Room with a View
A striking glazed extension makes a bold addition to an Edwardian listed house in Aberdeenshire, replacing an old, leaky conservatory and showcasing the garden views
An Edwardian house in Aberdeenshire is transformed by a dramatic glazed extension, which makes the most of the views
The Architect’s View
Nikki Ritchie of Hyve Architects: “The design was developed to answer the homeowners’ brief for a replacement garden room as well as address other issues with the architectural quality of the original building and the way in which the homeowners used the spaces inside.
“Planning permission and listed building consent were needed, and I had a pre-application discussion with the conservation team before submitting the application, and they were supportive of the design. At planning approval, as a planning condition we had to supply very detailed construction drawings of the project, as the planning department wanted to ensure high quality.
“The new extension is designed as a contemporary addition that contrasts with the traditional form of the existing building. We’re pleased to have achieved something contemporary on the front elevation of a listed building. I think it shows that you can be bold but sensitive.
“The internal alterations have allowed light to flood into the once dark kitchen and the clients now enjoyusing all the living spaces to the full.”
Despite the obvious charms of living in a grand Edwardian baronial-style house in an elegant Aberdeenshire suburb, the Lewis family had some reservations about how the house was working for them. Following a recent kitchen refurbishment, the family barely used any of the main living areas, choosing instead to spend most of their time in the new kitchen situated at the rear of the property.
Initially the couple were looking to replace a tired old conservatory that leaked heat. “It was not a place where we could sit and enjoy the garden,” the Lewis’s explain. “Our initial brief was to replace this with a new garden room, suitable for use throughout the year, and with good access and views to the garden. We had seen a curved extension that architect Nikki Ritchie [of Stonehaven-based Hyve Architects] previously designed on a house in Aberdeen and we liked this idea.”
However, when Nikki Ritchie met the couple she was keen to look at the bigger picture. “I always ask clients what does and does not work for them about their home and it became apparent that the family didn’t appear to use the main living areas,” she explains.
“So after some discussions, the brief was expanded with a view to making the whole house work better for the family.” Replacing the existing conservatory wouldn’t be without its challenges, as it was located on the front elevation of a Category C Listed building. However, Nikki Ritchie has extensive experience in bespoke extensions and refurbishments in the area, and she was not fazed by such a task.
Following a series of informal pre-planning discussions with the conservation team in the local planning department, Hyve Architects’ bold contemporary design emerged. “Planners are generally supportive of putting a contemporary addition onto traditional buildings,” says Nikki. “In many ways, it’s a preferred option as it makes the building easier to read in terms of what is existing and what is new — it’s far more honest.”
In order to provide the light-filled space the family required, the new ‘garden room’ is heavily glazed to offer spectacular views to the garden and beyond. Rooflights have been positioned to achieve maximum light into the living spaces. The rooflights were also designed to allow a person to walk over them (in the event of a fire, the mas-
“The brief was expanded with a view to making the whole house work better for the family”
ter bedroom escape route will be provided over the glass).
On site, the 18-month construction involved a fair amount of precision engineering, particularly in terms of the steel frame structure. “It’s a complicated shape and took a lot of thinking on our part to work out the details,” says Nikki Ritchie. “Originally we intended to have rooflights that would open but glazing specialists Gray and Dick recommended that this wouldn’t be possible due to the shallowness of the 10° roof pitch.”
At approximately 50m2, the new extension is smaller than the old conservatory. This was quite deliberate, in order to fully expose the east tower that had previously been obscured. The roof height of the extension has also been kept low so that the scale of the original building is emphasised. The external walls and roof are clad in zinc, which was chosen as a high-quality, durable material with a hand-crafted appearance. It was also chosen for its grey colour — chiming with the slate roof and stone features of the existing house. To improve the layout of the ground floor, three new openings have been introduced to ad- dress the sense of flow between rooms: an opening between the living room and the new extension, as well as two new openings leading from the kitchen to the living spaces via frameless glass doors.
Internally, the original finishes didn’t suit the couple’s modern tastes. They decided to retain certain period features such as the dramatic full-height doors between the living and dining rooms as well as the chandeliers and original parquet flooring, which has been sanded and finished, while introducing new features such as the fireplace in the living room and contemporary pieces of furniture, some of which were picked up on the couple’s extensive travels.
Following completion of the project, the new garden room and remodelled ground floor layout has had a huge impact not only on the space, but in the way that the family now use the whole house.
“When the kids have friends over they tend to congregate in the new garden room,” the couple conclude. “It’s a great place to just sit and look at the garden. With the previous conservatory you couldn’t really see the garden but now you can.” H
Glazing (and lots of it) is key to the success of this new extension, but it required careful planning, particularly when it came to achieving a building warrant (required in Scotland, similar to Building Regulations’ approval). Architect Nikki Ritchie explains: “The regulation that we applied, a ‘ heated stand-alone building’, comes under the Energy Section. Under this rule, the amount of glass is unlimited for a stand-alone building up to 50m2. This extension is almost exactly 50m2 — we pushed the rule to the limit to achieve what the homeowners wanted, which was a highly glazed garden room which makes the most of views of the garden.
“In order to comply, the extension needed to be thermally broken from the rest of the house — so the doors between the living area and the extension are double-glazed external quality doors. The glazing on the façade is Metal Technology’s thermally enhanced Hi+ aluminium system, supplied by Crest Glazing in Aberdeen. On this project, the façade glass isn’t actually curved. Each unit is flat and they are joined to make the curve (bottom right). We have used curved glass before, but it is very expensive to do using double-glazed units. Here, the curve is very shallow so the effect is that it still looks curved,” explains Nikki.
The glazing on the roof (centre) was supplied by Gray and Dick of Glasgow. “Before appointing a main contractor, we had already been in discussion with Gray and Dick about the glazing of the rooflights as they were a fairly specialist item,” Nikki continues. “The rooflights needed to be designed to allow a person to walk over them (in the event of a fire, the master bedroom escape route is over the glass). The rooflights have been specified with a self-cleaning coating added so that they stay as clean as possible.” H
A New Garden Room The new steel-framed garden room, with its curved form and glazed façade, allows the family to make the most of their garden views and provides a greater connection between inside and out. Rooflights help to bring in light from above, w
Retaining Period Features With a view to blending old with the new, existing features such as the full-height ceilings, chandeliers and internal doors between the living and dining space were retained. New openings through frameless glass doors ( right o
Internal Finishings The Lewis’s worked in collaboration with local interior design firm Andersons of Inverurie to reflect their modern style. A simple monochrome colour scheme was chosen for the new garden room that features ceramic floor tiles. Contempo
The K nowledge GLAZING