Thinking about extending your home – here are 5 things to think about before you start…

HOME_2404_P6_7[8578]-1.jpg

Are you using your current space to its maximum potential?

Ok so you’re fed up with how you use your house and are thinking an extension will help to maximise the potential of your property.

Have you fully considered how you use the space you already have to its maximum? I often see in peoples home spaces that are just not being used at all, like formal dining rooms never entered apart from Christmas, kids bedrooms that are used, well – the same, or rooms that are not organised or lacking in really good storage spaces so that they appear overrun and cluttered. An architect or interior designer can help you really think about how you’d like your home to flow and may save you a ton of money when you realise you may not need to extend at all – just remodel what you already have, it will cost you a lot less in the long run and then you can splurge on those really nice finishes that will make you never want to leave.

 

Orientation and light

Ok so you’ve established the extension is the way forward. Apart from looking at the amount of space you have to play with surrounding your existing house – orientation and light have got to be top priorities for how you organise the space. Think about where the sun will be when you will have your morning coffee, how new shadows will impact on the space you have left behind in the garden, it will impact massively on how much you enjoy using the space once it’s all completed.

 

Materiality

Timber, brick, render, glass – a combination of all?! It’s hard to choose but often your existing house and the surroundings will dictate to you what is the right thing to do. If your home is a period property you will want the new part to be sympathetic to the existing, that is not to say that it should try to be the same. In historic buildings it’s seen to be beneficial to differentiate between the new and the old so that each part is true to the period in which they’ve been designed. Do you want to make a statement or just blend it in? Thanks to our, lets say… ‘beautiful’ climate, often we only see the building from the inside so make that count and choose finishes and colours that make you happy every day.

 

Sightlines

What will you see from your new rooms – so important! You may want to create a stepped floor to connect better with your garden if it falls away from your house and create a madmen style sunken seating area or step up to see a nice view if you have one, especially important for upper level rooms. In any case you definitely don’t want to be peering in at neighbours and vice versa so make sure you design with that in mind.

 

Planning permission

With Permitted Development Rights often planning permission is not required for home extensions as long as the design complies with certain rules in regards to height, proximity to boundaries, materiality etc. Guidelines to what you can and can’t do can be found on your local councils website or your architect can talk you through what you can and can’t do. Building control approval is different and will always be required when carrying out structural alterations.

 

Speak to a design professional early on in the process, they can help you establish exactly what you need to do to make the most of what you have already and how to move forward. Your designer will help you make the most of every last inch of your space. Professional fees can seem like a big outgoing when you’re planning your project but it will seem like money well spent when you fall in love with your dream home that you’ve created with their guidance. Often designers add a lot of value to the project, by using the space you already have to the max, advising on the best ways to achieve what you want and giving your builder detailed plans to achieve this avoiding costly pitfalls further down the line. It’s an exciting time and something many  will only do once so make the most of it and enjoy the process!

Donna Collins