Finally the long winter months have moved along and made way for bright mornings, longer days and dare we say some long awaited hot weather. It’s no wonder then, that in the summer months we all like to make the most of every last minute of sunshine. The kitchen is so commonly the hub of the home – the core of the family space – that it makes perfect sense to try and unite the kitchen with the garden. So how can you connect these two spaces and what can you do to make the most of the great outdoors from the comfort of your kitchen?
Garden Rooms & Conservatories
Positioning your kitchen within a garden room or conservatory seems like the obvious way to utilise the sunshine – you’ll maximise the light that flows in, add some interesting character to the room and it allows the kitchen to naturally open onto the garden. However, there are potential complications with positioning your kitchen within a glazed extension, specifically in a conservatory. The constant solar exposure can lead to a potential rise in temperature and make temperature regulation problematic; meaning that the conservatory could become too hot in summer and too cold in winter. This can also have an impact upon your cabinetry and appliances. The direct sunlight can cause a localised rise in temperature and could mean that your appliances, such as the fridge for example, would need to work harder to stay cool, in turn using more electricity. In addition, if your cabinetry is timber this could begin to warp when exposed to increases in heat.
Should you find that your garden room or conservatory does get hot in extreme weather, there are adaptations such as automatic opening windows and vents that will help to regulate temperature and there is of course the option to install a good quality air-conditioning unit. However, if you have an open-plan layout then we would suggest positioning the living or dining area in the garden room with the kitchen positioned within the main building, in order to minimise the impact on kitchen cabinetry and appliances. Our Orford project (pictured below) is a beautiful example of this – the kitchen flows onto a stunning garden room which features a dining table and sofa area. The kitchen benefits from the light and atmosphere of the garden room without putting the appliances and cabinetry under the potential strain of constant exposure to sunlight.
Roof lanterns are an alternative option to a fully glazed garden room. By keeping some of the roof tiled the temperature will be regulated more efficiently, meaning it will stay cool in summer and retain heat better in winter, all without sacrificing the sunlight streaming in. Depending on the size of the room and roof lanterns, these may still require vents, but the overall heat in the room will be easier to control than if the whole roof is glazed. Our Audley project (pictured below) really emphasises the beauty of roof lanterns. Teamed with our bespoke Audley furniture, the grandeur of the room is enhanced. But what if you want to create flow between the kitchen and garden? What options other than a garden room will allow your kitchen to seamlessly open onto your garden?
Bifold doors that open directly onto the garden help to unite the two spaces, making it easy to eat al fresco; enjoying the outside space and kitchen simultaneously. A fully glazed wall will of course encourage light into the space whilst the benefit of bifold doors is their ability to create an extended socialising space. If you have a patio or decked area just beyond the doors guests can gather in the garden within easy reach of the kitchen – perfect for topping up drinks or keeping an eye on dinner cooking inside. Equally, if you’re looking to create a busy family kitchen that’s enjoyable to use all year round, bifold doors will enable you to busy away in the kitchen whilst the children play outside, close enough to keep a watchful eye and well within earshot.
Bearing all this in mind, your kitchen designer will work with you on your new kitchen so that the space is designed to incorporate the garden to benefit your own personal requirements. Even in the cooler months bifold doors, a garden room or roof lanterns will encourage light into the kitchen, meaning that it is beautifully lit all year round, creating a more relaxing and inviting space to enjoy.