Award-winning curved extension

Discover how Eleanor and Devendra Creedmiles-Naraine created a light-filled, modern kitchen

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‘Having lived in our house since 1999, and with growing children, it had become obvious to us that we needed more living space,’ says Eleanor, thinking back to when she and husband Devendra started planning their renovation project in late 2008. ‘Former owners had altered the side of the house extensively, with outbuildings and store rooms added and demolished when needed, but this had resulted in a slightly chaotic layout with lots of small rooms.

‘We have a busy home life, and the old kitchen, where we spent a lot of time as a family, was in the centre of the house and had no real relationship with the garden,’ she continues. ‘It didn’t even have proper windows! Though cosy and charming, it often felt cramped and noisy when we were all in the same space.’ After weighing up their options, Eleanor and Devendra realised moving house to gain space wasn’t feasible. ‘At the time, the gable end wall of the house was blowing out and crumbling, plus local property sales were at a standstill,’ explains Devendra. ‘We were going to lose out if we tried to sell the house in its condition.’

‘We also had to face up to the fact that we were outpriced for what we needed, let alone liked!’ Eleanor adds. The couple decided that the best solution was to improve their current home by extending at the rear to gain a larger living space, as well as increasing the size of the first floor. ‘Looking at the situation positively, we had a fantastic site, a style of building that rarely came on the market and a south-facing garden with great views to nearby Bredon Hill,’ says Eleanor.

Fact file

  • The owners: Eleanor Creedmiles-Naraine, a psychotherapist, lives here with her husband, Devendra, an osteopath and digital artist, and children Sev, 18, Indira, 14, and Zulika, 10
  • The property: A five-bedroom detached house, built in the 1890s
  • The location: Pershore, Worcestershire
  • What they spent: The couple’s kitchen extension cost around £107,000

A challenging design

Initially, the couple considered extending the original pitched roof, but soon chose to build a more radical design. ‘We started questioning why we were sticking to straight lines, and during a meeting with our chartered surveyor we came up with the idea to introduce curves,’ says Eleanor. ‘I’d briefly dashed to the bathroom, and by the time I’d returned, Devendra and the surveyor had designed the entire split-curved roof extending out from the back!’

‘With a project as personal as rebuilding our home, and with all our finances at stake, we couldn’t help but take an interest,’ says Devendra, who got involved with working out the challenging calculations for the curved roof. ‘It turned out that the heights of the flanking walls and curved roof, a key part of the project, weren’t quite right, so we faced serious delays and potentially huge extra costs.’

As Devendra had worked in art and design using CAD and 3D systems before training in osteopathy, he was able to take a second look at the calculations. ‘I’d built a detailed 3D model of the building to see how the internal spaces related to each other, so I had a clear idea of the project in my head,’ he says. ‘I did a site survey, a few drawing amendments, and obtained dimensions to send to the foundry for the curved roof steels.’

Creating a curved roof

The unexpected delays with the roof and flanking walls put the project two months behind schedule, but Devendra’s expertise meant his calculations were virtually spot on. ‘When the curved steels arrived, they bolted together with only a 10mm error over 10 metres; it was a real turning point,’ he says. ‘Suddenly, it was easy to imagine the finished building – it was a huge relief!’

The roof is mostly copper, so it was a costly part of the build. Devendra admits it was an extravagance, especially as there are cheaper alternatives, but says he had the long-term view in mind. ‘It’s a proven material that’s largely maintenance-free and could be formed over the changing curves of the roofs,’ he says. ‘The detailing and guttering could be completed with one contractor and installed by regulated fitters.’

curved extension dining

Natural light filters onto the dining table and chairs, already owned by the couple. They acquired the sofa from Odeon, and Devendra made the wall print and flags for a play that he produced and Eleanor directed

Project problems

The couple realised that such an elaborate extension, which took 10 months to complete, would have its challenges – not least living in the house for the duration of the work, although thankfully the old kitchen was in use for most of the time. ‘Shortly after gaining planning permission, the planning consultant had to leave the project, but agreed to complete the signing off process,’ says Eleanor. ‘Also, while we were trying to solve the issue with the curved steel, the roof from the main part of the house and the flat roof were stripped ready for the extension. It rained heavily almost immediately and got into the property, so we had to have all the blown plaster repaired and the carpets replaced at the end of the project.’

Considering the problems that had to be overcome, it’s surprising Eleanor and Devendra didn’t overspend dramatically. ‘Our final budget was 10 per cent over our initial estimates,’ says Eleanor. ‘It’s crucial to keep track of the budget; adding extras is tempting, but something to avoid.’

‘I’d advise keeping an eye on what goes in the skip, too,’ adds Devendra. ‘We recycled a huge amount of timber and board, which we ended up using elsewhere in the build.’

Interior decoration

With the build complete, the couple focused on decorating their new extension and have deliberately kept the interior simple to contrast with its dramatic exterior. ‘The glossy kitchen units and bright worktops bounce colour around the room, so it always feels different in the changing sunlight,’ says Devendra. ‘There aren’t many additional furnishings; we’ve kept the design minimal so that it’s easy to clean. It is, however, perfect for plants, and we always have a variety on display.’

The couple’s hard work and creativity haven’t gone unnoticed. Displayed at the front of their house, a blue plaque signifies that the extension won an award for excellence from Wychavon District Council. ‘From the street, you can’t tell that anything has changed,’ says Eleanor. ‘Friends seeing the extension for the first time are amazed at what we’ve created, and so are we.’

The costs

Building work£40,619
Copper roofing and parapet detailing£22,230
Extras and variations£9,918
Windows and folding-sliding doors£8,250
Electrical installation (entire house)£7,650
Kitchen (including worktops and sink)£7,500
Underfloor heating£3,870