Sam and Alistair Thomson spotted the potential in an ordinary 1930s home, adding a rear extension to provide the perfect contemporary-style open plan living area.

Sam and Alistair loved the flat they shared in Hove, so when they started looking for a family house it was hard to find anywhere that quite compared.

The flat, which resided within a converted Victorian property, possessed a large open plan lounge/dining room, and was just minutes from the seafront.

Understandably the couple were unwilling to compromise on the location, so spent 18 months looking for a house close by which had the potential to be reconfigured or extended, yet was also within their budget.

The Project

  • Name: Sam and Alistair Thomson
  • Build cost: £73,000
  • Build time: 6 months
  • Location: Hove, East Sussex

In summer 2010 the Thomsons finally found a detached three bedroom property, just streets away from their flat. With no prior experience of undertaking a project like this, they shrewdly invited builder Grant Braiden to view the house before they put in an offer. “We knew Grant because he had been to see another renovation opportunity with us that we’d lost out on,” says Sam. There was a lot of interest in the house which meant the Thomsons had to submit a sealed bid. It was a gamble working out the sum and a tense time waiting, but their bid of £451,000 was accepted and in September 2010 the house was theirs.

Almost immediately afterwards, Alistair, an IT consultant, got in touch with architect Nicola Thomas from ARCH Angels. The Thomsons briefed Nicola to come up with an extension design that created one large sunny kitchen, dining and living area.

Nicola suggested the couple extend the detached house by 4m so that the work would fall within Permitted Development, meaning they wouldn’t need to wait for planning permission. This would add an extra 25m² of floor space. Since the total floor area of the large open plan room was going to be nearly 92m², Nicola also proposed building the extension with an aerated high-insulation block (Durox Supabloc 4), clad with external insulation and rendered to keep the space warm.

The plans were put out to tender but with Grant’s ‘can-do attitude’, Sam and Alistair decided to work with him on the project. They particularly liked his suggestions to save money, such as installing five new fixed rooflights rather than more expensive hinged versions.

The Thomsons continued to live in their flat while the project was going on and moved into their new home in April 2011. The alterations and extension have transformed the downstairs into one bright open space with plenty of room for a kitchen, dining and living area.

“The extension is so light and spacious and actually far better than we imagined,” says Alistair. “But that’s thanks to Grant and Nicola who were really flexible, listened to our ideas and made good suggestions.”

Our Sponsors