitchen furniture.
Keep your kitchen designer up to date so that they can adjust the schedule as necessary and trust their recommendations when it comes to your site being ready. While it can seem that delaying delivery is slowing progress, delivering to a site too early can often result in a longer installation as additional time is required to rectify issues.
Once your furniture is delivered, your kitchen installation will take place. The exact order and timings may differ depending on the design details and materials you have chosen, below is an indication of the stages of a typical kitchen installation:
- First stage installation – This is when the installers will place all cabinetry in position.
- Worktop and glass templating – This is when the measurements will be taken for your worktop and glass to ensure the materials fit perfectly.
- Worktop and glass installation – This will take place a couple of weeks after the templating, once your materials have been manufactured.
- Second stage installation – Your installers will return to carry out the final connections of hobs and sinks, along with any final checks ready for handover to you.
For more advice to help plan your dream kitchen extension, contact one of our design studios and discover how our designers can help make your architectural dreams come true.