Maximising on light and space was essential for creating a multi-functional, central hub in this elegant family home based in a quiet corner of Essex.
The desire for a bright, open-plan kitchen initially drew the owners of this attractive property to explore ideas for an orangery extension. Their house had a long narrow kitchen with a small dining table at one end and utility at the other, but they had visions of a large, classic styled kitchen and living space that offered modern functionality and comfort. They wanted to be able to prepare supper, dine together and then relax in the evenings, all in the same space. Having a central kitchen island with a breakfast bar, a butler sink, and a distressed mirrored splashback was also high on the client’s wish list.
Our designers used their expertise to create a kitchen-diner orangery extension that has quickly become everyone’s favourite room in the house. We also managed the planning permission on behalf of the clients, saving them time and stress.
We removed two adjacent walls and incorporated a previously separate sitting area to create a large open-plan living room. The room was then further extended with the beautiful, glazed orangery, which floods light back into the once darker areas of the ground floor. We also added a small downstairs restroom and an enviable boot room to the side of the property, which helps to keep the main living areas free from clutter. To keep everything looking neat and uniform, we removed the old utility roof on the other side of the property and replaced with a new flat roof and parapet mouldings to match the orangery.
Spacious and welcoming, the new space encourages the family to come together, inviting a happy and social environment within the home. It’s where the family now spend the most time together, being ideal for a range of activities from practicing scales on the piano, to arranging flowers in vases in the kitchen. We included a subtle lighting scheme to help create an inviting atmosphere as the evenings close in.
Fully understanding the nature of timber as a building material, we always use engineered wood, with an external layer of Accoya® to ensure durability and longevity. Accoya® is a reliable and robust material which does not shrink or swell, so the joints, panes and frames of the orangery keep their perfect fit. What’s more, Accoya is made from fast-growing, sustainable FSC® or PEFC™ Radiata pine and is carbon neutral throughout its entire life cycle.
A magnificent rectangular roof lantern with resin ball finials and solar reflective glazing acts as a real focal point in the room, extending the ceiling height, allowing natural light to stream to the small dining table below and ensuring the informal dining area doesn’t look lost in the large, open-plan room. Decorative moulding on the underside creates a timeless, detailed look that you can only achieve through classic timber joinery techniques. Automatic, thermostatic air vents maintain a comfortable temperature, opening when the room feels warm in order to draw the hot air up, creating air flow – ensuring good ventilation in a kitchen is essential. They close as the room cools or when the rain sensors detect the first few drops from heavy clouds above.
Double French doors open up onto a path that leads round to the side of the property, with a neatly manicured lawn directly opposite which is the perfect spot for family picnics in the summer. The classic, top hung Casement windows with oversized internal window cills offer close-up views of the twisted trees and shrubs at the back of the garden and the charming network of red-brick walls covered in climbers to the side.
Although it features all the comforts of a premium, modern living space, the orangery still harmonises with the main house’s period style. Our designers ensured that the orangery wouldn’t look out of place next to the additional flat roof extension, side lean-to conservatory and first-floor bedroom extension the homeowners previously added in past renovation projects. The orangery’s brickwork perfectly matches the existing building walls, and the clients went with a paint colour called Portland Stone, which is a soft white with a mossy green tint.
We spray-applied the joinery with three coats of water-based microporous paint in our workshops, resulting in a flawless finish. We always use Teknos products, as their high-quality paint systems help to protect the joinery from UV exposure, weather conditions and fungal damage. All that’s required is a gentle wash down with soapy water on a biannual basis, and the paint will stay smooth and crack-free for up to 12 years before they need repainting. By combining Accoya® and Teknos paint, the timber structure will last for 50 years or more.
External Joinery Colour: Portland Stone
Internal Joinery Colour: Portland Stone