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Victorian terrace kitchen

(37 Posts)
fufulina Sun 02-Apr-17 07:14:37

We are just starting to think about doing up our kitchen.

We have a big standard Victorian terrace in north London. Layout as you'd expect - two rooms at the front - current sitting and play rooms and the five steps down to the rear extension - long kitchen.

I am thinking about moving the kitchen diner into the front two rooms. Knocking through totally (currently knocked through with double sliding doors), opening up the chimney breasts - one for a range cooker in the front and one for a wood burner in the back where the diner would be. It's better proportions and higher ceilings. Has anyone done this or have their kitchen diner in the front? And could you share photos?

DH is having trouble imagining it - in particular how a long narrow sitting room in the current kitchen would work.

fufulina Sun 02-Apr-17 07:15:01

Bog standard - not big standard!

OneOfTheGrundys Sun 02-Apr-17 07:30:27

Our friends did this-the long narrow sitting room didn't work at all, particularly as the DC got older and had keyboards, PlayStation etc. Not having direct access to the garden from the kitchen they found irritating too. They're having trouble selling at the moment too.

Far and away the very best kitchen extensions I've seen are those that go sideways and take the side return.

OneOfTheGrundys Sun 02-Apr-17 07:34:04

Knocking through the two reception rooms is a nice idea though. And works well. We did similar and had TVs etc in the back part and seating/playing in the front with the bay.

MrsJamin Sun 02-Apr-17 07:37:16

Having a kitchen at the front is very unusual, I don't think it's a good plan TBH unless you've seen a similar house planned like it. Can you do something downstairs to extend the space of your present kitchen?

RoganJosh Sun 02-Apr-17 07:41:28

What dimensions would the long sitting room be? We've just moved from one and found it impossible to get a decent furniture layout. Even spending hours on Pinterest seemed to prove that if it's just too thin, then there's just not much you can do with it.
It seemed that 10'6" is too narrow, but 13' is much better.

JellyWitch Sun 02-Apr-17 07:44:09

Narrower than 12' would be unworkable for me (that was the width in our tiny Victorian cottage than had a 12'x12' sitting room)

CountMagnus Sun 02-Apr-17 07:51:15

I think for those houses where the kitchen has been moved into the dining room and the living room used as a diner, the old kitchen area is then extended into the side return to make a decent sized living area?

But then, you might find it a better option to extend into the side return and create a new kitchen diner and then keep two separate receptions at the front - as children become teens it's really useful to have a room for adults to escape to.

Efferlunt Sun 02-Apr-17 07:58:09

I wouldn't want a kitchen in the front of the house. Think it's a shame to muck about witn the original house to this extent. I like that our kitchen diner opens on to the garden and the kids run in and out while I'm cooking etc. Our living room is at the front of the house an is a great grown up room for the evening when you are not going to be in and out on the garden anyway.

IvyLeagueUnderTheSea Sun 02-Apr-17 08:09:21

I think the kitchen dining room in one big room could work. However the sitting room in what was the kitchen would be rather isolated. Can you see yourselves using it or would you tend to stay in the main shared room?

I'm assuming your house is a Victorian villa. Bay window, front door with a storm porch opening to a corridor? You wouldn't want the front door to come straight into the kitchen / living space.

OnePlanOnHouzz Sun 02-Apr-17 08:31:04

Have you got water in and out of the room you want to more the kitchen to ? Of above it, if not in the room itself - i.e. A bathroom above that area ... this might be enough put out you off cost wise if you haven't !
I did a project for someone in a similar dilemma a couple of years ago - drawing up designs for both the current and a new area - ended up with the kitchen staying in the same area - but totally changed to how it was laid out ... sometimes it just needs a fresh pair of eyes !

fufulina Sun 02-Apr-17 08:53:00

Lots of responses! Thank you.

The current sitting room has access into the garden via the side return - French doors.

I have discounted a side rerun extension (which I agree is absolutely the best option) because of cost. Over £100k where we are.

The current kitchen is 12 foot wide (into the bay which goes into the side return), and about 20 foot long.

Current sitting rooms are already knocked through - just not totally.

Also - the kitchen is stepped - one step down into what would have been the old kitchen and outdoor privy.

I think that is the issue - I ant work out how to make the best of the kitchen as it is! I also like the idea of a lovely high ceilings in my kitchen where we spend all our time!

HalfCarrot Sun 02-Apr-17 09:13:56

Whereabouts in north london are you that a side return would cost so much? Moving the kitchen would be nice but surely extremely expensive?

CountMagnus Sun 02-Apr-17 09:29:41

100k sounds pretty high - have you had anyone round to give you a rough estimate?

fufulina Sun 02-Apr-17 09:36:10

That quote is based on friends getting quotes/having it done. And it isn't really about more space which is another Eason am loathe to do the side return.

The house has good bones but hasn't been touched for about 15 years so is very tired. And I don't think moving gas/water etc would be too expensive. The cellar is underneath the front - floor boards directly into the cellar space where all the utilities are.

But I am just a bit paralysed by options at the moment.

fufulina Sun 02-Apr-17 09:36:27

We are in Harringay - N8

CountMagnus Sun 02-Apr-17 09:51:44

Are you planning on staying in the house very long term, or are you likely to move in say 5 years time?

If the latter, I would canvas local EAs to get an idea of what options will give you the best return on investment.

JT05 Sun 02-Apr-17 09:59:32

When we lived in London, a hop skip and jump from you, we had a similar house. We put the kitchen at the back of the long 20 ft kitchen room so that we had the sink under the side window made a return island. We had French doors put in the garden end so that the children could go in and out and play in that bit of the room.
I would not have liked the kitchen at the front, it certainly would have spoiled the original features of the sitting room.

fufulina Sun 02-Apr-17 10:08:49

Thanks all - the sitting room has no original features, we will be paying to have them put back in. And long term house - unless me or DH get really successful at work! Hmm - the MN consensus seems to be a no. Which means I can stop thinking about it! Thank you. JT05 - can you explain your layout a bit more? Kitchen at the end closest to the front door? Where was your dining table?

JT05 Sun 02-Apr-17 10:18:23

The back bit was originally a v. Small downstairs bathroom, a breakfast room and a v small kitchen. We knocked it all into one large space. We put a small utility plus WC in at the end nearest the corridor end. Then put the kitchen in at that end with the sink under the side window, units and appliances making a U shape. The kitchen table was in the end where the French windows were. It was small because we retained the original dining room.
On reflection, if I was doing the same again I would put the units/ appliances all along the outer wall and just have a large family kitchen. I'd also put a lintel in and have a wall of glass( plus doors) at the end.

heffalumpshavewrinkles Sun 02-Apr-17 10:21:53

Can you post a floor plan? I'm just wondering if you could move the kitchen into the dining room with french doors to garden (as you planned) then have the 2 current receptions completely open plan to it and have dining and living zones in this big room too. The long thin kitchen at the back could possibly then be split into a utility room and office/snug.

You would then spend 90% of your time all living in the best bit of the house smile Not sure if there would be enough space/corridor access for this plan though...

fufulina Sun 02-Apr-17 10:42:24

Here is the floor plan! And the multiple levels in the kitchen definitely is an issue - if I put the sink under the bay - the window is too low.

heffalumpshavewrinkles Sun 02-Apr-17 11:35:21

It's a big house, so it really would be worth doing the side return to even up the downstairs space with the number of bedrooms. If this is never going to be an option I think your original idea is fine. I have seen one house like this years ago and it worked fine (plus had been done beautifully!). I personally much prefer to have my kitchen at the back, as I think most people with young kids do. However in my experience as people get older they seem to prefer having their living room at the back (huge generalisation I know). In any case you would access to the garden from both rooms. If this is your forever home lay it out as it suits you! A couple of ideas of how it could look

fufulina Sun 02-Apr-17 11:38:05

Thank you - it was that kitchen that made me think about it! I think it's lovely. Side return - am wondering if we should consider that. Feels like a huge upheaval when we don't need more space, but perhaps would be worth doing. Thank you - everyone - for taking the time to post!

drquin Sun 02-Apr-17 11:49:20

I think the first step is to get proper quotes for both options. Then if you really like both options, and would be happy with either, then cost may make one more of an option.

I've just done a garage conversion .... so my house is on a much smaller scale than yours. But my kitchen is at the front now. The rear is living & dining room across the full width of the back, with French doors.
The front is south-facing, so converting the garage to just a lounge would have been my preference. And would probably have been slightly cheaper as there'd have been less work re utilities. BUT I'd have been left with a small, narrow room ..... which as it turns out is a brilliant size, shape for a bright kitchen!

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