Pride Road New Forest & Bournemouth architect Laura Simpkins bought this house in 2001 with her husband. After having their first child they felt settled in the village but could not afford to buy a larger house suitable for a family. With a second child on the way, Laura designed a substantial extension and remodel scheme to the house to create an open plan kitchen and dining space, a new utility room, downstairs toilet / shower and a feature living room.
Planning permission was achieved after Laura presented the project to the Planning Panel, members voted to approve the scheme despite the Planners recommending refusal due to the ‘modern design’.
A timber clad extension was designed to link at ground floor only, leaving the existing first floor intact. The extension forms a new living room with mezzanine study / bedroom above and is clad in red western cedar. The north east facing feature window ensures that the new living room is flooded with light. The extension was carefully designed to be barely visible from the front elevation, due to being a storey and a half high with low eaves and hipped roof.
Laura had discussions with both neighbours during the design process and was careful to make sure that the extension did not block their sunlight. Both neighbours kindly wrote letters of support to the planning authorities. A party wall agreement was needed on both sides and this provided Laura with useful experience in negotiating this often tricky stage of a build.
A key desire was for a large open plan family kitchen with space to eat and lots of storage. Added to this was the need for a utility room to tuck away mess so that the kitchen could look amazing. To achieve the large space the ground floor back of the house was removed and a dividing wall taken away.
An existing fireplace was opened up which provided an ideal spot for a gas fired Rayburn. This provides heating, hot water and cooking facilities and has been successful in providing Christmas dinner for 14 on many occasions. The flue goes up the original chimney breast. The kitchen opens to a decking area in the back garden and also has views through the new dining room out to the front garden.
Laura also wanted a large kitchen island which could be the hub of family life providing space for homework, drinks parties and casual meals. This island contains the sink, dishwasher, bins, storage and has space for 4 breakfast bar stools. Although the island can often be a dumping ground, it is key to so many shared family activities and is the place where guests are drawn to upon arrival.
The thick wrap around design has allowed the island to survive many a bump with a remote control car and still look good. Having the sink in the island means a lot of tidying is needed when entertaining but equally means that the cook is part of the action and facing people that are sitting on the breakfast bar side.
Air dried green oak was used to create visible beams and columns, making a feature of the mezzanine floor above. The hardwood theme was continued with the feature bespoke windows, french doors and an engineered oak floor. Laura’s Civil Engineer husband made the coffee table using a column which had been cut to the wrong size.
The mezzanine floor serves as a bedroom / study and has views over the garden through the bespoke timber and glass balustrade. As with all good extensions there was plenty of drama. A second child was born during the build who needed an immediate operation.
A few tough months ensued living in nearby Poole, Dorset with relatives, juggling a toddler, new baby, building site and work. Once back in the extended home however, all the chaos was more than worth it. 10 years and one further child later, the house makes a great family home.
The open plan ground floor has been ideal for young children and big gatherings and the quality of light and views out make for a very happy place to live.
This substantial extension with double height living space and large family kitchen illustrates the value in having a qualified architect involved with your project. A ‘whole house’ approach makes the most of your site and creates spaces which flow together and fit your lifestyle.