Add Value with an Architect

ARCH-angels Architects talk us through an open-plan extension with seamless access to the garden via sliding doors

In 2014 ARCH-angels Architects were appointed to design a single- storey, side-return extension to the whole depth of the existing kitchen. The client wished to have an open-plan kitchen/dining space with seamless access to the garden via sliding doors. One of the considerations was the connection to the existing reception room and the new space.

The mid-terrace Victorian property is located on Grantham Road within the constraints of Preston Park Conservation Area. Due to its location, planning permission was needed. This is to ensure the impact of the proposed development has minimal effect on the appearance and character of the building and on the setting of the Preston Park Conservation Area.

The extension aligned with the rear wall of the existing property, so the side return infilled the existing open space between the side elevation and the shared boundary with the neighbour.

Design issues

The principal design consideration was maintaining the flow into the extended kitchen space from the hallway and also the rear reception room. In these extension projects, the rear reception room can become a dark corridor between spaces, losing its integrity. We avoided this by changing the room’s existing window into a door and retaining the access into the new, enlarged space from the hallway. The room was to be a child’s play room and had plenty of natural light from the roof windows of the new extension.

“The principal design consideration was maintaining the flow into the extended kitchen space from the hallway and also the rear reception room”

On site

The main site issues arose from there being no access to the ‘site’ from the road. Everything had to be taken through the house, including the large steel beam(s) supporting the existing side wall of the house. The builder suggested using a crane to take the steel beam over the roof of the house and into position, but in the end the beam was ‘spliced’ (divided) into three sections which were easier to carry and could be taken through the house. The other tricky element to the build was the new wall which had to be built on the shared party line between the client’s house and their neighbour. This was initially built in the wrong place due to difficult site conditions, and the client asked for it to be moved, but reluctantly settled for compensation from the builder.


The result is a calm, bright space that the clients love and which suits their lifestyle. They have achieved a good-quality space with lovely materials such as the Engineered Wood Parquet flooring and thin frames on the doors, which bring the garden into the room. Another success was the addition of a small downstairs WC under the stairs, which is functional and surprisingly spacious.

Client Testimonial

“Nicola was a pleasure to work with, very patient with my demands and always offering great advice on aspects that neither we nor the builder had picked up on. Without a doubt, the use of an architect caused the project to be more successful than it would have been otherwise. Our subsequent viewings of similar projects by neighbours and friends, completed without an architect, have clearly confirmed this.”

Create your dream home: Contact ARCH-angels Architects Ltd
3 Dorset Place , Brighton BN2 1ST
01273 267 184 | | Twitter: @ArchAngelsBton