Kitchen Tour: A 1930s Semi Gains Light and a Connection to Nature
A bright, airy, family extension replaces a “falling apart” conservatory and links the new room to the garden
The extension is north-facing, so architect Yaniv Peer had to work extra hard to introduce as much light as possible. His design includes an abundance of skylights in the unusually shaped green roof, with additional windows above the bifold doors and behind the sink, bringing masses of light into the new room.
Who lives here? An opera singer, a conductor and their three young children
Location North London
Property A 1930s semi-detached house
Kitchen dimensions 7.6 x 5m
Designer Yaniv Peer of Iguana Architects
Photos by Juliet Murphy
“The original brief was to create a space that worked for the family – so [the parents] could see the kids while they were cooking and so on,” Yaniv says. “They also wanted to get a bit more light in and make it less chaotic.”
“We ran a daylight modelling analysis on the design, so we knew where the sun was at different times of the day, and it was about trying to maximise light in the morning and late afternoon, when the family needed it most,” he says.
Before any of that, the first hurdle to jump was Planning Permission, as the proposal didn’t fall under Permitted Development. “These 1930s properties have a rear projection, almost an L-shape, which meant the extension couldn’t be a simple shape, so we went for a full planning application. Once you go down that route, you may as well go for a couple of extra metres, as it doesn’t cost that much more, relatively speaking,” says Yaniv, who made the leap from his previous job to open his own practice as this project unfolded, using Houzz to research how others had tackled similar extensions.
Nevertheless, the project, which also included a loft conversion, was completed one week after the baby arrived. “We’ve since become friends,” Yaniv says, “and I now have three other projects on the same road.”
Concrete style finish wall lights, Lighting Styles.
The kitchen is made from birch ply, a combination of 12mm and 18mm. “The surround edges are all faced and bevelled,” Yaniv says. “The aim of seeing the exposed grain is to connect back to nature and they are covered with a water-resistant oil stain. The fascias are spray-painted in colours the owners chose.” The panels above the window behind the sink slide, so the owners can hide clutter and display attractive items.
The splashback window is another light source for the room and the owners have since added a planter just outside it, making the greenery growing in it visible from indoors.
The engineered wood flooring adds another natural element to the design. “We chose it for its 14.2mm oak surface, which allows for three sanding layers – key with three kids!” Yaniv explains
Kitchen painted in Proud Peacock, Dulux and Victorian Eclectic 4, Crown. Pyrolytic Slide and Hide single electric oven; built-in combination microwave oven, both Neff at John Lewis & Partners. Ascot 190 Western European Oak engineered wood flooring, Spacers Tile and Wood Flooring.
To keep the profile minimal, the doors to the units are handleless, but have niches routed out for ease of opening, with a mix of soft-touch and touch-catch fixings.
The dining table adds yet more wooden warmth to the space; it belonged to the grandparents of one of the homeowners.
The sleek hob is flush to the island work surface (all the slimline worktops are 25mm quartz). “The cool thing about it is that it takes up only the space of one top drawer, so you’re left with lots of storage space,” Yaniv says.
The raised, circular detail in the centre of the hob is the extractor fan; the duct is the same width as the fan opening and this goes down through the centre of the island and under the floor screed. It runs over to the window and comes out on the other side of the left-hand wall.
Quartz worktop, Planet Marble.
Elicia NikolaTesla HP ducting induction hob, John Lewis & Partners. Concrete and ash wood pendants, Forest & Co.
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The glazing above them follows the line of the roof to take advantage of morning and evening light. “I think the M-shape gives the extension a quirky look a bit like a face with one eyebrow a little raised,” Yaniv says. It’s not purely aesthetic, of course. Rather than going with a flat roof, Yaniv designed this structure to maximise the amount of light flooding in to the space above the bifolds, particularly important due to the north-easterly orientation of the extension.
If you scroll back to the first photo, you’ll see there’s a very small post between the top of the bifolds and the roof. “This supports the central valley of the roof,” Yaniv explains. “My business partner is also a structural engineer, which is why we don’t have many internal structural supports. It was quite a challenge and that tiny post was the key to making it work.”
The timber between the rooflights is clad in birch ply to match the kitchen.
Blanco Andano InFino undermount kitchen sink, Cofaro.com. Concetto kitchen mixer, Grohe.
The extension is a hip to gable design and features a central gutter, which allows rain to drain like a waterfall and to percolate into the ground. “It was quite a pain to convince Building Control to allow this,” Yaniv says, laughing at the memory. “We made a maquette [model] and ran a hosepipe, so they could see exactly how it would work.”
What do you like about this unusual extension? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.