Call this the case of the incomplete house.
Picture a large house that looks more like a pair of semi-detached homes, with two pitched roofs. Next to it is a house that has one of the same pitched roofs, and then a deeply set-back two-storey side section that looks like an ungainly extension but was part of the original building. It all almost feels designed to provoke people who like things to be symmetrical. At the same time, it didn’t strange or special enough to be an interesting part of the local streetscape.
Our clients’ aim was to fill in the “missing” half of the building, and in the process turn one home into two, making a contribution to the local housing supply without making the street feel any more crowded. But would it be as simple as that?
Even with the strange side area, the existing house only had one full-sized bedroom, plus two tiny rooms that were well under the national minimum space standards. That suggested that simply mirroring the main part of the house would create two very small homes. So while at the front the “missing” section was filled in, at the back more was needed. A two-storey outrigger (the big rear section of a Victorian house) and a single-storey extension were added to both the existing house and the new half.
With those changes, there was enough space for two 2-bedroom homes, a significant improvement over the existing property. Sutton council rightly has high aspirations for the sustainability of new homes, so we incorporated air-source heat pumps and a green roof. Plus, because these houses are near the local shopping centre and a short walk from Thameslink, which whisks you up to central London and beyond, this is all car-free.
Taking one undersized home and turning it into a pair of two-bedroom houses that fully meet space standards without making it look like you’ve squeezed a building in is a great way to add homes painlessly. There aren’t that many opportunities to do this, but it’s important we make the most of those that do exist.
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