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What To Consider When Adding A Modern Extension To An Old House

What To Consider When Adding a Modern Extension To An Old House

There’s so much to love about old houses. They come with unique character. They’re typically built on larger plots of land. In many cases, they’re even structurally stronger than modern builds with thicker walls. But that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement.

If you’re looking to extend an old house, you might want to think outside the box with a modern design. The question is – should you do it? And more important, can you do it? In this post, we’ll discuss the practicalities in terms of design and the all-important planning permission.

Modern extensions on old houses

Before looking at planning permission, the first consideration for most homeowners is whether their house extension idea would look and feel good. After all, you want your home to be a perfect match for your lifestyle and personality.

For an early 20th century or Victorian house extension, the conventional or ‘safe’ way to extend is by mimicking the original design and materials of your home – at least from the outside. Unfortunately, that would mean no modern exterior features like ceiling to floor windows, bi-folding doors or stylish wood panelling.

The good news is that it’s perfectly reasonable to use these kinds of features alongside an old property. An all-out modern design can create a striking contrast between traditional and contemporary. Or you can create a balance of new features and age-old materials for a modern extension that’s sympathetic to the old house.

What about planning permission?

The right look and feel is critical when adding an extension to an old house. But we can’t deny that you could be restricted by what planning officers will allow.

Put simply, these are the case officers who will make a decision for your planning application on behalf of the local council. While there are multiple people involved – consultants, senior officers and even committees involving local councillors – many decisions come down to subjective opinions.

In truth, planners change their minds quite regularly when it comes to modern extensions on old houses. One year they will insist on a sympathetic design that matches the house’s original style as much as possible. The next year they will be fine with a total contrast using a contemporary design.

In almost any case, the best thing to do is speak with planners first and see what frame of mind they are in.

Planning your modern extension

If you’re looking to add a modern extension to an old house in or around Sheffield, Milestone Builders is on hand to help. Whether it’s early 20th century, Victorian or even Georgian, we’ll work with you to balance your vision with the advice of planning officers, to create a stunning design that ticks every box.

Using our tried-and-tested Milestone Method, we’ll then value engineer the entire project to get you the best results for your budget. To find out more, give our team a call on 0114 489 4425 or email

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