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 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 principle part of 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 enable 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 terraced house built in 1827. At the front the house is directly on to the pavement and to the rear of the principle 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 principle 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 principle 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 principle 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 rooflights 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 rooflights give the extension a contemporary feel whilst not compromise an important heritage building.
Internally, the owners have create 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 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 spend 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 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 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 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 on 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 has 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.

Rear Extension & Internal Alterations

The brief


With a growing family the clients wanted to have an open-plan kitchen, living and dining room with good access to the rear garden. They also wanted to make a quiet snug at the front of the house.

The property


The property is a 1930s semi-detached house on the west side of Graham Avenue in Brighton consisting of a hallway, through lounge, downstairs WC and kitchen in the main part of the ground floor of the house. To the rear of the kitchen was a brick single-skin out-house, which opened into an old glazed timber conservatory with doors and steps into the garden.The out-house and the timber conservatory were in a very poor condition, they were of little use to the clients and neither added anything to the aesthetic quality of the property.

The solution


The aim of the design was to build a modern looking extension that was complimentary to the existing house but that had some character of its own. The solution was to remove the out-house and the conservatory, replace them with a single storey rear extension across the back of the house and remove the rear structural wall between the extension and house.
The extension used the length of the neighbouring extension as the limit for its depth, taking the extension across the back of the property, whilst allowing for access for construction and maintenance on the party wall side. The extension was designed with a dual pitched roof, it is a more attractive architectural feature, it worked well with the existing first floor windows and the internal space is open to the roof lines creating a feeling of space and height.
The decking to the rear of the extension accommodates the change in ground levels at the rear of the house and creates an indoor/outdoor space adjacent to the bi-folding doors with steps down to the garden. On the party wall side a privacy screen ensures the proposals do not impact upon the neighbouring property.

The result


The useless conservatory and utility room are gone and replaced with a great family room where the clients spent almost all of their time. The walk from the tired old galley kitchen through two doors to the dining room is now in the past and the cooking, dining and living experience is shared by all the family in the same room. The bi-folding doors open on to the patio, and the large areas of glazing and the glazed balustrades allow light in and enable a clear view from the extension to all parts of the garden.

“We are delighted with how our extension has transformed the way we use our home, allowing us all to share a contemporary space that suits our lifestyle. Martin was extremely helpful at all stages of the process, providing timely and insightful assistance.”

LT, Brighton

Side extension & Internal Alterations

The brief


The clients have a growing family and they wanted to create a multi-purpose room in the house where they could live, cook, eat, play, socialise and be together as a family. They also required better access and visibility into the garden and a downstairs WC and utility room.

The property


The property is an end of terrace late 1880’s two storey four-bedroom house. On the ground floor the kitchen was at the rear of the two storey outshot. The kitchen had a single doorway into the garden and an internal doorway into the dining room located in the centre of the house. As the kitchen was the focus for adult activities the adjacent dining room acted as a play room and art room for the kids. As an end of terrace the property has a reasonable sized side garden which gave significant opportunity as an area to expand into.

The solution


Squaring off the ‘side return’ and opening up the existing rooms allowed for the creation of a big living space whilst still maintaining good external access down the side of the house. The solution was to build a single storey extension in the ‘side return’ with roof lights, remove most of the structural walls between the kitchen, the dining room and the extension, insert bi-folding doors to the rear and pop a WC & utility room next to the existing drain run.

The result


The project has transformed the dark dis-jointed back rooms of the house into a light and airy 35 sq. m. kitchen, dining, living and family room. This new space is the hub of the house where everything happens. There is direct and easy access to the garden and a downstairs WC. The kids can play inside and out and the adults can keep an eye on them where ever they are and what ever they are doing.
At the side of the elevation visible from the road the new masonry follows the form, lines and colour scheme of the existing house and the new window in the utility room matches the existing timber sliding sashes. To the rear the masonry is plain and the bi-folding doors are new and honest.

“Martin took time to fully understand our requirements and desires in transforming our house. The solutions he came up with worked brilliantly; the work took about 4 months in total, and has completely transformed the way we live in the house. Furthermore, it will adapt happily to our changing needs as time goes by. We love it.”

Mrs A. Worthing