11 extensions ideas for period homes

Looking to extend a period property? We round up the best extensions that add space and value, while being sympathetic to their heritage

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Looking for design ideas for adding an extension to a period property? Whether you're considering a contemporary extension or one that's entirely sympathetic to your property's period, it’s important to ensure that you opt for a design that suits your needs, while remaining sensitive to the original architecture.

Extensions for period properties work best when they are either perfectly seamless and look like they have always belonged there, using materials that complement the existing property, or are more contemporary in style, creating contrast. Your local authority can provide guidance on the types of design that will be acceptable.

If you like the idea of extending your home, but don't know where to start, our ideas for extending a period home are here to inspire. 

1. Choose an oak frame sunroom for rustic style

Traditional cosy cottages often have small windows, so adding a sunroom or conservatory is a great solution that allows you to balance darker rooms with a brighter space. 

This beautiful oak frame extension attached to a brick and flint thatched home provides a relaxing dining area for a previously small kitchen.

Find out more about planning an oak frame extension in our guide.

Oak frame sunroom to thatched cottage by Greenrooms by Oakwrights

This oak frame garden room addition is by GreenRooms by Oakwrights and cost £54,000

2. Connect the indoors with the outdoors

A contemporary glass box extension was built onto this listed stone country cottage to create an open plan kitchen. The glazed design flooded the kitchen with natural light, while adding a modern touch to the old cottage.

Minimalist sliding doors allow for seamless access to the garden, and create an indoor-outdoor feel by merging the dining area with the patio.

Find out how to plan and design a glass extension in our dedicated guide; read more about what you can do to a listed building, too.

IQ Glass contemporary glazed extension to listed stone cottage

Eastabrook Architects designed this modern addition, working with IQ Glass to create the glazing and sliding doors

3. Opt for complementary materials 

With its lower roofline and colour-matched handmade bricks, this oak frame extension complements the original property – parts of which date back to the 18th Century – while remaining subservient.

As the main house needed its roof repaired, handmade tiles were used to tie together the old and new sections. The extension was finished with larch wood waney-edged cladding and softwood windows and doors.

Read more about choosing cladding and render in our guide.

Border Oak designed and built the sensitive extension to this period home

4. Consider a modern contrast for a Victorian semi

When extending a Victorian terrace, there is often more design versatility than other period properties. This six-bedroom Victorian semi was in need of modernising when its owners bought it, and lacked the open plan kitchen they were looking for. 

The new rear extension is clad in painted steel sheet – a stark contrast to the classic front façade – and brings a fresh modern look to the property. Sliding doors create a link between the indoors and outdoors.

Read our comprehensive guide to extending a Victorian house to get yours right.

Victorian semi with steel-clad kitchen-diner extension

The striking steel-clad extension to this Victorian semi was designed by Allister Godfrey, with sliding doors from Express

5. A seamless stone extension 

This charming 19th-century home was restored before being doubled in size with the addition of a large extension. 

When its owners took it on, the formerly dilapidated boxy cottage had cement render covering the stonework.This was removed and the house fully renovated alongside the extension work. Clad in stone to match the existing structure, the new addition is the heart of the home, containing a kitchen and living room downstairs and bedrooms upstairs.

Find out how to renovate a house in our step-by-step guide.

Seamless in-keeping extension that doubled the size of stone house

An in-keeping stone extension has almost doubled the size of this 19th-century home. The work was done on a tight budget using many reclaimed materials

6. Maximise natural light with a glazed gable end 

Abandoned in the 1930s, this 17th-century thatched flint cottage had slowly deteriorated before its new owners renovated and extended it. 

The two-storey oak frame extension houses a kitchen and master bedroom. A glazed gable end ensures the new spaces are filled with light, while the front of the cottage appears as it would have done when first built.

Want to maximise light in your extension? Have a read of out guide to designing a light-filled extension.

Oak frame glazed extension to 17th century listed thatched cottage

The two-storey glazed oak frame extension to the rear of this cottage is in total contrast to the original front façade

7. A traditional Sussex house extension

Typical of the area’s style, this 1930's Sussex house had tile-hung gables above a weatherboarded ground floor, but was cramped inside. 

An in-keeping extension was added at the rear, housing a living room and sunroom on the ground floor, and two bedrooms upstairs. Lots of glazing maximises views across an unspoilt valley.

1930s Sussex house extended with traditional tile hanging and weatherboarding

Lanham Architects designed the extension to this 1930s Sussex house

8. Design an Art Deco extension

A single-storey side extension housing an open plan kitchen breathed new life into this Art Deco home. 

Upstairs, the new master suite is contained in a curved drum section. The existing house has been fully renovated, and the 1970s windows replaced.

Find out more about planning, costing and building a single-storey extension in our guide.

Hetreed Ross modern extension to Art Deco house

Hetreed Ross created this contemporary extension, complete with a curved drum containing the master bedroom

9. Achieve an industrial feel with a copper finish extension

This late-Victorian five-bedroom house had only a small galley kitchen when its owners moved in, so they soon set about planning an extension that would give them the spacious family kitchen they craved. 

The addition also contains a living room, while a wall has been removed to make the dining room open plan to the space. A copper roof tops off the design, while minimalist sliding doors provide the perfect link between indoors and outdoors.

Find out how to plan and design the perfect kitchen extension in our guide.

Modern copper roofed extension to late Victorian house

This stunning copper-topped extension was designed by Alexander Owen Architecture

10. Opt for a low profile design if your property is listed

A clever, low-impact sloping design joined to the house via a glazed section, was the solution for this Grade II-listed late 18th Century house, which enjoys an isolated position in the middle of a common. 

The extension creates an open plan kitchen with views through sliding doors. Inside, the original exterior wall remains intact to minimise impact on the structure, while the house has been renovated.

Sloping extension to listed house with glazed link

Architect Jam Koramshai designed the low-profile extension to his own home, and connected the two by a glazed link

11. Update a historic cottage 

Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this cosy cottage has been extended with a design that is modern while respecting the original building through use of natural cladding materials. 

The front elevation maintains the look of the original cottage, as all the work is to the rear. A glazed hallway provides the link between old and new. 

Have a read of our guide to adding a glazed extension to a period property for advice on achieving a similar look.

CaSA Architects modern cottage extension in Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

CaSA Architects designed the extension to this cottage, creating a modern feel but using in-keeping natural materials

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