Period houses are those that were built pre-World War I and known to be stronger in terms of foundations, more durable and have better insulation than modern housing built today. While its history is embedded in its beautiful design and features, there may be some areas in need of improvement or renovation. Careful consideration must be made to ensure that an extension is an appropriate course of action.
An extension could alter the historical features of a period home and destroy the image that made it so beautiful. If an extension is necessary, it is best to build out to the back or side of the house, or potentially into the loft space above or the cellar or basement down below. If an extension appears too risky, there are alternatives to extending or ways to approach the project more carefully.
An extension can mean extra living space and added value. It’s an increasingly popular choice adopted by home-owners today as people want bigger houses with more room to move and more areas to entertain. When putting an extension onto a period home, is wise to consider gaining extra space via an outbuilding in the garden. With a period home, this could be the most cost-effective and least disruptive solution for your project. Garden rooms can be used as an office or studio, a spare bedroom and be complete with a kitchen and bathroom if desired. These purpose-built cabins can be designed specifically to be mobile, so that if you decide to move, the money invested is not lost.
Ensuring the original foundations flow with architectural rhythm and symmetry of the new extension is important for keeping the shape, scale and proportions of the period home. Creating a visual break between the period home and the new extension can be an excellent way to achieve a beautiful result. When a modern design has been thought through carefully, they can work incredibly well alongside an old period home compared to a poor imitation of the existing home. However, do ensure your architects use a harmonious materials palette to create a modern and sympathetic extension with minimal damage to the original construction.
Be sure to think about the practicalities when building a new extension to a period home. Due to the demands of modern building regulations, it can be a difficult task to construct an extension that is exactly like the original foundations of a period home. Care must be taken to ensure any differential settlement can be accommodated at the connection point between the new and the old areas. Ensure that when an extension takes place, the existing structure’s ability to breath has not been disturbed. If underfloor ventilation has been blocked, dampness and other problems could develop. Installing roof-lights or sun tubes, staircases and light wells could help to improve ventilation in these original rooms if necessary.
If your period home is in a Conservation Area, you must gain consent prior to extending. If it is not, there are still rules that you must abide by. These are known as your permitted development rights, which allow you to make certain alterations to your home without seeking planning permission. Under these rules, the period home (as it stood in or before 1948) rear wall of a detached home may be extended within the following constraints:
- You may extend by up to 8 metres in depth with a single-storey extension on a detached home.
- You can extend by up to 6 metres with a single-storey extension if you live in a semi or terrace.
- Single-storey extensions must be no higher than 4 metres.
- If your proposed new extension will be within 2 metres of a boundary, then the eaves height is limited to 3 metres.
- Two-storey extensions can be no higher than the house.
- Two-storey extensions can project up to 3 metres from the original wall, so long as it is at least 7 metres from the rear boundary.
- No extension can project beyond the front of the house (or an elevation that affronts the highway).
- Side extensions cannot make up more than half the width of your house.
- With the exception of conservatories, new extensions must be built of materials ‘similar in appearance’ and with the same roof pitch as the main house.
Get in touch with trusted experts who are used to working with period houses of a similar type and age to the home you are looking to extend. Sensitively designed period homes extension is more likely to increase the value of your property than one that has been designed and constructed poorly for the original structure. Ensure you gain consent and the appropriate planning permit prior to any extension and communicate with your neighbours. Ensure you pay attention to the materials you plan to use in your extension and get assistance or further advice if you need it. If the extension is being built using brick, old bricks are imperial sizes and new bricks are metric. Whilst traditional sizes can be sourced, bear in mind all the materials you will need for a sound extension and the barriers you may face in sourcing these materials.
You can trust the team at Legacy Structural Design to take care of your extension plans for your period home from start to finish. Experts in producing high-quality, environmentally-friendly designs for a wide range of home extensions, Legacy Structural Design can create an innovative floor plan and strategy for getting the extension to your period home complete efficiently and cost-effectively.
Get in touch with the team today with your plans and questions and they will get back to you with a quote and any additional information you require.