There comes a time for many households when the amount of space you have within your home starts to feel like it isn’t enough. Perhaps those cute little toddlers have become strapping great teenagers and suddenly every room feels a bit smaller. Or maybe a business you started at the kitchen table has suddenly boomed and you need a fit-for-purpose office to work from instead.
Whilst buying a new house is an option, there are some compelling arguments for extending your current home, or giving it an attractive overhaul in the shape of a renovation instead.
The main one of these is financial. If you need a bigger house but want to stay in the same area, buying a new one will be more difficult and more expensive than extending the one you currently own. This is especially true if you live in London, where house prices are 353% higher than the national average and approximately ten people are competing to buy every new property that comes on the market. It may make more sense to forego the stress and inconvenience of moving and spend your money on an architect and an interior designer who can help you spruce up your current home instead.
If you decide that extending is the right choice, you’ll need some inspiration. Here are a selection of London’s best home extensions and renovations to give you some ideas.
The Chapel, Southwark
This stunning home was created from the derelict remains of an old chapel and won first prize in New London Architecture’s ‘Don’t Move, Improve!’ competition in 2019. The original shell of the structure was retained, whilst inside a new lower ground level for bedrooms, a large ground floor living space and a mezzanine level were created. The ground floor living space has a ‘tent’ roof, designed to allow flexible living, whilst providing views of the sky and plenty of daylight.
Also based south of the river, Stego is the thoughtful refurbishment and extension of an end of terrace property originally built in the 1980s. The original design of the house had two bedrooms upstairs, a cramped ground floor containing all of the living areas and a separate garage with its own access. Architects Archmongers extended the ground floor by adding a single storey extension occupies part of the garden and links with the converted garage. The extension is topped by a saw-tooth roof that looks like the back of a stegosaurus, hence the name ‘Stego’.
De Beauvoir Townhouse, Hackney
This east London home was originally made up of a series of dark and disconnected rooms, which weren’t desirable to its owners, so they had it extended and renovated to create a smaller number of large and light-filled rooms. The original layout was cramped, prompting the architects to concentrate on the flow of the rooms, and create sightlines through the reception rooms and out into the garden beyond.
An extension was added to the rear of the property to create an open plan cooking and dining area that is large enough to accommodate guests as well as the life of a young family. Douglas fir was used for the floorboards to reflect light from the large skylight above, and are contrasted by khaki-green cabinetry. A sizeable glass window with central door separates the extension from the garden.
Sun Rain Rooms, Clerkenwell
This stunning extension sits at the rear of a Georgian townhouse in Clerkenwell, close to the centre of London. The extension utilised the existing garden to provide outdoor space, an office and extra living space, with its main feature being a ‘cutout’ in the concave roof area allowing water or sunlight to fall into the shallow pond below.
Gregg Storrar, an associate at Tonkin Lui, the architecture studio that designed the extension, said: “The front façade of a Georgian terrace is renowned for its formal and uniform appearance but the back has always been treated far more loosely, often extended to suit the needs of its inhabitants over time. To respond to our own needs we have created a contemporary addition to the Grade II listed fabric. [The Sun Rain Rooms] is an architectural and landscaping project that plays with the idea of what a small, modern urban garden can be.”
Dewsbury Road Extension, Dollis Hill
At the other end of the scale is this simple extension, which has been achieved by building out into the garden but without sacrificing the entire green space. A typical terraced home in the north west of London has been made lighter and more spacious by adding an unpretentious room that opens out onto the garden. Lined with timber, it has a warm and inviting feel, plenty of storage and creates an improved link between the rest of the house and the garden.
The room features a dining area with a bespoke solid ash table and a bench seat that fits seamlessly in with adjacent cabinets. It also has a built in kitchen units made of materials within the same palette. The timber features are complemented by a pale stone counter top with a black basin, stovetop and cabinet handles providing notes of contrast within the colour scheme. The roof of the extension is made of black metal with a large skylight that allows natural light to filter between the roof beams and down into the dining area.
As these examples show, there are many different ways to extend or renovate your home, whether you choose a contemporary and dramatic build or something a little simpler and less intrusive. Adding an extension can completely change your living space, enabling you to add extra rooms or create large and light open plan spaces that are flexible for your needs.
By working with designers and architects and thinking creatively about what can be done with your existing home you can change it so radically that it will be as if you’ve moved somewhere new, whilst still remaining in a well-loved area building.