By extending the ground floor of their Victorian home, Sarah Bloomfield and Stewart Pettey have created an open-plan space that’s perfect for adults and children alike
Find out how Sarah Bloomfield and Stewart Pettey extended their Victorian home to create an open-plan space, plus shop painted furniture
ASa family of five living in a typical Victorian terrace house, it wasn’t long before Sarah and Stewart realised their home was too small. ‘We were spending an increasing amount of time in separate rooms,’ explains Sarah. ‘It didn’t help that our old dining room – right in the middle of the house, with one small window – was pretty gloomy, particularly during the long, dark winter months.’ The couple considered moving to a larger home, but as they loved the area they lived in so much, they decided a better option was to invest in their current property and extend at the rear to create the space they desperately needed.
Planning the extension
Having been impressed by similar extension projects that their friends had completed, the couple chose to use the same builders, Incurve Construction, who then introduced them to architect Johanna Ahrberg Jackson from Ahrberg Jackson Design. ‘During the first meeting with Johanna, we discussed our lifestyle and how we planned to use the space,’ says Sarah. ‘We were both keen to maintain the character and overall look of our Victorian home. The biggest problem we faced was that there were several different floor levels in the house with steps leading up to the kitchen, another step to the dining room and then one more into the entrance hall. We were concerned that this would be a barrier to achieving our goal of one large room.’
Having taken on board all of the couple’s ideas and concerns, Johanna came back with a series of design concepts for them to choose from. ‘She showed us that by levelling off the new and old space, we could create the layout we had in mind,’ Sarah explains. The extension would have clearly defined zones, with areas for cooking, eating and relaxing, while a pitched roof with skylights would bring in plenty of light and enhance the feeling of space.
With the architectural details decided, Sarah and Stewart focused on choosing the layout, colour and style of their new kitchen units. The couple confess to spending months studying interior magazines and trailing around kitchen showrooms for inspiration. ‘Although we didn’t know exactly what we wanted, I’ve always liked Shaker-style kitchens and Devol’s products immediately stood out from anything else we’d seen,’ says Sarah.
Their first Devol kitchen crush was a photo featuring dark navy units with brass handles, teamed with a white marble worktop, but following a trip to the company’s Northamptonshire showroom, the couple had a rethink. ‘We felt that the deep blue might be a little overpowering, especially as we intended to have a wall of cupboards opposite the kitchen painted in the same colour,’ says Sarah. ‘We chose a softer blue-grey shade that still adds plenty of colour without dominating the space.’
Choosing the right flooring was another major consideration, and although Sarah loved the idea of fitting a wooden floor, she was concerned it would be difficult to maintain. ‘I’m a childminder, so didn’t want to be constantly worried about spilling paint, glue and glitter on a beautiful wooden floor,’ she says. Instead, the couple invested in hard-wearing, porcelain wood-effect tiles, and although these, combined with the underfloor heating they chose to install, took them over budget, they are more than happy with their final choice. ‘After months of various spillages, plus scooters and trikes racing around on it, the floor still looks as good as new,’ says Sarah.
The work took six months to complete and the family lived in the house throughout the process. ‘The hardest part was when the rear of the house was knocked out,’ admits Sarah. ‘It was an odd feeling knowing that the back of your beautiful Victorian terrace was now a pile of bricks.’ The project has achieved exactly what the family had hoped, however, as it’s brought them closer together. ‘Often, I’m preparing dinner while my daughter is at the table doing something creative, and the boys are sitting watching television,’ Sarah says. ‘There were moments during the process when Stewart and I missed our old house, but now it’s finished, we are thrilled with the outcome.’
‘There were moments during the process when we missed our old house, but now it’s finished, we’re thrilled with the outcome’