My Best Build De­ci­sion

Tom Allen and Nat Scrog­gie’s self-build plot threw up a num­ber of de­sign chal­lenges, but the pair’s de­ci­sion to build a can­tilevered first floor in re­sponse to plan­ning con­straints has brought the home to life

Homebuilding & Renovating - - CONTENTS -

One home­owner re­veals how a propped can­tilevered first floor adds wow fac­tor to his new self-build

We re­cently built a new 120m2 house on a gar­den plot. We were happy with a lot of el­e­ments of the build, such as the be­spoke stor­age so­lu­tions we de­signed to make the most of the down­stairs space. How­ever, with­out doubt the best build de­ci­sion was to use a propped can­tilevered first floor. It cre­ates an im­pres­sive de­sign fea­ture, where the first floor ex­tends out from the ground floor.

Our new home is on a tight site and is built up to the bound­ary on two sides to max­imise the build­ing’s foot­print. A two-storey house on the bound­ary would have been un­ac­cept­able from a plan­ning point of view due to the prox­im­ity of neigh­bour­ing build­ings

and gar­dens. To re­duce the over­shad­ow­ing and over­bear­ing im­pact on the neigh­bours, the house is sin­gle storey at the rear. How­ever, this sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced the floor area of the first floor.

The cedar-clad box pro­trud­ing from the first floor com­pen­sates for the lost floor area and, as a re­sult, the ground floor and the first floor are a sim­i­lar size. Thanks to the can­tilever, a car­port has been cre­ated at the front of the prop­erty and it also par­tially cov­ers the pa­tio at the rear to cre­ate a shaded area, with lights and speak­ers in the sof­fit. There is also a rain­chain and a swing — which ev­ery­one nat­u­rally grav­i­tates to. The Y-shaped propped can­tilever col­umn is a re­ally strik­ing fea­ture in the gar­den and gives the im­pres­sion of the house float­ing over the fence.

The build­ing form was strongly in­flu­enced by the con­straints of the site it­self and the need to over­come po­ten­tial plan­ning is­sues. When con­sid­er­ing de­vel­op­ments on tight sites in ur­ban lo­ca­tions, we would en­cour­age oth­ers not to be dis­cour­aged by po­ten­tial prob­lems but to see them as op­por­tu­ni­ties to over­come with in­no­va­tive de­sign so­lu­tions.

In our case, a more con­ven­tional de­sign would prob­a­bly have lim­ited de­vel­op­ment on the site to a small bun­ga­low; it’s even pos­si­ble that it wouldn’t have been fea­si­ble to build a dwelling at all. By taking a slightly more rad­i­cal ap­proach we’ve man­aged to achieve a four-bed de­tached house and the over­all de­sign has mas­sively ben­e­fited as a re­sult. H

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