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Jude and Andrew Brown’s kitchen extension blends seamlessly with their Victorian home’s period architecture, creating the ideal space for family life.

Jude BrownFact file

The owners: Jude Brown, a full-time mum, and her husband Andrew, who works in marketing for a film company, live here with their daughter Jessie, nine, and son Stanley, five
The property: A six-bedroom semi-detached Victorian house built in 1880
The location: South London
What they spent: The kitchen extension project cost around £100,000

‘One of our priorities when we moved here was to remodel the kitchen. It wasn’t big enough to house a dining table where we could eat together as a family, plus it needed a lot of updating,’ says Jude.

The Victorian property had been bombed during the Second World War, so the previous owners added a small annexe to the rear of the house in the early 1950s to disguise the damage. That too was now in need of refurbishment.

Jude and her husband Andrew planned to demolish the old annexe and replace it with a new rear extension that would run across the width of the entire house.

‘We hired Ferriby Construction (01482 574949) to do the extension work,’ says Jude. ‘Knowing that it would be a big project, we submitted the builder’s plans to the local planning office rather than using an architect to help save on costs.’

However, the planning office rejected the couple’s application on the grounds that their house was located in a conservation area, so the extension needed to reflect the property’s Victorian architecture.

‘We wanted a combination of the old and new, blending the traditional part of the house with a contemporary extension,’ Jude explains. ‘After our first design was rejected, we hired an architect to draw up a new set of plans that we hoped would be accepted by the planning office.’

Their architect redesigned the plans to incorporate reclaimed London bricks, which would link the extension seamlessly to the original building. The design of the kitchen was also reconfigured so that the extension would be smaller than originally planned. This allowed it to be built under permitted development rights without the need for planning permission.

The new extension stretching across the entire rear of the house incorporated the outside return – a dark, paved area without any natural light.

‘We wanted our extension to transform the way we used the space, but it also needed to add saleable value to the house if we decide to move in the future,’ Jude explains. ‘That is why we had the kitchen designed the way many families live today, with an open-plan space where everyone is able to do their own thing while still connecting together.’

The project took five months to complete. In the meantime, the builders created a basic kitchen for the family.

‘One of the hardest parts was when the underfloor heating was being laid and the entire space was out of bounds to all of the family,’ Jude remembers.

The build went smoothly, though, and before long the couple were focussing their attention on the kitchen design.

‘I wanted a white kitchen to help bring more light in but I didn’t want it to look too stark, plus the finish needed to be family-friendly with two children running around,’ says Jude. ‘We settled on a gloss finish because it is easily wipeable.’

Jude was also keen to incorporate a large island unit into the kitchen design to replicate the breakfast bar from her childhood home.

‘I envisaged the island as an informal place for eating together as a family, but also a place where the kids can do their homework while I’m cooking,’ says Jude.

To continue the simple white kitchen theme, the couple chose concrete floor tiles which look like ceramic ones.

‘Although I would have loved elegant ceramic tiles, it wouldn’t have been practical with the children and a dog,’ says Jude.

Keen to create as much light as possible in the kitchen, Andrew and Jude included a bank of folding sliding doors to link the space to the garden.

‘The doors were an investment buy, which we had made bespoke to maximise the height of the space,’ Jude explains. ‘Although they took up a large chunk of our budget, it was money well spent as they are one of my favourite features.

‘The kitchen is what we had dreamed of,’ she adds, ‘and we love the way the garden is very much part of the space where we can spill out in summer.’


Labour, including clearance £2,500
Extension £36,000
Folding sliding doors £12,000
Plumbing and electrics £3,200
Underfloor heating £2,200
Kitchen £32,000
Appliances £6,000
Flooring £3,600
Decorating and tiling £2,500
TOTAL £100,000