It may seem obvious or even easy given the content of my previous post, but in fact getting the layout right in the kitchen /dining area takes a lot of thought and effort. Whilst the design triangle does help there are so many things to be taken into consideration. When it came to designing the layout in the pigeon house I had a couple of priorities.
- The kitchen had to work as a functional cooking kitchen, possibly with lots of cooks (the family has been growing up since kitchen 1!) at one time.
- The dining area had to be large enough to hold a large table for everyday use and also to expand to accommodate larger gatherings of family and friends.
- There had to be a flow from inside to outside.
- There had to be lots and lots of storage.
- The lighting had to be carefully designed with a mix of natural light, ambient light and task lighting.
- It had to be wow! I wanted both a feeling of space and a warmth that comes from being a family home.
Given what we started out with this was quite a challenge. So, here’s how we went about trying to achieve all of this…
First the old kitchen and internal fittings were removed.
This involved a couple of different kitchen units as well as a few fireplaces.
Then the walls came down! We removed a wall that had been inserted down the centre of a room to open it up again.
Here the floor was removed in an upstairs room to create a double height over what would be the dining space and the window was knocked down to form a tall glazed screen onto the garden.
In this photo you can see the notches half way up the wall where the floor (from the previous photo) was removed and a window onto the side wall was blocked up.
Then more walls came down to open up the space between the kitchen and dining area. This shot, taken from above, shows the window ope knocked down to the garden with some mega amounts of temporary steel works inserted before the supporting steels went in.
The supporting steels are now in. Whew!
Then it was time to start putting the place back together again. The studwork has gone in and service pipes are being located. First fix plumbing and electrics are done and the underfloor heating is laid.
The walls are plastered, internal doors and windows have arrived.
Stud walls are created for the kitchen units to work into. The basic shape of the kitchen units is an L with good use being made of the corner to create a walk in larder. Recessed light fittings are located. Following this, floors are laid and the kitchen units, shelving and worktops are inserted.
In the completed kitchen the units form an L shape in plan with the hob and fridge located one in each side of this. The sink is then located in the island itself which is also used as a prep area. Overall result, you’ve guessed it: a triangle! It’s not just a cliché it actually works. (see previous blog). The dishwasher is also located in the island opening onto the table side of the room for ease of use.
The dining area is located beside the working space of the kitchen. I don’t believe in having a dining room that is only used a couple of times a year. I like to cook and entertain at the same time. Thus the dining area had to be good enough to want to entertain in it. The double height volume adds a bonus feature of light, space and luxury whilst also connecting visually with the period features in the rooms upstairs through internal glazing. The atmosphere of the room can be changed from formal to informal quite easily depending on the way the table is set.
Tall sliding and folding doors peel back to make the inside flow seamlessly with the outside. During the summer months we eat and entertain outdoors, sometimes despite not because of the weather.
Overall I think we achieved what we set out to do. The result is a series of spaces which function well both individually and together. A more in-depth look at the choice of materials and details will be looked at in the next kitchen post. In the meantime it’s time to get on with some eating and drinking.