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“small moves”: HOW AN ARCHITECT CAN HELP YOU IMPROVE YOUR HOME….WITHOUT EXTENDING

I was approached by a young family who had recently moved home. They knew they needed to make some changes and were thinking about an extension. 

The first question I asked was “do you need the extra space?”

Delving deeper, and with the benefit of a meeting on site, the real issues they were grappling with became apparent: 

  • The house had a poor connection to the garden 
  • There was a large change in level between the house and the garden
  • The only physical access between the house and the garden was via a door
  • There was a rather drab and austere rear patio area
  • There was a large shower room on the ground floor which they didn’t really need, but no separate utility or space for coats and shoes
  • The kitchen needed replacement

It soon became apparent that an extension was not necessarily the right solution for my clients for the following reasons: 

  • Access to the rear of the house for plant and materials was limited, with a only a narrow path down the side of the house
  • The clients weren’t sure they would live in the house long enough to justify an expensive extension project
  • The house was big enough for their needs, with generously proportioned rooms – it was the layout and lack of connection to the garden which was a challenge

The solution involved working within the existing footprint. The shower room was reduced in size to provide a cloakroom WC, with the shower space providing a utility cupboard with a stacked washing machine and tumble dryer and space for brooms. This change was done in such a way as to make reinstatement of the shower in the future straightforward, mindful of Building Standards requirements. The kitchen was reconfigured to allow the large south facing window to be altered to provide sliding patio doors, while the connection to the garden was improved by adding a split level area of timber decking accessed from the dining kitchen. These are just some of the ways in which an architect can help improve your home without necessarily extending.

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