It’s not what you do, it’s the way
ing in a windowed wall, the couple’s children, Huxley, six and Inez, three, romp straight out to the lawn. And since Amber, a food and travel journalist, is a keen cook, the old kitchen now runs through into the extension, creating lots more workspace, storage space and openness, with a fresh dining area at the end. Matthew and Amber call this reconfigured space a family room — a better term than “kitchen-diner”, for these are the spaces, apart from bed, that we spend most time in.
They did a loft conversion years ago and like most young Londoners, they had to save up first. Married in 2003, they bought their two-storey home from friends in 2007. It’s a “half-house” — a Victorian symmetrical house cut down the middle, purpose-built as two dwellings entered by a central front door. Two-up, two-down, plus a dog-leg with kitchen below and bathroom above, it was only about 800sq ft.
Fine for two, but not for four. The small, dark dining room got used as a hall-cum-dumping ground: “We had to shovel stuff off the table to eat.” But Matthew knew from the start that he
right, black grout, piped in with an icing bag, enhances the black brick in the skylit dining area of the extension could and would extend both up and out. In 2008, he flipped the upstairs bathroom and second bedroom and removed a small corridor, creating space for stairs to a future loft room.
They finally built that room once Inez was expected in 2013, but cut the timing a bit tight, so ended up doing the whole job in six weeks flat. “When I left to collect mother and baby from the
Black beauty: Small wonder: left, though modest in size, the extension makes a big difference, providing reconfigured space that Matthew and Amber call their “family room”
Value: Matthew Wood and Amber Dalton remodelled their home with a £70,000 budget
Get some perspective: a long throughview increases the house’s sense of space