I built my two storey extension for 20% of builder's quotes

This site shows how - step by step from design to completion

Home Extension Design Ideas

I mulled on the idea of an extension for years. However, because I don't have a mattress stuffed with tenners I knew I couldn't really afford a large extension. Once I had the idea of doing some of the work myself to keep costs down things got out of control and before long I thought...

Maybe I could do everything myself! And so begins my project...

My aspirations for modernising the property are to:

  • Gain a family bathroom / toilet facility upstairs, where none currently exists
  • Increase the size of the small family living room
  • Improve energy efficiency of the property which at present, being only one room deep and of solid brick construction, is extremely inefficient to heat 

My home is a two storey brick property with a single storey extension projecting from the rear corner, forming an L shape. It is of solid brick construction, and lies within a designated Conservation Area. In considering my design, it was important, whilst meeting my brief, not to completely gut the existing interior but to preserve the period character and internal features as far as possible.

I spent some time online researching house extension design ideas because one's first thoughts are not always the best. I did some online searching for home extension ideas examples and looked for rear house extension ideas photo gallery to get me started. I also looked for house extensions ideas plans, many of which can be found online. Whether you want to look for single story extension ideas, house extension ideas for semi detached houses or small house extension ideas, the internet offers a wealth of artciles and pictures to inspire you.  


house_rearhouse_rear_sequenceThe rear of my house before I started, showing the old single storey extension and veranda.

After many design ideas and considering my budget (very small!), my brief and my wife's sensibilities (as far as is possible), I decided the best solution was to increase the single storey to two storeys and infil the L shape (where there is presently a veranda) with a new single storey section.

I roughed out the design below which would afford me a new upstairs bedroom with en-suite, an upstairs shower room / toilet and a larger lounge. Building across the back of the house in this manner will considerably improve the property's thermal efficiency by reducing the area of old, solid brick wall that is exposed to the elements. This design requires the removal of one downstairs wall but also the reinstatement of a wall that was obviously taken out many years back. Overall, the internal layout will remain faithful to the building's history with feature fireplaces, staircase and main layout remaining unaltered.

Not being an architect or builder, I wished to check a couple of issues for feasibility prior to committing hours of my time. I dug a small pit to examine the foundations of the existing single storey. As it turns out there were no foundations at all, it being built pretty much straight up from the ground. It was clear that building onto the single storey was out of the question; it would need to come down and be rebuilt. I was more than happy with this as it is evident that, even in its day, it was a poorly built section (not everything old is good). I was also concerned about the practicability of the wall removal so I spoke informally with a structural engineer that lives in the village. He foresaw no major problems, so I set about doing a little research to see if my self design and build proposal was viable.

My Proposed Layout: The single storey would be taken down, brick by brick. I would then build the large two storey extension as shown in my first drawing.house_plan