Forget the plastic conservatories of the 80s and 90s, today’s extensions are light-enhancing, architect-created areas with underfloor heating, high tech glass and statement design. And with square footage at such a premium, homeowners are gaining back every inch they can find to achieve the open-plan dream, whether it’s by digging into the basement or going double and even triple height. But when it comes to your own project, where do you start?


The options in a typical terraced or semi-detached house are side return, rear single story, rear double storey and basement extension, and how you proceed will all depend on the available light according to the aspect of your house as well as building regulations. Looking in your area and what has been done before can start giving you an idea of what has previously been allowed.



The sort of extension you decide to go with will dictate how much space your new kitchen will have, but as a general rule a single height and side return are often the first steps towards making use of otherwise unused space and creating the best connection with the garden. The kitchen is still the main selling point of any house, and is also the one area that you will not want to scrimp on when it comes to extending, but you have to be practical about your present and future lifestyle demands too. While open-plan living is so often the ideal you might want to think about incorporating designated zones in your re-imagined space for pantry storage, utilities and media, as well as areas for formal and casual gathering and dining.



While glass has become the key material, be cautious with its over-use as a glass box extension can become a hot box in summer and a fish bowl in winter. A good heating and cooling system is essential, as well as a carefully devised plan about where overhead windows are placed. When it comes to choosing glass doors the options are endless, but the main ones are sliding, bi-fold and large format French doors. As a general rule, the less frame you see the more you pay. So-called frameless doors cleverly conceal the top and bottom framework within the floor and ceiling, giving as minimal an appearance as possible.



Shown from top to bottom: Project managed by Glamuzina Paterson Architects, New Zealand (photos by Emily Andrews); Basement conversion project by Kitchen Architecture; Project managed by Kitchen Architecture; (Left) bultaup kitchen, project by Sebastian Sandler from XUL Architecture; (right) Project managed by Patrick Michell from Platform 5 Architects, kitchen is GIQ Design, London


Article by: Ciara Elliott