Sophie and Mark Anderson have added a contemporary extension, creating the perfect open plan living space for their growing family.

When Sophie and Mark first purchased their detached 1920s home in the market town of Wallingford, Oxfordshire, there was just the two of them.

Eight years and two sons later, with a daughter on the way, the couple decided it was time to extend the ground floor to create a more practical living space for their growing family.

The Project

  • Name: Sophie and Mark Anderson
  • Build cost: £68,000
  • Build time: 4 months
  • Location: Oxfordshire

“We hardly used the separate dining room to the front of the house, and the children were always following me into the kitchen. We wanted a more sociable, open plan layout where we could all gather around the table and entertain friends,” explains Sophie. Steps leading down from rear French doors were also difficult for the children to negotiate, and there was a distinct lack of connection between the interiors and the garden.

“An internet search came up with three local architects, and we chose Allister Godfrey because his portfolio included several similar projects and we really liked his contemporary designs,” continues Sophie.

Allister set to creating plans for a new addition which would fall within Permitted Development, meaning the couple wouldn’t require planning permission. As well as extending out, the wall between the existing living and dining rooms would be taken down to open up the space. The result is a new ground floor layout where the kitchen, family and dining spaces are integrated. The new TV/family area, complete with comfy sofas and bookshelves, lies to one side. To the other is the kitchen, which has remained in the same position but now steps down into the new single storey dining extension, where folding sliding glass doors in turn open on to an external south-facing deck.

The new extension was constructed with a brick plinth to tie in with the existing house, but the main walls have been finished externally in smooth, cream self-coloured render. Dark-grey aluminium windows and doors are complemented by an aluminium capping to the roof parapet, and a double-glazed rooflight has been set into the high ceiling directly above the table, bringing in natural light for colouring or painting during the day, while creating a sense of occasion when dining at night.

Most materials were sourced by architect Allister and the couple’s builder. “But we kept our existing kitchen and moved the sink, which just meant buying a few new matching cupboards and extra granite worktops” Sophie explains.

“I was heavily pregnant and told the decorators they had to be finished before Iris was born. They worked over Christmas and into January — finishing on a Friday afternoon. That night I went into labour, so it was all timed to perfection.”

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