25 Beautiful Homes Feb 2019

Fresh Elegance

Once Morgan and Kim Ward found a period house in a lively yet leafy location, they set about turning it into a bright and spacious home.

Feature Richard Webber? ?Photography Fine House Photography

Kitchen-Diner? – A skylight helps maximise the amount of natural light at this end of the room

Home Truths

The Property -?Mid-terraced Victorian House

Location – West London

Rooms? -? Sitting Room/ Kitchen diner. snug, cloakroom, three bedrooms, two bathrooms

Purchased -? 2017

Previous Property -? ‘Before moving here, we lived in an Edwardian terraced house a few miles away’, says Morgan.

Snug – with its tactile fabrics and cosy seating arrangement, this space is the perfect spot for winter evenings

Morgan Ward and her twin sister Kim both had a clear idea of what they were looking for when they set out to fine a new home in West London. ‘We wanted a larger living space, better transport links, a livelier area and a south-facing garden’, says Morgan.

The sister viewed around 20 properties before finding a house that fitted the bill.? ‘We thought it had a great feel to it as soon as we stepped through the front door’,? says Morgan.? ‘It offers so much in terms of restaurants, amenities and boutique shops.? There are also lovely green spaces all around – for a built up city like London, its a bit of an oasis.

Although the property was in a fairly decent condition, it only had 2 bedrooms, a tiny kitchen and small living areas with no meaningful connection to the garden.? With the help of Plus Rooms, which specialises in improving and enlarging residential properties, Morgan and Kim added a loft conversion and wraparound extension. ‘It was essential that the new layout was suitable for three adults to live in comfortably, with each having their own private space’, explains Morgan whose mother regularly come over for visits from South Africa.

Creating a natural sense of flow between living spaces was integral to the design.? With an open-plan kitchen-cum living area, its very important the kitchen blends directly into the space, just as a piece of furniture would’, Morgan explains.? ‘We achieved this by fitting built in appliances, and pale coloured handleless units. Also, we used mirrored splashbacks as a way of reflecting light and making the space appear bigger’.

For the flooring the sisters selected engineered oak, complete with underfloor heating. ‘We love the natural feeling of warmth that oak floors bring to a space.? Once you have such things sorted, the rest falls into place quite easily.

Sitting Room – At the end of the day, Morgan and Kim love chilling out in their new extension

Whilst some neighbours have opted to squeeze in a fourth bedroom, the Wards didn’t want to compromise on space.? So with the renovation complete, Morgan and Kim now have a striking home with three double bedrooms and two generous bathrooms.

Loft bedroom – Morgan has kept with neural but added interest through gold accessories and soft furnishings

But downstairs is the star attraction. ‘with the garden facing south, light pours into the house all day, and the sliding doors link inside with outside’, says Morgan. ‘When we were organising the layout of this place w were inspired by light, modern homes we’d seen in Australia and South Africa.? In warmer climates, houses seem to connect well with outdoor areas and we wanted to reflect that’.

The only significant challenge the Wards faced was sticking to their budget – as with most refurbishments, unexpected costs arose.? ‘When buying a property you tend to take the drains for granted, but issues with them can be costly to fix – especially if you’ve just finishing paying concrete over them’, says Morgan.? ‘The old clay pipe connections had shifted and collapsed in the pipe.? This led to complications such as rats entering underneath the house’.? Fixing the problem, which included relining the entire 12-metre pipe and fitting a rate blocker to the front manhole, ate into the budget significantly.

with their rodent nightmare a distant memory, Morgan and Kim feel they have created their dream home and plan to stay long term.? ‘The renovation has given us our much needed living space so it’s now a home we can enjoy for a long period of time’, says Morgan.? ‘It’s open, modern and links with the garden.? We love having this connection to green space, even in winter, and we couldn’t be happier.

Garden – Comfortable seating makes this a social space to gather.

DESIGN TIP : Make storage a priority and have plenty of it – its crucial when designing a clutter-free space where everything is tucked away out of sight!

Bathroom – Gentle curves soften the look? of this contemporary scheme.?

Guest bedroom – Built-in cupboards in the alcove provide extra storage.?

Ideal Home Jan 2019

Glass gives our extension the Wow factor

Clever glazing was key to maximising light in Vivi and Sam Conniff Allende’s new extension

The couple added a glazed extension to give them a big, bright kitchen. ‘I love entertaining in our new kitchen because its exactly how we imagined it – light, spacious and welcoming’.

BEFORE SHOT – The old kitchen was tiny and overlooked the side return

The location is what Vivi and Sam Conniff Allende fell in love with when they bought their two-bed Victorian home, but it needed some renovations so it could work for their family.

Time for a Change

‘The whole house was in an awful condition and the small kitchen overlooked the side return,’ says Vivi. ‘there were storerooms to the rear of the property, so we thought that by knocking these down, we could extend the kitchen out to give space for a dining area with sliding glass doors leading to the garden.’

Expert help

‘We found Plus Rooms ( who could tackle the whole design and build for a fixed price,’ says Vivi. ‘We worked with them to design the pitched roof kitchen extension, which has three rooflights and a large triangular window above the sliding doors.

A Smooth Project

Once planning permission was granted, the builders set up a temporary kitchen in the living room. ‘It was very exciting to watch the extension grow, seeing the glass going in was such a high point,’ says Vivi.

Welcome to my Home

Vivi Conniff Allende lives here with her husband Sam and their daughters Scarlett, five, and Frida, 11 months.

The Property – a four-bed Victorian terraced house in southeast London

The Value – Bought for ?490,000 in 2012; now worth over ?1.3 million

What it Cost – Extension ?70,000
Kitchen ?25,000
Stone floor ?4,000
TOTAL ?99,000

Full width sliding doors connect the new kitchen and dining space to the garden beyond

Skylights and a triangular gable window fill the space with light

The old galley kitchen has been replaced with this spacious kitchen-diner

Heating an extension

James Bernard, director of Plus Rooms, has the lowdown:

  1. Meet Building Regulations – Any new extension should comply with current building regulations and shouldn’t negatively affect the energy performance of a house.
  2. Consult an Expert – Extra radiators can be added to your existing heating system only if the boiler has the capacity, so consult with a certified plumber before making changes.
  3. Upgrade is Needed – Installing an energy efficient boiler can be a relatively expensive option, although the cost of replacement is often offset by savings in running costs.
  4. Go Electric – An electric heating system is fairly simple to expand, and plug-in electric panel radiators or convector heaters may be suitable for a smaller extension.
  5. Consider Laying Underfloor Heating – Look out for underfloor heating that can integrate with an existing heating system without affecting wall space – an ideal solution for an open-plan setup.
What we’ve Learned

‘We built during the winter, which most people avoid because of the weather, but it meant the builders were available and we could buy materials like our flooring in the sales’.

Real Homes Jan 2019

A guide to extending under permitted development

Add extra space to your home without the need for planning permission and you can save time and money.  Here’s what you need to know.

Speedier improvement

An extension under PD transformed the awkward ground-floor layout of the house Louise and Dave Brown share with their two boys.

‘Our house had a weird L-shaped half open plan design,’ says Louise. ‘You’d come in the front door and there was only one way to access the rest of the ground floor through the living and dining rooms.  It was like a corridor.  The house had a conservatory at the back – a lean-to design that was about 40 years old.  In summer it was way too hot and in the winter it was freezing.  ‘Once we’d made the decision to improve we wanted to do the work as quickly as possible, which permitted development allowed.  I think we did the right thing.  My neighbours had done a massive extension and it look about nine months alone to get planning permission for the project.

‘Using permitted development didn’t constrain us.  We’d already decided we were happy with the square footage of the house – it was just that the space wasn’t used effectively.  When the boys were growing up, we were always in one small area of the living room, so we wanted a family room.

‘The conservatory had to go because it was practically falling down, and we extended onto the footprint.  We put a wall half way through the open-plan area and created two rooms.

From the hall there’s now the choice to go into the front room or the new family room.  The front room has an open fireplace, so we were keen to keep it and now its a real retreat.

‘I particularly like the layout of the back room.  I’m really proud of the seating area with the built-in units and desk space.  It’s cosy and works brilliantly; we all tend to watch TV there.  It’s a social room with plenty of places to sit with the bar stools, dining chairs and L-shaped sofa to lounge on.  The front room’s used at Christmas and when we want to sit by the fire’.


If you want to build a single-storey extension under PD in England, the addition, together with any previously build (even if not by you), can’t exceed 50 per cent of the area of land around the original house.  This is what was there on 1 July 1948 if it was built before then, or as it was first built if it was constructed later than that.  Sheds and outbuildings count in the 50 per cent limit.  The same rules around area apply for two-storey extensions, too.


A single storey extension under PD can be at the side of your house providing you don’t live in a designated area, or at the rear.  Extensions forward of the principal elevation or side elevation of a house and fronting a highway are not PD.  You can’t go up by two storey’s at the side either.


A side extension can’t be wider than half the width of the original house.  The maximum height is four metres.  Rear extension have the same maximum height and can’t go more than three metres beyond the rear of the original house if it’s attached, or four metres for a detached.  However, until 30 May 2019 (and outside designated land and Sites of Special Scientific Interest), these limits are six metres (attached) and eight metres (detached), subject to the neighbour consultation scheme.  Find house more on permission.


You can go up two storey’s at the rear of the house under PD provided you don’t live on designed land.  Two-storey extensions can’t have an eaves and ridge height higher than the existing house, or over three metres if the addition is within two metres of the boundary.  They can’t go more than three metres beyond the wall of the original house or be within seven metres of any boundary opposite its rear wall.  Read more on


Using permitted development doesn’t mean you can avoid other requirements when you’re building.  Your work will need to abide by building regulations and you’ll have to consider the requirements of party wall legislation when notifying neighbours.  Get details about both on the Government’s planning site,


Project cost ?49,070
Design and build Plus Rooms 0800 917 7127