We have times when we consider the possibilities of extending and transforming our cramped house into something more spacious, a lush sanctuary or open-plan extension.
We all know that feeling of being confined in your box-like living room…
…crammed with stuff…
…staring at the obstructed TV screen surrounded by more stuff…
…kids running around…
…or your partner having a loud rant over the phone right by you!
Whatever your household consists of, that is surely not a feeling we’d want to be enduring for the rest of our lives.
Most people want extra space in their home due to changes in their circumstances — they might need to convert a small basement into that extra bedroom or living room, or even a new dining room and kitchen, or even a bathroom or swimming pool!
Your lifestyle and aspirations should be reflected through your home — after all, this is the place you go to after a tiring day at work to relax. As such, you have every right to indulge in the comfort of your home whilst also hosting your guests.
If this is what we want, then we need to think about the various ways we can extend our property and consider the many aspects that need to be taken into account:
are just some of the things on the list. With all these factors in mind, it’s a simple jump to realise that the best way of extending your home is through a basement extension.
The daunting task of dealing with planning officers and building control inspectors is enough to put you off, especially if you’ve had prior experience with them — getting consent is generally stressful as you go through a period of amendments, consultations and seemingly endless negotiations.
Luckily, given that basement extensions involve hardly any external impact, going through these processes easier than you might expect, particularly with planning. This is because with underground basements, the only external alteration you will be creating is the stairwell or light-wells. That’s it. Nothing that can be seen by neighbours or be considered as obtrusive to your neighbours’ amenity – in planning terms.
So, as we’ve seen, extending a basement can provide valuable extra living space with only sympathetic external alterations.
Unlike above ground, where you are limited by your ceiling heights – meaning high chances of conflict with neighbours and the planners – with a basement, all you need to do is dig down to achieve the height you want.
But we mustn’t forget that the ceiling is important as it will need to accommodate services for lighting, ventilation and plumbing, so your sub-contractors should find a solid solution to make sure you don’t get leakages and unnecessary problems in the future.
Higher ceilings mean extra air flow and light flow if the extension opens out into the garden, so your kitchen/living area could be airy and open-plan. You could even have glass-steel structure as a staircase to provide a modern access to your basement without obstructing that flow of light coming from the rear patio or garden.
If you are lucky enough to be situated along a road suitable for frontal light wells, then you can enjoy extra light coming from both ends of your property. Remember, your extension can reach up to all of your plot boundaries so you can have a really decent amount of light and space downstairs.
Make sure you know exactly what you’re going to use your extension for before you start designing it – as you can see from above, our client wanted a soft, comfortable space to enjoy cocktails and watch movies. Other extensions we’ve worked on have placed workrooms, washrooms, playrooms in the basement space — the key is knowing exactly what you want to put there before putting pen to paper.
One of the more popular options is to put living accommodation downstairs, especially if you have a garden you can make use of. Opening up the rear end of your basement to have a sunken garden or patio would provide daylight flooding into your bedroom or living room. Neutral colour palettes, reflective surfaces, textures and artificial light should all complement the structural features your basement extension provides.
Of course, you’re going to want to enjoy the company of guests and show off the spacious reception room and kitchen you have, and so naturally, the design is absolutely crucial to make that perfect space. Considering the light you have and then adjusting the use of colours and materials appropriately can do wonders for your new rooms.
Basement conversions and extensions are the most flexible way to extend your home, so all you need to do is dig deep into your imagination to see the potential you’ve got in your home!