Pride Road Architect for Manchester South, Magda was contacted for a Concept Design Workshop to explore Libby’s options with a long, Victorian semi-detached house in Stretford.
Libby wanted to know what was possible with her house and how improvements could be made to the overall flow and her day to day experience of the house. With many ideas, Libby wanted to know what was actually worth exploring, and what designs would cause more issues. Together, Magda and Libby explored all of the options, and, interestingly, some of the options started to show the downsides as they began to draw them out.
As the real-world cost and plot restrictions start to limit the dream plans, during the Concept Design Workshop with an architect, we discuss and find creative ways of achieving as close to what the client really wants.
Libby has a long Victorian semi-detached and it doesn’t have a much of a connection with her garden. The kitchen is a decent size, but a slightly larger would be better for her needs. We explored together how the U-shaped kitchen could be converted into a kitchen with an island, or a peninsula, as these are more engaging ways of cooking and using the space.
Having a view into the house while chopping the veggies or stirring the pot makes cooking a more enjoyable experience, especially as we spend a lot more time cooking at home during these lockdowns. We’re also finding most clients want to explore the ideas that create more storage or worktop space.
Libby wanted to accommodate a WC, large patio doors, a utility room (or cupboard), and of course a much brighter, functional kitchen which connected synergistically to the rest of the house.
The First Option
The first option was a simple side extension, and we spent time analyzing if it would be enough to extend the rear of the house only and keep the middle room window intact by creating the mall patio on the side.
+ the cheapest option
+ kitchen is larger and creates a sunny dining room with a link to the sitting area that is the middle room
– no WC or utility
– it didn’t answer all of her needs
The Second Option
The second option was much improved
+ adding a WC and little back porch/hallway for dirty wellies coming from the garden.
+ the kitchen/dining area gained a sofa
– sofa area is not a full-size living room seating space with TV
The Third Option
The third option meant looking at the plan from a completely different perspective. Magda tried to keep the costs down by not touching the structure too much, but we planned to open the rear space all across the house. The middle room became the sitting space, linked in through the existing space, and slightly new proposed stairs.
+ Kitchen is in the middle with a peninsula and produces a lot of light from the skylights
+ WC is along the party wall (keeping noise from the neighbour away)
+ the seating/living room space is very large and can have TV as well
– only 1 reception room to the front of the house
– by sqm, it will be the most expensive, but potentially as we try to keep the structure intact, the cost difference might be negligible.
Where to from here?
From here with these design options, it is important for Libby to explore real costs with a Quantity Surveyor or a builder, to make sure it really sits within her budget.
A chat with the neighbour is always recommended at this stage too as we intend to make sure their concerns are addressed if possible early on in the design stage.
I was a little bit unsure whether the zoom side will work, but in fact, it was perfect! The screen sharing worked really well. I honestly don't feel I lost anything in not being able to do it face to face.
It was perfect! The screen sharing worked really well.
I think it is important to design the plans with the clients together during that session, I learn a lot about their habits and how they actually use the house and I can ask additional questions; would they benefit from extra shoe storage etc