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Homes & Gardens

Homes & Gardens – Room for Expansion May 2009

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A contemporary open-plan extension breathes new life into a Victorian house

When Lance Burbridge and Paul Raben-Christensen bought their late-Victorian terraced home, they asked Chris Bicknell, creative director of Bicknell interiors, to help them reconfigure the entire house. “We saw that there were lots of original architectural features still intact,” says Chris, ‘but not necessarily ones that we would want to keep. Our job is to create space, so we looked at how to improve every aspect.” “We wanted to create a functional, streamlined kitchen-living area.” Says Paul, whose Scandinavian background influenced his choice. Chris Bicknell suggested extending the kitchen sideways and lengthways, by about 1.5m into both the side return and the back garden. This would increase the overall size of the kitchen by about a third, and also bring light into the back of the house.

Lance and Paul asked Bartholomew, specialists in glazed, hardwood structures, to design a glass extension that would give the kitchen a sympathetic lift. “Side return kitchens are always too narrow and the light is not good,” says design director Sam Ogilvie, who drew up the scheme. “By opening up this whole area, it’s now a bright, practical place where you’d enjoy spending more time.”

“I wanted wood because it’s a natural product, it can be painted any colour and it also has a nice feel to it,” says Paul. The timber’s dark graphite paint finish looks effective against the white and pale shades of the kitchen, and the double-glazed panels were specified to comply with heat-loss requirements. “Sam’s design has added a completely new element to the house,” says Paul. “The kitchen has become an extension of the garden, and the quality and finish are second to none. It’s still a Victorian house, but it now has a fresh, modern feel.”

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