A couple of years ago we bought a lovely Victorian house, built in around 1880. However at some point during the last century a third bedroom extension was added that isn’t all that pretty, so we’re really keen to find a way of disguising it in some way. So far our best idea is to render the modern block work extension and paint off-white. But as the extension also has a flat roof we’re not sure how this will look, and we don’t want to create even more of an eyesore!

So we’re really keen to get some ideas / advice on the best route to take.

Hopefully if you click the link below you can see a picture of the house.


  • Tom Freeman

    Another picture can be seen here:

    Thanks! :)

  • Lindsey Davis

    I would be reluctant to render the extension. At the moment, it is fairly well hidden and fairly well matched to the original. As you say – render could make it stand out more.

    I do think the flat roof lets it down though, and that is where your problem lies. Flat roofs look rather stunning in the right circumstances, and say the extension had been strikingly modern you could have found a way to make it work with alternative materials.
    The solution would be to remodel the roof, but I think that would be very expensive so it depends on your budget (and planning consent of course).

    One way you could tie in the extension a bit better, would be to copy the detailing of the main house on the corners so maybe that is worth looking into.


  • Tom Freeman

    Thanks for the comments. In real life I think it probably stands out more than perhaps the photos suggest, but I’ll certainly think what we can do with the roof, it needs replacing anyway. I’m also going yo ask a builder about adding sandstone coins to the edge, but I’m not sure how easy that is. I still quite like the idea of adding insulation to the outside and rendering… Perhaps we need an architect, is that who we should ask or are they more concerned about structural things rather than aesthetic.

  • Lindsey Davis

    No, an architect or architectural designer will have as much concern for the appearance as the engineering. Put your problem to a few and see what ideas they come back with. Finding one who has worked on similar homes in the area is always a good idea.

    Take a look at this article on cladding materials too. http://www.homebuilding.co.uk/design/choosing-products/bricks-cladding/cladding-ideas
    There are a few extensions in there, and these give you a good idea of how a modern scheme can work alongside a traditional home.


  • Tom Freeman

    Thanks for the advice.

  • Peter Eade

    Hi Tom,

    It’s quite difficult to see much detail from your photo but I agree the block-work does not look too attractive. The most popular Victorian cladding was either tile or slate hanging, usually the hanging would match the material of the roof. You could perhaps tile or slate hang the upper part of the wall and then render the remaining ground floor wall, this could then be colour washed. The bond of the block-work suggests the walls are cavity, it may be easier and cheaper the get the cavities insulated first. If you ended up tile hanging as opposed to slate you could break up the area of tiles by introducing a couple of feature diamonds in the hanging using either fish tail or lambs tongue tiles. I think to render and paint the whole wall would not be a good idea and putting cast stone quoins would I feel look odd if the walls are as they appear to be dense concrete blocks…

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