Traditional Extensions – Respecting Period Architecture

As home renovation and extension specialists, we work with home extensions all over London. Working in London means that we work on a huge variety of properties, from the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian era, to the new builds. Each homeowner has different styles and requirements for their own project. Some people like minimalistic, modern lines, while others cherish the more traditional features that often come with period properties. If you prefer traditional features, you might be concerned about merging a new extension with a period property. Many of our clients have these concerns and we are here to reassure you it can absolutely be done. Here at Home Tales, each of our designs is designed around you and your requirements, so if you have any preferences or requests, we incorporate this into your designs. 

We thought we would talk you through some of the ways we maintain traditional architecture on our extension projects. In some cases, it’s due to the personal preferences of the homeowner. In other cases, it might be local council requirement. All local councils regulate the size of home extensions, to ensure they don’t become too imposing on the property and the surrounding area. Local councils look at bulk, mass, and materials. They all want the extension to complement the host building, and not detract from the original architecture and heritage of the area. If you are in a conservation area, the rules around this will be even stricter. It’s not to say you cannot extend, it just means we must be more sensitive to the original architecture of the building. 

Ground floor extensions 

Ground floor extensions are a fantastic solution if you want more liveable space. Extending the ground floor adds more kitchen, dining and living space to your property. There are multiple types of extension. Side return extensions are only an option if you have an existing side return. This is an alleyway which forms part of your garden and was originally designed to ensure the middle room of the ground floor had access to natural light and ventilation. Today, many homeowners find this outdoor space to be redundant, and would much rather incorporate it into the home. There are also lots of new methods to get natural light into the middle room, including large glass doors to the rear, open plan living, skylights and internal windows. Extending into a side return is very common in London. If it’s possible we will use similar materials to match the existing material of the property. We recently extended into the side return of this property in Wandsworth. Our recommended builder carefully dismantled the brickwork and kept the best quality bricks to reuse in the new rear wall. This meant the blend between new and old brick is completely seamless. This is one way to respect the original architecture of the building, as the new extension blends well into the host property. 

Chimneys – to stay or go? 

Chimney removals are another popular item that are often requested within our projects. If you prefer the traditional appearance, consider keeping your chimney and making it a feature. When these properties were built (over 100 years ago), chimneys were necessary as no form of central heating system existed in those days. As a result, the chimneys were required to heat the home. Nowadays, pretty much all properties have central heating systems installed, which makes the original function of a chimney redundant. This doesn’t mean they can’t be utilised. We recently installed a gas fire in our Clapham project. The homeowner loved traditional features and wished to keep both chimney stacks in their open plan kitchen, living and dining area. We installed a gas fire in one which gives that wonderful warmth but without any of the high maintenance of a genuine fireplace. In the other chimney stack, we removed part of the internal stack, to enable the fridge, freezer, oven, microwave, and storage units to be placed within part of the stack. They off centred the design to give a quirky, modern edge. The result is quite impressive and demonstrates just how well modern design can work within traditional architecture. 

Windows 

Windows are another item that we often replace in properties. As period properties are over one hundred years old, methods in window production have come a very long way since the 1900s. Double glazing is required now as a building regulation, as it’s much safer than single pane glass and it’s also far more efficient at reducing sound penetration and increasing heat insulation. We frequently replace original windows for new ones. There are loads of specialist companies that create windows which replicate the original design (while passing building regulations approval). These are made from wood, but it’s usually treated wood to ensure its long-lasting and doesn’t swell. We often work with accoya wood which guarantees no expansion due to moisture. We recently installed 6 new windows in this property in Southfields. All the windows needed replaced including their frames. This included a double height bay window and 4 additional windows throughout the property. We replicated the exact design of the original windows which included this beautiful sash window overlooking the garden. 

Windows are another item that we often replace in properties. As period properties are over one hundred years old, methods in window production have come a very long way since the 1900s. Double glazing is required now as a building regulation, as it’s much safer than single pane glass and it’s also far more efficient at reducing sound penetration and increasing heat insulation. We frequently replace original windows for new ones. There are loads of specialist companies that create windows which replicate the original design (while passing building regulations approval). These are made from wood, but it’s usually treated wood to ensure its long-lasting and doesn’t swell. We often work with accoya wood which guarantees no expansion due to moisture. We recently installed 6 new windows in this property in Southfields. All the windows needed replaced including their frames. This included a double height bay window and 4 additional windows throughout the property. We replicated the exact design of the original windows which included this beautiful sash window overlooking the garden. 

If you want to discuss your project in more detail, contact our team on 0207 043 2378 or email us at hello@hometales.co.uk. You can also book a consultation directly via our website here. We look forward to discussing your project in more depth. 


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