Case studies: Adding a small extension

Transform the layout of your home with a small extension. These case studies offer design inspiration for your project

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Transform the layout of your home with a small extension. These case studies offer design inspiration for your project

Contemporary lean-to conservatory

Graham Cartledge has transformed his 1950s detached house in Newark, Nottinghamshire, by adding a contemporary lean-to conservatory extension and remodelling the existing layout to create an open-plan kitchen-breakfast room.

A RIBA-registered architect, Graham worked with Apropos (0845 434 8901, to design, engineer and build the conservatory, which has a lightweight aluminium frame. Powder-coated in grey, the design has a minimal look with clean lines and contemporary kitchen units to match, plus a large island unit and a wall of appliances.

Contemporary lean-to conservatory

The bricks removed to form the new opening, linking the existing house with the extension, were used to build the walls, helping to ensure the structure blended seamlessly.

Despite the high proportion of glazing in the conservatory, the use of low-emissivity, double-glazed units and high levels of insulation in the flooring and walls meant the new space could be integrated with the house to form an open-plan layout. A conventional, fully glazed conservatory might well have had to be separated from the house by external grade doors to comply with Building Regulations.

Contemporary conservatory interior

The double-height space has views of the side and rear gardens and incorporates two sets of French doors, linking the inside and outside. The entire area is laid with large-format limestone tiles, joining it together as a single space.

The kitchen is at the front, while the dining area is towards the rear where it opens into an informal living space within the existing property. To help prevent overheating in the summer, electric roof vents have been added, allowing air to flow throughout.

A similar project by Apropos would cost around £48,000, including VAT.


Rear garden room extension

Jon and Lauren Dalton have added a single-storey extension across much of the rear of their modern detached house in Ingleby Barwick, Stockton-on-Tees, adding a new living and dining area overlooking the garden.

The Daltons wanted additional ground-floor living space to link their existing kitchen and living room. They also wanted it filled with as much light as possible.

Rear garden room extension

The design was created by LAS Architecture (01642 763434), which also handled the planning and Building Regulations applications. It has a double-height lean roof penetrated by five large roof windows to bring in light from above. One gable end of the extension is fully glazed, which required a concealed steel frame, while the other two walls incorporate an almost unbroken run of windows, plus a set of French doors leading onto a decked area.

Jon and Lauren also added a bay window at the front, plus they converted their integral garage into a home office.

Garden room extension interior

To keep down costs, the Daltons undertook the work themselves so there were no labour charges. The build project took three months to complete and the materials cost £10,000. If the couple had used a main contractor, it would have cost around £20,000.


Modern glazed rear extension

This contemporary extension to a traditional timber barn conversion in Great Amwell, Hertfordshire, was designed by Nicolas Tye Architects (01525 406677, The existing layout of the barn was long and narrow, and the idea of the extension at the rear was to provide additional practical living space.

The new space is used as an informal dining and living area, and is open to the principal living area and a children’s play area (formerly the dining room).

Modern glazed rear extension

Extending a barn conversion successfully can be difficult, and almost always requires planning permission. Planners are usually keen that any additions are not only subservient to the existing building but also sympathetic. This rectangular glass box design, tucked under the eaves, was the ideal solution.

Modern glazed rear extension at night

The extension also provides a link between the barn and the garden, with level access and large sliding glazed panels opening it to the patio area. The project cost £200,000.


Rear kitchen extension

Mike and Irene Berry have added a single-storey kitchen extension at the rear of their semi-detached house in Fairfield, Stockton-on-Tees.

Their original galley-style kitchen was too small for their needs, so they approached LAS Architecture (01642 763434) with a brief to create a larger kitchen with an open-plan dining area.

Rear kitchen extension

LAS Architecture’s challenge was to ensure that the living-dining space at the rear of the house didn’t lose all its daylight, as the extension would go right across the existing patio doors. The solution was to introduce a large set of French doors opposite the original opening plus two rooflights to bring in light.

To avoid blocking access for vehicles into the adjacent garage, one corner of the extension was splayed, though the roof was kept square to keep the external appearance balanced. This roof design also kept the build simpler, thus keeping down costs.

Rear kitchen extension interior

The structural work cost £22,000; a further £18,000 was spent on internal finishes, including a kitchen.