Victoria Harrison, Editor at Houzz.co.uk, talks to REES Architects to find out how they transformed a tired Victorian house with a smart extension
By reconfiguring the ground floor of this Victorian terrace and extending out into the garden, Daniel Rees of Rees Architects, a professional on home improvement platform Houzz.co.uk, has carved out a bright new space in which each member of the family can comfortably live and work.
“The owners contacted us through Houzz, as they’d seen our profile and liked a previous project and our reviews, and wanted to talk about how we could help them transform their own home,” Daniel says. “Clients will often find my photos and previous work on the website, so when they approach me, they’ve done lots of research, and we’re often a good match for each other, as they already know the sort of work I do and the areas I cover.”
“With this project, I started by asking the owners questions about how they live, how they use the space, what their jobs are, and so on. We then did a survey at the property, looked at relevant planning policies, and put together a concept design based on the results,” he says.
Rather than rip down the existing extension and knock out the back wall of the house to create a totally open space, Daniel took a more careful approach that worked with the existing structure and preserved some of the property’s charm. “We wanted to keep some original features and bring as much light into the house as possible,” he says.
By removing the rear window and building the extension around the existing back wall, Daniel created the feeling of an open-plan space while actually retaining two individual rooms. He moved the kitchen into the old dining room and positioned it underneath the internal ‘window’, making it feel much more spacious and connected to the rest of the house.
“When you build an extension, you always create a dark area in the middle of the house,” he says, “so we try to ensure the more liveable spaces are positioned next to the garden. Having glass doors leading outside connects the dining area to the patio and makes the room feel bigger.”
At the back of the kitchen, a glass door leads into a utility space. Locating this ‘service room’ in the darker part of the house allowed Daniel to move the cooking and dining areas out into the light-filled extension.
“There are a few different layers of light designed into the space,” he says. “We fitted pendant lights over the table and above the sink, as well as strip lighting under the kitchen cabinets.
Natural light is maximised through the inclusion of two large, triple-glazed rooflights, as well as the glazing on the back of the extension.
“One of my favourite elements of this space is the amount of natural daylight in it,” Daniel says, “and I think the way the area is divided up now works really well.”
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