Small ex­ten­sion gives Vic­to­rian ter­raced house new lease of life

It took just two me­tres to help trans­form a tiny ter­raced house in York into a light-filled home. Sharon Dale re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - FRONT PAGE -

KEN and Deirdre may be quite con­tent with their two-up twodown on Coro­na­tion Street, but many bog-stan­dard ter­raced homes aren’t best suited to mod­ern liv­ing.

Although they now have small ex­ten­sions and their out­side toi­lets have been re­placed with bath­rooms, they haven’t al­tered sig­nif­i­cantly since the 1800s.

It was the chal­lenge of bring­ing a Vic­to­rian ter­raced house into the 21st cen­tury that drove David Peth­er­ick to buy a ren­o­va­tion project on Ashville Street in York.

David, who qual­i­fied as an ar­chi­tect and has worked for cen­tral gov­ern­ment on hous­ing and dis­abil­ity is­sues, felt sure he could make the prop­erty lighter, big­ger and more en­ergy ef­fi­cient, while set­ting a tem­plate for trans­form­ing the av­er­age ter­race into some­thing spe­cial.

“There are mil­lions of these houses across the coun­try and I wanted to show how, with a rel­a­tively small amount of adap­ta­tion, they could con­tinue to pro­vide at­trac­tive, com­fort­able place to live for small house­holds for an­other hun­dred years,” says David, who bought the house at auc­tion last sum­mer.

It needed a com­plete ren­o­va­tion. The loo was out­side, the kitchen con­sisted of an old sink, there was no ef­fec­tive water heat­ing, no in­su­la­tion and there was a shower unit in one of the bed­rooms.

Most of the neigh­bour­ing prop­er­ties had a rear ground­floor ex­ten­sion for a bathroom, but David and his friend Mar­cel Tarta, a builder, came up with a more rad­i­cal so­lu­tion.

They re­moved the en­tire, south­fac­ing back wall on the ground floor and re­placed it with fold­ing glass doors to max­imise light and warmth from the sun.

At the same time, they ex­tended the rear room by two me­tres, top­ping the ex­ten­sion with a slop­ing roof with three sky­lights. Plan­ning ap­proval wasn’t re­quired as the ex­ten­sion was classed as per­mit­ted de­vel­op­ment.

“It is amaz­ing how much dif­fer­ence that two me­tres makes to the back room. It is now a spa­cious and light kitchen/liv­ing space, which looks out on to a small yard, which pro­vides a shel­tered, low-main­te­nance court­yard with gar­den light­ing,” says David, who adds: “It is sur­pris­ing how few peo­ple even think about which way the rooms face and yet, in a cli­mate where we need to make the best use of ev­ery bit of light and sun, it is pos­si­bly the most cru­cial fac­tor of all when buy­ing a house.”

The rest of the space has been en­tirely re­mod­elled. The dark, en­closed stair­case that ran up the mid­dle of the house be­tween the front and back rooms has been re­lo­cated along the party wall in the kitchen/liv­ing area.

A new win­dow over the stair­case at first floor level not only lights the stairs but brings morn­ing sun into the liv­ing space. The area for­merly oc­cu­pied by the old stair­case is now a down­stairs toi­let and stor­age.

Up­stairs, there are two bed­rooms, which share a “Jack and Jill” en-suite shower room. The large loft space is now ac­cessed by a lad­der and has been boarded out for stor­age.

“Stor­age is an­other big is­sue in ter­raced houses so the loft was a so­lu­tion,” says David, who has also made the house more ecofriendly.

The walls are solid brick so cav­ity wall in­su­la­tion wasn’t an op­tion. In­stead, the ex­te­rior walls have been clad in in­su­lat­ing pan­els and coated with ren­der.

The roof and floors have been in­su­lated and dou­ble glazed win­dows in­stalled. Rather than gas cen­tral heat­ing, David opted for elec­tric panel heaters and a mod­ern im­mer­sion heater for hot water.

“The house is so well in­su­lated it doesn’t need a lot of heat, but I be­lieve gas prices will con­tinue to rise and electricity is the best bet in the long run, which is why I opted for the panel heaters and the im­mer­sion heater, which would work well if a fu­ture owner wanted to in­stall so­lar hot water or pho­to­voltaic pan­els,” says David, who is now sell­ing the house that is a good ex­am­ple of what can be achieved through good de­sign.

Chim­ney Pot Park in Sal­ford is an­other. De­vel­oped by Ur­ban Splash, a whole block of ter­raced houses was trans­formed.

The street frontages are the only built el­e­ments to be re­tained, while the roofs fea­ture chim­ney roof lights, a mod­ern take on old chim­ney stacks.

In­side, they are “up­side down” houses with the bed­rooms and the pre­fab­ri­cated pod bathroom, which fea­ture a sunken bath, on the ground floor. The first floor has a kitchen/liv­ing ar­eas plus a mez­za­nine and a bal­cony gar­den deck. The decks ex­tend over se­cure cov­ered park­ing at ground level and in­cor­po­rate a glazed panel, al­low­ing light to pen­e­trate into the rear ground-floor room.

It’s a stun­ning de­vel­op­ment but it hasn’t been copied, pos­si­bly be­cause of the ex­pense. Cost is a big is­sue when im­prov­ing a ter­raced house as the out­lay can eas­ily out­strip the added value.

David Peth­er­ick’s ren­o­va­tion was costly but the house needed com­plete mod­erni­sa­tion and the price at auc­tion re­flected this. It is also in a pop­u­lar lo­ca­tion off Hunt­ing­ton Road in York, so the re­sale value has made it fi­nan­cially vi­able.

Ar­chi­tect Nick Mid­g­ley says: “Open­ing up the back of the prop­erty and ex­tend­ing out as David has done could cost any­where be­tween £20,000 and £30,000.

“If you spend that much it might not be re­flected in the value of the house but what it will do is make the dif­fer­ence be­tween a typ­i­cal ter­raced house and some­thing much more ex­cit­ing.

“If you are plan­ning to stay long-term then it will im­prove your qual­ity of life. It will bring in light, cre­ate space and you’ll get a great feel good fac­tor.”

The trans­formed ter­raced house on Ashville Street, York, is for sale with a price in the re­gion of £150,000. For de­tails tel: 07710 438589.

Top, Chim­ney Pot Park in Sal­ford by Ur­ban Splash was a ma­jor and ex­pen­sive trans­for­ma­tion of a row of ter­raced houses that turned liv­ing ar­eas up­side down. Bot­tom, from left to right, David Peth­er­ick trans­formed this ter­raced house in York with a ground-floor ex­ten­sion that floods the rear of the prop­erty with light and ex­ter­nal cladding to im­prove in­su­la­tion.

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