Side return? Glass box? What to do with the dark middle room? Budgets? All stories welcome!

(10 Posts)
sezrah25 Sun 06-Sep-20 14:18:33

Classic Victorian end terrace here. Living room at the front. Dark middle reception room currently houses a very scruffy kitchen, rapidly being unusable. Narrow room at the back, extended into a lean-to. This is currently a generic 'junk' room/home office, and its proportions (5.6m x 2.8m)/location are more suited to a kitchen than anything else.


1. Work with what we've got. There's space for a galley-type kitchen as you walk into the back room, and maybe a very tiny dining table in the lean-to at the end, with french doors onto the garden. Pretty cramped for a four-bed house, but cost-effective, right?!

2. Knock down the lean-to, replace with a glass box type setup with room for a proper dining table, bifolds onto the garden etc etc. Hooray, we have a proper dining kitchen! Plus two nicely proportioned, separate reception rooms - i.e. a formal living room and a study/playroom. But is this super expensive without actually adding much space? And does the galley style kitchen still feel cramped?

3. Side return extension, the kitchen-diner-bifold-garden dream. But then - what to do with that middle reception room? We don't particularly like knocking through the front two reception rooms - think the proportions/2 x fireplaces looks weird, and half always ends up underused. Join on the middle reception room to the extension as a study/play area? Or leave the original wall and window and try and get light in somehow? Is the cost of this project worth it when you end up sacrificing a separate playroom/study/second reception room?

I know there's a gazillion of these threads but would LOVE to hear your stories and how you weighed up the different pros and cons, what you would definitely recommend - and, of course, how much it cost (cue screaming emojis). We're in SE London, so expecting this to be hefty (maybe being on the end terrace with side access help?! Wishful thinking?!) but on balance could be worth it for somewhere we can live in for years?

OP’s posts: |
HotChoc10 Sun 06-Sep-20 18:05:58

I think we have the same layout. I love the knock through look though so that's my plan! (previous owners stripped out the fireplaces though sad)

If you want to keep it separate, how about a library/study type room with floor-to-ceiling bookcases, a couple of nice arm chairs and a desk?

MikeUniformMike Sun 06-Sep-20 18:07:46

My neighbour (mid-terr) put an extention across the width of the house but left the side return as a small courtyard. It's a little unusual but it works.

HotChoc10 Sun 06-Sep-20 18:08:30

Oops sorry I didn't fully read. I guess my suggestion is casting a vote for option 2 though!

Pipandmum Sun 06-Sep-20 18:13:33

Really need floorplan but I'd knock backwards. Leave the front room as formal no kids always tidy grown up snug, knock the middle to the back, do the side return to make it wider and have wall of glass (I like crittal style) for whole back wall. If this still means middle room is narrow due to staircase - remove wall to hall. So basically all of downstairs bar front room is open. That middle room either remains a now more open and lighter kitchen and back house dining table and family room. Or move dining to middle room and kitchen to brighter back with seating area.

Rollercoaster1920 Sun 06-Sep-20 20:28:50

The current trend is to put a utility, lots of storage and loo in the middle space with the back as a large kitchen / family room.. We are looking at this too. Maybe have a pantry too so fewer cupboards in the kitchen.

CottonSock Sun 06-Sep-20 20:31:36

I'd like to know costs for this. Not sure I can face it for a few years though.


PamDemic Sun 06-Sep-20 20:42:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sezrah25 Mon 07-Sep-20 08:30:07

Thanks so much everyone! Interesting food for thought. Will try and post a floorplan later but essentially knocking through the back/middle rooms wouldn't work without the side return extension as they don't currently 'overlap', if that makes sense...

The utility/loo/storage thing is an interesting idea @Rollercoaster1920. There's only one loo in the house, upstairs. But we have the washer/dryer in the bathroom, which is super useful, so less of a problem fitting them in downstairs.

I really like the idea of two separate reception rooms. We are hoping (fingers crossed etc etc) to have kids next year, and it seems that one formal no-kids living room (yes @Pipandmum!), and then a second that can initially be a playroom, then maybe later on a homework/PlayStation room would be amazing. But maybe we are trying to squeeze too much in. I'm always in awe of the beautiful kitchen/dining/family rooms that people create with side return + knocking through at the back, and maybe that would be well worth 'only' having one separate reception.

Cost is another matter of course.....! Absolutely hear you @CottonSock!

OP’s posts: |
NWnature Mon 07-Sep-20 09:34:12

We're doing the standard terrace extension at the moment. We decided on living room at the front, then utility room in the middle bit (no window) finally kitchen/diner with sofa at the back by the garden. Loo under the stairs.

I'd go for option 3, but get an architect to do some sketches for you. Probably sharing the middle reception room between the extension and a utility room/storage/downstairs loo is the best bet.

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