Bungalow in the New Forest

What type of house was it?

It was a chalet bungalow built in 1961, featuring three bedrooms. One of the bedrooms had limited head height, while there was a spacious bedroom downstairs. Fiona and Rob purchased it in 2019. Situated in the New Forest National Park, it was a compact dwelling, ideal for their newly retired life in the forest.

What were the issues?

The layout felt disjointed, with small extensions added over time, including a conservatory. Upstairs, the bathroom had a scenic view but frosted glass, while the downstairs bathroom overlooked the leaking conservatory. The living room had a garden view but awkward access to the kitchen, making daylight enjoyment challenging. Entering from walks necessitated passing through the conservatory or the front door, with dog cleaning and drying also done there. The galley kitchen lacked workspace and felt cramped, especially with more than two people. Upstairs, the low headroom in the bedroom posed furnishing challenges.


They aimed to maximize space and views, constrained by the property’s size in the New Forest National Park. Considering various options, they planned to relocate the staircase, expand upstairs, and optimize downstairs.

Would you recommend getting an architect?

Yes, based on their experience. An architect helped them extract the most from limited space, guiding them through planning and layout decisions, crucial for their small dwelling.

Anything of interest

They installed high decking with challenging outside stair design. Opting for a rainwater storage tank found on Facebook Marketplace, they mitigated water management issues effectively. Laminate flooring in country oak was chosen for durability and easy cleaning, perfect for their dog-friendly home.

How much longer did it go on for?

The project extended by a month due to additional tasks. Despite not living there during renovations, they were satisfied with the warm new space and the convenience of the remote-controlled gas burner.

How did you manage the project?

They were close by and maintained communication through a WhatsApp group with the builder. Regular discussions and prompt problem-solving ensured a smooth process.


Originally budgeted at £120,000, they spent £150,000, which included external landscaping. Rising timber prices necessitated a decisive approach to avoid escalating costs.

Favourite bits

Their favourite moments included enjoying the view from the sofa, particularly with a cup of coffee, and witnessing a deer in the garden on Christmas Day. They hosted neighbours and relished using the updated kitchen, complete with new appliances and ample storage.


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