Mel and Alex knew that this three-bedroom house in south-east London had bags of potential when they bought it in 2012. They put in an offer in the September, spending their first New Year here in 2013.

While the couple couldn’t afford to start work on the house immediately, they realised the generous side return would present them with a promising opportunity for an extension, transforming the narrow kitchen into a space perfect for hosting family and friends.

Alex sought help from an architect who worked in the studio below his office in east London. ‘I invited him to come and look at the flat,’ says Alex. ‘He was the one that suggested we include a utility room with WC and shower room.’ The plans also included a dining area next to the kitchen and a pitched roof; that way they could incorporate the Velux windows, which, together with the bi-fold doors, would bring in copious amounts of light.

Project notes

The owners:
Alex Walker, a filmmaker, and wife Mel, a fashion designer, live here with their six- month-old son, Otis

The property:
A three-bedroom Edwardian terraced house in Peckham

Total project cost:

side return kitchen diner extension with industrial style

Natural light streams in through bi-fold doors and Velux windows. The task lights over the breakfast bar were a gift; try Skinflint Design for similar

side return space in the process of the extension

Mel and Alex had a generous side return but had no wall separating their garden from the neighbour’s. A brick wall was built and left exposed internally

kitchen diner extension with white units and bi fold doors onto the garden

Large bi-fold doors from Reynaers open fully to connect the garden with the bright new kitchen-diner extension. The floor tiles, from Topps Tiles, were chosen to create a seamless link with the flagstone patio outside

mel walker and otis sitting infront of a stripped back brick wall in industrial kitchen extension

The kitchen-diner has a corner where the family can sit and relax on armchairs from Swoon. The bespoke shelves have been made from reclaimed scaffold boards then set against the backdrop of the newly built brick wall

open plan kitchen diner extension with white units and exposed brick wall

The couple decided to go for durable natural stone worktops from Stone Building. The Falcon range cooker was given to them as a gift by a close friend, and became the starting point for the Magnet kitchen that was built around it

open plan side return kitchen diner extension

The breakfast bar separates the kitchen from the rest of the extension, but keeps the space sociable. The texture and colour of the exposed brick contrasts with the clean white lines of the rest of the scheme

kitchen diner extension floor plans

Alex and Mel commissioned an architect to design plans, which included extending out by 8m and 2.5m to the side, adding a utility, WC and shower room, plus a new dining area and changing the flat roof for a pitched version

Cost Breakdown

  • Building work, bi-fold doors and windows: £75,000
  • Kitchen units: £11,000
  • Kitchen worktops: £3,000
  • Carpentry: £3,000
  • Flooring: £2,000
  • Paint and decorating: £1,000
  • Appliances: £600
  • Lighting: £120


  • Design and construction: Build Team, 020 7495 6561
  • Kitchen: Magnet
  • Worktops: Stone Building
  • Bi-fold doors: Reynaers
Words: Ifeoluwa Adedeji
Photographs: Built team/Malcolm Menzies