The extension and thermal upgrade of a 1950s bungalow, with heating and hot water fuel consumption reduced by 75-80% in the first year of occupation.

The extension and thermal upgrade of a 1950s bungalow, with heating and hot water fuel consumption reduced by 75-80% in the first year of occupation.

When the client initially approached us in 2017, they had already submitted a planning pre-application for a large two-storey new build house, having previously worked with another architecture practice. The client brief when developing the new build scheme had been simple:

– Create a family home with room to grow (three small children and a fourth on the way)

– Provide a series of visually interconnected living spaces allowing the family to spend time together without occupying the same room.

– Improve sightlines out into the garden and surrounding site.

At c.7,750 sqft, the proposed design would have been substantially larger than the existing property (3,875 sqft) and required the complete demolition of the single-storey bungalow, including all below-ground structures. Although impressive, we felt the proposed design was unnecessarily big and that the client brief could be met by reconfiguring and optimising the existing layout, with a scaled-back first-floor extension providing only the required amount of additional GIA (c. 1,100 sqft).

Despite the existing building having fallen into disrepair, the envelope was in reasonable condition and clearly salvageable, with the current ad hoc layout a primary source of frustration for the client. Furthermore, upon visiting the property for the first time, we were struck by how the building sat so comfortably within the site, with the existing footprint and orientation providing fantastic views of the garden and surrounding fields.

Although impressive, we felt the proposed design was unnecessarily big and that the client brief, could be met by reconfiguring and optimising the existing layout, with a scaled-back first-floor extension providing only the required amount of additional GIA (c.1,100sqft).

At this point, we took the decision to actively try and dissuade the client from demolishing the existing building, promoting instead a scaled-back approach that would not only reuse as much of the existing building as possible but also retain the charm and character of this unique property.

By interrogating the brief and understanding the client’s value system, we were able to engage in a structured conversation about the cost-benefits of repurposing the existing building, which then formed part of a wider conversation about the environmental benefits of a deep retrofit vs new build.

This approach was well-received by the client and set the groundwork for further conversations about thermal performance and environmental responsibility and how these could become design drivers for the project.

The results have been fantastic, and the client is delighted with their refurbished home, which, in the 12 months since completion, has used 75-80% less fuel for heating and hot water, with the refurbished roof providing the greatest uplift in performance, followed by the newly insulated cavity walls and double glazed windows.

The refurbishment has given the house a new identity that reflects its current occupants whilst retaining the charm and character of those who have previously lived there. The enlarged building still sits comfortably in its surroundings, with the first-floor extension providing fantastic views and improved connection to the surrounding site.

Shortlisted – British Homes Awards 2022

Location - Buckinghamshire, HP27
Budget - £700,000.00
Status - Completed
Services - RIBA Stages 1-4
Project Lead - James Davies