Planning to extend your home? Follow a simple golden rule; go for quality, not grandeur
Among the most exciting architectural projects in the city, there are many that are hidden from public view. Throughout the capital, home-owners are adding precious extra space by converting their side returns into dramatic glass extensions and conservatory rooms, which are showcasing talents of architects and equipping our homes for 21st century living.
Most ground-floor extensions consist of open-plan kitchen and dining areas connected to the garden through generous amounts of glass. Building a side extension to incorporate this valuable space is an obvious solution. You get more internal space without eating into the best bit of the garden, and with the injection of a glazed roof or generous roof lights you can bring natural light into the home.
For those with more grandiose plans, properties can be extended across the back of the house and into the garden. We’re not talking shoddy PVC extensions where wicker furniture goes to die.
Your piece on the side
The cost of extending your home varies enormously, of course, but generally depends on the floor area and the design specification. Side extensions are the cheapest. But a cutting-edge design — perhaps a glass box kitted out with a top-of-the-range kitchen and connecting to a re-landscaped garden could burn a hole in your pocket. Ground-floor extensions are generally easy to get planning permission for — many will fall within ‘permitted development rights’. These extensions are less disruptive than a loft or basement extension, too. The length of the build depends on the extent of the project and the design but the back of the property can be boarded up, leaving the rest of the house habitable. Building an extension offers the chance to get stuck into an architecturally exciting project without the expense and work required when building an entire house.
A stunning glass basement extension
Use glass that passes examination. Glass is the defining feature in many modern extensions, with large sliding doors, extensive roof lights and even entire structures made from the material.Incorporating glass into the roof and walls of your extension is a brilliant way of introducing more light into your property and connecting your living space with the garden, but it is important to select high-performance glass in order to meet building regulations and to create a comfortable living space.
To prevent heat gain in the summer you can install semi-reflective glass or apply a reflective film to your panes. Alternatively, design your extension with an overhanging roof, which will allow lower-lying winter sun to pass through the glass but will block out the harsher rays of a summer sun. The clever planting of trees that shed their leaves in the winter but create shade in the summer will create a similar effect.
Grow grass on top
Eco measures are now part of building regulations. “A ‘green’ roof or a vertical garden system on one of the walls of your extension is a fantastic way to improve thermal and acoustic insulation while bringing more beautiful, green things into your life. They will also prevent water run-off and encourage biodiversity,” says Berit Lake, design manager at Eco Age. Finally, make sure you have a responsible waste-management plan in place. Some construction waste, such as structural timber, could be reused within the new extension whereas old windows, floorboards and even the back boxes for lights you have removed can be sent to a reclamation yard. Generous amounts of glass and good-quality material will bring more natural light into your home and impress future buyers.
Floors and windows
An essential component of your new extension will be its floor. Oliver Heath, of Blustin Heath Design, says, “Choose something hard-wearing and easy to clean and that works well with underfloor heating, such as floor tiles or stone.” Crucially, pick a surface that will match well with the rest of the house to connect old and new seamlessly, he adds. “Also, position the kitchen at the back of the room and the dining area closest to the garden, so you can socialise with guests while cooking and diners can enjoy the garden view.” If your design incorporates a lot of glass, your room will become a light-box at night, which can cause privacy problems.
Category: Life & Style