Here we look at various ways one can introduce unique style and value to their property. Sometimes you may feel you could be better utilising the space and current décor, but often you may be stuck on how you can achieve this. These tips will also be beneficial for you if you wish to sell your property after practical completion by making your home more attractive to buyers. Below are a few ideas to get you started.
1. Reconfigure what’s there
As well as adding new space, re-configuring the existing room arrangement to create the optimum layout for making the best use of natural light, views, access to the garden and drive, and to improve privacy, is crucial to making the new extension work.
Internal walls and doorways can be added or removed to achieve the space you require and to integrate any new extension, to enable you to get real value and use from it. Consider the position of the entrance and central hallway – which should lead efficiently to all main rooms – and the relationship between key spaces such as the proximity of the dining area to the kitchen.
2. Build Up
If you are looking to achieve maximum value for money with your extension, consider building over two storeys rather than just one, as the average cost per square metre is reduced by stretching the more expensive elements of roof and foundations over a larger area. You could also build an extra storey over the top of an existing single storey structure, such as a garage. See more in my previous blog post: ‘Extension and design ideas for your home’.
3. A Strong Style
When extending your home, choose either a contrasting but complementary style, or make the extension look like it has always been there. The former is much easier to achieve.
If you decide to create a seamless extension, make sure you copy the key design elements, roof pitch, materials and details like the brick bond and even the mortar colour, or it will look wrong.
4. The Sunroom
Smaller conservatories often don’t require planning permission, are excluded from the Building Regulations and are fairly inexpensive, making them one of the most popular home improvements.
A conservatory can have its drawbacks, however: it must be separated from the house by external doors to reduce energy loss, and it can be difficult to heat in winter and keep cool in summer. A popular alternative is to build a sunroom — an extension with large areas of glazing, but with a conventional insulated roof and typically one insulated wall (particularly the one facing the boundary). The space can be open to the rest of the house, and the temperature can be controlled more easily. See blog post ‘A guide to Sunrooms’ for more information.
5. Tall/Vaulted Ceilings
Tall ceilings can transform the way a room feels — larger rooms especially are made to feel even more spacious and impressive. An extension gives scope to add this feature for relatively little cost, either by digging down to lower the floor level, or by building up. In a two storey extension this may result in a split-level on the first floor, which can add interest.
Where an extension is beneath a pitched roof, there may be the option to create a vaulted ceiling, open to the ridge. Instead of building a conventional flat ceiling with a void above, fit insulation within the pitched roof structure to create this feature.
6. The Glazed Link
When extending a period home, it can be difficult to find the right design to complement the existing property. One solution is to add the new space as an entirely separate building in a sympathetic style – either traditional or contemporary – and to join the two with a fully glazed walkway.
Using structural glazing it is possible for such a link to be constructed entirely from glass, reducing its visual impact and leaving the original building’s character unaltered. This is a device favoured by many conservation officers and can work well in linking existing period buildings, too.
7. Outdoor Rooms
A covered outdoor living area provides somewhere to sit or eat outside during the warmer months, but is protected from either too much sunlight or light summer rainfall. This may take a traditional form such as a loggia or veranda, or be a more contemporary space, set beneath a projecting flat roof supported by slender steel posts, perhaps with an area of slatted sun louvres.
8. Pocket Doors
If you can’t decide between enclosing a new extension with a wall and going open plan, consider fitting sliding pocket doors, giving you the best of both worlds. When closed, sliding flush doors can give the appearance of a wall, but when open they can disappear within the wall, presenting a clear opening.
9. Privacy Glazing
Introducing lots of natural light is one of the key ingredients in successful extension design. Where a potential new window opening will look out onto a neighbour, the street, a side alley or directly onto a boundary, consider using obscured glazing, so you get the benefit of daylight but without anyone being able to look in or out. Traditional options include textured or stained glass and glass blocks, and more contemporary options include acid-etched or sand-blasted glass and coloured glass.
Rooflights are a great way to bring light in, without affecting privacy to neighbouring properties as seen in an image from our recently completed project in Brompton Square below.
10. Energy-Efficient Fireplaces
With increasing emphasis on energy efficiency, many people are blocking up open chimney flues and air vents or excluding them from their extension plans. Yet there are two energy-efficient options that still give the feature and comfort of real flames.
Flameless gas fires are 100% energy efficient and require no chimney or flue: a catalytic converter cleans all harmful combustion gases, producing just water and CO2. Designs include traditional fireplaces and stoves, and contemporary hole-in-the-wall models.
The second choice is a room-sealed wood burning stove, connected to an internal air source to prevent any draughts. They are highly energy efficient and there are some exciting modern design options.
Piperhill Construction are on hand to carry out all services you will need to install any of the above features and extensions. We offer bespoke construction services that make us one of the leading construction companies for interior fit out, basement construction and listed building restoration in London and Northern Ireland. We will be happy to hear from you and help make your ideas become a reality.
Please contact us on 0208 166 5607 if you wish to discuss your project.