This is an edited version of the original article since the “kitchen” is my main objection.


The living room is the largest room in the flat, extending the full width of the structural bay, containing an L shaped row of kitchen units completely ruining the effect.

Every time I look at this I think it stinks – it’s appalling – it’s not a kitchen

“Why no separate kitchen, surely it can’t be the cost of the walls?” I asked. “How much do two walls cost out of £300k?” I continued.

There was a pause.

“The bedrooms and the rest of the apartment are spacious.  The space for a kitchen has to come from somewhere” – he replied.

LDS have ruined the living room. For want of a kitchen

I paraphrase.  I wasn’t recording the exchange.

“Do any of the flats on the entire development have a separate kitchen?” I pressed on.

“No” was the succinct answer.

So there you have it.  Berkeley Homes are not providing separate kitchens in any of the flats on any of the phases of Kidbrooke Village.

A fellow blogger has written about Claredale Street and I have quoted part of his blog here:-

“She said that only after you move in do you begin to notice the small niggles. She wasn’t a big fan of the open plan layout with the kitchen and living area combined because of the noise and smells from the cooking.”

Claredale Street article

Who stole my living room?

I would advise you to fit the biggest extractor you can, recirculating fans are next to useless. Open plan kitchen/living areas are all the rage now but, personally, I would never knock walls down to achieve one. My daughter lived in a brand new, upmarket open plan maisonette up to a couple of years ago.

It had an externally vented extractor hood but the heat & smell in the living area were close to unbearable in summer & in winter you got severe condensation as well & if you opened windows you freeze to death. The whole place also stank of your last meal for hours on end & even next day; fashionable or not I’d never have open plan in a million years.

http://www.diynot.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=283895

You haven’t heard the punchline yet.  The window fouls the tap (in photo above), so in order to accommodate the window opening the tap folds down into the sink.  You couldn’t make it up.

More photos on Flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/singleaspect/sets/72157627547170996/

It’s not that I’m against open plan kitchens when done properly.  But this is no such thing.  They might as well have put a toilet in the middle of the living room and called a guest facility.  It is totally out of place.  If the room were L shaped and the kitchen was in the stub with a breakfast bar across then ok, at least an effort would have been made towards separate kitchen

In this case not only is the kitchen in the living room but there is no way without building walls to make it separate.  The kitchen units have been dumped in the living room.

This from the RIBA:-

8 sqm is the single bedroom you’re missing. It’s the space for a new arrival to the family, the space that means the kids have a room of their own or a spare room for a guest to stay over. It’s the space that could take the kitchen out of the lounge and the sounds and smells that go with it.

CaseforSpace.pdf


Bathrooms

If they hadn’t put that large ensuite bathroom in it would have left about 8 sqm for a kitchen and the existing bathroom off the hall might have been used by both occupants of the flat, what’s wrong with that?

I’ve had second thoughts about this. If you can afford a large flat and you want two bathrooms there’s nothing wrong with that in terms of facilities, the problem is in the way the space has been allocated in the flat to deny the occupants a separate kitchen. I cannot understand how anybody would want the kitchen in the living room, it just doesn’t add up.

There is another problem though which is hierarchy. One couple has the en-suite and the others have to walk along the hall to use the bathroom which is also used by visitors. This introduces a degree of first and second class that didn’t exist when dwellings only had one bathroom.

I’m obviously out of touch with modern living because I don’t care for the level of privilege implied unless it’s a parents / children thing. The parents have the en-suite and the kids the other bathroom? Or will it be two couples sharing the flat? Or one couple with a guest room?


Excuse for a kitchen

It needs the existing units ripping out and the walls made good. Then a room divider built parallel with the North wall (the one with the small window in it) perhaps incorporating glass blocks. Full height floor to ceiling such that a galley kitchen is created gaining light from two sources, these being the balcony full height windows and the small window on the outside wall.

This would diminish the room available for lounge seating but make possible the separation of cooking smells and noise from the remaining space which might then be used jointly used for dining  / living.


UPDATE: 8/9/13 Two years on and I haven’t changed my mind. I couldn’t live there as it is. If however the plan I outlined above were to be implemented and a full height solid room divider was installed, with a door, such that a galley kitchen were to be created then it may perhaps become a home. I’m not holding my breath.

UPDATE 7/12/13: This one article (out of over 300) has caused me more sleepless nights than any other. It’s not really the bathroom issue here that bothers me, if you can afford them I guess you can have as many bathrooms as you like. It’s the lack of a kitchen that grates. I just don’t see how you can live comfortably with cooking smells and noise in the living room. It doesn’t add up. Perhaps you eat out most of the time and only use the the “kitchen” to make coffee?

UPDATE 27/2/17: I still wouldn’t buy one, four years on. If I had a spare £500,000 and wanted to live in London, despite the poor air quality, I “might” buy a flat in Alexandra Road because they are so well laid out and I like the sliding door to the kitchen. Braithwaite House on Bunhill Row also appeals owing to the scissor layout. But here? Kidbrooke, with that living room / kitchen? No.

3 Responses to “Kidbrooke Village – Phase One”

  1. SIngle Aspect Says:

    Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands read the above article at lunchtime on Friday 8th June 2012.

  2. Feedback Says:

    Firstly, i think you’ll find the bathroom that opens outwards is a required of Lifetime Homes. Secondly, there is a change in trend now that as people can’t afford 1 bed flats, they purchase a 2 bed with friends, or to rent out the spare room. As such 2 bathrooms are now required as standard. This explains the en-suite.
    The open plan living room is always loved or hated. However, the growing trend is that people want open plan living spaces, which is why they are being built. People are spending less time at home and having an open space is more social for friends, family, etc.
    If the whole society didn’t want it, they wouldn’t be being designed.
    If you go for a larger flat, eg. 3 or more bedrooms, you would probably find there are seperate kitchens.
    The whole sink and window, i feel is perfectly justified. Surely you want the largest window you can get in that space? how hard is it to push the tap down??
    I agree that the L shaped kitchen could have been better conceived to include an island, which acts to break the space up. But that would put more pressure on the living space left over. And the tenant can always buy a freestanding island from IKEA to fulfill this.

    Although this may not be to your taste, does not mean you are speaking for the majority. You should go buy a victorian house, as all modern flats shall be built to this design theory, as depicted by Lifetime Homes, and London Housing Guide.

    How was the detailing? the fit-outs? the site facilities?

  3. Single Aspect Says:

    Firstly, i think you’ll find the bathroom that opens outwards is a required of Lifetime Homes. Secondly, there is a change in trend now that as people can’t afford 1 bed flats, they purchase a 2 bed with friends, or to rent out the spare room. As such 2 bathrooms are now required as standard. This explains the en-suite.

    Lifetime homes ok, I disagree that we should all be sacrificed on the alter of the disabled, or the temporarily disabled, and before you start I have good reason to know all about that thanks, I just think that society should not have to adjust 100% for minorities, that’s overkill.

    What happened to sharing bathrooms and toilets? Are people now so precious about their damp towel and their backside that they won’t share? Ok, I’m getting on but I do worry that the “young generation” have lost the ability to live communally to any extent whatsoever. Except backpacking holidays perhaps, that seems to be it.

    If you rent out the spare room why does the occupant REQUIRE an ensuite?

    The open plan living room is always loved or hated. However, the growing trend is that people want open plan living spaces, which is why they are being built. People are spending less time at home and having an open space is more social for friends, family, etc.
    If the whole society didn’t want it, they wouldn’t be being designed.

    I couldn’t disagree more, they are being built to suit the developers, there is a housing shortage in the UK, people have to buy what is there, few can afford to buy land, hire an architect and go their own way.

    If you go for a larger flat, eg. 3 or more bedrooms, you would probably find there are seperate kitchens.
    The whole sink and window, i feel is perfectly justified. Surely you want the largest window you can get in that space? how hard is it to push the tap down??

    That tap is a joke, nice of them to try to put the sink *under* a window as per the 50s but hey the rest of the flat so blatantly ignores all the lessons learned from those years that it’s tokenism. That full width k/lr/d ruins the flat, it’s horrible.

    I agree that the L shaped kitchen could have been better conceived to include an island, which acts to break the space up. But that would put more pressure on the living space left over. And the tenant can always buy a freestanding island from IKEA to fulfill this.

    I disagree with you but that’s already clear, I wrote the article. An island wouldn’t improve the kitchen, a wall would.

    Although this may not be to your taste, does not mean you are speaking for the majority. You should go buy a victorian house, as all modern flats shall be built to this design theory, as depicted by Lifetime Homes, and London Housing Guide.

    I already live in a Victorian house but you probably guessed that, it’s just a question of observing modern flat design and not liking what I see. Nobody has to visit Single Aspect’s blog but I’m quite happy to reply to you.

    How was the detailing? the fit-outs? the site facilities?

    Site facilities are for the < 35s. Onsite gym, large windows, ensuites, security, usual stuff you get with 3000pa charges and 350k purchase price. Fit outs. It looked ok, what do I know, that's not really my thing and it was a show flat. Detailing? Ditto. I do layouts and ceiling heights not paint colours and architectural ironmongery. Sorry. It's designed to be like living in a mansion block, carpeted foyers, electronic access, secure car parking etc. Go see, I'm sure there must be a few left. I think you're missing the point that it's not just about the flat. My views are coloured by the loss of 100s of perfectly good council homes being bulldozed to build these expensive monstrosities that will house a different class of people. What happens to the former residents of Ferrier? I object to the modern "regeneration" of former council estates across London with no effort being made to rehouse the displaced. It's a political football, design of the flats that go up in their place is only a part of it, but I'm happy to directly address that if that's what you want. But that's like zooming in too close. Read Owen Hatherley on post war housing and modernism and you'll get my drift.

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