Dining room before changes

As part of The Big Build, the decision was made to open up the back of the property, removing all of the internal walls and extending the wall of the sun room across the entire back of the house. This would create one large open family room, increasing the floorspace at the back of the house by an additional 30%. The original front room would remain untouched.

We wanted to create a space that delivered kitchen, dining and socialising areas, allowing the family to spend quality time together as well as provide the space to host extended family and friends comfortably. The space also needed to be adaptable as this young family grows. What may start as a children’s play area, could become a gaming snug or space for a pingpong table!

And we desperately wanted the space to be light, and feel open to the garden.

Family room looking into garden

Working closely with our architect and builder, we produced plans that would deliver the best use of space for the new room. We made the decision early on to relocate the kitchen to a more suitable area.

We invested in large glass sliding doors from Express Bi-Folding Doors. These doors have the flexibility to be opened in any direction. Unlike bi-folds, they do not create a fan-like fold at one end when fully opened, but instead they slide on top of each other and the functionality is really slick!

The doors, combined with 3 large VELUX sky lights (or roof windows as VELUX seem to call them), bring in a huge amount of light and warmth, even in the gloomier winter months.

We opted for an underfloor heating system for this part of the house, due to the huge reduction in available wall space to mount traditional radiators. This has allowed total flexibility when it comes to positioning furniture and zoning the space.

When it came to the kitchen design, we were very clear about our personal needs from a kitchen. We wanted an island unit with a bar so that people can sit and interact with the cook, without getting in the way. We wanted to abide by the ‘kitchen work triangle’, (keep an eye out for my next blog post on kitchen design tips!), enabling maximum efficiency and ease of use. We wanted a contemporary look and feel to the design, it needed to be fairly robust and childproof and we needed it to feel light and bright as it was to be relocated in the gloomiest corner of the room!

Family room with table and chairs facing kitchen with island

Once the structure of the space was designed, we got to work on the interior styling. We wanted to create a fun interior for this room, using bold colours and asymmetrical shapes to create a space that works for all ages. We chose to lay the floor with LVT vinyl tiles by Amtico. These types are highly durable and have a high-end look and feel to them. We have laid the tiles diagonally across the room so that the line of the floor draws your eye into the garden from the seating area.

When working with underfloor heating, it is important to make your flooring decisions early on in the project, to ensure you set the level of the floor to accommodate the height of the flooring. It is a good idea to work closely with the builder and the floor supplier on this and ensure everyone has the right information.

Electrics is another area to think about early on. The first fix happens before all plastering is complete, so it’s important to think about where you will want lights, sockets etc. or it can make for some messy and costly changes! We wanted to keep lighting simple, with ceiling spotlights doing most of the work. The ceiling lights have been split into 4 zones so that you don’t have to have them all on at once. Feature pendant lights hang above the island to give the kitchen area a focus.

The analogous colour scheme (colours that sit next to each other on the colour wheel), uses navy, mauve and teal. This colour scheme runs throughout the ground floor of the house, but only in this space do all three colours come together, creating a fun, cool space. We have linked the colours using asymmetrical shapes to split the wall colours diagonally across the room. The effect is really striking and quite different to your usual colour feature wall.

Furnishings are kept simple in grey and white, allowing the colour scheme to be easily changed in the future. The timeless grey and white kitchen has a high-polish finish which helps bounce the light back into the room.

The dining table is a contemporary design made from oak veneer to mirror the floor, with dark grey metal legs, complement the aluminium doors behind. All the furniture in the room uses simple asymmetrical shapes and cubes, adding to the playfulness of the space.

The seating area is zoned off using a corner sofa, and is softened with a large rug in an abstract design, which pulls out the colours of the room. Kids toys and DVDs are tidied away in floating wall units, with easy to operate push close mechanisms – perfect for little people’s independence. And the artwork around the room, is mainly made up of the children’s own creations. Framed nicely to give gallery status to little artists!