Single-Storey Extension

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The Brief

When our clients bought this semi-detached house it had lain empty for some time and hadn't been renovated for at least 30 years. The kitchen was incredibly small by today's standards, at only 6m² (65ft²), and whilst it has a large rear garden with fantastic views of the countryside towards the Knockagh Monument these couldn't be appreciated from within the house.
The clients wished to refurbish and extend the house to achieve a large modern, open-plan kitchen with dining area and a large area of glazing through which to enjoy the views. They also wanted to explore the possibility of achieving a separate Utility Room and downstairs shower room.

The Challenges

An existing outbuilding which housed the central heating boiler limited opportunities to achieve large glazing panels to the rear. The existing rear window in the area of the proposed extension was quite small and limited the desired open-plan layout. A sewer line would also have to be built over and the window cill in an existing 1st floor bedroom limited the roof pitch of the extension. It was also appreciated that the proposed extension had the potential to make the existing rear rooms feel darker than desired.

The Design Process

Having conducted a full dimensional survey of the existing house, the plans, elevations and sections as existing were drawn up and used as the basis for preliminary design proposals. A number of potential layouts were sketched and discussed in detail with the clients and their builder, including the cost implications of alternative window sizes, structural openings, ceiling- & roof-types and options for maximising natural light. At the same time we applied to the statutory agencies to confirm whether the sewer line was 'public' or 'private', which in turn would indicate whether or not a legal 'Build Over Agreement' would be required.

The Solution

Having discussed the many options available the clients agreed to a high-specification design which avoided compromising on any of their original requirements. Whilst cheaper options were available we were instructed to progress with an excellent design that would see the appointment of a Structural Engineer to enable two-thirds of the existing rear wall to be removed and replaced with a steel frame to achieve the open-plan space desired, and virtually a full wall of glazing on the gable of the extension to maximise the views over the countryside.
Natural lighting issues were overcome by introducing a new window in the gable wall of the existing house and by adding new veluxes in the extension roof. The amount of this glazing lead to new challenges in relation to energy efficiency issues but these were overcome by the appointment of a SAP Assessor who was able to propose measures to compensate for this large proportion of glazing.
To achieve a roof pitch which would relate well to the existing house and comply with the tile manufacturer's pitch recommendations the window cill in the 1st floor bedroom was raised by a small amount.

Finally, to ensure fulfilled every last one of the clients' wishes, our design re-worked the areas of the existing kitchen and under-stairs storage to achieve the separate Utility Room and ground floor shower room which the clients had hoped for.

In all, the design process, including the standard 3 month assessment time by Planners, took only 18 weeks and resulted in the clients turning a run-down, old-fashioned semi into a desirable, bright, modern family home.

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