Mezzanine in Grade 1 Listed Basement

The brief


The owners wanted to increase the living space in the flat and take advantage of the opportunities offered by the double height original kitchen (now the main living room for the flat).

The property


The original house, now sub-divided into flats, is one of the four large corner houses in Sussex Square. Until fifteen years ago much of the basement area was un-inhabitable storage with flagstone floors.
Works in 2005 created the flat as it now exists and it is one of two flats located in the basement of the house. The property occupies the original kitchen for the whole house, the servant’s stairs from the basement to the ground floor and some of the basement storage and food preparation rooms.
The property retains a number of original features including a double height kitchen, the original cast iron range, a large timber sliding sash window in the kitchen and York stone stairs leading from the ground level to the basement. A mezzanine gallery at ground floor level, created as part of the earlier refurbishment works, overlooks the double height living room.

The solution


The solution was to extend the mezzanine into one end of the double height living room with access to it through an existing but blocked up opening at ground floor level. The mezzanine has been designed to minimize the impact upon the historic structure of the building with a simple cantilevered structure, no supporting posts, and a frameless glass balustrade.

The result


The mezzanine structure is in place and the work is yet to be finished but already it opens up the flat, creates more space and gives a wonderful new perspective into the old kitchen.
The new structure respects the form, volume, and feel of the original double-height kitchen whilst allowing it to be read as a modern addition to this historic house.

Wrap-around extension

The brief


The owners wanted to create a light and spacious open-plan kitchen, dining and living space for their home.

The property


The original property was built in the late the 1800’s and was formerly the West Grinstead station building and ticket office for the now closed railway line. The property retains its original rectangular form and overlooks the disused platforms with views up the old railway line, now the Downslink footpath.
At ground level, the house had a PVC conservatory to the east and a newish single-storey extension to the north containing the kitchen and the bathroom.
There was no adequate living space for the owners, the kitchen was too small for more than one person and there was no usable dining room. Only an upper floor window looked out on to the extensive garden and the only view of the old railway line was from the bathroom window. At the side, the conservatory was only useful for boots and shoes.

The solution


The solution was to remove the conservatory and build an extension to provide a new spacious kitchen and living area. The new extension follows the line of the existing extension, wrapping around the two hidden elevations of the property. Bi-folding doors open up to the garden and glazing wraps around the corner give light and views up and down the Downslink.
Internally the kitchen and dining area is bathed with light from the roof lights, the windows, and the bi-folding doors. There is plenty of space for a kitchen island, masses of kitchen units, a large dining table and room for relaxing as well.

The result


The result is a large, light, airy open-plan kitchen, living, and dining room with views of the garden and beyond. The extension is a modern structure with delicate lines and contemporary materials that compliment the original Victorian station building and ticket office.
Cooking, eating, domestic tasks, chilling, and just enjoying the views have become a shared pleasure. The extension provides the owners with a great social space ideal for supper parties and entertaining family and friends.

Side Extension to Grade 2 Listed House

The brief


The property owners wanted to expand their living space by extending into the underused side-return and creating a combined kitchen & dining room. They also wanted to investigate whether the loft or the basement could be used to increase the floor area of their fairly compact family home.

The property


The property is a small two-storey grade 2 listed terraced house with a two-storey outrigger built in the early 19th century, located in the centre of Brighton. The house fronts directly on to the pavement and to the rear is a small patio/garden area. The property has an original basement and loft space above the pitched roof. The basement has the potential to provide an additional WC and storage but the loft does not have adequate height for any form of conversion.
The property is listed and any works needed both Listed Building Consent and planning approval.

The solution


The side-return enclosed by two-storey high walls on three sides gave the best opportunity to increase the ground floor area. Extending into the side-return would utilise underused space, and would minimise the impact upon the historic fabric of the property and on the neighbours.
A single storey flat-roof extension was constructed in the side-return and the wall opened up between the extension and the existing kitchen creating a combined kitchen & dining room. The flat roof of the extension sits behind a parapet wall, which mirrors the original parapets at the front and back of the house. A warm roof provides the best insulation and avoids the need for cross ventilation. To the rear timber bi-folding doors open out on to the patio and timber double hung sliding sashes replace existing casement windows.
The materials for the walls and the new fenestration match that in the original building. The extension has been set back from the corner of the outshot enabling the original form of the house to read by future generations. Internal piers have been left between the new extension and the old kitchen allowing the original structure to be easily understood.

The result


The extension makes excellent use of the unused side-return. It works well as part of and is integral to the existing house but, it respects the original structure and it can be read as an addition to the historic building. The bi-folding doors provide direct access to the rear patio whilst blurring the distinction between the inside and the outside.
Internally, a stainless steel work-surface links the old and new, it provides a transition space from the kitchen to the dining area and it offers a multi-purpose counter.
The extension has created an additional 8 sq. m. of living space in a house where space was at a premium. Completion of the extension has revolutionised how the owners use the house. They now spend most of their time in the new kitchen/dining room making the most of their additional space and enjoying the afternoon sunlight flooding in through the new doors and window.

Loft conversion – Maximising Space With Limited Height

The brief


The property owners wanted to maximise the additional living space they could make in the loft by constructing a bedroom, a shower room and a relaxation/work space next to the new bedroom. They also wished to retain the current open-plan layout on the ground floor of the property.
The property is not listed nor in a conservation area. The City Council do not give planning approval for full width (box) dormers so the work had to be done within the Permitted Development rights for the property.

The property


The property is a small two-storey 1900s freehold terraced house with a two-storey rear facing outrigger. Prior to the conversion works it had an open-plan living, dining and kitchen area on the ground floor with two bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor.

The solution


To maximise additional living space would require conversion of both the loft over the principal part of the house and the loft roof space over the outrigger.
The brief had a number of design constraints;
o The principle loft did not have sufficient head height for a traditional solution
o The proposals had to be achieved within the Permitted Development (PD) rights for the property
o Converting both the principle loft and the outrigger required detailed design to ensure the works did not exceed the 40 cubic m. PD limit
o The owner wanted maximum light in the relaxing space/office
o The open-plan ground floor raised issues in terms of the requirement for a ‘protected means of escape’ from the new loft rooms.
The solution was to build a full-width rear facing dormer to the principle loft, dropping the rear half of the new floor whilst maintaining a minimum of 2m in the rear dormer area and in the landing and bedroom below. The rear dormer area was to be used as a shower room and dressing area whilst the area at the front under the eaves a sleeping platform. To the rear, the pitched roof was removed from the outrigger and a full depth side facing dormer built. The new floor maintained a minimum 2m in the new relaxation/work space and in the bathroom below. The new stairs enter the loft at the lower level with steps up to the dressing area and sleeping platform. To maximise light into and views from the new room a picture window was located in the rear facing wall.
An enhanced automatic fire protection system and a risk assessment by Independent Inspectors allowed the owners to retain their existing open-plan ground floor.

The result


The owners wanted to ‘push the boundaries of the possible’ and the completed loft conversion has certainly achieved this.
Dropping the ceiling in the rear half of the 1st floor has enabled the loft rooms to work as a space and to comply with Building Regulations. The reduction in the ceiling height on the landing and in the rear bedroom is almost unnoticeable whilst the front bedroom remained untouched.
It is in the loft that the full impact of the design is apparent. The combined bedroom and relaxation/work space runs from the front to back bathed in light. It feels spacious and the new room flows from the stairs through the relaxation/work space and up to the sleeping platform. The picture window with its hidden blinds frames views over the City. Neatly designed cupboards transform un-usable spaces into functional storage areas. The design flair of the owners and the specific solutions to the technical requirements have resulted in a ‘job to be proud of’.

Rear Dormer Replacement

The brief


The clients brief was to maximise the usable space on the second floor creating usable bedrooms and to replace the small tired old rear facing dormer.

The property


The house is a large semi-detached two-storey property in which the loft space had been badly converted some time ago. There was a dormer to the rear which was old, poorly built and lacked insulation and the size of the dormer did not allow for the best use of the loft space.

The solution


The solution focuses on re-building a bigger dormer, enabling the internal space to be re-configured to create two separate bedrooms, a bathroom, and a utility room and significantly improving the energy efficiency of the space.

The result


Internally the new space feels and looks like the second floor has always been there. The space flows from one room to another, the new staircase follows the line of the existing and the new banisters and balustrades match the existing.
Externally to the rear, there is still a dormer but the materials match those on the main roof. There is a small pitched roof on the line of the eaves softening the visual impact of the dormer and blending it in with the rest of the house.
The new windows in the dormer line through with those below and the form and details of the windows match those in the rest of the property.
Roof lights to the front roof slope allow the afternoon sun to bath the second-floor bedrooms with sunlight from mid-day onwards.

Contemporary Rear Extension to Grade 2 Listed House

The brief


The property owners wanted to upgrade or replace their existing cold, cramped and damp galley kitchen and create an open-plan kitchen and dining room built to current standards fit for modern living.

The property


The property is a three-storey grade 2 listed end of the terraced house built in 1827. At the front, the house is directly on to the pavement and to the rear of the principal house was a later built lean-to outshot containing the kitchen. An unused lean-too WC sat in the top corner of the garden. The property has an original basement and a recent loft conversion in the pitched slate roof. The principal part of the house is constructed from a mixture of red and grey bricks and flints. The windows in the house are original timber sliding sashes with thin glazing bars but the kitchen windows were PVC. To the side of the house is a high brick and flint wall forming the boundary between the property and a side lane. The mono-pitched roofs of the kitchen and WC both leaned against the boundary wall, which was in urgent need of repair. The property is listed and any works needed both Listed Building Consent and planning approval.

The solution


The initial proposal was to retain and upgrade the existing kitchen. After listed building consent approval was given it was discovered that the single-skin kitchen walls had no foundations, they were built directly off the soil below and there was no form of damp proofing in the kitchen at all. The kitchen was not part of the original 1827 structure and subsequent listed building consent was given to remove the kitchen outshot and build a new extension across the back of the house.
The extension is designed to compliment the original house but intended to be read as a modern addition. It seeks to respect the historic nature of the principal house and not disturb any of the original features of the house or the brick and flint boundary wall. The side walls are set back from the existing boundary walls and the new roof avoids any historic features on the house.
The extension is a single-storey light-weight timber construction built off strip and slab foundations, keeping their size and depth to a minimum. The materials and finish are traditional but vary from the principal house, it has rendered walls, a zinc roof and metal windows and doors.

The result


Work was completed in the summer of 2017, just in time for the owners impending wedding. The extension sits hidden behind the listed boundary wall and it has transformed their lives, how the house feels and how they use it. They can now cook, eat, socialize or just be, in the warm, light and spacious new room.
Light from the generous sized roof-lights floods the extension, the fine profiles of the metal doors and window open up the house to the rear patio. The external finishes, the window, doors, and roof-lights give the extension a contemporary feel whilst not compromise an important heritage building.
Internally, the owners have created a stylish room that looks and feels modern that works brilliantly for them. Simple lines, minimal complimentary colours and fine detailing finishes off what is in view of the highly skilled and experienced builder “one of my best jobs”.

Rear Extension Replacing Conservatory

The brief


The clients wanted to create a family living area by doing something with the dilapidated and not very usable conservatory and in doing so radically change the feel and look of the back of their home.

The property


The property is a 1900s end of terrace town house. The house is built with red brick, it has predominantly timber windows and doors (some new and replacement PVC windows) and it has red concrete tiles on the pitched hipped roofs. The kitchen was already a reasonable size, with a larger than necessary utility room to its front and to the rear was a conservatory. The conservatory was in a poor condition, its single glazing provided little thermal insulation and the access from the house through the conservatory to the rear garden was awkward. The least attractive and under-used part of the house took up what should have been the best and most utilised part and it created a barrier between the living space and the garden.

The solution


The solution was to remove the conservatory and build a single storey ‘wrap-around’ extension in the side return of the property combined with the replacement of the existing conservatory. The extension follows the building line at the side of the property, leaving the side passageway as a visual and physical barrier between the extension and the neighbouring property. At the side, the extension has solid walls and a glazed roof, whilst at the rear it has wide bi-folding doors making it light and airy and reflecting the conservatory it replaced.
Internally the combined kitchen, dining and living room maximizes the light and aspect at the south-east facing back of the house. The utility room was pushed back into the centre of the house and to give light and ventilation to the rear reception room a new window was inserted into the side wall.

The result


The result is a large, light, airy open-plan kitchen, living and dining room that the family spends as much of their time in as they can. Every part of the room is bathed in light and if you need more rays there is direct and easy access to the garden.
The extension is clearly a modern structure but it compliments and echoes the existing. An internal steel column replaces the original structural corner of the house, the glazed roof reflects the red brickwork above and the pitch of the glazed roof mirrors the pitch of the existing roofs.

“Having employed Martin upon recommendation to design our loft extension in 2002 we had no hesitation in asking him back to design the alterations to the back of the house in 2014. Martin is always enthusiastic and an excellent listener. He understood our brief for function and simplicity and was a pleasure to work with. The result is a kitchen which has a real wow factor when visitors come and yet is totally in keeping with the spirit of a relatively modest property. It has transformed the way we use the house and inspired a renewed love of the garden which is now an integral visual and physical presence in our lives.”

Vasco & Kathryn, Brighton

Upgrading Existing Loft Conversion

The brief


The owners wanted to create a master bedroom and ensuite in the loft space that already had an existing small and somewhat dated loft conversion.

The property


The property is a 1930s semi-detached house with three large living rooms on the ground floor and three bedrooms and a bathroom on the first. An earlier loft conversion used part of the front bedroom for the stairs up to the loft and the conversion accommodated a small bedroom and shower room within the existing roof pitches. The earlier conversion didn’t maximise the available space in the loft or the potential views.

The solution


The solution was to change the hipped roof at the side to a gable, with a small hiplet at ridge level to soften the visual impact of the works and to build a full-width dormer to the rear. In designing proposals the aim was to utilise all the available floor area whilst working within the permitted development rights that are available for the property. The hip to gable enabled the new stairs to the loft to follow the line of the existing and the owner has meticulously matched the balustrades and details of the new stairs to the existing. In the new loft space, the large floor area enabled the creation of a big bedroom with banks of fitted wardrobes and a large bathroom. In the rear facing dormer sliding doors with a glazed Juliet balcony provide ventilation and ample light to the new bedroom.

The result


The new stairs flow up from the existing and look as though they have always been there. The new bedroom and bathroom are both much bigger than the original rooms in the loft and the second floor feels very much part of the house rather than rooms squeezed into the loft. Mirrored wardrobes doors reflect light throughout the loft. Through the rear facing sliding doors, the bedroom is bathed in light from the afternoon and evening sun and the doors provide great views over the neighbourhood and beyond.

Alterations to Grade 2 Listed Flat

The brief


Change, replace or alter the existing three pairs of French doors and one window to provide workable ventilation for all the habitable rooms and re-arrange the interior to make the best use of the limited space. The property is listed and any works needed both Listed Building consent and planning approval.

The property


The property is a single aspect basement flat at the front of Sillwood Mansions a Grade 2 listed terraced house built in 1829 in the centre of Brighton. It is accessed by separate steps leading down to the entrance at basement floor level. The flats three doors and one window openings are flat arched, they follow the line of the fenestration above and they form a significant element of the front façade of this important heritage building.
The doors were not original and their style did not match anything in the rest of the building. The one remaining window was a boxed sash window but the top no longer existed and had been replaced with two opening casements. None of the fenestration provided adequate or secure ventilation to the living room or the bedrooms which they served.
Internally the layout was very different from the original ‘servant quarters’ and the primary aim was to maximise the useful space in the flat.

The solution


The flat is part of an iconic Listed Building and it was critical that any external changes enhanced the historic front elevation. The openings and principle elevation were maintained but the existing doors and window were replaced with a pair of French doors (forming the front door) and three double-hung vertical sliding sash windows. The doors and the windows were timber of a style reflecting the period and all with a glazing bar pattern matching the windows above.
Internally, walls were straightened, a second WC/shower room added and cupboards built using existing alcoves, spaces, and corners.

The result


Externally, the basement is now in visual harmony with the rest of Sillwood Mansions, the lines of the windows and doors flow from one floor to another. The new doors and windows provide secure ventilation to all rooms and inside the space works efficiently and is clutter free.

“Martin has been absolutely key to the whole project – he is always on hand and happy to help. Very reliable, time efficient and extremely professional I will always use Martin for any future project.”

SH Brighton

Rear Extension Replacing Conservatory

The brief


The brief was to create an open-plan kitchen and dining room with a separate utility room and to do something with the not very usable conservatory at the rear of the house.

The property


The property is a 1930s semi-detached house with the rear facing south and the English Channel. The existing galley kitchen had no room to sit down, it lead into the utility room and the garden beyond. The sliding doors divided the dining room from the conservatory were kept firmly shut most of the time. The conservatory with its glazed roof and lack of insulation was too hot when the sun shone and too cold in the winter to be of much use to the clients at all and this part of the house and the utility room created a barrier between the living space and the garden beyond.

The solution


The solution was to remove the conservatory and in its footprint build an extension designed to be part of the house, with bi-folding doors to the rear, insulated to the current standards and a flat roof with roof lights. Internal structural walls were removed to create an open-plan kitchen, dining and living room with direct access to the patio and the sun lit garden beyond. A utility room in half of the old kitchen keeps those essential elements of modern life accessible but out of the way.

The result


The resulting new room is spacious, light, and colourful and the alterations have transformed the feel of the house. Grey units match the new doors and window, a range cooker sits as a centre piece in the cooking area and the space flows from cooking to eating to relaxing and to the outside. The clients have already observed how much warmer the house feels in winter and they have no experience of the build-up of heat from the conservatory. All in all a great improvement to the house.