Three generations under one roof
Beechwood started life as a kennel keeper's cottage. With just two bedrooms, Jenny and Karl wanted to extend the house to give themselves a decent ensuite as well as individual bedrooms, and a family room for their growing children.
Where it got very interesting was when halfway through the planning process, they realised that Jenny's mother was imminently going to need long-term care. The design had to change to allow her parents to move in and enjoy a degree of semi-independent living, as well as increasing the sleeping space to four bedrooms.
The original kitchen layout was cramped for a growing family
Adding a second staircase gave the parents privacy.
"We started out wanting a simple extension to provide more space for the kids and family living. Then we came face-to-face with the realities of getting older."
The High Weald AONB has several restrictions on design, not the least of which, is that extensions must preserve subsidiarity to the main house. In practice this means the extension must not be more than half the width of the original house. When you're trying to effectively double the size of the property this is a bit of a tricky point to negotiate with the council.
To get round this, and provide the extra space needed, we leveraged the fact that Beechwood is semi-detached, and designed the extension's proportions as subsidiary to the whole building. The council accepted this and Planning Permission was awarded.
"In many ways we were lucky that we realised we had to look after my parents before we started the build. It's a sobering thought that can suddenly hit you, but we were delighted that Extension Planner was able to redesign our original scheme and come up with such a successful design."
Within the constraints of the AONB we couldn't simply add on another couple of metres to provide the additional space Karl and Jenny needed, so worked out a number of designs until we came up with one that answered the changed brief. We're delighted that they are so happy with the result.
Two bedrooms were never going to be enough for four adults and two children!
The revised design allows for future changes to match the family's needs .
Just about every job we do is driven by a family's need for more space. Providing secure and separate accommodation for ageing parents is a growing need, and Karl and Jenny were conscious that their parents needed not just to preserve their ability to live, but also their dignity and privacy.
Faced with the need to compromise on their personal requirements to provide that accommodation, within the space allowed by the AONB restrictions, they were prepared to give up on an important aspect of their own desires. However in the end we found a workable solution that ticked all the boxes, just with some slightly smaller spaces than hoped for!