The side return is a funny part of the house, and might have you asking yourself ’why it is even there?’ For those who aren't sure what a side return actually is, it is the pathway that runs alongside a house from the rear kitchen door through to the garden. Once serving a purpose as an access to the outside toilet, these now redundant passageways are being cleverly used as a space for an extension to the ground floor of a home, greatly increasing the floorspace and adding real value.
Side return extensions can cost anywhere from £25,000 up to over £100,000 pounds, depending on the size and specifications of the extension. As expensive as this may seem, extending into these useless side passages will greatly open up the ground floor, and make best use of the available space afforded to your property. Suburbs all across London are seeing homes with new side return extensions popping up, as they are the most economical way to extend a home, and can give the home owner the best return on their investment.
Located in Peckham, the owners of this townhouse have made best use of the size of their property, shrewdly choosing to extend their home into the side return and into the garden, creating a brilliant open plan, wrap-around space for the family to enjoy. With the help of local architects Ar'chic, this traditional home has been modernised with an industrial touch.
While the size of a side return might not seem huge, once extending into this often dank and redundant part of the home the transformation can be astounding. Choosing a new interior style with industrial charm whilst remaining modern and functional are the clear design points of this project. Contrasting textures such as polished concrete worktops, a cement floor, matte finish lacquer on the timber, exposed brick and polished steel all marry together perfectly for a unique feel.
Lighting plays a huge part in any renovation, even more so in a side return extension. Glazed sliding doors run the full width of the existing structure and extension, unifying the garden with the home and providing ample natural light. At night, a soft hue of pleasant yellows are cast from the recessed lights in the roof, and from the elegant pendant lights that make the space ever so cosy.
The two-level garden meets the house at a set of glazed sliding doors that merge the two spaces, with the lower level of the garden using synthetic grass to offer a buffer for dirty feet entering the house from the garden.
The streamlined look of the kitchen and dining area continues into the new lounge setting, with the same minimal cabinetry of the kitchen also being used in other parts of the home. Here, the TV can be discretely hidden when not in use.
We loved this project, and hope you feel inspired to consider a side return extension if your home isn't making the best use of this space. To see another side return extension that has completely transformed a home, take a look a this basement extension in Chelsea.