Budget Breakdown: In London, a Midcentury-Inspired Kitchen Update Leads to a $229K Home Revamp

Nicola and Patrick had been dreaming of an extension for almost two decades—and 4 S Architecture managed to pack everything they wanted into a smaller footprint than they expected.

From the moment they moved into their semidetached Victorian home in London in 2006, Nicola and Patrick Kendall dreamed of renovating their kitchen—but life and more pressing home improvements got in the way.

Located at the top of a steep hill overlooking a conservation area, the home had a ground-floor kitchen and a large, private garden—but connections between the two spaces were limited. The garden could be glimpsed through a tiny window above the sink, and the only access point was through a shoddy conservatory made from unplasticized PVC.

Nicola and Patrick Kendall‘s new kitchen features green kit kat tiles, a terrazzo-effect rubber floor, white cabinetry, and cherry veneer cabinets. The clients originally wanted teak cabinets, but 4 S Architecture suggested an alternative. "We couldn’t get behind teak as a product, so we used FSC-certified European cherry that has less air miles than American cherry," explains architect Julia Hamson. "The client was really pleased with the result."

Nicola and Patrick Kendall‘s new kitchen features green kit kat tiles, a terrazzo-effect rubber floor, white cabinetry, and cherry veneer cabinets. The clients originally wanted teak cabinets, but 4 S Architecture suggested an alternative. "We couldn’t get behind teak as a product, so we used FSC-certified European cherry that has less air miles than American cherry," explains architect Julia Hamson. "The client was really pleased with the result."

$5,985
Site Work
$12,045
Foundations
$24,872
Structural
$29,887
Wall Finishes
$4,901
Flooring
$5,846
Roofing
$6,199
Electrical
$5,078
Plumbing
$8,568
Heating & Ventilation
$12,159
Landscaping
$15,561
Kitchen & Bath Fixtures
$14,244
Cabinetry
$13,734
Windows & Glazing
$13,633
Doors
$7,560
Tilework
$1,796
Metalwork
$325
Planning
$1,197
Approved Inspector
$5,229
General Contractor Fee
$33,674
Architect Fee
$687
Party Wall Agreement
$2,016
Measured Survey
$3,710
Structural Engineer

Grand Total: $228,906
The home now features an elegant, brick side extension with a rounded form. "I really wanted a curved wall," says Nicola. "It all began with an image of a house on a mood board I put together on Pinterest."

The home now features an elegant, brick side extension with a rounded form. "I really wanted a curved wall," says Nicola. "It all began with an image of a house on a mood board I put together on Pinterest."

Before: The original garden was underutilized. "Before the renovation, the garden wasn’t the nicest," recalls Nicola. "We made the most of it but it just feels so much more polished and clean now. It’s more grown up."

Before: The original garden was underutilized. "Before the renovation, the garden wasn’t the nicest," recalls Nicola. "We made the most of it but it just feels so much more polished and clean now. It’s more grown up."

The Kendalls initially worked with an architect to obtain planning permission for both a rear and a side extension—although the layout would have compromised the most desirable part of the garden. Later, Nicola reached out to 4 S Architecture founder Julia Hamson, who she had met through her book club 17 years ago.

Before: The kitchen had an L shape, and the dining table had to be positioned in a way that made it tricky to access. "The original kitchen was more of a thoroughfare," says Nicola. "It also had all these horrible, cracked quarry tiles—it was pretty grim!"

Before: The kitchen had an L shape, and the dining table had to be positioned in a way that made it tricky to access. "The original kitchen was more of a thoroughfare," says Nicola. "It also had all these horrible, cracked quarry tiles—it was pretty grim!"

Before: The original kitchen led to an unplasticized PVC conservatory, which opened to the garden. "The conservatory was baking hot in the summer and freezing in the winter, so it wasn’t very usable," says Hamson.

Before: The original kitchen led to an unplasticized PVC conservatory, which opened to the garden. "The conservatory was baking hot in the summer and freezing in the winter, so it wasn’t very usable," says Hamson.

"Nicola and Patrick knew the house had great potential when they bought it," says Hamson. "The main brief was to create a better connection with the garden and more space for entertaining—they love to cook and are definitely party people!"

Hamson drew up a plan that would fit everything the couple wanted into a 30-percent smaller side extension while transforming part of the garden into a sun-drenched entertaining terrace.

The new kitchen is accessed via the main entrance hall, down three steps made from a timber that echoes the cherry cabinetry. The stairs are framed by green slatted cabinets finished in Jewel Beetle paint by Little Greene.

The new kitchen is accessed via the main entrance hall, down three steps made from a timber that echoes the cherry cabinetry. The stairs are framed by green slatted cabinets finished in Jewel Beetle paint by Little Greene.

The outdoor dining area connects to the new kitchen through a fine-frame double-glazed sliding door by Sieger Systems. This was one of the more expensive line items of the renovation—the doors and triple-glazed windows throughout cost just over $27K in total—but it was essential to achieve the connection the client was looking for. The slatted screen was another important feature. "It creates a backdrop for the dining area that makes the terrace feel more like an outdoor room that is separate from the rest of the garden," explains Hamson.

The outdoor dining area connects to the new kitchen through a fine-frame double-glazed sliding door by Sieger Systems. This was one of the more expensive line items of the renovation—the doors and triple-glazed windows throughout cost just over $27K in total—but it was essential to achieve the connection the client was looking for. The slatted screen was another important feature. "It creates a backdrop for the dining area that makes the terrace feel more like an outdoor room that is separate from the rest of the garden," explains Hamson.

"The original proposed rear extension was just interior space they didn’t need," notes Hamson. She also explained that scaling back the project would yield significant cost savings—up to 20 percent—as less materials would be needed for the build.

The extension’s curved facade helps ease circulation to the garden and the entertaining terrace. The structure is clad in Taylor Maxwell Wienerberger W445 bricks in Wheat.

The extension’s curved facade helps ease circulation to the garden and the entertaining terrace. The structure is clad in Taylor Maxwell Wienerberger W445 bricks in Wheat.

The design team set bespoke green slatted doors on standard cabinets from DIY Kitchens. The triple-glazed O-Lite skylights by Roof Maker bring sunshine into the formerly dark space, and add another curved element to the midcentury modern–inspired space.

The design team set bespoke green slatted doors on standard cabinets from DIY Kitchens. The triple-glazed O-Lite skylights by Roof Maker bring sunshine into the formerly dark space, and add another curved element to the midcentury modern–inspired space.

Nicola and Patrick love midcentury-modern design, and they wanted the extension to evoke that style without feeling at odds with their Victorian-era home. "That’s where the color choice and material palette came from, as well as the curved forms," says Hamson. For these elements, the architect drew inspiration from Bauhaus-era posters, and an existing curved arch at the home’s entrance.

The clients sourced a mix of vintage dining chairs that reflect their love of midcentury-modern design. The slatted Scandia Junior dining chairs were designed by Hans Brattrud in 1957, and the green upholstered chairs were designed by Yugoslavian designer Stol Kamnik in the 1960s.

The clients sourced a mix of vintage dining chairs that reflect their love of midcentury-modern design. The slatted Scandia Junior dining chairs were designed by Hans Brattrud in 1957, and the green upholstered chairs were designed by Yugoslavian designer Stol Kamnik in the 1960s.

The dining area in the new side extension provides plenty of space for the couple’s 16.4-foot-long, live-edge timber table, which they have had for many years. Nearby stands a slim kitchen island clad in vibrant green kit-kat tiles. "There’s lots of space to get up and move around now," says Nicola. "We’ve had a few evenings dancing around the island, and that’s been lovely." 

The backsplash is made from the same green kit kat tiles that clad the island. The countertops are Silestone, a solid surface by Cosentino, and cost $3,800. To save on overhead and profit costs—which are usually calculated by the contractor at 10% to 15%—the clients purchased the tapware, kitchen appliances, and lighting themselves. The Muuto Rime pendants retail at $438 for the small size and $570 for the medium size.

The backsplash is made from the same green kit kat tiles that clad the island. The countertops are Silestone, a solid surface by Cosentino, and cost $3,800. To save on overhead and profit costs—which are usually calculated by the contractor at 10% to 15%—the clients purchased the tapware, kitchen appliances, and lighting themselves. The Muuto Rime pendants retail at $438 for the small size and $570 for the medium size.

The kitchen opens directly to the terrace through large sliding glass doors that allow the garden to be seen from the home’s entrance. A bespoke timber screen (which obscures a neighboring property’s unattractive brick wall) features a playful curved design crafted from off-the-shelf roof battens.

"The challenge was to be creative with standard building materials to create a more luxurious feel," says Hamson. "It was tricky to achieve the curves without using curved elements or special bricks, which would have been expensive and potentially difficult to build with."

4 S Architecture cleverly designed the kitchen cabinets to combine a luxe appearance with cost-effective construction. All of the cabinet frames were sourced from DIY Kitchens and delivered preassembled, which cut down on labor costs. The white cabinet doors are from DIY Kitchens, while the cherry veneer doors are bespoke. "We worked with as many off-the-shelf products as we could to minimize cost, and we added a few bespoke items to elevate the scheme," explains Hamson. 

4 S Architecture cleverly designed the kitchen cabinets to combine a luxe appearance with cost-effective construction. All of the cabinet frames were sourced from DIY Kitchens and delivered preassembled, which cut down on labor costs. The white cabinet doors are from DIY Kitchens, while the cherry veneer doors are bespoke. "We worked with as many off-the-shelf products as we could to minimize cost, and we added a few bespoke items to elevate the scheme," explains Hamson. 

From the beginning, Nicola wanted the kitchen to be easy to clean—and practicality was a major factor in the selection of finishes. The terrazzo-effect rubber floor, for example, has a speckled appearance that disguises any crumbs and a seamless finish with no grout lines. It’s also incredibly durable, which caters to relaxed indoor/outdoor entertaining.

The terrazzo-effect rubber flooring by Nora is paired with an acoustic underlay. A cherry veneer bookcase for cookbooks is set between the kitchen cabinets and a closet for coats and shoes.

The terrazzo-effect rubber flooring by Nora is paired with an acoustic underlay. A cherry veneer bookcase for cookbooks is set between the kitchen cabinets and a closet for coats and shoes.

The kitchen renovation was a long time coming—nearly two decades—and during the pandemic, materials and labor costs rose dramatically. As a result, the construction budget needed to be revised from about $75,000 in 2006 to around $165,000 when 4 S Architecture took over. Hamson advised the Kendalls to also allow for a 15 percent contingency, which ended up being used when unforeseen underpinning was needed and materials costs rose even further. They also spent just over $40,000 on professional fees, such as the architect, surveyor, and structural engineer.

The clients have a large collection of indoor plants, so 4 S Architecture included plenty of places for them—from the deep windowsills to the semirecessed extractor above the island with an integrated shelf. "We had originally specified a fully flush extractor system, but they are very expensive," says Hamson. "We went for one that is semirecessed—it’s cost effective but still has less visual impact than a dropped extractor."

The clients have a large collection of indoor plants, so 4 S Architecture included plenty of places for them—from the deep windowsills to the semirecessed extractor above the island with an integrated shelf. "We had originally specified a fully flush extractor system, but they are very expensive," says Hamson. "We went for one that is semirecessed—it’s cost effective but still has less visual impact than a dropped extractor."

"It was really stressful," recalls Nicola. "It’s still quite stressful, as we spent a lot on the kitchen and cost of living is so high at the moment. We actually just sold a flat we owned to make up for the fact that we spent more than what we originally intended to. We don’t regret it, though—it’s changed our lives."

"My orange cats look really good in the green kitchen now," says Nicola. She’s currently working toward becoming a certified counsellor, and she uses the new kitchen to study during the day. 

"My orange cats look really good in the green kitchen now," says Nicola. She’s currently working toward becoming a certified counsellor, and she uses the new kitchen to study during the day. 

The couple also note that the scope expanded over the course of the project. During construction, the upstairs bathroom was partially destroyed when temporary structural props needed to be put in. Instead of simply paying the contractor to fix the existing bathroom, they decided to update it in the same style as the kitchen.

The couple opted to update the upstairs bathroom to embrace the design language of the renovated kitchen. It has green kit kat tiles behind the basin and a round mirror that echoes the skylights and rounded forms in the extension.

The couple opted to update the upstairs bathroom to embrace the design language of the renovated kitchen. It has green kit kat tiles behind the basin and a round mirror that echoes the skylights and rounded forms in the extension.

"I don’t feel like I ‘just’ got a kitchen, because the bathroom and outdoor area also changed," says Nicola. "The renovation has brought a calmness to our lives as it’s such a beautiful space and has a great connection to the garden—bringing the outside in was a big thing for us. I love being in the kitchen, studying at the dining table, and doing yoga in the mornings. It’s such a lovely space, and we couldn’t have done it without Julia." 

Floor Plan of Curve House by 4 S Architecture

Floor Plan of Curve House by 4 S Architecture

Contractor: Lidax Building Solutions Ltd

Structural Engineer: Morph Structures

Party Wall Surveyor: David Franklyn Party Walls

Approved Inspector: Wilkinsons Construction Consultants

Windows: Velfac

Rooflights: Roof Maker

Rubber Flooring: Nora Systems

Countertops: Cosentino

Photographer: Henry Woide / @henrywoide

Mandi Keighran
Design and travel writer based in London.

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