Providing a ‘Great Room’ for a 1960’s semi-detached house

Liz and Ian had recently bought a semi detached single story two bedroomed house built in 1963. Although this was a downsize for them, their main aim was to create a ‘Great Room’. This meant an open plan family space with zoned activities for eating and socialising.

Developing the Design Brief

The couple had built previously a house in America and enjoyed their Great Room so much that they knew they wanted one in this new house. The brief required a tricky balance of creating exciting spaces but without blowing the budget as they had plans to also buy a boat to fulfil their retirement dreams.

They had already converted the existing garage into an office. The brief when we met was to add a bedroom, either by loft conversion or extension, to remodel the existing layout and create a single storey extension looking onto the garden.

Drawing this scheme up proved an interesting experience as there was an 8 cm gap between the existing garage and the previous extension!

Working through the Property Challenges

We considered the roof space by looking at a section through the property. This showed that there wasn’t enough height and thus raising the roof was not an option as the property is semi-detached.

The following options were drawn and considered.

Option 1 – Open Plan with Utility Room

We provided a Great Room, Open Plan kitchen / dining / living room at the end this option had a utility room in the dark centre of the house.

Option 2 – Creating a Garden View

This was a reiteration of option one, yet looking at a different way of planning out the Open Plan room at the end, with the kitchen on a different side so that the living dining space had the view out the garden.

Option 3 – Different Kitchen Ideas

This option looked at squaring the house off which created more space for the new bedrooms. We planned the kitchen slightly differently by creating a peninsula unit rather than a separate island. Unfortunately, this option had too many bathrooms, and we ended up with more toilets and bathrooms.

Option 4 – Creating more Dining Room Space

This option looked at how to utilise the space in the middle of the house that doesn’t have so much light.

So in this option – rather than creating a separate utility room –  we used the space to create a kitchen that was deeper but all open using utility cupboards and the peninsula style kitchen which gave more space in the dining room. This ultimate option gave a square space for the living room.

Follow up

At their follow up meeting Liz and Ian had carefully discussed costs with a builder and decided to not add a bedroom but to use the design from Option 4 to create their dream entertaining space. Guests could stay in the converted garage if necessary. They will have an open plan kitchen, living and dining space which will all have views of the garden. Bifold doors will fully open up this space to the garden. They plan to use the large front garden for a new garage building in the future.

Estimated Cost 80 000

'Doing the workshop online was very easy actually, it was nice to watch you work and I think it’s a good way to do it, there were no issues at all.'
Liz & Ian

It was nice to watch you work and I think online is a good way to do it

This client had enjoyed the flexibility and sociable nature of their American 'Great Room' so much that they wanted to recreate it in their new home.

A 'Great Room' is the American term for an open plan kitchen, dining and living room. This client had previously built their own home in America and enjoyed the flexibility and sociable nature of this space so much that they wanted to recreate it in their new home, even though they were downsizing.
Pride Road

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