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To Extend Or Not To Extend – That Is The Question

By Amber Bass, Interior Designer, Design Studio

Clients often come to us looking to add an extension to their home. This can be a great option for many
homeowners who want to upgrade their living space without the cost of moving. When adding an
extension to your home one of the biggest areas commonly overlooked is the layout of the existing
house. During a consultation with Design Studio, we look at various solutions to re-work the existing
space before building a new extension. We take a step back and visualise how the entire house will work in a completely new way which allows us to create the space of our clients’ dreams.

As Interior Architects we like to approach a project with a fresh and open mind. We take a closer look at the existing property and establish what works and doesn’t work for our clients.

By understanding our clients’ needs, we can often find clever solutions to make their home work more effectively for them. This could be as simple as changing the swing of a door or moving the door opening from the corner of the room to the centre of the wall, thus opening the room up and allowing for far more flexibility. Or as dramatic as completely removing internal walls, repositioning hallways or even changing levels within the property.

On a personal note, the most important aspect of interior design for me is the function of a given space. The layout of our client’s home has to work for their lifestyle. We establish this at the first consultation and from then on we can focus on the aesthetics of the entire space. Through the use of colours, textures, layering, lighting and some clever design features it all comes together to create something unique and fabulous.

Solely adding a box extension is not always the solution that turns your property into your dream home as can be seen in this project completed by Design Studio.

This home was reworked internally to give our clients exactly what they were looking for in a home without adding an extension. Built in 1906, this property was full of character but also featured lots of small and unused rooms to the rear of the property unsuitable for modern-day family living.

We felt there was a lot of wasted space that we could make great use of in this area. The cluster of back hallways along with the storage cupboards and unused WCs gave us lots to work with. We made the most of this area by removing the narrow corridors, small rooms and back staircase and reconfiguring this into a kitchen/dining/living lifestyle area to the rear of the property.

Being a B-listed building we researched the history of the property to understand all of the original architecture and design features. This allowed us to open up the ceiling above the dining area to create a striking double-height feature, letting the light flood into this previously dark space. The house also had lots of different floor levels to contend with, which we loved and wanted to embrace and highlight. We did this by creating zones for each area of the new open-plan layout which made each section of the house feel special.

Throughout this part of the house, we repositioned many of the internal doors, allowing each room to flow seamlessly into the next, becoming much more usable and sociable. The pocket doors leading from the dining area into the sitting room provide the open plan feel but with the option of closing it off and creating a cosy nook for those chilly winter evenings in front of the fire. The flexibility of the space is a key factor for many of our clients and something we take into account with every design.

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