Endsleigh specialise in Home Contents Insurance for people in the UK

Advice needed – kitchen quandry


It has become evident that since we’re already planning to rebuild the back wall of the house, we could extend the kitchen a few feet while we’re at it. The back annex we’re removing butts up against the kitchen – all that seperates the two is a false wall. At some point, a few feet were added to the kitchen and the back annex area was built on; a seperate roof covers part of the kitchen and all of the annex.

The concept is both exciting and scary. I’d love a nicer kitchen, but am nervous about how it will affect our other projects (and our social lives, or lack thereof!). We have to decide quickly, since we’re already knee-deep in demolition and can’t go much further without picking a route.

Here is a craptastic layout of the two rooms right now – I don’t have exact measurements with me, so this is all from memory:

(click for larger image)

The Pros:

  • The kitchen is small, so extra space here would be nice and would help resale value should we ever have to part with the house
  • We’d have room for a little eat-in kitchen and more storage/shelving space
  • The closet can be used as a pantry, and the door would already be there. We wanted to reclaim this as a pantry anyway, but would have had to cut a small-ish door and it would have been awkward b/c it’s right between the gas line and the current back wall.
  • It would make the door on the right less awkward. Right now it’s tucked away in the back
  • We’re probably going to want to add on at some point down the line anyway…. meaning, more disruption and work later if we don’t do it now

The Cons:

  • We don’t have money for a full renovation and we have no idea how much it will cost to add on 6 ft of space
  • We have MANY projects that need our attention, and adding space will add a considerable amount of time to this project. That means more time spent with only the NYS hazard insurance and less progress on other parts of the house.

Those are my thoughts……. would you guys like to weigh in and help us decide?

Comments, Thoughts, and Feedback

Brian had this to say on 03.24.05:

small additions cost more per sq ft. plus are 10 times more pain in the ars. theres still 1000 pieces to the puzzel just smaller pieces and trying to do it all in 100 ft. you stil have to blend the addition the same number of times you still have to match paint etc.
I just got done replacing the walls in our front porch with r rated wall. the ceiling and floor stayed the same and im wondering if it was worth it.
i also found carpenter ant today while doing siding so im grumpy.


Derek had this to say on 03.24.05:

It’s hard to tell from a floor plan how expensive it would be. Is there foundation under that 6′? How does the roof line tie in? It could be quite expensive to add less than 100 sq. ft. it may be worth building out a little farther for not much more money, like adding a nook, or a mudroom. You could get it to a livible stage, then finish it off as you go, finish the out side when you’re ready to paint, and finish the inside when you do the kitchen.

Kasmira had this to say on 03.24.05:

What a great opportunity! I’m excited for you. I would go for it. I’d add a breakfast nook, with bench seating – storage under the benches and maybe more storage behind (depending how wide the annex is). The pantry would be very nice too!

Gary had this to say on 03.24.05:

Knowing what I know now, I would have made our kitchen 4 feet wider when I had it gutted. It really isn’t hard to do framing. Buy a book about framing and add-ons. I’m sure they sell one at Home Depot or Lowes. Then consider these two options. The first, do nothing yet. Paint the back wall and get the insurance stuff taken care of. The second would be to frame the exterior and rebuild the section the size you want it to be. Paint the exterior and use the room as a “shed” or storage room until you have your kitchen plans finalized. Then you can wire it properly, insulate it, put in a floor, vault the roof and do the interior as an extension of your kitchen when you are ready to. The gas line is easy to extend and not a costly job as long as you have a good pipe wrench. The final stage would be to remove the interior wall or make the door opening wider. You could make a step down or step up breakfast nook if you wanted to.
Now, if you expand on the original footprint then you will need a permit. Your material cost is less than $2000 so a permit would be less than $100 I would expect assuming you do the work yourself. If you contract work you have to factor in labor cost when considering permits and that can get expensive. By putting up the frame and exterior wall you are masking the true nature of the work and it should help where insurance is concerned, at least cosmetically. The true cost of the materials is some 2X4s, some 3/4 inch plywood, nails and whatever you use as sheathing. You can always put your reclaimed siding on top of OSB if you want the space enclosed quickly and windows can be added later too. This room was probably a washroom or laundry when it was built.

Alex had this to say on 03.24.05:


From my experience, something like a small addition, given your DIY attitude and aptitude, will cost a lot more time than money. Basically I would contract out the hard stuff. The whole framing, structural stuff, and then you go ahead and do all of the finish, electrical and plumbing (if necessary) to save the necessary money. Also, if you DIY that part, you don’t have to do the whole kitchen renovation. A full kitchen renovation, with custom cabinets and high end appliances will run you in the neighborhood of $20,000 – $50,000 depending on what sort of stuff you go with. It is expensive, but so worth it in an old house. Rule of thumb on a full kitchen is to spend 15% of the total *value* of your house. Base the value as if your house were 100% complete with all of your projects, what would it sell for. But a bigger kitchen is almost ALWAYS a better kitchen, especially if your current kitchen is a smaller kitchen and you have the option to grow it. So basically just give yourself a little room now that you will end up using later for countertops. Just for now use it as a quaint breakfast nook eat in kitchen type area.

But like I said, more time than money, the permits and contractors that tend to go along with an addition just take FOREVER!

Besides, you are still young, what do you need a social life for?

Graham had this to say on 03.25.05:

Wow that is a tough one. However my two cents worth, is that you should probably spend the time and $$ to stabilize what you have now and put off the expansion until you can do it the way you want rather than being forced to do it under the current constraints you have now.

Carol had this to say on 03.25.05:

Hey guys! Well that’s a tough one, but since you mentioned you already repaired the footings on this existing 6 foot extension, I would keep it. I am not sure what that roofline is doing next to the original house, and it may need to be altered in pitch for appearances sake and drainage. Maybe add skylights to it while you are at it since its in the back of the house, its not original and it looks dark in there. I would put everything else on hold and save the 6 feet extension, continue wrecking the 12X12 part and maybe put a deck there in its place. Work slow as your money will allow- I am sure everyone will want to help you frame it in the Spring when your weather is nice.

mindy had this to say on 03.25.05:

Hi all,

Great ideas! Thanks for your input, you have no idea how much it helps to hear your experiences, thoughts, and various ways of approaching a project. I knew you guys would help me sort through the options!

It never occured to me that we could build the shell of the expansion and not finish it just yet, as Gary suggested. When I read that, I had an “aha” moment. Since we haven’t come close to deciding on a final layout for the kitchen, I think this would be a good move for us. It’d solve the insurance problem and we wouldn’t be wasting the opportunity to expand, which I’m sure we’d kick ourselves for later. But we would have time to really think about what we want for the kitchen. And, importantly, time to save some money up so we can do the things we really want to do in there, like add a nice bay window and tons of storage. I also love the idea of having the nook raised or lowered a bit to define the space.

Sometimes, being so close to a project makes it hard to see the best solutions – thanks for giving me a fresh look at things. You guys rock!


Kristin had this to say on 03.25.05:

I was going to suggest building the shell and leaving it unfinished also, so I’ll vote for that course of action. A larger kitchen is always a good idea!

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