Every project has a unique story just as people I have an opportunity to work with. From the name of this post, you can guess that project was for a growing family. Let’s call them Mr. and Mrs. M.
I met Mrs. M when she was having difficulties to meet one local architect. Each arrangement would be cancelled for unknown reason leaving her frustrated. She wanted to extend her house sooner rather than later. Mrs. M has never worked with an Interior Designer before and she was nicely surprised when I offered to help with building plans and specifications for contractors. She didn’t think that designers can do it.
Here is Client’s brief:
Mrs. M was born in Germany and she loves idea of having an open plan kitchen with dining room and lounge area. She wants to see her family and friends together and be a part of conversation while preparing tea or a meal in the kitchen. Mr. M is a local Irish man and he wants stove, comfortable sofa and good view to the garden. They met in local pub and this story has a sentimental touch in their relationships. In addition, they wanted to keep their wooden furniture, rustic home decor, have cozy and warm place, clean and clutter-free.
When building and lighting plans were finished, couple were able to see complete new kitchen and furniture layout. Overall extension size 40m2. Moment of presentation is quiet incredible, in general. Family could see what the house will be like when it is finished. Mood board shows all colours, textures and detailed finishings around. I believe it’s a day when people truly realise that money and time is totally worthy of investment into renovation.
Build extension before baby is bornBuild extension before baby is born
                       Building Plan                                               Lighting Plan
Moreover, Design Concept allows to see a complete project budget.
It’s very common that most people consider budget based only on general construction work. If you plan a project, don’t underestimate the price for skirting boards, flooring, vanities, lighting etc. All these small things will sum up on top of the initial budget and actual expense number will be an unpleasant surprise if you didn’t include it before you start.
Planning Interior design at the same time with general construction work gives you an advantage to find the best and unique solutions. Let me show you what I mean here.
That’s how house used to look like before renovation.
Dining room Before
Build extension before baby is born


L-shape Kitchen Before
First we tried refit old kitchen cabinets for new layout. Unfortunately, final price with extra units had too little difference comparing to new solid kitchen. If you have similar dilemma read my blog post for more information New Layout, Old Kitchen
I prepared kitchen design with new layout and specifications for carpenter. Initial dining room and kitchen space were united to create larger kitchen, where cabinets are placed along both walls.
This kitchen has several features:
– we added lights on top of cabinets, which makes ceiling higher and also highlights collection of rustic jars;

– we extended cooker canopy up to the ceiling to stand out;

– we chose minimalistic large polished concrete effect tiles with outstanding tiles for a feature.

Opposite side of the wall (ex-dining room) we decided to use for display of kids’ art and craft. Here we made DIY display frame with magnetic chalkboard inside.

There was an unused corner in the kitchen and that’s where planning ahead gave us an advantage.
Kitchen corner before:

Kitchen Corner After: we extended the part of the wall to hide visible side of tall ladder, there is light on top of units too. Overall lighting effect is very soft and calming in the evening hours. Moreover, family prefers mood lights and uses it more often than general lighting.

Extended wall was painted in charcoal grey and now it is a feature wall in dining room. Moreover, this wall is a centrepiece because you see it from any point of open plan extension. There was a special wish from Mrs. M to have a family tree and photo display in new space – metal wall art looks fantastic here!

That’s how this wall and a whole corner looked Before:

Look After:

Dining area happened to be located right in the middle of original outside wall, It could look awkward but to make it as an advantage we considered lighting above table. That’s what make planning in advance very valuable!

I couldn’t forget a request from Mr. M and he gets cozy lounge area with fantastic view over garden!

It is simple and cozy, minimum accessories from me for they could add more of own things. In addition, we add extra wide window sill to sit and enjoy the view.

Picture arrangement includes a clock, which Mr. M likes and I chose couple of great pictures with local sights and a pub, of course!

But the most important here is a bespoke surround for stove with symmetric storage on each side.

Here we’ve considered sockets for TV and internet but the best thing is closed storage for fire timber! Who wouldn’t like to have something like this? ;) All mess is hidden away from the sight and from kids.

To have stove with surround, mounted TV on top and with perfect storage symmetry wouldn’t not be possible if not a well-prepared design in advance! It looks so well, you can’t even imagine how many things were done to achieve this!
I hope you also noticed that we reused if not all but most of things family already has! We also upcycled little plant stand which Mrs. M wanted to throw away.

What I didn’t mention yet, there is another spare bedroom in the extension. At the moment Mrs. M decided to use it for a home studio with Massage Classes for babies. There is no presence of planned design as it would require extra budget. But having a baby coming so soon, the most important was to finish everything clean and tidy.

We added sink and it fits perfectly in the corner. Window was a part of window in the kitchen, which is a great way to reduce project cost.

I have to say that both Mr. and Mrs. M did a fantastic job to manage project themselves. It didn’t happen over night and we had months of planning and then months of completion. I did my best to assist them consulting contractors, I know how stressful building site can be. I can’t be thankful enough for their trust and believe in design and my work.
Do you still remember the blog post title? ;) Family moved back into the house before it was fully finished and domestic routine made things happening slower. Until one day Mrs. M asked if I could finish everything in one go. I called for a handyman and we had 7 hours of final fix. In 2 days family welcomed a wonderful baby boy!
I still wonder who has the best patience Mother or a Baby not to be born before final fix, how do you think? :)
Thank you for reading!
Alena C