Land in north-west London – in fact land in any part of London – doesn’t come cheap, so when Amit Unadkat bought a two bedroom flat, with a courtyard garden and side access to a detached garage, with a view to developing it, it proved a shrewd move. That was back in 2011, and since then he and wife Meera have sold the garage (for a cool £90,000) to part-finance an extension at the back of the property.
At around 65m², the ground floor flat was quite small, even by London standards, and Meera and Amit knew they could add value and much-needed space with a well-planned extension. The couple wanted a local architect and so tasked Shahriar Nasser of Belsize Architects with designing a scheme.
“The main thing we wanted was space,” says Meera. “And because by the time we did the extension we were a bit more familiar with the area, we knew that what the planners didn’t want to see was the obvious brick extension, which I thought was quite unusual.”
- Name: Amit and Meera Unadkat
- Build cost: £240,000 (£1,846/m²)
- Build time: 8 months
- Location: North-west London
Shahriar’s plans were to increase the floorspace to 130m², absorbing an inner courtyard garden and conservatory, converting it into a corridor between the old and new sections of the house.
A new kitchen diner would be created, along with a new bathroom and a neat utility space, not much bigger than a cupboard. A tiny box room would double in size, and the zinc-clad back of the new extension would envelop a new courtyard patio, enclosing it as part of the property and giving it an extra sense of privacy and belonging.
The property is situated in a Conservation Area, and comes under Camden Council. After a two-month wait for planning permission the conservation officer told them to withdraw or get refusal – simply as a reaction to the colour of the zinc cladding.
Shahriar re-specified the colour to a pre-coloured dark zinc, and the plans were passed, meaning that in April 2013 the build could begin.