before and afterInteriors

Before & After: A Kitchen Renovation and Expansion in London

by Lauren Chorpening

Caroline and John started searching for a new home in the Angel neighborhood of London three years ago. They lived in a flat in Angel at the time, and because of the easy access to London’s Financial District where Caroline and John both work, they wanted to find a house in the same neighborhood. But the search was much more exhausting than they expected. “I had pretty much put a bid in (above asking price) on every home in the area and still managed to lose out. The market was going crazy,” Caroline remembers. By expanding their search radius by 500 meters (or about 1/3 mile), more options appeared. From the doorstep of a house they were touring in the Newington Green neighborhood, the couple saw a Victorian terraced house with a “for sale” sign out front. They were instantly drawn to the house and knew it was finally the one they could call home with their children, Jack and Annabelle.

It wasn’t a move-in ready home (there was carpet in the bathrooms!), but that was okay with Caroline and John. “It had previously been used as a house share and it has definitely been transformed. We fell in love with it even though it needed a lot of work,” Caroline shares. “No matter what property you buy you are always going to change something about it, so having to do a lot of work didn’t faze us too much.”

The biggest project of all was tearing out the existing kitchen and expanding the space. “The kitchen was the worst part of the house… The kitchen extension was always going to be a project,” Caroline says. To help the couple create the kitchen of their dreams, they hired interior designer Kia Stanford of Kia Designs. The expansion happened in the middle of winter, exposing the home to the elements and leaving the family without the use of a functional kitchen, but Caroline says it was “so worth it.”

The kitchen has since been completely transformed. A mix of colors, materials and styles works perfectly to make a space that is unique to Caroline and John. Their goal when they started this project was to create a place where friends and family could gather, and they’ve certainly achieved that. “We can hardly pull guests away from the dining table; people literally don’t move from the dining area!” Caroline says. “We are so thankful for our designer to have created an area that we never want to leave, we live in this area now.” —Lauren

Photography by Anna Stathaki

Image above: The kitchen’s layout was created from scratch. Interior designer Kia Stanford used the extra square footage gained by the extension to add an island and a dining area to the room without losing functional prep space. 




A Kitchen Renovation and Expansion in London | Design*Sponge
The small walkway that used to connect the backyard to the kitchen is now useable kitchen space, and where windows once were is now a large glass door.
A Kitchen Renovation and Expansion in London | Design*Sponge
"We took wasted side space and transformed it into a new modern space," interior designer Kia Stanford says.
A Kitchen Renovation and Expansion in London | Design*Sponge
"Darkness ruled in the old kitchen. With low ceilings and a lack of natural light, the room always felt cramped," Kia says. The new space incorporates tons of natural light and allows the space to be split up into several functional areas instead of a long, narrow row of cabinets.
A Kitchen Renovation and Expansion in London | Design*Sponge
"This was our decorating goal: To finally be able to have an entertaining space that works well with the kitchen and that people don't want to leave. It's definitely worked. Even when we have friends over specifically to watch the football (which is on in the other room), everyone was much happier sitting around the dining table and enjoying a bottle of wine. It's amazing," Caroline shares.
A Kitchen Renovation and Expansion in London | Design*Sponge
Kia mixed modern and classic elements in this English Victorian terrace house. Nothing in the space is too stark or even taken from the same eras of inspiration. She pulled from several styles to create the custom kitchen Caroline and John sought after.
A Kitchen Renovation and Expansion in London | Design*Sponge
"I think the colors in our kitchen are so unusual, coupled with the layout of the island unit and doors it's one in a million," Caroline says.
A Kitchen Renovation and Expansion in London | Design*Sponge
The off-center sink placement allows the kitchen work triangle to be functional and gives ample, uninterrupted counter space for meal prep or buffet-style serving.
A Kitchen Renovation and Expansion in London | Design*Sponge
"We wanted to keep the cooking area open but keep guests out of the way. Creating a breakfast bar means that guests stay on one side and cooking on the other," Kia shares.
A Kitchen Renovation and Expansion in London | Design*Sponge
The vent is hidden within the island so nothing hinders the view of the garden when cooking isn't taking place.
A Kitchen Renovation and Expansion in London | Design*Sponge
"We would never have thought of even having an island had our interior designer, Kia, not suggested it. It's completely changed the whole layout we had initially thought of for the better. It works so well for us and everyone who comes in to the house raves about the design," Caroline shares.
A Kitchen Renovation and Expansion in London | Design*Sponge
What used to be a wall housing mainly a door to the garden walkway and a window is now extra square footage. The new door allows the garden to feel like extended living space in the warmer months and definitely allows for better views of the garden than the bay of windows in the old layout was able to.
A Kitchen Renovation and Expansion in London | Design*Sponge
"The new space has a real focus on light, from the custom made chandelier to the skylights the room always feels well lit," Kia says.
A Kitchen Renovation and Expansion in London | Design*Sponge
The pantry could be mistaken for a modern art piece to the untrained eye. Affixed to the wall, the pantry adds lots of storage with hardly any footprint.
A Kitchen Renovation and Expansion in London | Design*Sponge
"In just over two years we have redone every part of the house, culminating in our biggest project of the kitchen. This is the first time we have ever lived in a finished home and it's glorious," Caroline beams.

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  • What a bright and happy transformation! Family-friendly, usable and stylish. The back door and window are fantastic, and I love that dining table. Great reno!

  • Wow, this is one of my favorite kitchens ever featured on D*S. The deep purple/blue color of the island is stunning, as is all of your artwork and the natural light!

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