While I’ve helped hundreds of people design extensions to their homes, I’ve never designed one for myself. We might not have created the biggest extension, but I can now join my customers in having lived through the mess, noise and dust!
With a terraced house, on a hill, our options for development weren’t huge- but we really wanted to stay in a home we like, have put lots of work into, and feel very comfortable in. While the usual place to add space is to the rear, because we lacked rear access, have a terraced garden, and a well loved and used patio accessed directly from the living room and dining space, we’ve never been keen on this option. We wanted to add space where it was most needed. Our kitchen was proportionately large, we had a comfortable dining space and we already had a small spare bedroom, but our hallway was very tight, and the living room area lacked enough seating for larger family gatherings.
An idea to add a porch developed into a shallow single storey extension across the whole frontage, replacing an ‘of its time’ cast concrete flat roofed canopy, and also providing a large store for our home appliances.
Extending the front of a house isn’t always the easiest, but the planning application was granted, and work commenced in the early spring… with a few pauses for the arctic march we experienced!
The extension is a lean to, with a gable fronted section over the front door, and the vaulted ceiling inside adds height and drama to a hallway which has trebled in size. Making a bigger hall isn’t everyone’s top priority, but a hallway needs to be practical and flowing- there’s nothing worse than trying to usher small children, bags, coats and prams etc through a front door, when the weather is terrible outside, into a tiny and tight hall. The house works much better with this increased circulation space.
The living room has also benefited from the increase in size, with enough room for an additional sofa. The corner windows are a lovely feature and capture light from two aspects. Somehow the extended living room is more than the sum of its parts- everyone comments how much larger it feels. Built in cupboards and shelving have also helped make this space feel less cluttered, and provide plenty of storage for media devices, DVDs, books and other items. Our carpentry was carried out by Jamie at JH Carpentry https://www.facebook.com/JHCarpentryBristol/ (who also fitted our kitchen several years ago) and he did a fantastic job, making the bookcase in the angled roof profile quite a feature of the room.
In addition, the original patio doors were removed, the opening widened, and new bifold doors added- just in time for the long hot summer we enjoyed. Our garden is well loved and while it’s a cliche, in the summer the patio is an extra room, having a bigger, better view of it, and a more natural flow into it, has been a great asset.
In addition, the hall, stairs and landing were re-plastered, redecorated, and Jamie created a lovely window seat into an unused area. The living/dining space was fully redecorated, and the front garden remodelled, with indian sandstone patio, rendered walls and feature lighting.
Its not always easy living through an extension project, from day one we had to access the house through the works, and at one stage accessed the front door via a step ladder (which my 7 yr old thought the greatest fun!), widening two openings, and removing a solid concrete canopy generated A LOT of dust. In total we only added 10 sqm of new space, but it has made a huge difference to how the house feels, and how we live in it. I am a big fan of adding well functioning, efficient, spaces, where you need them!