How to fix a bad extension:a little imagination goes a long way in this dark Victorian terrace

An unusual glass box with cement-board cladding was the curve-ball design devised by architects for this terrace house.

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This Victorian terrace house in highly popular East Dulwich had a small existing extension with a slate roof across part of the width at the back, similar to the properties at either side.

Because of differing land levels, there were awkward steps to the garden, making the extension feel disconnected.

The owners wanted to change this for a space they could use better, with increased light, on a budget of £110,000.

The architect, Tristan Wigfall of Alma-nac, says: “Try to decide what you really want, then think outside the box.


“Usually, we make several suggestions, then throw in a curve-ball design. It’s often the one that clients go for because it ticks all the boxes and is exciting, too.”

The architects went to the planners because of the unusual glass box they had designed and the stylish cement-board cladding they used.

The extension had to retain a pitched section of roof in line with the neighbouring extensions, but the architects also “popped out” a glazed box, holding an outsize glass door to the garden.

This section is higher than the rest, and the combination of height and glass makes the internal space seem much bigger, even though the space is only about 10 square metres. By extending a little further into the garden they brought the steps inside, creating seamless access to the outside.

Bring the outdoors in: the "popped out" glazed box holds an outsize glass door to the garden.



Mustard Architects’ John Norman says: “Yes, you can hire an architect to draw up plans for you, which can be given to a builder, but you won’t get the supervision or attention to detail the architect brings by staying on the job.

“To do that, you might expect to pay about £10,000 to £15,000.”

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