From dreary to dream home

Alissa Ugolini—homify UK Alissa Ugolini—homify UK
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Side return extensions are one of the hottest architecture trends in the UK today and it's not hard to see why. Unfortunately, not all homes are blessed with these handy additional metres of space, but thanks to the era of certain properties, the space in which a side return once served a purpose can now be put to good use. It's thought that side returns were the brainchild of the Victorian era, which lead from the rear kitchen door, down the side of the house and into the garden. Presumably, this was to access the outhouse in the backyard but the full reason is not entirely known. 

The project we are looking at today is by Zebra Property Group, and is a wonderful example of how to best use the neglected side return space. Tucked away inside is a brand new open plan living and kitchen area that is the epitome of bright and spacious design. Take a look…

Before the extension

Wrap around side return:   by Zebra Property Group
Zebra Property Group

Wrap around side return

Zebra Property Group

Sad, tired and old, the rear of this property doesn't do much for the home in its original state. A small glass door leads the occupants outdoors, and shows that there is very little connection between the inside and outsides spaces. This is also a view of the property prior to the addition of the side extension, which has in turn, allowed a further 200sqm of extra living space.

The new extension

Wrap around side return:   by Zebra Property Group
Zebra Property Group

Wrap around side return

Zebra Property Group

Wow—it's hardly possible to believe this is the same property as above! The old, poorly kept rear of the house has been totally transformed into a modern and light filled living and kitchen space. The line between inside and out has been blurred, with the occupants able to freely navigate between the two areas. Whether it's for the purpose of entertaining or to lay on the couch with the breeze gently brushing past your face, an extension like this is a sure fire way to add not only value, but endless opportunities for interaction and relaxation time.

The new living space

Wrap around side return:   by Zebra Property Group
Zebra Property Group

Wrap around side return

Zebra Property Group

From this angle, we are able to visualise the interior of the new extension and see how it works in relation to the garden from the inside. A fairly muted colour palette ensues, thanks to the stark white walls and neutral toned furniture, helping the space to feel spacious and bright. The elongated nature of the new open plan living and kitchen area is too, bang on trend with 21st century living and entertaining requirements.

The ceiling details

Wrap around side return:   by Zebra Property Group
Zebra Property Group

Wrap around side return

Zebra Property Group

So that the new extension is light filled and airy, roof lights have been installed to ensure that an ample flow of natural light is able to penetrate the space. The interesting, almost origami like shape of the ceiling has additional lights installed, meaning the kitchen work area is always illuminated and conducive to culinary inspiration! 

The bathroom

Wrap around side return:   by Zebra Property Group
Zebra Property Group

Wrap around side return

Zebra Property Group

Lastly, but definitely not least, we leave this property inside the most intimate space—the bathroom. A unique monochromatic design has been chosen, creating an effect that almost puts us in a trance like space. Though it is petite in size, the lack of over-the-top details keeps the bathroom looking neat and functional. All this has been put together in a melange of quirky retro tiles and contemporary modern fixtures.

If you're interested in learning more about side return extensions, check out the following ideabook: How to: Side return extensions

Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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