The design process is often the most difficult part of completing a contemporary extension, whether you’d like to build outwards to create a larger dining room, need to extend your existing house to accommodate a growing family, or wish to add value without needing to relocate.

However, with a little help, there is a perfect extension for every property, from a period home to a terraced house, and even a Grade II listed building with the appropriate planning permission, designing a modern addition that is sympathetic and in keeping with the style of the original house.

Here the Pinnacle Works team shares some of our top tips and ideas to get you thinking about how you can introduce more living space to your property and create a beautiful contemporary house extension.

Placements and Positioning for Modern Extensions

One of the first things to consider is where your modern extension will go. There are countless options based on the footprint and layout of the existing structure and the outdoor space on which you have to build. It may also be possible to create extra space without developing outwards, building an additional level above an existing ground floor roof.

Some of the typical placements for modern extensions include:

  • Constructing a side return extension on a semi-detached property, with the extension running along the side of the house, and sometimes combined with a rear extension in an L-shaped configuration.
  • Designing a covered balcony area at the back of a rear extension, utilising surplus garden space or building a hybrid indoor/outdoor dining area.
  • Adding a first-floor extension to build above a flat roof or extend a downstairs room upwards as a double-height extension.

However, these are far from the only solutions! Homeowners in areas such as South West London, where properties don’t tend to have an expansive outdoor space, can build upwards into a loft conversion or add an extra storey to their property.

You can also build downwards if you have the capacity and structural stability to turn a basement area into a games room, extra bedroom or living space.

Adding Height and Depth Through Double-Height Extensions

The ultimate in a super modern extension design is high ceilings, replicating the sense of space you get in a period property but with contemporary touches such as an open plan kitchen, discrete sliding doors, or using a glazed extension for a dramatic impact.

Vaulted ceilings, irregular roofing shapes and double-height French doors are a superb way to modernise an older property – although those in a conservation area may require approval from their local authority if they are making big changes to the main house.

Another of the best modern extension ideas is to look at the way you use materials and colour to either match your new living space to the existing property or create a stark contrast. If you’re drawn to home extensions that deliver a gorgeous contemporary aesthetic, we’d suggest looking at those who take inspiration from the original house and then extend that to create new shapes and forms.

Examples might include using treated timber cladding adjacent to a red brick property, placing a glass extension next to a sandstone external wall, or creating box extensions which seem to float above the original perimeter and deliver panoramic views through full glass walls.

The trick with modern extensions is to think about texture and shape as you build upwards or outwards, without necessarily trying to replicate the exact appearance of the current house – unless, of course, this is a necessity due to planning requirements.

Drawing Natural Light into a Ground Floor Living Space

A common challenge for homeowners with a Victorian terrace property is that a rear extension is often fairly dark, making the glazing and lighting a key consideration to ensure a single-storey extension feels bright, airy and modern.

There are lots of ways to leverage modern lighting and use interesting window placements to flood even a small space with more natural light:

  • Recessed or statement roof lights can look striking, adding an architectural feature to your ceiling and attracting sunlight directly from overhead.
  • Using wide-scale sliding doors that face into your garden works brilliantly. You can construct a patio or deck right outside, stepping into the morning light for a relaxing cup of coffee or leaving the doors swung open for evening al fresco dining in your outdoor space.
  • Creating open-plan modern extensions on the ground floor can maximise light without internal walls obstructing the view.

If you are looking for inspiration to add a home extension to a terraced house, high-performance glazing is also a great choice, ensuring you make the most of your extra space.

Creating a Modern Extension Using Glass Instead of Brickwork

Modern extensions can be constructed from a variety of high-quality materials, and if you’d like to make a real style statement, your choice of texture and colour is important. A steel frame rear extension or a fully glazed extension is a world away from the traditional conservatory or garden room.

Incorporating sliding French doors into the rear aspect of your extension makes the space feel like a structural glass room, capturing the most stunning views around your property as you watch the seasons pass.

Adding contemporary accents such as recessed or spotlit lighting, polished concrete flooring or rich, deep timbers to contrast with the modern materials used in the walls and room works wonderfully, particularly if you’re trying to add a touch of classic style to a London townhouse without detracting from the original building.

Energy-efficient thermal insulation and extra thick extension glazing will keep your space warm and comfortable throughout the year while ensuring you make the most of every square metre within your property and celebrate the views from your rear elevation.

For more modern extensions ideas and to view our previous projects to inspire your imagination, please contact the Pinnacle Works team at any time. Alternatively, you can browse our online images for further examples.