Before and after: a kitchen extension has transformed this ‘ugly duckling’ house
Caramel Quin had the vision to take on a doer-upper that had languished on the market
Newly divorced, Caramel Quin needed to create a family home on a single income. ‘I realised that buying a doer-upper would make the most of my money,’ she says.
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Caramel spied potential in a four-bedroom, pebbledashed, 1930s end-of-terrace locally in east London. It had been sitting on the market for a year, and though she nicknamed it the ‘ugly duckling house’, she found herself falling in love with it.
‘The scruffy kitchen was falling apart and just too small,’ says Caramel, who had quickly spruced up the bedrooms but saved the bulk of her energy and cash for the downstairs. She hired architect, Max Dewdney, who drew up radical plans to knock through the kitchen and adjoining dining room, and extend by four metres to make one large space.
Image credit: Paula Smith
Caramel met with Jonathan Maker early on to discuss bespoke kitchen units and storage for the space. ‘I weighed up every option, from Ikea units to solid timber. I concluded that a bespoke kitchen would last for decades and add value.’
‘The induction hob’s 6th Sense is like cruise control for your hob,’ adds Caramel. ‘You can tell it to warm, melt, boil, simmer. It can even bring your pan to the boil, simmer for a set time, then beep and turn itself off.
As she tests kitchen gadgets for a living, Caramel needed plenty of worktop space. ‘Jon reclaimed an amazing beech worktop that dates from the Thirties, just like the house,’ she reveals.
Image credit: Paula Smith
She was also discerning about appliances. ‘I chose Whirlpool for clever features that save me time,’ Caramel says. Her pick includes a smart washing machine with a huge 12kg capacity that automatically adds detergent. ‘I only have to top it up with laundry liquid once every few months.’
The Whirlpool FSCR 12441 washing machine (left) and HSCX 10441 dryer (right) also feature app control, letting you operate them remotely and monitor performance and energy use.
A sliding door to the left of the fridge freezer partitions off the front room; perfect for when each member of the family needs their own space. Using one type of flooring throughout the entire ground floor adds to the open feel.
The fridge and freezer link together, offering more capacity than a combined fridge-freezer and A++ energy efficiency ratings all round.
‘Living on site during the build was hard but had advantages,’ admits Caramel. ‘Being here meant I could manage the project myself. It saved a lot of money but it’s a lot more work than it sounds and not for the faint-hearted.’
‘I’d say to anyone that when you find your expert, see their work and trust them,’ she adds. ‘I told Jon what I needed and showed him a moodboard on Pinterest but the I let him run with it. I love what he’s made, and it’s good knowing the kids will have loads of space as they grow up.’