How to turn a lovley old house with solid walls into a warm efficient home



THE extension

When I bought the house it only had a downstairs bathroom. We lived with this for many years, but I'd always had a vague plan to build an extension that would allow for an upstairs bathroom. My wife and I had considered ways to extend, but never got round to actually doing anything about it.

However, as my thoughts of improving the entire house's efficiency came to the fore I began to consider an extension in a new light. Where I had considered building above a single storey section of the house I now realised that though this may be the cheapest, simplest and least disruptive way to gain the bathroom it would do nothing toward helping insulate the main house. I needed to merge these two plans in order to address both goals.

Because external wall insulation was out of the question, and internal wall insulation steals so much space from the rooms, I realised that if I designed an extension that ran along the entire rear of my house, this would effectively be insulating the whole rear of the house. The problem I pondered for a good long time was how to do this. The current single storey extension projected from the rear of the house, so was kind of in the way of any larger two storey extension I tried to plan.

I then realised the best solution was to demolish the current single storey. This would give me the freedom to design an extension that achieved both of my goals without looking like a real hodge podge.

The single storey section was old, not well built in the first place and suffered some damp problems, so I was OK with the idea of demolishing it. The down side was that it housed my current bathroom and the business end of the kitchen, so the disruption created by knocking it down would be massive. Still, convinced it was the best solution, I set about drawing some plans for an extension on that basis.

house extension, diy, eco, greenAll the details of the plans and planning process can be found on my other website DIY Home Extension, but suffice it to say that I had a battle with the planners, and my original plans were refused. Eventually, however, I had a set of plans passed, and took the plunge. I had to remove an internal wall from the main house, create temporary living arrangements within the main home, then demolish the single storey. Once that was completed I set about building my extension as a solo DIY project. Knowing that nearly all of the rear of the property would become internal, so negating the need to insulate almost 50% of the wall area of my home, I knew this was not only making me more space, but the beginning of my plans to improve the efficiency of my home.

The extension build was completed by Christmas 2011. Full step by step details can be found at DIY Home Extension


© Christopher Thompson