Designing a Double-storey extension
If you’re happy with the location of your home but not the size, an extension is the obvious answer. And many of us are. choosing to improve our homes rather than move. But a simple tacked-on extension does nothing to improve the visual or practical appeal of a property.
That’s why design is so important to getting a double-storey extension right. And getting each step of the process completed in the right order is the only way to create the home you desire.
Tip 1 / Function comes first
Before you start engaging an architect or builder to bring your extension dreams to life, you need to ask some important questions first. What is the extension for? And how will it fit into your existing layout? Without those answers, you cannot expect your extension to fulfil its expectations. It should be the function of the space that informs the size and design of your double-storey extension.
Do you need more living space, an extra bathroom, or a complete change in function from traditional to open-plan living? How will this extension meet those needs and how much extra space does that require?
Tip 2 / Positioning and layout
Once you’ve worked out what needs you want your extension to meet, you should know what rooms need to be in it. This will help you work out where it should go. If you’re simply extending a rear kitchen and adding an upstairs bedroom, it can easily go on the back of the house.
But this isn’t always the case. If it’s more living space you need and your kitchen is currently at the back of the home, a rear extension will force the kitchen into the middle of the home’s layout with no natural light coming in. It could be that extending to the side makes more sense in this instance. So, ask yourself: How will the rooms in the extension connect to the existing house and will it create a natural flow?
Tip 3 / Materials and form
Designing a double-storey extension gives you the opportunity to change the shape and character of your whole home. But if your home is a period character, property planning rules and local restrictions may require you to blend your extension in using traditional materials and building methods.
If you’re not restricted but want to keep the original character of your home, you could play with design rules and contrast your period home with an ultra-modern extension.
Once you’ve decided on the form your extension will take, it’s likely the materials are next up for discussion. The framework of extensions can be limited but how you build walls, glaze, or clad your home gives you plenty of design options.
If a modern design is what you’re looking for then glass, wood and metal materials will be more dominant than traditional brick or blockwork. Materials should be practical in terms of weatherproofing, but also provide aesthetic appeal. Materials such as zinc and copper can provide a modern cladding alternative to wood and render, but you need to be able to find a company that can customise these to your specifications.
Tip 4 / Extension costs and expertise
With all the planning and design work in place, an extension will never become reality without a realistic budget and the right expertise. An architect or designer can produce a vision for your ideal extension, but they cannot build it. And the more futuristic the design, the more you will rely on structural engineers and specialist builders to turn those sketches into a safe and stable construction.
Whatever plans you want to draw up, get skilled trades involved as you go so that they can advise on whether something is doable or needs a rethink before you start digging out foundations. For every extra feature, window, or square meter of floor space, think about the cost implication for your double-storey extension. And keep a balanced approach so the budget doesn’t stretch out of control.