The fact is that very many extensions in Ireland look similar to one another. Although there is certainly nothing wrong with an extension which fits in with the rest of the housing in your area, that does not mean that you shouldn’t at least consider a project which affords a bit more style. There is certainly the possibility of adding more value to your home if you come up with a winning design even if it is something which is entirely unique.
Many people are attracted to architecture and interior design styles which don’t conform to some standard model.
However, maximising the investment in an extension is not the main reason for trying something new. Most people do so because they want to put their own stamp on the project. After all, building an extension means creating a new living space in your home. Therefore, why wouldn’t you want a design that reflects your lifestyle and even your personality?
The first big design decision to make for a home extension will be its scope. For example, single storey cuboids that are attached to one wall at the back of your home are just about the simplest design you could opt for. That is why they are so popular, of course. However, deciding how many square metres the extension ought to cover may also come down to considerations other than how much additional living room you want to attach to your home.
The size and shape of the extension may also be determined by what is in your garden already.
Perhaps curved shapes or off-set building work will be preferable to avoid knocking down existing structures or trees?
Then, you need to think about whether a flat roof or a pitched one will be preferable. Irish planning regulations will only allow you to build up to a certain height with a pitched roof without seeking permission but doing so may be preferable for a more striking design. Then there are the various architectural models you can explore if you choose to build over two storeys, not just one.
An architect can help with making all of these important decisions at an early stage during the design process. However, there’s much more to what an architect can bring to an extension project than that. For example,
…design feature which you should think about from the start is the glazing.
Perhaps you want floor-to-ceiling glass to allow light to flood in? There again, skylights or a glazed lantern roof may be preferable in your situation. How will these decisions impact on the heating efficiency of your home? What materials will be best to ensure that your home looks great while still ensuring that your project has a low carbon impact? These are big design decisions that professional designers can help with.
Another important factor that you ought to consider at an early stage is how much privacy your extension will afford. If you build something that is virtually identical to that which your neighbours have already built, then it might mean you end up overlooking one another and being able to see into each another’s properties. Clever use of shapes in the footprint of the extension or using glazing in a novel way can help you to get around this problem. At BIY, the architectural services we offer include avoiding these sorts of potential pitfalls that many homeowners make when they opt for a ‘me too’ design rather than getting something that is fully bespoke.
Just as important as the structural and architectural services offered by BIY are the interior design skills we have at our disposal. Many people think about the interior design features of their extension only after they have built their project. This can work out fine but it is better to think about the interior design features you will want at an early a stage as possible. After all, there is no better time to add them than when the project is in its construction phase.
One of the big decisions you will need to make about your extension is how it will interact with the existing structure. You could simply add a door from one zone to the next in a conventional fashion. Your extension might be a straightforward as being a single room that sits off the back of your home, for example. There again, you might want to create a more integrated space that connects openly with your home.
Many people like to build extensions in order to create an open plan living space that all the family can enjoy together these days. In such situations, you might need to remove an existing wall and redesign the layout of your dining room and kitchen in order to make best use of the new space.
Furthermore, you ought to think about internal design features like flooring and wall treatments before your extension is actually finished. An open plan living space, for instance, will benefit from a flooring system that runs throughout, connecting each part of the space in a visual sense even if there are distinct zones within it.
Will hardwood flooring, tiles or carpet suit your extension best and how will you install your choice of flooring if there is a step in the design as opposed to it all being on the same level?
In some cases, flooring and wall treatments can help to reduce noise by acoustic dampening, a big help if your extension has lots of reflective surfaces generated by its glazing and walls. At BIY, we can help with these design considerations and even your choice of colour scheme.
If you are considering the merits of a bold design for a renovation or extension project, then contact the team at BIY. Our services cover all aspects of project management and construction. What we also deliver is an extensive range of services that cover architectural elements and interior décor. Ask us about how we can make your design ideas into a practical reality no matter what size of project you have in mind.