When Susan Doherty and Tom Moore swapped their Georgian flat in the centre of Edinburgh for a house with a garden further out of the city, they did not initially anticipate taking on a renovation project.

They chanced upon an existing building that had been converted from a small coach house in the mid 1980s to form a one bedroom dwelling, but was in desperate need of repair.

The site had been bought by Edinburgh-based architect Matthew Johnson of A449 Architects after spotting it close to his practice’s office. At the point when Tom and Susan viewed the property, planning permission had been secured to significantly renovate and extend.

Project Notes

  • Homeowners: Susan Doherty and Tom Moore
  • Location: Edinburgh
  • Project: Renovation and extension of a former coach house
  • Size: 115m2
  • Build time: Six months
  • House cost: £127,000
  • Build cost: £166,000
  • Value: £450,000

The design involved the creation of a three bedroom home over two levels. The original coach house has been stripped back to a shell, with a new timber frame extension added.


This former coach house was converted into a one-bed dwelling in the 1980s, but has now been renovated and extended into a sleek, modern home. The new two-storey extension has been clad in reclaimed bricks and burnt larch cladding


The aim of the renovation was to minimise alterations by retaining as much of the existing building as possible and to work with existing openings


Large glazed doors to the new extension lead into the walled garden, creating a seamless transition from this renovated home to garden

Working on a Restricted Site

The renovation and extension project went relatively smoothly, but working on such a tight site in a city did throw up issues.

“The main challenge being getting everything to and from the site safely, with the least disruption to this tight restricted site,” explains architect Matthew Johnson.

“We had a 6m-long piece of steel that had to come to the site as well as the large windows causing some logistical issues, but we managed it. Getting the soil and waste out in skips and wagons was the trickiest bit — getting stuff in was easier.”


Flush to the floor, the sliding doors create an almost invisible threshold between this renovated house and its newly landscaped garden


The island is the focus of day-to-day activity and helps zone this open plan space. High-level windows bring in natural light, but do not impact on privacy

A pared-back, neutral interior scheme ensures the master bedroom remains light and airy


The space beneath the pitched roof is cleverly utilised for built-in storage in the master bedroom. A full-height window also brings in lots of natural light


The couple designed the bathroom spaces themselves. The Abbey Whitby and Abbey Waverley patterned tiles are from Fired Earth; the bathroom also features Duravit sanitaryware from Victor Paris

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