Architect Jeremy King has created a contemporary kitchen extension for his mother at his childhood home in rural Hertfordshire.

In 1987, Ann King and her late husband Russell rescued a Grade II listed 16th century timber frame cottage, transforming it into a welcoming family home for them and their four children. Situated at the centre of a picturesque village green in the heart of a Hertfordshire Conservation Area, the house was originally two workers’ cottages.

“The house was very fragmented with no flow between the rooms, which was largely due to the badly planned layout,” Ann recalls.

The Project

  • Name: Jeremy King
  • Build cost: £135,000
  • Build time: 7 months
  • Location: Hertfordshire

“It lacked a spacious kitchen and living area — so I commissioned my son, architect Jeremy King, to tackle the problem and build an extension to create a new kitchen and family room in place of an existing garage building,” she explains.

I knew the house intimately as I grew up here,” Jeremy reflects. “The cottage follows what the French call an enfilade layout, which means there are no hallways as such and the rooms open up sequentially. Reconfiguring the space was a major consideration”.

The Kings originally received planning permission in 1989 but it wasn’t until well over a decade later that the project was revived. Although the planning was renewed every five years, the listed building status meant that Jeremy had to repeatedly consult both the planning and conservation officers.

“The concern was that the extension should reflect the earlier building,” Jeremy says. “I wanted to echo the elegance of the barn-style garage and stables, its use of few materials and its beautiful simplicity.”

So, Jeremy designed a timber-clad, barn-like structure using a combination of western redcedar and iroko timber. A clay tile roof extends at the rear to form a covered veranda, accessed through doors made up almost entirely of glass. They’re separated by in-keeping timber louvres, supported by ball-bearing casters set into the bottom of the heavy doors that run along a stainless steel track.

The new space marries a modern interior with an exterior that has been sensitively designed to sit well with the original house. “It reflects the heritage of the area’s agricultural buildings,” Jeremy explains. “Yet it has been given a modern twist to reflect its function — that of a contemporary living space.”

“The seven months of builders caravanning in the paddock were definitely worth it,” Jeremy admits. “The extension has breathed new life into the place and has altered our relationship with the house and the way it is used. It has corrected the circulation of the house so all the internal spaces feel properly balanced. The new kitchen has become the heart of the house and, most importantly, Mum loves it.”

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