Increase in Value
Increase in Cost Efficiency
Urbanist Architecture is always up for a challenge, whether we’re facing resistance from the council or spatial limitations that inhibit our designs. For us, every project is an opportunity to find creative design solutions that meet the needs of our clients and the requirements of the local planning authority. With this project, we faced a number of planning obstacles in addition to some design-related puzzles.
First of all, we needed to devise a way to enlarge the admittedly small terraced house to provide space for several internal alterations. With these alterations, our client wanted more ample, open-plan living space, a sleek interior design and an upstairs bathroom. To achieve these goals, we had to gain planning permission for a first floor rear extension to house the bathroom and external alterations to the ground floor – and all this in a conservation area, where there are stringent design restrictions. After submitting the application, we were met with resistance from a planning officer who did not approve of one of our design features in terms of the new windows to be placed in the extension.
Aside from getting planning permission for the first floor extension, we also had to find innovative design solutions to bring our client’s vision to life. They had very specific goals in terms of the interior design, so we made sure that all our decisions harmonised with what they had in mind. In the end, we wanted our designs to bring our client more happiness.
For every challenge, we think there is a solution - it’s a question of how you approach it. After submitting the planning application for the first floor extension, we became aware that the local planning authority did not look kindly on two proposed crittall doors: one on the ground floor and one on the first floor. These doors, the officer argued, were not in keeping with the local context. To overcome this obstacle, we altered the initial design of the first floor crittal door, making it a window for the initial application. Thereafter, we submitted what is known as a minor amendment application, in which we proposed to change the first-floor crittall window into a crittall door with a juliet balcony. This time the planning authority accepted our proposal, and we were able to obtain permission for the entirety of our proposed development. This allowed us to enlarge both floors, alter the layout, and include two elegant crittall doors and a number of skylights on the ground and first floors to allow for plenty of natural light.
Now, to open up the ground floor layout, a number of changes had to be made. First of all, in order to provide an optimal flow between rooms and maximal flexibility, we had to re-conceptualize the ground floor in its entirety. In the existing arrangement, the kitchen was to the rear of the property; the dining area in the middle; and the living area to the front, and each of these spaces was separated by a wall. The client explained that more time was spent in the living and dining areas so, with this in mind, we decided that these rooms would be better located at either end of the property (to the front and rear, respectively). To increase the flow between each room, we needed to knock down several walls dividing the kitchen, living and dining areas. With this new open floor plan, the more ‘social’ areas would have access to a greater amount of natural light thanks to the aforementioned skylights and crittall doors, helping to increase the occupants’ overall happiness. Moreover, with the dividing walls demolished, the clients would feel a greater sense of flow between each room.
Heading upstairs, the extension provided us with plenty of room to add a sleekly designed bathroom on the first floor. With a new bathroom installed, we were able to reduce the previous ground-floor bathroom to a simple water closet, which in turn provided sufficient space to open up the layout of the kitchen, dining and living areas. In addition, we were able to demolish the existing staircase and install a new, more convenient set of stairs running in the opposite direction. Consequently, this allowed us to create a hallway on the first floor and, at the same time, maintain the layout of the master bedroom. Finally, we were also able to make several changes to the interior design as per the request of the client. They asked that we include a leafy wallpaper next to the staircase, and ceramic tiles and hexagonal splashback in the kitchen area. Consequently, we made sure that the interior design melded with these proposed accents. In the end, through a close collaboration with our client and with a strategic approach to the planning process for the first floor extension, we were able to provide ample space and an ideal layout. These improvements would, in turn, increase the overall value of the house.
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