Outdoor Indoor


Purchasing a property often means inheriting the living habits of the previous occupants.

Of course it’s possible to create your home by moving bathrooms and switching uses of various spaces, but sometimes bigger moves are required to ensure that everything fits. Similarly, as a new family grows there is often a need to reorganize your home and find new space when you can’t find the budget to completely relocate. Extending the footprint of the property to the rear can offer the extra space required to reorganize the relationship between existing living spaces, or simply provide the extended kitchen diner you were hoping for. A generously proportioned kitchen where food can be both lovingly prepared and enjoyed has taken precedent in recent decades, with the dining room often being reserved for special occasions.

The costs for this type of work relates to the type of space you are creating and the quality of finish, but the most basic enclosure will start at around £1400/m2, and extend to £3000/m2. Like most building work to your home, there are opportunities to consider alongside the additional floor area. This work can open up your existing property’s relationship to its garden and create new views through, and back into your property.

There are many decisions to make with regard to size and location of openings, and how much any new additions to the property will relate to the existing building in style and construction. And if you’re lucky enough to live in a conservation area, you will find these decisions are slightly more complicated as there will be a preference towards appropriate material and detailing. There is some flexibility to these rules when working at the rear of the property and it would be wise to approach an architect to get the most from the work and to guide you through the process.

You can find out if you live in a conservation area from your local council, and even if you do not, an architect will also be able to advise you about the finer details of “permitted development”. This system allows development to a percentage footprint of your existing property, within specified height restrictions. Once that’s confirmed you can return to the fun part and design your new space. When designing the new addition its worth noting the significant improvements in building technology that have reduced the visibility of structure in glazing, which means you won’t end up with the kind of conservatory you see at garden centre cafes. Increased use of such systems means there are now pieces designed specifically for the budget requirements of the domestic market. Improved shading and ventilation systems also mean that a glass box does not generate the effects of a greenhouse. Under similar improvements, it is now possible to find sliding door systems that maximise the level of glazing. This is achieved through either larger single panels, or through reduced frame depths – both of which achieve the effect of being able to open your living areas up to your garden.

“...which means you won’t end up with the kind of conservatory you see at garden centre cafes.”

Alongside other delicate changes to your garden’s landscaping to achieve level access, these changes blur the threshold between inside and outside, allowing enjoyment of views in the winter and opening up to act as one big family space when the summer arrives.

Nick Wood
Architect / Founder How About Studio