A Guide to House Extensions

Improving the property you already have is often a more affordable and appealing route when compared to the cost of moving home (estate agent and solicitor’s fees, house movers, stamp duty etc. all tally up). Maximising your property’s potential with a well-designed house extension will transform your life-style – creating a living space which truly meets the needs of your family.

 

This information is helpful to anyone contemplating a home renovation in England, however if you are in Newcastle or the North East we are the leading local architectural design company. You can contact us easily here to arrange a chat in your home or over a brew at our Newcastle office.

two storey extensions in Darras Hall

A contemporary, light two storey extension in Darras Hall, maximising local views with a Juliet balcony.

Design Considerations

An accurate brief is essential

Identifying what you want to change or improve is the best place to start when creating a design brief, for example: “we want an open plan living/dining area”, “we need more space for my family to relax in together”, or perhaps “we would like to enjoy cooking in a spacious and clutter free kitchen”. At this early stage, it is a good idea to focus on broader goals rather than being too specific e.g. “we want to extend the ground floor at the rear of the property, on the left-hand side, next to the downstairs bathroom”. The reasoning behind this is to keep an open mind, we are professions with years of experience and using this, we can provide innovative layout designs which may not be what you had in mind, but will be the most cost and space efficient way to create your dream home. You will be amazed by the possibilities!

Designs to consider

An open plan, spacious extension in Heaton, Newcastle.

Creating your brief

A typical brief should include these headings and we have included some common examples to help generate your own…

Limitations with existing home
  • Master bedroom needs an en suite
  • Garage is underused
  • Kitchen is cluttered and small
  • Need an annexe
  • Not enough living space for family
Budget
  • An idea of your budget range (minimum to maximum) plus contingency
Family’s requirements
  • Husband and wife as well as two children under 12
  • Lots of regular visitors for dinner
  • Big family meals
  • Small gatherings in living space
  • Grandparents coming to live with family
Essentials
  • Larger kitchen
  • Room for more seating in the living area
  • Room for a large dining table and 12 chairs
Our Taste
We love…
  • Open plan living
  • Wood burner
  • Lots of natural light
  • Warm and cosy areas
  • Hidden storage solutions
We hate…
  • Exposed beams
  • Cramped spaces
  • Clutter
  • Neighbours seeing into our home

Our Pinterest boards are also a great place to find inspiration and work out which style of extension you prefer! It also includes a selection of our projects in Newcastle and the North East.

 

Once you have consolidated your requirements, our architects will be able to design your perfect home. You’ll be surprised how perfectly it meets your brief, whilst remaining within your budget.

Our top 3 tips for extending your home

Here are a few thoughts on how to make sure you get exactly what you’re looking for:

 

  • Be as certain as possible. We don’t just use 3D imaging because the pictures are cool. We use them because they’re the best way to really feel as if you’re in the building and understand how the space will work for you.
  • Think about your day-to-day life. We spend a lot of time talking to clients about how they will use their new space, imagining a day in your perfect home and recording the integral details is really helpful.
  • Try to avoid arbitrary deadlines. If you’re looking to get more for your money on a big build, being ready to go when a great Newcastle builder becomes available is key. If you can be flexible on timescales you could save a fortune, leaving you with more money to spend on kitting out your home or even your next family holiday!

Simply investigating building an extension can increase your home’s value

Let’s say you go through the scoping process, work out your planning permission, and then decide not to go ahead. Waste of money, right? Wrong. Just getting the necessary permissions increases the value of your house. Any future buyer knows what they’re able to do, and that will add money to your home valuation. It always pays to look at your options. Further to this, your permissions will last for three years so you have plenty of time to get started!

Single storey house extension in Gosforth, Newcastle

A single storey rear extension in Gosforth, Newcastle.

How will an extension tie in with your existing home?

There are various options here. A seamless extension will look as though your house was built that way, though this can be difficult as matching materials can be tricky – we are very experienced in this and work with several local construction firms who achieve this perfectly time after time. Alternatively, you can extend in a deliberately different style – contrasting classical with modern appearances always creates a stunning, unique finish.

Some examples of different extension styles we have designed in Newcastle.

 

Planning permission and building control regulations

It’s such an exciting time when you start thinking about your new extension. You’re probably picking out colours, imagining where the furniture will go, and planning your housewarming as we speak. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of boring and/or frustrating stuff that goes into that dream home. With ten years’ experience in building control prior to forming Acre Design, MD Alistair Crerar is one of the best at getting projects to fly through permissions and we handle the whole process for you.

extensions designs and plans

The North East, and in particular Newcastle, is a fabulous place to build; from the Victorian Terraces to the more modern semis, there are all kinds of opportunities to do something truly special. With older properties, the main thing that planning departments will look at is how the extension will fit in with its environment. We know how to work with the style of your area whilst incorporating your personal taste and vision.

  

The bottom line is, with us, you won’t have to worry about the permissions side of your build. Acre Design has excellent relationships with councils across Newcastle and the North East and will ensure achieving the relevant permission is stress and hassle free!

Acre Design can offer free advice on whether planning permission is required or not, just arrange a free consultation. If planning is required, we will also give you an idea of the likelihood of approval. If planning is not deemed necessary we will apply to the council for a certificate of lawful development on your behalf. You can find lots more information planning permission on our information page and our FAQ’s have some really helpful information regarding building control.

 

 

Further information

Planning Permission at Newcastle Council
Planning Permission at Gateshead Council
Planning Permission at North Tyneside Council

Let’s talk about how your home will be transformed to suit your life. Get in touch today. Arrange a free consultation in your own home or over a brew in our Newcastle office.