The open-plan kitchen dining extension or, to go one further, the kitchen-dining-living room extension, is still a favourite layout for many homeowners.
What we used to have
Kitchens are traditionally placed towards the back of the house, a design feature that originates from days gone by
. Historically, kitchens then were noisy, smelly and functional places, for cooking, cleaning and precious little else.
Food was consumed in the dining room, a location that might stand empty and ignored between mealtimes. Today, the lone dining room has fallen out of favour and we want our kitchens to be much more than a place to cook.
What we want now – the dream kitchen
Today’s dream kitchen
is an open-plan, multifunctional space, and a hub for the family to congregate and relax. It’s somewhere for reading the papers over a lazy breakfast, and for entertaining friends.
When we cook dinner, we may also be catching up with a partner or supervising the kids’ homework. We can be dicing carrots while sharing a glass of wine with friends.
That is – if space allows. It’s common for kitchens to be small, poky rooms, cut off from the rest of the house, leaving the cook in splendid isolation. Even more generous kitchens can be poorly designed, with large areas of underutilised space. Many have little access to the garden, despite often being right next to it.
Bring on the kitchen dining extension
If space and budget permit, then extending your house at the rear to create more room can be truly transformational. It will change the way you live in your home forever.
Check out these kitchen-living room ideas and kitchen-dining room extensions with our top 10 rear kitchen extensions, designed by CARLArchitect.
The Victorian Garden Room
The owners of this property wanted what people in north-facing Victorian houses often crave – more space and light at the back of the house
where both were in short supply.
I designed the rear side return extension to create a spacious and beautifully light kitchen-living area. Now the room is wide enough for an island, a dining table and a sofa, making it the perfect space to entertain.
Access to the garden
Structurally this was a complex build, requiring several supporting beams. The owners have turned these into a real feature of the property, defining spaces and providing nooks for ornaments. Bi-fold doors lead to the garden
, which has been raised to the level of the interior. This allows for a flush floor surface which runs uninterrupted through the living area and garden.
The open-plan room with it all
When I first visited this Victorian home, the lean-to extensions at the back of the house meant it was dark and cramped. It was a far cry from the open-plan space the owners were yearning for.
I could see that this house could be transformed by removing the lean-to and the rear wall, and incorporating large roof lights and bi-fold doors.
This clever design avoids planning constraints
By carefully positioning the flue for the log burner on the back wall of the original house, we avoided planning and building regulations constraints. In fact, this project did not require planning permission
, since it fell within the remit of permitted development. As with most builds, it did need building regulations approval
Now this is a sun-filled family room with a smart new kitchen extension, leading to the garden through a set of stylish French doors. A small cloakroom is tucked neatly away alongside the new kitchen with access from the hallway. The log burner adds a cosy feel. Now this fabulous room really has got it all.
A makeover for this Edwardian house
This spacious Edwardian house had a disjointed feel to it when I first visited. So I recommended combining the rooms at the rear of the house, creating a large kitchen/diner and a room that would be much more practical for modern-day family living.
Clear the clutter
The owners wanted to be free from clutter, so we included a separate utility space neatly tucked out of the way in the side extension. This is now home to appliances large and small and leads to a generous downstairs cloakroom complete with roof light.
This stylish kitchen extension has polished marble floors that reflect the light from the skylights and create a bright and airy feel to the house
. The dining table has a view of the garden through doors that fold back in summer for some alfresco living.
A stunning kitchen transformation
When I first visited this spacious Victorian terraced house, the downstairs layout felt unconnected. I wanted to create more cohesion and improve the flow. I recommended removing the previous single-storey extension and knocking three rooms at the rear of the house into one
This required a complex arrangement of large steels, but the project avoided planning permission
, as it fell within the property’s permitted development.
The result is a large open-plan kitchen-dining-living room, which is much more practical for the way the family live. To help enhance this handsome property’s character features, we put a reclaimed Victorian door in the living room and the original fireplace was retained. We also tucked away the utility room and the downstairs cloakroom.
To link the hall, kitchen and living room together seamlessly, I recommended laying wooden flooring throughout the ground floor. Large French doors now lead out to the garden. The owner, who runs a joinery company, fitted a striking bespoke kitchen, with a large island and plenty of storage cupboards. The new sitting area now has shelving for displaying books and ornaments
A radical makeover for a basement kitchen
This large townhouse wasn’t lacking in space, but with a gloomy kitchen in the basement, it needed more light and connection to the rest of the house.
With little space to extend outwards, I suggested that we extend the kitchen space vertically by removing the floor above to create a double-height ceiling. Designing a mezzanine level, and incorporating a wall of glass opened up the whole space from the basement to the lounge area above.
A vertical challenge
There were significant structural implications of taking out a floor! It required two large steels to reinforce and support the structure. But the result was the two-metre-high ceiling and large windows and doors out to the garden, flooding the formerly dark basement with light.
A four-storey townhouse goes open-plan
When I arrived at this large seafront property, part of a Victorian villa, the rooms appeared surprisingly small. They felt cramped and dark and were missing the opportunity for lots of lovely coastal light.
I proposed taking down an internal wall and removing two massive chimney breasts that occupied space in the entire house. We opened up the internal space and added a bay window to bring in more natural light.
The result was to double the size of the existing kitchen internally without extending anything. The clients are delighted with their large open-plan kitchen-dining room and lounge and the additional light and space.
Realising the benefits of a simple kitchen extension
The owners of this house felt that the narrow rooms limited the scope of what they could do internally, especially with a long and narrow kitchen. So I designed a side extension to create breadth and more space and to enable a central island.
The additional room meant that the owners have much more flexibility with the kitchen layout, with more storage and the opportunity to get creative with colour and pattern.
And with a budget in mind, we didn’t knock everything down. Instead, we retained the existing single-story flat roof rear extension, which has been turned into a separate utility room. This simple extension created a beautiful light space that works better for the owners.
A bold redesign for a 1950s house
The brief for this 1950s house was more space for a larger kitchen-dining room with direct access to the client’s beautiful garden. My design involved removing an internal wall and building a single-storey extension to maximise the ground floor space.
Double doors now open up onto a new patio and through to the garden where the owners spend a lot of time with family and friends. New bay windows at each end of the room bring in more light. An additional utility room means that large appliances are hidden away.
Making a statement
The couple wanted a semi-industrial feel to the kitchen, so they chose to expose the new supporting beam and make it a striking feature.
A big difference for a small outlay
The owners of this terraced house wanted to open up the area at the back to create an open-plan kitchen and dining room. They also wanted more light and access to the garden. The brief was for the new space to work well with the existing space. Plus they wished to retain their original dining room, which they planned to turn into a study.
This was quite a small kitchen extension – just four metres – but for a relatively small cost,
the result was everything they wanted. The old part of the house did not require structural work, which helped to keep costs down.
The space is wider, accommodating bifold doors that open up to the couple’s charming courtyard garden. A large roof light incorporating a window adds to the light airy feel. The transition and from old to new is balanced with some exposed brick, plus the addition of some characterful wooden doors.
An extension and veranda on this 1980s end terrace
This end-of-terrace house had a good-sized plot, with a larger-than-average garden. But the owners identified several problems that they asked me to resolve.
The couple’s main bugbear was the existing kitchen, which was a quirky L-shape. They felt it was cramped and didn’t maximise the views of their mature garden. They also felt that access to the garden was limited, especially when their grandchildren came to visit.
The solution was to take down two internal walls and build a 5 x 5-metre extension on the side of the house. This included a large roof light, plenty of windows and glazed doors leading out to their garden. This larger, light-filled space is now a spacious kitchen/diner and sitting area.
The couple loved my suggestion of building a veranda and wooden decked area, running right across the rear of their 1980s property. This also helped to unify the new and old sections, while the practical wooden flooring ties in with the exterior decking. I also recommended underfloor heating and the couple chose a wood-burning stove to keep things cosy.
Crittal-style windows and smart kitchen units finished the transformation into a more inviting and family-friendly space.
Home and garden – a perfect space for entertaining
I always ask clients what they want from their homes then I tackle how I can help them achieve it. The owners of this Victorian end-terrace love entertaining but lacked the space they needed for hosting larger get-togethers. They wanted a space where they could cook while chatting with guests. They dreamed of relaxed weekend barbeques with family and friends – and the option of dashing indoors when the British weather let them down!
Enough food preparation space
With all that entertaining they desperately wanted to replace their dark, dated kitchen. They craved a clean, modern look, full of light and with plenty of preparation space.
We agreed that a large open-plan living space
would deliver all of their requirements. We achieved this by taking down the rear wall and adding a side extension. Bi-fold doors and two skylights make this a bright and inviting space that flows through the house to the garden. A sofa area and wall-mounted television finish off this multi-functional modern space.