Thursday, 12 September 2013

This is the house that we built

There was an intriguing article in our local newspaper in May last year, which opened with the line: "A man has won an appeal to extend his home." Unbeknown to us, our humble kitchen extension had become breaking news in Henley-on-Thames. The article continued:
"William Lam... can now demolish his conservatory and outbuildings and build a single-story extension incorporating a kitchen and dining room."
Scintillating stuff, although I was a bit miffed that Henley's newshounds had overlooked Mrs Lam's role in the project. Now, after two years of planning, design and various setbacks, this same man (and his wife) have finally finished their extension.

Modern kitchen extension on Edwardian house
Hot news in Henley!
The controversy centred around our plan to stick a modern, glass wedge onto an old Edwardian house in a conservation area. When we applied for planning permission, the Henley Town Council recommended refusal on the grounds that the design would be "out of character". Fortunately for us, the inspector who handled our appeal recognised that a modern solution would be "potentially acceptable" (even if he didn't sound entirely convinced at the time). 

After the project was completed this summer, we wondered with some trepidation how people would receive it. So far, our friends have done a decent impression of liking it. The best reaction was from the man who came to do a quote for some bathroom shutters. He ambled through the old hallway and then into the new kitchen, where he stopped dead in his tracks. For a moment he was speechless. Then he said: "Wow! I wasn't expecting that. It is absolutely stunning!"


Here it is, under construction... 


House with old conservatory
Before: the old conservatory 

Building site for kitchen extension: demolition
Demolition and laying the foundations (February 2013)

Building site for kitchen extension: steel beams put in place
Putting in the steel framework (March 2013)
Building site for kitchen extension: wall building
Up go the walls (March 2013)

Building site for kitchen extension: putting in the roof
On goes the roof (April 2013)

Building site for kitchen extension: glass doors
The glass doors and glazing are installed (May 2013)

Kitchen extension on Edwardian house
Finished - click on the picture for a close-up! (June 2013)

The extension was designed by David Greenhill of Vivid Architects and built by First Construct. None of it would have been possible without Louise Morton of Quadrant Town Planning, who helped to win the appeal.