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How to make a bigger house on the same footprint

When you’re looking at a renovation project, costs can quickly add up, especially once you start talking about major structural change.Designer Andrew Waller says when he first started working with the owners of this Paddington terrace, they had their hearts set on extending.He talked them out of it.“The clients were thinking of widening the back…

When you’re looking at a renovation project, costs can quickly add up, especially once you start talking about major structural change.

Designer Andrew Waller says when he first started working with the owners of this Paddington terrace, they had their hearts set on extending.

He talked them out of it.

“The clients were thinking of widening the back of the house and perhaps adding some skylights,” Andrew says.

“Extending it might have added 800mm to 900mm more width – it wouldn’t have given them much more space. It was an external load-bearing wall which would need to be underpinned.

“We thought the house was big enough as it was.”

Andrew removed one internal wall, which opened up the floorplan a little, but the first big move was replacing the french doors and security bars at the rear and adding a fanlight above to draw in the easterly sunlight.

“That made a huge difference,” he says. “Taking the security bars off the doors helped a lot as well.”

The area leading to the outdoor space, which Andrew refreshed with grey pavers, became the obvious spot for casual dining, while the old dining space was converted into a service area.

“That was the darkest part of the space,” he says.

“We used that rear wall for the majority of the big storage needs, like the fridge and freezer, and then you step into the butler’s pantry via a sliding door.”

Andrew also created an internal door for the laundry, which the owners used to access from the garden.

detail driven

While the owners wanted the new work to be light and bright, it still needed to tie in with the original terrace.

Architectural details from the era, including traditional skirting board and architrave profiles, blended the old with the new.

Opting not to extend saved the clients a considerable amount of money which, Andrew says, was available to spend on other things in the house.

“One of the owners was quite surprised that you could create the feeling of more space without extending,” he says.

“It took a bit of convincing to start with.

“The owners initially thought that perhaps they should commit to a bigger budget and widen the space.

“But because they didn’t spend money on big structural changes, we have been able to use more premium fittings.”

Pictures: John Paul Urizar

More: mrwaller.com

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