The home, situated in Pirbright, Surrey, belongs to Jo Walker and her husband. Jo explains the background of the project. “We had lived here since the early 90s and loved our home and its location. Our three children had grown up here and it held lots of special memories. Over recent years though I had longed for a bigger kitchen space. The existing kitchen was very small, and although it led out to a conservatory on the back of the home this had started leaking and was always either too cold to use in the winter or too warm in the summer so never got used.
“We talked about moving to find somewhere that would give us the nice large family kitchen space we wanted but after an initial look around we decided we really did love it here so let’s find a way to create the space we wanted in our existing home.”
The couple lives in a conservation area so any designs would have to work within planning rules for such an area, but with an architect instructed they drew up plans for a single storey extension and were delighted to receive planning permission.
“We were so pleased when it was approved. With our family starting to grow again with the arrival of grandchildren the new bigger space would be the perfect hub in our home to share family times and socialise with friends.”
With their builder instructed and work underway, Jo started to think about the kitchen design. “When I started the search I was initially thinking we’d go for something very sleek and modern, but as I began looking at those options it just didn’t feel right. The house is full of Victorian features and while we wanted this new space to be open and modern it felt right to keep a design connection with the rest of the home’s spaces and find something with a more traditional edge.”
Jo visited Howdens in Guildford and decided on their Fairford range which has a traditional shaker style at its core but with a modern and clean approach. “Colour wise I wanted something quite sophisticated and smart and eventually chose the Charcoal finish. It felt grown-up and timeless and would contrast beautifully with the Silestone Calacatta Gold Eternal work surface I had my eye-on.”
Jo then turned her attention to the floors. “Before the building work started we had already agreed on wood floors for the space. I felt tiles would be too cold in such a large area and by choosing wood we would be adding a more natural floor which would connect better with the original Victorian style of the home.”
“We’d looked at a few options but when I mentioned them to our builder he was quick to recommend we look for a floor from the V4 Wood Flooring range as he had installed lots of their floors and they were really great quality, so we decided to head to their new V4 World showroom in Woking.”
Jo and her husband visited the showroom with the kitchen door and worktop samples in hand. “We wanted to find the perfect match to complement the kitchen finishes. I was looking for something a bit different from a classic natural oak finish – but I wasn’t quite sure what. The team were brilliant inside V4 World, so helpful and patient. We visited three times and took away different samples each time, seeing how they looked in our home under different lighting. We were definitely leaning towards a darker style of oak floor and after bringing home a sample of Urban Nature Wharf Grey it was really standing out to us.
“It was so unusual with a gorgeous mix of grey and brown oak tones and a lovely rustic finish. The white marble work surface we had chosen had gold veins running through it along with brown and grey tones and the two surface finishes seemed to complement each other beautifully.”
Decision made by their experienced installer Craig Collins Carpentry ordered and installed the wood floors over a new underfloor heating system. Once the installation was complete Craig added an extra coat of Ciranova Titan Matt Hardwax Oil to give the floor some added protection in this busy kitchen area.
“When I came home from work after he finished laying the floors I was quite nervous and on the brief glimpse, I got I still wasn’t sure if we’d made the right choice. He quickly covered the floors to protect them from the final building works so it felt like a big reveal when the space was finished and he removed the covers.
“Both my husband and I were taken aback at just how beautiful the floors looked. They worked perfectly in the space. We knew the unusual tones and textures in the planks were quite a bold choice but immediately we knew we had made the right one. They looked amazing.”
The extension had started in spring but due to delays on the large sliding patio doors, it wasn’t until the week before Christmas that the space was finished. “It was frustrating to be delayed purely down to one supplier as everything else had gone so smoothly, however when I saw it all finished I soon forgot about that and couldn’t wait to have our first Christmas Day in our new family space.”
The room has been finished with Farrow & Ball Strong White on the ceiling and Ammonite on the walls. Lights add beautiful contemporary detailing with Tula pedants from John Lewis over the kitchen island and a Tom Dixon pendant from Heals over the dining table.
“Most of the furniture in the space we had before, we may look to update it but it all works just fine. We did buy a new television for the room which can be hard to spot in the pictures. It’s the Samsung Picture Frame TV which looks like wall art when it is turned off. It’s a really fun addition to the space as you can change the picture and we try and find something that works with each season.”
“We are thrilled with the finished space. It’s given us everything we wanted and more without the need to move away from a home we loved. The floors are just wonderful to live with and so easy to keep clean. They also feel so warm and tactile under bare foot. We love socialising here now and whenever people visit for the first time their first reaction is always to the wood floors, they are wowed by them.”