Renovation ideas

If you’re dreaming of a bigger home that better suits your lifestyle, be inspired by these clever transformations

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Nearly one third of homeowners are planning improvements to their home in the next three years, a study by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has revealed. Side and rear additions were most popular among those who have extended in the past two years, according to research by Sainsbury’s Bank, with 31 per cent of people who’ve increased the size of their home choosing this option.

Other popular ways to boost space at home include adding a conservatory (29 per cent), or converting a loft (15 per cent) or garage (11 per cent). The survey of builders showed that wanting a bigger kitchen or kitchen-diner was the most frequent reason given for extending, followed by needing extra bedrooms (61 per cent), or new bathrooms and home offices (53 per cent each).

Whatever your choice, look at these projects for some ideas.

Full-width extension to Victorian terrace


The owners of this Victorian terraced house in south London found their architects before their new home. The couple discovered Granit Architects following an online search, and looked at possible houses with them to ensure they bought a property with potential to become the contemporary, comfortable family home that they were after.

With a good rapport already built up, once the property was theirs, and, having lined up a builder, the couple asked the architects to create an innovative and interesting design for the full-width extension that would replace a dated single-storey building. Several options were provided, and then their preferred design was submitted in order to obtain planning permission.

Once the local authority had approved the plans for the renovation, the architects worked with an engineer to design the structure. They also specified all the detail for the builder so that there was nothing remaining to work out or design and he could focus exclusively on delivering the high-end finish the owners required.

The new extension is visually divided into two distinct parts. It allows for a generous new open-plan kitchen with a larder, together with living, play and dining areas, and leads onto a hard-landscaped garden through two sets of bi-fold doors.

What it cost: £150,000, including renovation of the house

From loft to modern bathroom


Although John and Doodie Fynaut’s Edwardian terraced house in north London had four bedrooms, with three adult children still living with them and the smallest bedroom measuring only six square metres, it no longer provided what they needed. Son Kieran, who had the smallest room, wanted to be able to sleep, relax and study in his own space, and there was no way of offering that without making the house bigger. Neighbouring properties in the Conservation Area already had loft conversions so, with this precedent, the family decided on building into the roof to gain the space required.

John asked several neighbours if he could look at their loft conversions, which helped the family to decide the features they liked and the issues to avoid, such as a new staircase built separately from the existing one. He also met potential contractors, including loft conversion specialist Econoloft, which the couple chose after obtaining a quotation, checking the company’s longevity, and receiving a good explanation of the technical aspects of the work.

The conversion was created with roof tiles to match the existing and dormer windows in line with the roofline. As the house is built on a slope, with the front higher than the back, the loft conversion is split-level, like various rooms in the house, with a sleeping area in the top of the room, plus a lower study/relaxation area, and a WC and shower.

What it cost: £40,000, including fixtures, fittings and furniture

A light-filled garden room

Orangery extension to old home



Aiming for five-star hotel style for the bathroom in their Warwickshire home, Louise and Peter Taylor turned to Lisa and Martin Hammond at Ripples Solihull, who’d designed a bathroom for their previous house on friends’ recommendations.

As the large space has only one window, Martin proposed strip lighting, downlights above the mirrors and ceiling spots, with separate circuits enabling them to choose between bright functional lighting and a softer atmosphere.

White gloss vanity units reflect the light, and wide storage, including recessed cabinets, helps to maximise the room’s spacious feel. The luxury brief was also fulfilled with feature walls of mother-of-pearl mosaic tiles behind the bath and the basins for a touch of glamour.

The colour scheme for the room, with neutral grey tones, was chosen to reflect the plot in which the house stands, as it’s surrounded by trees and woodland. The flooring is porcelain, but with the appearance of wood.

What it cost: Bathrooms from Ripples start from around £10,000

Kitchen in a barn conversion


The owners of this barn conversion in West Yorkshire inherited a dark kitchen with a poor layout. It didn’t complement the original features of their characterful home, and the floor was finished with black tiles, which felt cold underfoot, while the dining area was carpeted, creating a less than practical finish for a young family, and separating the two areas visually.

Working with Second Nature retailer Milligan & Jessop of Huddersfield enabled the couple to achieve a balance of old and new. The design of the new kitchen left some of the brickwork and an old beam exposed, making the heritage of the building apparent. For contrast, they chose handleless, modern units. However, the units’ finish is matt for softness, and their simple design allows the original features to stand out.

Banks of appliances keep the ovens and fridge-freezer unobtrusive and wall units maximise storage. For the flooring, laminate replaced the existing finishes to create flow from one area to the next. It’s also functional, and warm underfoot.

What it cost: £15,000 for the kitchen