Building Type: Extension and alteration to a semi-detached
Location: Topsham
Service: Planning
Approx Budget Range: Undisclosed

This project presented a few challenges to maximise the possible space in the house and remain on a very tight budget and limited construction methods. A family member acted as main contractor, and brought in various sub-contractor trades to complete different sections. This meant they had to take on the H&S and management roles, but were able to absorb lots of the overheads and build to a low overall price.

The build also utilised existing window and external doors salvaged from the family member’s own demolition project to further keep costs down. This came with architectural difficulties in getting a balanced proportion, and desired spaces while making use of as many existing windows as possible. Only a couple of new windows and the bi-folds were needed to be purchased in the end. Shrewd decisions on kitchens, finishes and fixtures, including utilising 2nd hand utility cabinetry, further enabled the project to come in on budget.

The up-close finish and some materials are not as high-end as one may come to expect from architect-led schemes, but the overall impact and spatial layout certainly performs.

The extension includes a rear two-storey extension with open plan kitchen-diner and living space at ground floor and a new master suite at first floor. The extension also wraps around the side forming a utility at ground floor and a study/spare room off the stairs above. Internally alterations were made to convert the loft space and form a corridor passageway to bypass the formerly walk-through lounge, which has now formed a separate snug space.

The site is within the Conservation Area and so lengthly consultations with planning were necessary to be as persuasive as possible, as such large extensions would not normally be permitted. This involved several roof and massing designs as well as exploratory sketches and a site visit to hone in on an acceptable solution. In the end the site was determined as being significantly shielded from view that the two storey side extension was acceptable with the design steps that were taken.

Subtle use of colour and the introduction of a pergola softens the appearance, helps with the proportions and shades the south facing doors.