25 April 2022

Priory Road, Nottinghamshire

Priory House is a conversion of a bungalow into a two-storey stunning spacious family home in West Bridgford, a residential area in Nottinghamshire.

The Brief

We were appointed to design a spacious home with five generous bedrooms, a large open-plan living space with easy access onto the gardens as well as an office, cinema room and reading spaces. 

Although the existing plot suited the clients’ requirements, the single story layout did not meet their family’s needs.

The bungalow occupied a commanding corner on one of the most prestigious roads in the area. Earlier applications to demolish the building and create multiple dwellings had been refused due to the prominent location and the style of the designs proposed.

We worked closely with the clients and the planning department to design a striking, contemporary family home which wouldn’t overwhelm adjacent structures, sitting harmoniously in the street and retaining a synergy with the adjacent arts-and-crafts style buildings.

Challenges

The local planning authority were highly conscious of the key location of this corner plot, so any development had to be scaled appropriately. We anticipated initial resistance to a two-storey development, so we engaged with planners and liaised with neighbours at the earliest opportunity to ensure that our proposals were accepted as being in proportion and in keeping with the site.

Working Sustainably

We had to carefully plan our structural strategy due to the additional loads being applied to the existing building. We were able to avoid the need for underpinning, using instead a timber-framed design on the upper floor, along with individual pad foundations and a steel structure. This also meant we avoided tonnes of concrete being poured into the ground, making this a more sustainable solution.

A New Identity 

The strong design features and structure of the existing bungalow had to be carefully unpicked in order to successfully invest the property with its new identity.

The project had two key elevations to consider, each facing a different road. We worked with a neutral palette of charred black timber, white render and glass, keeping the main elevation simple while emphasising other elements to create character and focus.

The proportions of the first floor gables were designed to reference those of the surrounding buildings, and the steel-framed glazing and monochrome colour scheme further complemented the existing property.

The internal spaces retain much of the bungalow’s original layout, with new zones carved into the original footprint. The upper floor is accessed by a central feature staircase, and we used the existing spine walls to create a central corridor giving access to each bedroom. We retained the original doorway and created a striking new entrance hall.

Within the open plan kitchen and living space we created discreet activity zones: a reading corner and a dedicated relaxing space in the mezzanine above the sitting area.

The result is a contemporary, striking yet harmonious home perfectly designed for a family with growing children. 

See more of our Priory Road project

1 April 2022

Newton House, Derbyshire

Newton House is a contemporary new dwelling with carefully designed outdoor living and entertaining spaces set in a stunning rural location in Derbyshire.

The Brief

Our clients wanted a dwelling they could retreat to when visiting the UK. We were charged with creating a very large property with multiple guest accommodations that reflected a sense of the clients’ personalities while also respecting the peace of its bucolic location.

As friends and family would also be staying regularly at the property, five self-contained guest suites were required. In addition, our clients required a summer house which could be used for entertaining separately, as well as housing an annexe where another family group could stay.

Outdoor living was important to the client, so an outdoor kitchen, fire pits, hot tub and swimming pool, along with a gymnasium, completed the brief.

Challenges

The local planning authority has strict parameters regarding the permissible styles of architecture in this environment, as well as the building’s height and visibility from key views in the wider landscape.

The extensive rural site housed an existing property which first had to be demolished to make way for the new house.

This project had few limitations other than the need to blend in with the countryside, which can be difficult when designing a property of this size and scale. Because of the unspoilt nature of the surrounding landscape and its concomitant planning restrictions, we took particular care with height considerations, ensuring that the roof and eaves did not obstruct the views of the horizon, and used local materials such as stone and slate.

What we did

This design was produced in response to the client's desire to make the most of the changing skies and far-reaching views of its rural Derbyshire location.

An exciting driver of this project was the orientation of the property. We designed the house to be South-facing so as to take advantage of the sun throughout the day, and the layout was governed by the positioning of the sun and each room's importance to the couple's daily processes and movements.

We arranged the internal spaces around the sun’s movement, creating a breakfast balcony which would be hit by the morning sun on the east side, and sleeping quarters incorporating a large roll top bath on the West side, to take advantage of the beautiful sunsets at the end of the day.

Our client was keen to create bespoke spaces, such as a dining room seating 40 people and a cinema room. The sleeping area also had specific requirements: an en-suite rainwater shower, extensive shoe and handbag storage, and separate access to the external spaces.

Our clients wanted the house to be a place of peace and sequestration. However, socialising and entertaining were also on the clients’ agenda, and guests would be staying for several weeks at a time. It was therefore important for users of the home to be able to move and live independently of each other, so we created food preparation and relaxation zones in each of the five guest suites.

The rear south-facing upper floor houses the client’s sleeping quarters but also provides significant space for food preparation, eating, bathing, and resting. Having the glazing set back ensures limited glare from the sun and creates spacious balconies for elevated views over the stunning surrounding landscape.

The lower floor provides accommodation reflecting the client's favourite pastimes. We created bespoke spaces dedicated to swimming, exercising, cooking and entertaining, positioning each area within the house to engage with the changing light and views around the property.

The first time the client saw the proposed building was through virtual reality technology. No drawings were produced as part of the initial presentation, which allowed the clients to visualise and explore their future home in absolute clarity. 

Working Sustainably

Whilst the budget for the project was significant, we had to be mindful not to over-elaborate the functional zones of the building, aiming instead for efficiency in design. We were able to be more expressive in our design of areas such as the indoor pool with frameless corner glass, the grand entrance hall with twin stairs leading to the upper suites, and the stunning outdoor living spaces. 

The intricacy of the design and the subtle yet striking elements of the build have a huge impact on the way the property works. Practicality and sustainability are always paramount, therefore the property features ground source heat pumps, solar panels and enhanced cavity wall sizes for added thermal insulation.

The result is a supremely comfortable and practical statement home that works with the changing light throughout the day and blends in with the natural beauty of its surroundings.

See more of our Newton House project

24 September 2021

We’re featured in Grand Designs Magazine this month!

We are delighted that one of our architectural projects is featured in the award-winning publication ‘Grand Designs’ this month. Grand Designs magazine supports the Bafta winning programme broadcast on Channel 4, presented by Kevin McCloud. 

Our clients, Emma and Nye, had a 1920s family home that they wanted to modernise and extend. Using virtual reality we were able to show them our ideas on expanding their home and collaborate in real time on how the new space would work for them as a family. 

The build transformed their home and family life, and Emma and Nye were thrilled with the results, “We’re so incredibly happy with how this project has turned out, it’s probably better than we had ever imagined and it isn’t just about the extra space, it’s about how we use the space as a family. We all have our individual areas that are our go-to and we talk about it quite often - what it’s brought to our quality of life as a family, and it really felt like home from the moment that it was finished”.

We are pleased that Grand Designs magazine chose to showcase this project and thanks go to Karen Wilson and Katie Lee from Beautiful Homes in the North who wrote and photographed the project for the magazine.

If you would like to discuss your architectural project with us, please get in touch at kate@designhausarchitecture.co.uk

See more of Emma and Nye's project >>

3 September 2021

What are the architectural restrictions of a conservation area?

If you’re planning a new-build architectural project or extension to an existing building within a conservation area, you will find that you are subject to certain restrictions.

Let’s take a look at conservation areas and their restrictions.

What is a conservation area?

A conservation area is one that has been deemed to be of significant historic or architectural importance, and is therefore subject to certain restrictions to protect the integrity of the area.

Around 10,000 conservation areas have been designated in England since the initiative was first put in place in 1967. They are usually designated by the local planning authority and aim to preserve the distinctive character of a city, town, village or country estate.

Conservation areas are outlined in Part II of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and should protect areas of “special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance”.

Planning permission

As with any large-scale building or extension project, homeowners must submit a planning application to the local authority. Along with the standard restrictions, the proposal will also be subject to additional scrutiny regarding its suitability for the protected area.

As well as governing the style or architecture of the buildings themselves, the protection offered by conservation areas also extends to the layout of streets and roads, and the impact on trees and views. This means that homeowners and architects will have to consider many more aspects than in a non-protected area.

Architectural restrictions in conservation areas

As the aim of a conservation area is to ensure that new developments preserve or enhance the individuality of the location, there are certain restrictions that must be adhered to.

Minor changes

Minor developments that might otherwise not require planning permission, such as an extension, dormer loft conversion or recladding of the building exterior, may not be permitted.

Even small changes such as the addition of a satellite dish or the colour of the front door could be controlled by the local authority in a conservation area. As the aim is to protect the unique character of an area, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to what is and isn’t allowed.

Demolition

It’s a criminal offence to demolish a building without proper planning permission in a conservation area. You must get permission beforehand if your project requires removing some or all of the existing structure.

It’s not outside the realm of possibility for local councils to permit demolition in a conservation area, but they will usually try to keep the existing buildings as much as possible.

Trees

If you’re planning to cut down, lop or trim any trees in the area as part of your project, you must give the local council six weeks’ notice before undertaking any work.

During this time, the council’s planning department will take into account the impact of the trees on the local area, and whether they are an integral part of its character. Should any tree be deemed deserving of protection, the council can create a tree preservation order (TPO) to prevent cutting down or modification.

Contemporary architecture

As Section 69 of the 1990 Planning Act specifies that developments must “preserve or enhance” the area, this doesn’t necessarily mean that contemporary designs are a no-no.

Where a more modern approach could be seen to enhance the area, you’ve got a good case for approval. However, areas with a strong architectural identity are much less likely to accept an application that is not in keeping with the existing buildings.

For the best chance of obtaining planning permission, it’s worth speaking to the local authority and using their input to inform your design decisions. You might even be able to combine both modern and traditional architectural elements to achieve the best of both worlds.

Work with an experienced architect

Working with an architect who is experienced in working to the restrictions of conservation areas is a great way to improve the chances of having your application approved.

James Brindley, Head Architect at Design Haus, has worked on many planning applications and architectural projects in conservation areas, giving you the confidence that each design decision will be made with the success of the application in mind.

To discuss a project in a conservation area, please get in touch and James will be happy to help.

23 August 2021

Collaborating with an architect to design your dream home

If you’ve ever considered building your own house, you might wonder whether you can save some money by skipping the architect and doing as much of it as possible on your own.

We may be biased, but we truly believe that collaborating with an architect is the best way to turn your dream home into reality. Here’s why.

Realising your vision

Nobody knows your dream home better than you. Discussing your ideas and drawing up a shopping list of features is one of the first steps in collaborating with an architect to build a house. This gives us the perfect starting point for the project.

However, you can’t just build anything anywhere; having an architect on hand throughout the project is absolutely essential to make sure the home you create is safe, usable and permitted within local legislation. It’s our job to take your concepts and turn them into workable architectural designs that not only look great but are structurally sound.

Architectural expertise

Even if you know exactly what you’d like the final build to look like, you might not know how to get there.

By working with an architect, you can be sure that any designs adhere to industry standards and can be interpreted by the rest of the project team. We’ll even take care of all the complicated bits like applying for planning permission that can get pretty tedious when you’re not sure what you’re doing.

Having an architect on board also gives you access to a wide network of talented and dedicated people who can turn your dream home into a reality. From interior designers and suppliers of building materials to fully qualified electrical installers, We can bring the right people on board to get the job done right.

Take ownership

We always find that it’s crucial to the success of a project and the ongoing relationship to make sure the client is involved from the very beginning. As the person who will be living in the house once it’s complete, it’s only natural that you’d want to have a certain amount of control over the decisions.

Ultimately, it’s our job as Lead Architect to sign off on ideas and explain what is and isn’t feasible in terms of budget, planning permission and the structural integrity of a design. When we work together, everything is a joint decision, and we will consult with you at every step of the process to make sure we find the right balance.

A great relationship

We can’t say that building a house is all fun and games, but the process is much more enjoyable and straightforward when you actually enjoy working together.

We pride ourselves on creating relationships with our clients based on trust and a mutual love of the project at hand. When you’re excited about the design, we are excited, too. There’s something truly special about helping people to create their dream home.

It’s also good to have someone in your corner when things get tough, and they will. At some point, your home build will hit a snag, and having someone who knows the ropes and can guide you through the issues is something you’ll definitely be grateful for when the time comes! I’m here to find solutions and put out fires so you don’t have to worry.

Collaborate with Design Haus

Let’s work together to create your dream home. Whether you know exactly what you want or you’re just mulling over a few ideas, I’d love to chat about your dream home.

30 November 2020

Do I need an architect?

If you’re looking to make changes to your existing home, you may be wondering whether you need an architect.

While many people believe that architects are only necessary for large projects such as designing buildings from scratch, they’re extremely useful for smaller home improvements, too.

How do I know if I need an architect?

Strictly speaking, there’s no legal requirement to hire an architect for a project. However, an architect is able to create designs, optimise space, handle project admin, manage your budget and ensure that the final build meets all necessary regulations.

There are four main types of project that especially benefit from the input of an architect:

1. Ideas and big-picture thinking

If you’re not sure what you want, or you have ideas but don’t know how to implement them, working with an architect is invaluable.

Not only will an architect be able to give you some insight into how much your project should cost and how long it will take, they can provide practical, creative and unique solutions.

Tell your architect what you’re looking to achieve and they’ll give you options on how to do it. Whether that’s bringing more light into your home, creating more space or incorporating a particular material, an architect has the expertise to turn your vision into reality.

2. Extensions and conversions

As these are significant additions to your home, discussing an extension or conversion with an architect will help to ensure the best outcome.

Not only can an architect help you to design the new addition, they can advise where best to locate it to ensure the maximum amount of light or to provide the most natural flow from room to room.

In particular, if your addition offers challenges such as tight spaces, unusual shapes or changes in floor level, it’s best to bring an architect on board.

3. Changing layouts and removing walls

If you’re thinking about moving or removing interior walls to open up a space, or adding or moving doors and windows, you’ll want to work with an architect.

Changing the layout of your home isn’t as simple as knocking down walls and rebuilding them elsewhere; there are a lot of technical considerations to protect the structural integrity of the building.

As well as advising you which changes are safe and practical, an architect can help you to create a space that works. How doors and windows interact with a room, and how the space is utilised can make or break its function and enjoyability.

4. Obtaining planning permission

Architects know which projects require planning permission, and how to apply for it. This can be a complicated and time-consuming process to do by yourself, so handing it over to an expert will allow you to relax.

Your architect can fill out all the paperwork and liaise with the council on your behalf, handling any necessary changes quickly and efficiently. This will help you to complete your build project on time and minimise the chance of rejection.

when to hire an architect

Here are some common household remodelling projects that would benefit from the input of an architect:

  • Extensions

  • Conservatories

  • Loft conversions

  • Barn conversions

  • Moving the location of a bathroom or kitchen

  • Changing the position of or knocking down interior walls

  • Installing a swimming pool

  • Large projects with multiple contractors

  • Projects that require planning permission

While smaller jobs might not require an architect, they are often well worth their fees to ensure a smooth-running project.

Do you need an architect?

If your project does require an architect, then get in touch to discuss your project and turn it from a dream into reality.

9 October 2020

Building the connection between your home and garden

Traditionally, the home and garden are seen as two separate spaces, each serving a distinct purpose. However, creating a connection between them can unify the internal and external areas of your home, leading to a cleaner overall design concept and a more enjoyable living experience.

Here are some ways to build the connection between your home and garden.

Maximise your windows

One of the most obvious ways to connect the areas both physically and visually is through the considered use of windows and doors. This also has the added benefit of bringing light into the home and creating a more spacious, airy feel.

Floor-to-ceiling glass and large picture windows are perfect for allowing an uninterrupted view of the outdoors, bringing it into the indoor space. Sliding or bi-fold glass doors allow you to literally open up your home into the garden, creating a shared space between the inside and outside.

If your home’s layout doesn’t lend itself to sliding doors, consider placing a window that  enables a view of the garden or showcases a distinctive piece of outdoor feature. For example, you might wish to direct the eye towards a tree at the end of the garden or a beautiful pond. Using outdoor lighting to highlight these features will create a sense of connection to the garden that you can still enjoy at night.

Bring the outdoors indoors

Adding greenery and natural materials to your interior will help to link the indoor and outdoor spaces on a conscious and subconscious level. In particular, focus on the areas around connective walkways or visual sight lines that lead into the garden.

Place some of the same plants and flowers inside, physically bringing the garden into your home and creating a multisensory bond between the two spaces. Make use of materials like wood, bamboo, terracotta and stone, and play with colours, textures and patterns to mimic natural elements like flowers, leaves and bark.

Create a physical connection as you cross the threshold between by using the same materials in both spaces. This could be natural stone, wooden decking, or colourful Mediterranean tiles. You could even incorporate garden ornaments, wind chimes or a water feature in your interior design to really emphasise the link to the outdoor space.

Create a room outdoors

Strengthen the connection between your home and garden by creating an outdoor space inspired by interior design. Instead of a traditional patio, opt for a kind of outdoor room, offering a blend of shelter and open space.

Combine a canopy or other cover with sliding doors that open out from the kitchen to create a zone that straddles the line of indoors and outdoors. Partial walling can provide protection from the elements and demarcate the area, while pendant lighting and a hardwearing floor will give it the feel of an indoor space.

This is a great option to increase the usable space in your home without the cost of a building extension.

Speak to an architect

Whether you’re looking to update your current space or you’re creating a bespoke architectural design for a new-build project, get in touch with me to discuss how you can make the most of your home and garden.

27 May 2019

Where to Start with an Extension: 5 Initial Steps

The prospect of adding a single or double storey, side, or rear extension may seem daunting at first, but Design Haus is here to guide you through the process with our step-by-step guide.

Read more

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Design Haus Architecture
2A Fleeman Grove
West Bridgford
Nottingham

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