When considering an extension to your home, it is perhaps easier to play it safe and go with a design that is very much in keeping with the existing house. However, if you have an adventurous streak and want the extension to reflect your personality or simply want to make a statement with your build, then it can be worth it.
This provides an opportunity to look at alternative solutions to the design brief and break away from the comfort zone of something more traditional.
What are the options?
There are a couple of routes to consider, such as renovating the existing to match the new or create the extension to be remarkably different from the existing. The latter is common practice when dealing with historical/conservation projects. If the existing property has a brick or stone façade, then it might be difficult to get new bricks or stone to match. It might be best to render the elevation. Another option is to create a link between the old and new. This could be a glass link or clad in cedar or zinc. The key elements to making this type of extension work are scale & form and the use of high-quality materials. It is important that the new build extension although different still remains sympathetic to the existing building.
The extension does not need to be large scale. As long as it is well designed, an extension on a smaller scale can be very impressive. The development of the project brief is essential to getting the project right. Both form and function need to be considered in conjunction with the budget.
A contemporary extension really needs an open plan living space. With an open plan living space, it is extremely important that the space is bright and airy. This can be achieved via different methods, like with a large wall of glass, from floor to ceiling, combining a mixture of doors and windows. Roof lanterns or glazed roof panels will also do the trick and allows light to penetrate deep into the darkest corners. The added benefit is that you get the sun’s warmth into the house as well.
Dividing up the space internally doesn’t have to be solid walls that stop light coming through from one space to another. Glass blocks come in a variety of colours. Glazed screens play a similar role. They allow light through. Low level walls and furniture will all help to give definition to the particular space. If you are considering a portion of the extension that can be closed off at times, then options such as sliding or bi-fold doors will work well. Large bespoke door with a centre pivot that can also act as a wall too could be that talked about feauted.
To read more on open plan, see previous article – ‘A better definition for open plan is broken plan’ on our blog.
Artificial light is important too. There are a lot of lights and systems on the market now that can simply transform a space by a simple switch. Smart technology consists of controlling the moods by remote control and energy saving dimmers. If you are not undertaking a whole house renovation in conjunction with your extension, it can be difficult to achieve a whole-house smart solution to your lighting. However, there are a number of wireless products available too.
A contemporary extension should really have minimal detail, smooth surfaces with clean sharp edges at the various junctions is the standard. The use of quality materials provides a good opportunity to make the extension impressive. Another option would be to not use a skirting boards, instead create a shadow gap with the plaster finish at the various junctions. However, this level of detail can be a bit tedious to undertake.
If you are considering an extension to your home and would like to explore your options, please give John a call on 087-2037237