iBuild Apr 2018


When Marie Christine Hughes and her husband moved into their Victorian detached property in West Norwood 12 years ago, they knew they wanted to add an extension to make more room.

Marie Christine explains: ?The house had potential. It was detached and we liked the features and the garden, plus the location is great ? great public spaces, easy access into central London and great transport links.

?We always intended to do an extension from the time we originally moved in, the timing seemed right as we approached Plus Rooms. Our inspiration came from friends and the platform Houzz. ?We had our design brief pretty clear in our head but our original plans were refused by the council, but in a way this was a good thing as it made us consider more carefully our options and we?re delighted with the results.?

When the pair resubmitted their plans after the initial refusal; the response came back quite quickly, so gaining planning permission took about three months in total.

?The extension took 12 weeks to build, but the finishing, which included the kitchen install, decor and floors, took quite a bit longer. We went away for Christmas and we didn?t want the work being done while we were away, so things were put on hold briefly hence the slightly longer timeline,? explains Marie Christine.

?We liked the exterior of the property so we kept the lines of the original building, hence the L-shape extension. Other than that, we reconfigured a lot of the interior. Although the extension is contemporary, it is done sympathetically with the rest of the house. It?s double-fronted and we put the bathroom on the side to ensure the front room wasn?t shut off. We focused on making sure we had carefully zoned areas.

?We wanted the work done, but didn?t want to project manage ourselves ? life?s too busy. Plus Rooms handled the whole thing impeccably from end-to-end. Alex was simply marvellous! He kept us in the loop but helped smooth the way and proposed solutions all the time. We didn?t work with an architect directly ? Plus Rooms liaised with the architects to get the plans drawn as agreed with them, surveying happened but we weren?t involved in the day-to-day.

?We lived at the home through the project which wasn?t too bad as Plus Rooms protected everything to ensure the dust didn?t travel throughout the house and made efforts to protect us with a temporary kitchen arrangement. But, during a cold spell, it was very hard to keep the house at temperature so rather uncomfortable, but this lasted less than two weeks.?

An overview

The extension is open-plan between the original kitchen and the back dining room which has created a large and spacious kitchen, dining and living space. This build was a good example of a broken-plan configuration where elements of structure have intentionally been left in to give subtle division to zone space. Having a staggered back wall is another example of how you can help distinguish different part of zones. The extension also has big sliding doors that slide away from a corner which create an impressive feeling in the dining room looking out onto the garden. This also brings the kitchen outdoors ? a lovely feature for summer evenings. The beams in the ceiling help to create character and interest, a far cry from the usual rectangular open space. The large glass panels help various sections of each room you are in ? in particular the garden ? to bring the inside out.

When it came to material and product specification, Marie Christine said: ?Braverman Kitchens made things very easy. They, just like Plus Rooms, were introduced to us through friends who had done a very large project which we loved. Again, we knew what we wanted so it was great to see the plans come about. Other items such as door handles, doors and light fittings were all chosen either online or through seeing them at our friend?s property. We checked everything with Alex to ensure the specifications matched. The floor tiles came from Kettering ? we?d originally had seen them at the Grand Design?s Show in Docklands. We really love those floor tiles. They?re porcelain. The underfloor heating was a definite must. I love the kitchen and the fact that the snug can be quite separate and can be used for doing something completely different. We aren?t encroaching on each other’s activities, but we are together ? the extension is a great space for a family.

?It’s made a huge difference to our lives, it?s the warmest part of the house and we simply live there day-to-day. It?s everything we ever wanted from the build.

?I?d recommend Plus Rooms in a heartbeat ? they have such experience of similar projects that they can smooth any blips along the way. We had to pay more as we had to dig down deeper at foundation level and secure ground before the build could happen ? this added another ?18,000 to the overall cost. But there was nothing else unforeseen.

?We?d absolutely do it again with them, they made the whole thing so easy and we?re delighted with the finished product ? the back of the house is just so bright and brilliant.?

See full article here.

Real Homes Mar 2018


Statement bronze-coloured doors and a sleek kitchen ensure Mark and Christine Evans? new extension stands out from the crowd

Off-street parking might not be the first thing that springs to mind as being ‘top of the list’ must haves when searching for a new home, but for Mark and Christine it was a key requirement. ?Our previous home was a terraced property where we?d lived for 18 years, and we were fed up with having to drive around to find somewhere to park the car,? explains Mark. ?This house has a driveway as well as a large rear garden, so it ticked off several things on our wishlist.?

Although the exterior offered lots of positives, the interior of the house was in need of extensive work. ?The small kitchen hadn?t been touched for years,? says Mark.

?There was lino on the floor, old-fashioned wooden cupboards and an ancient floor-mounted boiler. We decided to extend to the rear of the house to create a bright, open-plan room where we could cook, eat and entertain.?
Mark and his wife Christine interviewed a number of building companies, but chose to work with Plus Rooms, who had extended their previous home. The company offers a complete service, from drawing and submitting the designs for planning permission, to groundworks, construction and final decoration. ?We liked the idea of a one-stop shop, rather than employing several different companies,? says Christine.

The couple worked with Plus Rooms to devise a scheme that would include removing the old boiler and chimney breast, installing underfloor heating and extending to the rear. Planning approval was granted relatively quickly, and the builders created a temporary kitchen so Mark and Christine could live in the house during the 12-week project. Concrete strip foundations were then excavated, which needed to be one metre deeper than initially planned, as dictated by the building control?officer. This cost ate into the couple?s contingency funds, and required an additional week of work.

The new brick and block walls of the extension have been painted white externally to match those of the main house. Three rooflights drop natural light into the space from above, and the powder-coated aluminium doors, finished in a distinctive dark bronze colour, open onto a new terrace. ?I love Crittall-style metal doors, and convinced Mark that including them would make more of a statement than standard bi-folds,? says Christine.

As the co-owner of a chain of Italian restaurants, Mark had firm ideas about what to include in the new space, so the couple met with kitchen company Roundhouse Design early on in the project to plan the key fixtures and fittings. ?I wanted a built-in music system, an instant boiling water tap and a pull-out spray tap because they are so useful and make cleaning the sink very easy,? says Mark. Opting for a combination of white, blue/black and bronze for the units complements the colour of the statement exterior doors, while an antique mirror used as a splashback below a long bronze cupboard provides a glamorous finishing touch. ?For easy access, the whole length of the cupboard door lifts and folds as one piece,? says Christine. ?The mirror also reflects the glass doors, giving a view outside into the garden.?

Storage in the new kitchen is in plentiful supply, with larder units either side of the fridge-freezer housing a wine cabinet, glasses and a breakfast area complete with toaster, microwave and coffee maker. The central island unit contains storage drawers, the hob and a wine fridge, while the extractor inset into a ceiling plinth can be illuminated for an eye-catching feature. Unusual timber-effect Italian ceramic tiles were laid over the underfloor heating for a practical floor finish. ?The floor is amazing and cleverly detailed to look like authentic wood,? says Mark.

With the space finished, the couple now have a kitchen-diner to be proud of. ?We tend to spend most of our time in here because it?s so light and sociable,? says Christine. ?Our extension isn?t really that big, but it?s made an enormous difference to our home and our lives.?

Kitchen and appliances ?55,000
Building work ?50,000
Glass doors ?25,000
Floor tiles ?3,000
TOTAL ?133,000
Design and build Plus Rooms, 0800 917 7127,
Glazed doors Jennyfields, 01252 759309,
Kitchen Roundhouse Design, 020 7297 6220,
Floor tiles Reed Harris, 020 7751 8500,