Our clients owned a pleasant 19th century home with an extensive back garden in the village of Dirleton, East Lothian. Life for them was transformed with the arrival of triplets in 1996 and we were contacted shortly afterwards to deal with the architectural aftermath of this domestic event.

Our solution in this case was to semi-demolish the previous build-out at the rear of this modest 19th Century house, and to place in it a nursery at the garden end, a kitchen in the central section and connecting to this kitchen the previous kitchen within the main body of the house which was converted into a dining area. The house in effect has not been extended but was simply rationalised to provide more efficient use of the space and to place next to the garden those rooms which would benefit by their location there.

Since the kitchen is a place in which most families spend their lives, we made the kitchen itself into a "console" which faces on to the garden with the work surface area arranged in a gentle curve, looking on to the garden. To the rear of the kitchen is the Aga and all the storage units and equipment etc and above is and east facing rooflight reflecting light from a high level mirror back into the room. The chief feature of the kitchen is the window arrangement which is on horizontal pivots with counterweights so that all the windows are capable of being counterweighted up into a horizontal position allowing the kitchen to be completely free to the garden; indeed the idea is that cooking and preparation of food can take place as if in the garden.

The kitchen extends directly into the dining area, which gives access directly on to the garden. At the garden end of the kitchen is a nursery with a corner window seat dug into the gently rising ground. This corner window seat becomes part of the garden when the windows are slid back with no corner structure at this point.

Other Details

Architects Richard Murphy, Peter Besley
Engineers David Narro
Contractor Inscape Joinery
Construction Cost £60,000
Client Simon & Susan Morrison

Awards

1998 EAA High Commendation
1999 RIBA Award

Press

Winter 2001 Garden Room 25 Beautiful Kitchens
7 November 1999 It's High Time To Extend Yourself Sunday Telegrpah
14 January 1999 Room For Growth Architects' Journal
6 December 1998 Vanishing Walls Let Outdoors In The Sunday Times
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