1. Continuity is key Before you build, the addition should work seamlessly with the original section. Along with your own personal taste, you need to take into account the architectural integrity of your home and street. An industrial-inspired home in steel and glass, for instance, can stand out like a sore thumb in a heritage precinct.
It’s important to blend the old and new, particularly when an home extension is added to a traditional home extension. A good idea is to extract elements that are still relevant in the original section and feature them in the new part of the house.
Period items such as pendant lights, recycled boards or fireplace surrounds provide a visual link. Replacing old door handles and adding new matching ones is a simple and reasonably inexpensive way to add continuity. And another way to create a cohesive look is to use similar paint colours and timber tones in the new and old sections.
2. New advances If you are following a traditional aesthetic, look for new advances to make things easier and cheaper. A good example is pressed-metal ceilings – it’s now available in lightweight aluminium and in a range of original embossed designs.
Massive advancements in digital printing also make expensive finishes, like marble, more affordable. It’s also easier to maintain in the form of porcelain tiles. Original window casings can be replicated in the new section, keeping the look but updating to modern levels of security and safety.
Also, inspect the original frames – if the timber is rotted, the glass is thin or the putty is cracked, it’s time to talk to your builder about updating.
3. Teaming up When adding a major extension, an architect can supply the real wow factor, thanks to their construction knowledge and design prowess. An architect also advises you on all aspects of building – undertaking feasibility studies, designing for the site, tendering and managing the project team.
Another option is hiring us so that we provide everything from the design to the final finishes.
4. Go solo For a small extension, doing your own project managing is a cost-saving option, as long as you have strong organizational skills and plenty of time to research and negotiate. As a project manager, you can work with a builder who supplies sub-contractors, or you can hire independent tradies yourself.
5. Council checks Even a small addition usually requires a development application. Check to see if there are heritage stipulations – the extension might have to be in keeping with the precinct’s character, which limits the design, layout, materials and colour palette.
6. Seasonal solutions When an extension is being built, it’s common to stay put during the build. Even if there’s no kitchen, a barbecue and friendly neighbours can keep you surviving for a month or so. A summer build can make life easier, but check weather reports to see if there are storms brewing.