How to bring light into a Victorian house

To brighten their house, Mike and Tania Voaden extended, removed the loft space and then added five rooflights to flood the space with light

TODO alt text

When Tania and Mike bought their Victorian terraced home in Kentish Town 15 years ago, it had everything they needed. The location on a quiet cul-de-sac, the Victorian features, persevered thanks to the street’s conservation status, and the two good-sized bedrooms, ticked all of their boxes.

However as the family grew, the house began to feel cramped. The Voadens were left with a difficult decision – they could either upsize or renovate the Victorian house to suit their new needs. As well as adding another bedroom, the couple wanted to create a lighter, airier home with higher ceilings and more windows.

Related articles: 9 Amazing Victorian terrace transformations | 7 ways to add value to your Victorian terrace | Modern makeovers of Victorian homes | Find out if you need planning permission for your extension

The owners: Tania Voaden, a primary school administrator, lives here with husband Mike and their three children, aged 10, seven and four

The property: A three-bedroom Victorian terraced house in a conservation area in Kentish Town, north-west London

Using Velux rooflights to brighten a London terraced home

During

We love the outdoors and the kids have always been eager to get home from school to play in the garden, so it was a bit trying at times when we’d come home to a gloomy house in the winter months and they’d be stuck in a confined space,’ says Tania. ‘I also love cooking and spending time in the kitchen, but being in a dark, cramped space meant it was becoming a mundane task rather than an enjoyable part of my day.’

With the help of Martins Camisuli Architects, Tania and Mike decided to create a larger, brighter, open-plan kitchen/dining/living room. They would also remove a disused attic to allow daylight to filter through the property and add a third bedroom above the new extension.

As the house is in a conservation area where there are restrictions on planning, there were limits on what could be done to the exterior, meaning that the Voadens couldn’t use large picture windows to allow light in. The solution was to add Velux roof windows to all three of the bedrooms, the upstairs bathroom and in the new created kitchen.

Using Velux rooflights to brighten a London terraced home

Centre-pivot roof windows in a white finish allow daylight and fresh air to enter the property, while keeping the look clean and contemporary throughout

Centre-pivot roof windows in a white finish allow daylight and fresh air to enter the property, while keeping the look clean and contemporary throughout.

Removing the attic has allowed the ceilings to be raised and rooflights to be installed

Rooflights in children's bedroom

Removing the loft has allowed a mezzanine level to be created in one of the bedrooms

New kitchen extension

The kitchen is much brighter thanks to an extension and new Velux rooflight

Using Velux rooflights to brighten a London terraced home

Another Centre-pivot roof windows floods this children’s bedroom with light

‘When we come home now, we’re struck by the sense of space,’ explains Tania. ‘I can head to the kitchen and prepare food in natural light rather than in the shadowy recess of our old kitchen. The same goes for the kids when they want to play indoors on colder days. They can now enjoy playing inside just as much as outside as their rooms are flooded with natural daylight.’