10 Home Extensions Packed with Wow Factor

by Sofia Delgado
28th November 2020

A well-planned home extension has the potential to turn even the humblest of properties into a comfortable, stylish and light-filled home.

With the right design and execution, you can create a wonderful new space that not only transforms the way you interact with your living environment, but also adds significant value to your property.

Here we’ve put together some stunning home extensions from across the UK to inspire your next project.

1. Tradition with a modern twist

Zinc loft dormer extension to Edwardian house

This stunning addition to an Edwardian house in north west London is the work of Carver Farshi, a partnership between Studio Carver and Daniel Farshi Architects.

The homeowners wanted to maximise light and space with a contemporary glazed extension that would stay in keeping with the dwelling’s traditional features. But they were adamant the loft conversion should not look like a dormer, as the architectural style didn’t appeal.

The designers found a solution to these requests by using red zinc cladding to complement the heritage clay tiles and fitting a large, sliding glass window to provide expansive views of the surroundings.

On the ground floor a tall oak picture window creates a framed view of the garden. The architects also chose to fit a fully glazed roof in this area, supported by steel fins to allow natural light to flood into the kitchen.

2. Triangular extension to Hackney home

Woman walking out of timber extension

Credit: Alex Forsey

This timber-clad extension to a Hackney home was the solution to a lack of home office space for a couple of young entrepreneurs.

The structure was built in the previously underused garden, and provides a versatile space for a large desk and meeting table to greet clients, as well as a reading corner.

The north-facing rear yard presented a challenging triangular shape, prompting the designers to come up with a clever scheme that would still benefit from greenery and natural light, despite covering most of the former outdoor space.

A small area at the end of the plot was left open to compensate for taking up most of the garden.

The team at Yellow Cloud Studio designed the extension with an elongated glass wedge form to take advantage of direct sunlight, while allowing views of the neighbouring trees. A glazed passage connects the space to the original Victorian home.

The study is largely open-plan, which allows for numerous interior layout configurations. Below the triangular extension, the couple also expanded to include a basement conversion with a bedroom and ensuite, along with a movie room.

Maximising your extension budget

  • Get your design fully costed at the planning stages, and lock down the full specification in an agreed contract with your builders. Avoid rough figures for things like lighting and instead map the details out before you get on site, so there are no surprises for you or for your trades and installers.
  • Focus your spending on the most visible, fixed architectural elements, such as the glazing and external claddings. You can always update light fittings, window dressings and the like at a later date, once your bank balance has recharged
  • Where possible, use good-quality, off-the-shelf products (such as standard-size windows) to achieve a high-end look at an affordable price. Bespoke options can look fantastic, but be sparing in their use if you want to keep a lid on outgoings.
  • Specify traditional UK building methods and materials that small-scale builders can manage easily, rather than having to fork out for specialist installers. Blockwork is a familiar route for home extensions, for instance. Timber frame and modular options are also popular, and may prove to be a better bet if a guaranteed schedule and improved cost certainty are of greater importance to you.
  •  Always ringfence a contingency of, say, 10% of your total budget – and only use it for unforeseen issues (rather than eating into it with specification changes).
  •  Vet your suppliers fully and double-check that everything you’re expecting is included in the price (especially if they’re installing products, too).
  • If you’re engaging individual trades, consider those with a smaller annual turnover who aren’t registered for VAT, so you can avoid the 20% tax on their labour.

3. Discreet design

Extension to cottage in Hampshire [Credit: Liz-Eve-Fotohaus]

This historic English cottage in a Hampshire village was given a modern makeover thanks to the addition of a glass-walled extension at the rear of the property.

Stephen Marshall Architects followed the owner’s brief to maximise views of the vast garden and create sunbathed interiors to enjoy during the winter months.

On the ground floor, large expanses of glass boost the inside-outside feel between the kitchen-dining room and the green slate terrace, which is accessed through oak doors. Above, a double bedroom benefits from the leafy outlook thanks to corner glazing.

The addition was incorporated within the gap of the original L-shaped footprint. However, the designers ensured the new structure is kept out of sight when approaching the building, to limit any disruption to views from surrounding countryside properties.

4.Two-storey timber pod extension

Glazed extension with wood cladding

Proctor & Shaw are the design brains behind this striking part-two storey rear extension. The property, in South London, now features a full-width span of sliding glazed doors across the back of the house, connecting the kitchen-dining space with the garden.

Glazed extension with wood cladding

A gravity-defying timber pod has been added above the kitchen to extend the first floor. It creates a dramatic focal feature for the lower storey and rear elevation. Custom rooflights connect the hanging pod with the ceiling of the lower storey, maximising natural light gain.

5.Oak extension with sloping garden

This oak and glass extension to a family home in north London is the work of Kin Architects.

The designers cleverly rearranged the dwelling’s interiors and turned the sloping garden into a series of terraces. The new structure sits on a plinth made from reclaimed bricks, complementing the home.

Oak and glass extension to London home

The owners’ brief called for a sunbathed, sustainable addition to the house that would make for a more comfortable space. Divided into two levels, the extension contains a living area and kitchen, with the dining room in the lower level overlooking the exterior.

Working with 3D visualisation and solar shading studies to discuss ideas with the client, the designers created a stylish and energy-efficient structure.

Oak fins and roof overhangs provide privacy from the adjacent properties. The timber also offers shade during summer days, while the high-performance glazing lets natural light into the home.

The materials palette was intentionally kept to a minimum. Oak and London Stock bricks were chosen as high-quality, tactile materials. Combined with the slate-grey roof edge, these items produce a modern look that sits comfortably within the vernacular.

6.Old meets new

New extension to Listed house [Credit: Martin Gardner]

The owners of this grade II listed building within a conservation area, near an 18th century watermill, wanted to extend and remodel their dwelling’s ground floor.

They were after more space for a light-filled kitchen and dining area that would open up to maximise the inside-outside feel and make better use of the large garden surrounding the home.

The team at OB Architecture based their design on sketches of the house from 1863 showing a cluster of pitched roof forms, which have been removed over time.

The new extension sits on the original foundations from these old structures and reinstates a historic courtyard.

Constructed using an oak glulam frame, the structure was clad in a bronze standing seam material so as to complement the red brick from the original facade. Two triangular rooflights were fitted to allow for natural light to filter through the contemporary addition.

The living and dining zones are fronted by bifold doors in a dark bronze finish, matching the proportions of the leaded windows on the main property. At the four corners of the extension, frameless glass-to-glass edges open the interiors out to the surroundings.

7.Japanese inspiration

Japanese inspired timber extension [Credit: Elyse Kennedy]

This infill extension to a 1950s family home in south London is the work of Nimtim Architects.

The brief was to open up the ground floor to create a better connection to the rear garden and to make more use of the kitchen-dining area. The owners called for sustainable, modern, high-quality materials, as they felt these were lacking in the original building.

Nimtim took inspiration from Japanese domestic architecture, proposing an addition formed of a series of lightweight timber portals that extend through the house and out into the garden. This approach, paired with large expanses of glass, blurs the boundaries between the living space and garden.

Internally, the floor is poured concrete and the pink hues of the Douglas fir frames perfectly complement the exposed brick wall. The simple, natural palette is maintained thanks to the use of translucent white plywood kitchen with timber and marble worktops.

The architects worked with sister company Nimtim Landscapes from the start, to create a design that would completely integrate the house and garden.

The patio was laid with elegant, low cost pavers while a narrow planted area mirrors the home’s layout.

8.Maximising views

Glazed extension overlooking the sea [Credit: James Ram]

Winner of the RIBA South West Award 2018, this modern single storey extension to a 1920s stone cottage in Cornwall is the work of studio Stan Bolt Architect.

The owners’ brief called for a structure that would take advantage of the house’s hillside location and allow for stunning views of Sennen Cove and the Cornish coastline.

From the road, the discreet addition is subservient in scale to the two storey home. Featuring large expanses of glass and a natural slate covering, this high-performance project was designed to blend in with its stunning surroundings and respect the local vernacular materials.

To the rear of the property, utility spaces sit beneath a green roof garden planted with indigenous species.

The architect was commended for the way this renovation and extension scheme adapts the older building to modern standards without losing its character.

9.Asymmetrical two-storey extension

Two storey extension to home on corner plot [Credit: Andy Matthews]

The team at SOUP Architects designed a comprehensive renovation and extension to this family home in Surrey.

The owners’ brief called for a revamp that would allow for an inside-outside feel, as their existing dwelling had a poor connection to the large underused garden.

Departing from the common glazed-box design premise, this new two-storey construction features an asymmetrical form with large expanses of glass to bring the outside in.

A new master bedroom was added to the first floor, set back from the edge to maintain privacy from below.

The architects chose a simple material palette, using grey bricks to clad the walls both internally and externally. A green roof was installed, complementing the planting in the garden and softening the view from the main suite above.

The project won both the RIBA South East Small Project Award and the RIBA South East Award 2018.

10.An award-winning modern update

Two-storey extension to listed cottage

Lynn Palmer Architects was tasked with giving this medieval thatched cottage, in the heart of the scenic Long Crendon conservation area, a bold contemporary extension to provide more bedrooms and extra living space for this family of five.

It was important that the addition wouldn’t dominate or obscure the original abode, and that the large, beautiful gardens would be visible from inside. This was challenging, as the grounds sloped up from the property dramatically.

To solve this conundrum, the architect put the bedrooms on the lower floor and left the upper as a living area. This storey was designed to sit within a glass-ended tube, leaving it possible to see right through to the charming original home from the garden.

The extension features a curved roof which sympathetically reflects the shape and form of the existing dwelling, while reclaimed rosemary roof tiles and white rendered walls strike a balance between old and new.

This project has won the Build It Award for Best Architect for a Renovation Project 2018.

Hidden extension

Glazed extension to home in EdinburghBuilt to reflect the clients’ affinity with Scandinavia while also respecting the local architecture, this glazed timber addition to a semi-detached, single storey home in the suburbs of Edinburgh is invisible from the road side.

David Blaikie Architects designed the annexe to catch sunlight throughout the day. The extension features a 5.1m tall frameless glazed apex corner that cantilevers out over the garden, allowing for a spacious and light-filled kitchen-dining-living area.

The windows also reveal views of leafy Corstorphine Hill, located west of the city.

The original plans for the scheme stipulated a standing seam zinc roof. But cost restrictions meant the materials had to be reviewed before construction began.

Reclaimed natural slate proved a more affordable alternative for this project, while the walls were finished in thermally modified timber cladding to withstand the weather.

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