Period properties can offer a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that a modern home just can’t compete with. Charm, character and history bring those bricks and mortar to life, and we begin to feel that we are writing a chapter in the story of that building, rather than it serving our demands.

If you decide that your property needs an adaptation, then an extension is a popular choice. The space and new interest that you add in doing so can breathe new life into a period home as well as make the spaces far more functional and suited to modern living.

If you have chosen to extend your period property then adding a conservatory or orangery is an obvious choice. These options can be sympathetic to the existing buildings character, fabric and structure – however that is not to say that you can’t explore bold contemporary styles. When executed well, a modern design constructed from harmonious materials can look stunning alongside a period property.

An extension that has been designed with experience, knowledge and great care will enable you to maintain the architectural flow of the building without compromising the character, shape or proportions of the original house.

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It is possible to minimise any damage to the original building whilst the extension is being built, and our team of experts have vast knowledge and practical experience at reducing the risk. For instance, an existing window can be used as a door to prevent knocking through a new wall. We also have experience in preserving period features such as cornices, skirting’s and architraves. It’s possible to incorporate elements such as roof lanterns that increase the light in the space whilst complementing the period style.

Planning the extension is obviously one of the most important parts of the process. We ask our clients to think about how their current space is used, its flow and how they circulate through the space. A decision between new orangery or conservatory should be made based on the spaces are going to be used and how functional they need to be. More often than not, the original space becomes a corridor to the new room, so comparatively – the space that has been gained is not much at all. Consider the furniture that you have and that you will acquire and include these in your designs and plans to ensure that the entire space flows well; also link it in with your garden as this will create an even greater feeling of space. Options such as bi-folding doors are a fantastic way of blurring the visual break between outdoors and indoors.

The construction of a new conservatory or orangery on a period property cannot be carried using the same techniques as the original building because of the demands placed by modern building regulations. Due to the difference in depth between the two foundations (the original being far more shallow than the latter) great care should be exhibited in order to accommodate settlement between the structures.

It is absolutely critical that the original building is allowed to breathe; in many period properties solid walls were bonded with porous materials like lime and sand and rendered and plastered with lime. When it rained, any absorbed moisture evaporated afterwards – dried out by the sun and the wind. Internal moisture was combatted with open fires and ranges along with flues and vents. Modern materials such as waterproof sealants, damp proof membranes act as a barrier and prevent a building from breathing, causing problems such as damp. Flooring can be an issue, for instance, the underfloor ventilation of suspended floors should not become blocked.

And then we arrive at planning permission.

Frequently in more modern homes, planning permission for orangery’s and conservatories is not necessarily required. If you property is listed or in a conservation area, you will have to gain consent before you can add any extensions or additions can be carried out. If you aren’t under these restrictions, it is likely that you can add the extension with planning permission being granted.

However, there are rules that the build must abide by, and you can see these here.

Hiring the right team is key when extending a period property. Working with architects, designers, surveyors and builders who; not only have experience dealing with period homes, but also have a keen eye for design and detail will make all the difference. They will be able to guide you through planning and red tape, the suitable options for your home as well the designs that are going to increase the value of your home in terms of both aesthetics and functionality.

There are endless options to choose from out there, finding the one that is beautiful, seamless and an investment is the key.