05 Jul Dream extension: The perfect kitchen-diner in East Finchley
The kitchen-diner is easily the most iconic form of open-plan living. Since the 1980s the knocking down, or absence, of walls between eating and cooking areas has grown in popularity. And today, if your home has an ill-considered wall where it shouldn’t be, this will often impact on its value and certainly on its desirability.
So, if you are looking to connect your spaces to suit your lifestyle, we’ve six things for you to consider.
You are creating your space from scratch, so think about how it’s going to work best. Ideally, where would things be and how can you create a natural flow of people, plates and glasses in different scenarios – family use, dinner party use, house party use, etc.? Ensure that your interior designer and builder have a good idea of how you expect to use the space and they can help you with the right layout for your needs. You may have the freedom to create your idea of perfection – don’t miss this opportunity.
Where possible, most homeowners choose to have their kitchen-diner at the rear of their property. It tends to be quieter and often opens out into the garden – ideal for BBQs, summer parties and simply the ability to sit, relax and eat, overlooking your own slice of nature. However, it’s important to ask your architect or builder where might be feasible as there may be cost implications of one location over another. The other locational matter is where to house your traditionally noisier kitchen equipment. Might it be time to consider a utility room, a separate space with a door so your after-dinner relaxing time isn’t disturbed by the clinking of crockery or the whir of a spin-cycle?
With no walls to separate your space, often it’s the more subtle changes that define lounge from dining and dining from kitchen zones, such as flooring, wall colours and lighting. And, as each space may be used in different ways at different times, it’s important to ensure a decent amount of lighting that can be adapted to suit any mood. I’ve seen this described as ‘layering’, where you design a space with multiple lighting options so you can adapt from bright and clear for cooking to soft and low for relaxation.
Without walls to keep cooking odours from hanging around in living spaces it’s vitally important to consider the quality and efficiency of your extractor from the very start. Positioning, power and reliability are all vital to consider, because while cooking smells wafting into the dining room during your creative process may be delightful, that same smell hanging around for hours after you’ve finished dinner may not be. Another factor to consider is whether your extractor will be part of the interior design, a feature of your kitchen, or whether it will be unobtrusive, practically hidden from sight.
Without separation between kitchen and living space(s) you’ll need to make sure that you have all the storage you’ll need to ensure no clutter is left on surfaces. Kitchens will traditionally have lots of items left out – toaster, kettle, hanging utensils, drying dishes, cookbooks and a variety of odds and ends –because it’s simply a hub for the family. With open-plan living it’s important to consider the kitchen surfaces as part of your living spaces, on show when people come round, making clutter a no-no.
You’ve heard the phrase to ‘bring the outside in’, which describes making the garden feel like part of your home’s inside space – it’s achieved through using large windows, bi-fold doors or skylights. When you create your kitchen-dining space, think beyond its use to the way you’ll feel when you’re cooking, entertaining or relaxing. Wouldn’t it be nice to flood the space with natural light in the daytime, to flow onto decking or patio when you need the extra space, or to gaze out into the night of an evening? Create a connection with the outside.