Building an Extension – a brief design guide

House extension is one of the most popular ways to improve your property. An extension will not only give you extra space, it could also increase the value of your home.


15070-02.jpg#asset:2964An extension to a farmhouse by Anderson Orr Architects.


When it comes to extensions there are many factors that need to be considered for a successful project. From planning legislations to design ideas through project management and construction, there are many things that should be taken into consideration. This article aims to give you a brief guidance on the design approach of your extension.


12070-003.jpg#asset:2965Contrasting extension featuring a contextually appropriate material palette by Anderson Orr Architects.


Once you have established that you would like to extend you property, you will need to think about the design of the new addition. This is very important as it would undoubtedly affect the success of the project. The relationship between the original property and the new addition should be carefully considered. While there are no hard rules, you will need to make a decision on whether you want the extension to contrast the main house or follow the already established language.


Below is an example of a side extension to an Arts and Crafts property that has been designed to complement and seamlessly blend with the original architecture whilst changes to the internal layout transform the previously compartmentalised arrangement into a series of interconnected, light and spacious family living spaces.


10075-01.jpg#asset:2962A side extension to an Arts and Crafts property – the design seamlessly blends with the original house by Anderson Orr Architects.


380.jpg#asset:2961Contrasting extension featuring a contextually appropriate material palette by Anderson Orr Architects.


Our Chalfont Road project is an example where both approaches have been combined. The property features a traditional three-storey extension to the rear combined with a contrasting contemporary single storey projection. Materiality was critical to the planning approval, and therefore a careful blend of brickwork and stone detailing that matched the existing property was used for the three-storey extension, while a more contemporary language using large openings and crisp render was employed for the single-storey projection. The project is an example of how high-quality architect designed development can unlock the potential of a compact urban property.


Another way of adding a contrasting extension is by introducing a visually lightweight element with simple contemporary form and fully glazed facades. We adopted this approach for our Littlecote project (pictured below). The single storey extension to the rear of the property has been designed to create a living space that is the heart of the house and benefits from the panoramic view and connection with the south facing garden.


11084-001.jpg#asset:2963Littlecote - contemporary extension to an Edwardian style property by Anderson Orr Architects.


Whichever way you decide to approach your project, at Anderson Orr we are able to advise you on many aspects of the process. We have an established track record achieving planning consents in Conservation areas and AONB. Over the years, we have gained an extensive experience in renovating and extending existing properties. Our portfolio has a wide range of extensions and refurbishments of listed buildings and period properties.