What Houzz contributors are saying:
Build in depth and layersOur visual experience of the spaces we inhabit is crucial if they are to be inspiring and exciting, and more often than not the most effective way to create real visual richness is by setting up ‘views’ within and through spaces with ‘layers’. In other words, structures that allow you to see from one space through a second to a third or even fourth in the distance.This unusual double-height extension with views through to the front of the house top and bottom, and also onto a landing with a glass balustrade, is a great example.However, this effect can be done on a smaller scale, too. Creating and even framing a view from a kitchen area, across a dining area, through a living space and out to a garden, for example, can hugely enhance the sense of space.
Bring in the daylightWhen extending a house to the rear, particularly a terrace house, the danger is that the middle part of it can then become isolated from the outside, meaning it could become dark and gloomy as it’s farther from daylight.Plenty of glazing on the rear extension will help and, in general, the higher up that glazing can reach the better. This is because with ‘tall’ glazing, the more intense daylight that comes from a higher angle can reach deeper into the house.10 other tips for bringing more daylight into your home
Extend yourselfAn extension to the rear or side (or both) of your property is next in line on my list of cost-effectiveness. While the need for new foundations will often make this a more expensive option than a loft conversion, if the additional space you need is on the ground floor – such as for a larger kitchen or living area – then an extension might be the best choice.It’s really important when designing an extension to think about the layout of the whole floorplan, not just of the extension. All too often, a box is added to the rear of a property and the effect on the existing rooms is not taken into account, often creating a gloomy middle area, far from any windows – so always look for ways that your extension can open up existing spaces as well.Learn 10 ways to bring more daylight into your home
Extra-tall sliding doorsStraight sliding glazed doors can also often be engineered to cope with taller dimensions than most bifolding doors, as with this incredibly generous example. Here, the extension is double-height, allowing a wonderful flow of light and space deep into the house itself.
Be budget-friendly (and stylish)If you’ve still not decided, remember these facts:Flat roofs are generally the most inexpensive way to build a roof over an extension.Leaks should not be an issue.With a little imagination and some sensitive detailing, flat roofs can be very cool indeed.TELL US…What kind of roof did you choose for your extension and why? Share your tips in the Comments below.
Draw up a scheme design for planningThis is where things need to get more accurate. It’s important to get true measured drawings of the building or site you’re working with and then start to translate your agreed outline design into something a bit more dimensionally precise. Whether you need to go through full planning or not, it’s important to get a set of basic, accurate drawings to ensure that what you want to do will fit and work as intended. The drawings won’t show the detail of construction, but allow for that to be added when the time comes.These drawings will be the basis of a planning application if required, but will also be the backbone of the information from which everyone will need to work.Read expert advice on how best to get your planning application through
Double-height extensions need more careMost rear extensions on their own can be built as a PD, especially if they’re single-storey and the property isn’t in a conservation area or listed. However, a double-height extension like this, which has a lot of glazing, would likely require Planning Permission. If you’re the owner of a ground or first floor flat and looking to extend like this, you’ll need Full Planning Permission; if you own the whole property, you’re considered a ‘householder’ and you’ll need Householder Planning Permission, which is slightly different. This area can be confusing, so it’s always worth asking the council which form you should use. Be inspired by these 10 glass extensions
Use the pre-app advice systemIt used to be the case that, before preparing an application, you could go and have a detailed discussion with a planning officer about what you may or may not be allowed to do. Due to local government funding cuts, these days, the amount of free advice available tends to be very limited. But there is the option of paying for specific ‘pre-application advice’. While this can cost several hundred pounds and take a while, it can also save a great deal of time and money, as it should flag the specific policies they consider pertinent and give a meeting and/or a written report with specific feedback. I have to admit that while I have often used this process very successfully, I have also had less than positive experiences. On balance, though, I’d say it’s usually beneficial.Discover what to consider when planning a rear extension
Carrying out a rear extensionIf you have a narrow rear garden – as many terraced and semi-detached houses in London do, for example – you might be keen to extend full-width. In this case, your new external walls will become party walls, or rather, extensions to the existing party walls of your property, so you will need a Party Wall Award. To build the walls, you’ll also need to have new foundations that are at least 1m deep for single-storey extensions, and digging down near existing (party wall) foundations requires an award, too.
Aiming high? Apply for Planning Permission instead…It’s important to point out that if what you’re proposing is outside these limitations, it may be perfectly possible to build it anyway – it’s just that you’ll have to go through the process of a full planning application before knowing whether or not it will be allowed. This extension, which I think looks fantastic, would have needed a full planning application as it’s too high from the ground to have been allowed through the PD process. However, in this instance I would say it was very much worth the extra time and trouble.