Contemporary Ways to Extend your Home

13 May Contemporary Ways to Extend your Home


When it comes to improving your homes layout, increasing useable space or creating a whole new room extending your home is a sensible solution. A lot of the time extensions involve some internal renovations, usually creating a more open plan living space which is very popular within contemporary residential architecture.

But what are your options?

Contemporary residential design is currently split into a few clearly defined extension types although, as always in design, there is merging between each sector. In essence each defined category is trying to achieve what is called an indoor-outdoor effect. This is a popular design characteristic in contemporary extensions with the aim of blurring the barrier between inside and outside. Flush floor finishes across tracks when door are open, lots of natural light and large expanses of glass are just some of the ways that this effect can be achieved.


The most popular extension type at the moment is referred to as the ‘Contemporary Orangery’. These often one storey extensions include a flat roof and as minimal framing as possible. Large glass sliding doors offer the most minimal sightlines, in terms of framework, available on the market in a well-engineered, thermally efficient framing system with visible frames of as little as 21mm. These thin framed sliding doors can be up to 12m2 per sliding panel enabling you to achieve a floor to ceiling glass door with flush floor finishes across the base. Within the solid roof frameless rooflights or a large glass roof is usually incorporated to allow light in from up above and bathe the internal space with sunlight at all times of day. In contemporary design these rooflight are normally flat although lantern styles can be incorporated in response to different design tastes.

Alternatively a frameless glass box extension could be used. This is as it sounds; an extension completely made of glass; a glass roof, often supported with glass beams, meeting glass walls with glass fins to support the glass beams above. Minimal framed or flush glazed doors are used as garden access. In order to keep these spaces comfortable proper ventilation must be considered as well as a solar control coating or other shading technique in order to stop the highly glazed space from overheating under direct sunlight.

These types of fully glazed extensions are sometimes preferred in conservation areas or listed buildings. Due to the stark contrast between the new and the old there is a clearly defined existing building with a modern attachment. As the glass used within these structural glass assemblies is needed to be thicker to support the frameless weight of the extension low iron glass is normally recommended. This clearer glass solution reduces the greening effect that can occur in thicker glass constructions such as those used in glass beams and fins.

Bespoke glass box extensions are usually at the highest price range of the contemporary extension but if you like the effect there are some modular, pre designed glass box extensions available such as the Vitrendo glass extension which will be more budget friendly.

Narrow, traditional terraced houses are found in many highly populated areas within London and moving out. Normally built before 1930 these older building were not designed to have internal bathrooms and sometimes even kitchens. Therefore as the nature of our homes and technology available advanced these modern amenities were simply added to the back of the property, this left a narrow passage way to the small garden. This small spaces are normally underutilised and in these circumstances a small side return or ‘side infill’ extension can dramatically change the internal layout and accessibility of a small home with only a minimal change to the building itself. As side windows are not usually possible a side infill extension generally has a glass roof to allow dynamic light ingress with glazed doors acting as access to the garden.  Again, with these door elements a flush floor finish will merge the garden and rear space together and make the internal areas seem larger.

A conservatory is something entirely different to an extension. An extension is open to the original home and essentially changes the insulting outline of your home to include the new extended space. As such these spaces are governed by the UK’s building regulations in terms of thermal performance, floor to glass area and many other aspects. If you wish to use more than 20% glass in an extension you need to perform what is called a SAP calculation in order to prove the extension still complies with building regulations. A conservatory is not part of your insulated home walls; it is an addition to your home but added on the outside of insulated walls and not merged with your internal space. Therefore these conservatory spaces do not have to comply with any type of thermal performance or glazing ratio requirements as set out by Building Regulations.

So with a conservatory a completely frameless glass box is absolutely possible. These glass conservatories could be bespoke designed such as a glass box conservatory or you could opt for a contemporary modular option such as a Modo Vitro Glass Conservatory. Modular options are usually more cost effective but are still very versatile being able to be manufactured to fit all building shapes and sizes.

Posted with thanks to IQ Glass for images provided. Contact IQ Glass about the glazing on your home extension on 01494 722 or visit their glazing showroom in Amersham. 

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