Sign up for newsletter Create an account Login


Profile: A Glass Extension Turns a Dark and Dingy Affair into A Spacious Home

A double-height kitchen extension floods this 1830s home with ever-changing light
   EKBB Magazine  |  written on: 11-09-2021 15:20pm

Deep down in the basement of Maple House lies the kitchen. Nestled between an imposing block of offices and a private bank, the lower ground floor of the Grade II listed Regency house might be expected to be a rather dark and dingy affair, good only for boot storage and the odd mouse. That may once have been the case, but not anymore.

The five metre long island was the design starting point and is now the social hub for this busy family of five

Quick View

- Owners/residents: Sarah and Martin Ethan and their three children

- Designer: Jonny Morris, designer at Roundhouse

- Style: Contemporary

- Kitchen feature: Urbo furniture by Roundhouse is painted in a mixture of white and Hague Blue by Farrow & Ball with a carcass finish in walnut

kitchen, expansive, large, minimalist, contemporary, open, light, farrow & ball, farrow and ball, dining area, lighting, island, pendant lights, ceasarstone worktop, frosty carrina, fridge, freezer

A Caesarstone worktop in Frosty Carrina has a chunky 60mm depth. It’s practical yet elegant and the overhang creates enough seating for all the family

In transforming the 1830s building in Cheltenham from an office block back into a family home, owners Sarah and Martin Ethan focused on bringing light and contemporary design to the house by way of a double-height glass extension, which makes the original exterior the new interior, and floods the basement kitchen and dining room with ever-changing light. “I gravitate towards light, and the kids gravitate towards the kitchen!” laughs Sarah. “I always knew the kitchen would be the centre of the home and had to be a bright, enjoyable space for all the family. It’s lovely watching the sun bounce off the glass.”

With a background in interiors and definite ideas about how she wanted her kitchen to look, Sarah felt Roundhouse was the obvious choice. They wanted an oversized island with long, handleless drawers and seating for the children to do their homework. Designer Jonny Morris persuaded Sarah that a strip of stainless steel across the island incorporating the sink would be a stylish addition that would mirror the steel of the range cooker opposite, and also solve the issue of getting one piece of worktop five metres long. “Martin immediately loved the idea and now it really works for me too,” says Sarah.

Daylight spills into the kitchen through the newly built double height glass extension

The induction hob brings convenience to the more conventional ovens and the Quooker Fusion tap is Sarah’s favourite gadget – “money well spent!” The quality of light here meant Sarah wasn’t afraid to use dark colours. She says, “I really enjoy the mix of the blue of the island with the black marble splashback, which I chose to give the effect of space receding. It draws you in.”

Q & A – Jonny Morris, designer at Roundhouse

- What was your biggest challenge in this design?
It’s such a beautiful space we had to get the proportions right to make the most of it. Because of the glass extension for the dining room the centre of the kitchen had shifted and using the old fireplace would limit the placement of the island. So, to make the space work we moved the range cooker down and built in front of the old chimney. The walls weren’t straight, as they often aren’t in old buildings, so to line the wall run up with the island we built false backs for the cupboards and made the worktop around the stove extra deep. A bulk head to hide the extractor and lighting over the range finishes off what is a striking and practical space.

kitchen, expansive, large, minimalist, contemporary, dining, pendant lighting, table, white, carvaggio , view, windows, glass

The extension makes the basement the new focal point of the house and stunningly incorporates old and new

- How did you go about designing the island?
Sarah wanted a really big impressive island and we had to think about options for the work surface. She liked marble but had it in a previous kitchen and knew it wasn’t practical for her, so I suggested a hardwearing, low maintenance composite stone with veining that imitated a natural marble. However, a five-metre length of stone isn’t possible so I suggested mirroring the steel of the range cooker on the opposite run and that gave us a swathe of steel that broke up the stone. The wide drawers in the island give a pared back, linear look while offering lots of versatile storage.

Credit: Heather Gunn (Images), Rebecca Morris (Words)
Published: As featured in EKBB Magazine, Issue 240, April 2016

Also read: 
Profile: Cheerful Colours Stand Out Just Enough in This Townhouse Kitchen

Tell us:
What do you like most about this contemporary kitchen extension?

Related articles

Profile: Dark Good Looks and Raw Edges Give This Kitchen a Theatrical Style

Given its dark colour palette, everything stands out dramatically in this London loft kitchen

Expert's Corner: Country Style Kitchens

Founder Peter Humphrey on why country style kitchens are ever so popular

Must-Haves: WOHAbeing

WOHA unveils extensive new luxury furniture collection at Maison et Objet Paris

   EKBB Magazine
The UK's No.1 kitchen, bathroom and bedroom magazine dedicated to real-life luxury homes and turning your design dreams into reality.

View this project