1930s semi-detached house extension

Could a semi-detached house extension help our client, Rebecca?

Our Poynton client was struggling with the layout of her kitchen and dining room. The kitchen was bright but the rear extension was taking the sunlight from the dining room. The extension was used as a utility room which can be configured in a number of ways.

The client liked that the rear utility room was accessible from the garden so her children could undress and dirty boots and shoes were kept outside the main house.

We focused on the kitchen and dining area and tried to solve the problem that the utility room caused, both how to access it from the garden and also so that it doesn’t lie in the way between the house and garden.

The client had a budget of £30,000 and we knew this would be a tight budget for an extension.

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We looked at two options of having the utility room near the fence and another option of having it along the internal wall but with access still from the garden without taking too much space.

Option 1 – internal reconfiguration

The first option was low budget. We opened part of the house and turned the small utility extension into a proper dining area with roof lights and looked at turning the former conservatory into a utility space.

The client would be able to walk from outside, through the utility into the kitchen. The kitchen remained in the same space but we proposed a kitchen island so they could cook together as a family.

Rebecca also wanted us to allocate some office space for her computer and desk. This option gave us a low budget solution with not too many changes but with a substantial opening to the garden, bringing much more light to the dining area.

Option 2 – rebuild extension

We looked at moving the utility room and looked at different layouts of the rest of the house.

We squeezed the utility room between the living room and the kitchen which meant it was long but still has the access from the garden into the main house without going through the living room or kitchen.

The kitchen remained in the existing kitchen space and we tried to accommodate as many larder cabinets as possible so the storage is expanded.

We moved the door and enlarged the corridor to provide better access to the kitchen. We placed cabinets along the right-hand side of the door upon entering, with a kitchen island that will allow the client to cook and look outside into the garden.

The client wanted to preserve the gable wall in the kitchen which had a small oculus window. We enhanced this wall with a low bench that had storage underneath which could be decorated with cushions so the children or friends could sit or read books whilst Rebecca was cooking.

We knocked down the utility room in the back of the house and took the rear extension up to the garden fence, squared it off and made it as deep as the conservatory. This is not obstructing the view from the living room as the extension is narrower than it used to be and doesn’t come too close to the living room window but still provides a nice dining area and small office recess corner.

Option 3 – internal reconfiguration

We moved the kitchen closer to the extension and the dining table was moved to the gabled wall where there are nice big roof lights that bring in a lot of natural light. The table is a little bit further into the house but this will not result in a lack of natural light.

We moved the office space into the recess bay window at the front of the house. We looked at different utility room layouts and compromised with the seat area from option 2.

Option 4 – more kitchen cabinets

We moved the kitchen so it took up the whole of the extension along with a pantry and kitchen island, so there would be no small seats but there would instead be a lot of worktop space and storage.

In this option, the utility room is much larger which will allow the client to store coats.

We also allowed the structural pillar to remain to reduce the cost of steel that would result from completely opening up the space. This would be finalised once the project is costed up and we know if we can afford to have no post.

Option 5 – additional option with recessed gable wall

The client wanted to release the gable wall from kitchen cabinets but we showed her how we could push the wall to project forward and recess the cabinets so everything is flush. This would mean keeping the kitchen in the back of the house and moving the dining table and seating area closer to the garden.

The office corner would remain in the front bay window.

The result

Overall the client was happy with achieving more utility room space and the small office corner and introducing lots of light.

All the options provide solutions to the main problems this workshop set out to answer.

The final option will come down to what the client prefers and the costs which a builder will provide.

I really enjoyed our session yesterday, my head was spinning by the end of it! I found the workshop incredibly useful, I have never worked with an architect before and didn’t know what to expect. You had some wonderful ideas and came up with ideas I wouldn't have thought of. I would absolutely recommend the workshop session to anyone at the early stages of planning. Thank you for your help. We’re going to weigh up the plans you emailed over today and will start talking to builders.

I would absolutely recommend the workshop session to anyone at the early stages of planning.

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