front before:   by Paul Wiggins Architects

Modernising a small 1920s semi-detached home

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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With a classic 1920s frontage, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this house wouldn't hold any surprises, inside or at the back, but oh how wrong you would be. In fact, it has been transformed so dramatically, that you will be totally shocked!

Originally a three bedroom and one bathroom property, the house has been transformed into a five bed, three bath luxury home, complete with usable basement. The original garage was kept and converted into a self-contained motorbike zone, while the basement has become an amazing gymnasium and wine cellar. 

Let's take a close look at this utterly unbelievable build to see if you might be able to unlock some hidden potential in your own home!

​Blink and you'll miss it

We love nothing more than dramatic transformations that remain sympathetic to the original styling and façade of a house, which is exactly what has happened here. In fact, you would be hard pressed to notice any new addition at all.

The team of architects at Paul Wiggins have been careful to not only fulfil the brief from the client but also retain the image of a standard frontage so as to not impact on the surrounding street and close neighbours. This compassionate and professional approach lends itself well to the fast and perfect completion of what is an unusual addition.

Before: From humble beginnings

Moving round to the back of the house, we begin to get a feel for how much space is available but we still don't think that you be envisaging exactly what gets built here. 

With a small and basic conservatory removed, what is left is essentially a blank canvas for development and given that extra bedrooms, a usable basement and more bathrooms were all required, you might be wondering exactly how the architectural team went about including them.

What we will say is that the end result made great use of the space!

After: Out of the ordinary

With so much extra room needed it would have been easy for the architects to want to build a full height extension that was in keeping with the original style of the house, but they went for the direct opposite approach. Instead they chose to build out into the garden and down, underneath the house.

The end result is a stylish exterior that, with a quick glimpse, could be mistaken for a modern conservatory but when you look a little closer you'll see just how expansive and stunning it is. We can get a small sense of the greatness to come thanks to the extensive glazing but, apart from that, we're in for a big shock!

After: Space-age and spectacular

Be totally honest; the exterior shot of the rear of the house didn't give the impression that this was what had been created, did it? A truly shocking transformation, this hugely spacious, modern and totally unrecognisable rear of the property has certainly ticked a lot of boxes and has done so without encroaching on the front of the house.

luxury kitchen and sitting/dining area, this extension has not only breathed new life into an older property, it has essentially given it a full transplant, allowing for comfort and style where once a small and dismal porch and unloved section of garden stood.

After: Something different

Well, not every house has one of these but, having seen the completed extension, we are not in the least bit surprised that this one does. A hoist for transporting heavy goods from one level to another, the owners of the house have installed this to allow for easy movement of their treasured motorbikes down into the cellar. You may wonder why you'd want your bikes in the cellar but all will become clear in a moment. 

With every eventuality taken into account, it's clear that the design team developed a sound understanding of what was important to their client and tailored the build as much as possible.

After: Nocturnal fun

Semi-detached glory hole: modern Living room by Paul Wiggins Architects
Paul Wiggins Architects

Semi-detached glory hole

Paul Wiggins Architects

You may have already been impressed with the lovely, light and spacious extension but once the lights go down it transforms even further, into a beautifully lit and exciting room for any party or social gathering.

With a large television this would be an amazing home cinema room but we can't help picturing fun parties going on in here! The use of bright white everywhere has naturally lent itself to reflecting neon hues perfectly and, with strip lighting having been placed under cabinets as well as up high, the disco vibe feels natural and grown up but still fun!

After: Underground

What do you include in a house that already has everything? A gym and wine cellar, of course! Well, that's what the owners of this increasingly impressive house have done, with a well-stocked exercise area, push bike storage and motorbike display zone all being housed underneath the main building, in the basement. 

Hidden out of sight is the wine cellar but we know that will have been given the same perfect treatment as the rest of this space, with crisp white walls and lovely recessed lighting. With a house this well situated, we have to wonder if the residents ever find a reason to go out!

After: New perspectives

Isn't the glazing in this project incredible? It really makes what is already a staggering project something totally perspective shattering. Who could have possibly guessed that this beautiful atrium-style extension was connected to the back of a super traditional 1920s semi-detached house?

The kitchen has been kept sleek, white and minimal so as to offer as much usable floor space as possible and, thanks to clever storage and display techniques, such as flush mounting the television, the room has been kept as large as possible.

After: A view that wows

Semi-detached glory hole: modern Houses by Paul Wiggins Architects
Paul Wiggins Architects

Semi-detached glory hole

Paul Wiggins Architects

Can you imagine turning up to the front of this house for a gathering and seeing the traditional frontage before walking around the back and seeing this? You'd think you had accidentally walked into the wrong garden, wouldn't you?

The stunning lighting effects are being put to great use in this gorgeous glazed extension and by opting for a soft yellow, as well as vibrant neons, the external house colour is organically tied to the new interior. Though unusual, we can't take our eyes off this fantastic addition!

For more extension inspiration, take a look at this Ideabook: A dynamite home extension.

Which incredible feature was your favourite?
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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