Archive for the ‘Renovation’ Category

Custom House, Harwich progressing well

Monday, February 4th, 2019

modern buff brick town house

Good progress is being made on our development for 34 flats, achieved under Prior Approval office to residential conversion, and 5 detached townhouses in Harwich, Essex. The design overcomes the challenges of a deep plan office by inserting a new internal courtyard. This achieves dual aspect living for the majority of the apartments. Penthouse units and a new residents viewing platform enjoy panoramic views to the Stour Estuary. The site is split level and we have accommodated 5 detached houses within the grounds of the former government offices. These are located adjacent to an existing retaining wall and are accessed at first floor via a private bridge.

office to residential conversion prior approval

modern bedroom interior vaulted ceiling

Planning secured for retirement housing in the New Forest National Park

Monday, May 8th, 2017


We are delighted to have secured planning permission for specialist property developer, PegasusLife’s first scheme in The New Forest. Situated in The Rise Conservation Area in Brockenhurst, within the New Forest National Park, the development will comprise 24 one and two bedroom apartments exclusively for those over sixty.

The apartments will be split between three villas and a coach house to transform the site of the disused Watersplash Hotel. Sympathetically designed to fit seamlessly with the local landscape, the development will also include cleverly designed internal and external shared spaces designed to help residents and neighbours to easily socialise and create a thriving community.

Commenting on the development, Howard Phillips, CEO, PegasusLife said:

“Brockenhurst is a beautiful place and we’re looking forward to creating homes that are right for the local area and will enrich the lives of the people who will choose to live within our development.

“Having revised the scheme, we are particularly pleased that the Planning Inspectorate has agreed on a proposal that preserves and enhances the character and appearance of this wonderful Conservation Area and is also respectful of the existing hotel building.”

The defining features of the site are the historic house, prominently fronting The Rise, and the mature planting, which features two veteran oaks. To ensure the new development complements the spirit of the surrounding area, the design is a contemporary interpretation of the arts and crafts tradition.

The new accommodation is formed from three new buildings, all subservient in scale to the refurbished and extended character property. Positioned in response to the site constraints, and to fully utilise the site levels, the new buildings have familiar forms and use local materials to achieve a locally distinctive feel to the development. Rather than standard balconies, Snug designed an interstitial space, between gables of louvered timber cladding with traditionally proportioned punched hole apertures and the more generous contemporary openings from the interior. The result is an outside space for each apartment that enjoys a playful dance of light and mediates the interface between modern apartments and this sensitive context.

Snug Architects design director, Paul Bulkeley, commented:

The design makes a progressive contribution to the New Forest vernacular. We worked hard to create a place that responds sensitively and creatively to the context, enhancing both the period property and character of the area. It will be a stunning place in which to enjoy later living.”

PegasusLife is on a mission to make a fundamental change in the way that retirement property is understood and delivered in the UK. In addition to a focus on desirable locations that appeal to those in later life, the business is committed to developing high quality, flexible, well-proportioned living accommodation. PegasusLife offers all homes on a 1000-year lease and will not charge customers exit fees. Property management is provided on a not-for-profit basis.

We are grateful to the team who worked with us to develop the design and secure what is a significant provision of much needed housing in the National Park.

Renovate or rebuild? – How to decide

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

Grand designs magazine_august 2016_snug architects

Grand designs magazine_snug architects

Snug Architects director, Paul Bulkeley, is quoted in this months @granddesignsmag in an article on how to decide whether to renovate or rebuild an existing tired property. We have a wealth of experience in helping clients to resolve this difficult dilemma. Below are a few recent projects that illustrate how either approach can be a success.

The first is Hanlin House. The existing property was very tired and the steeply sloping site and both larger and enlarged properties to either side was ripe for redevelopment. Critical the site offered potential for a significant increase in both the quantity and quality of accommodation. Our clients also had their hearts set on a new build house and had the budget to suit. In this case it was a no brainer to go down the VAT free rebuild route. The result was a spectacular modern house with an end value that justified knocking down the existing property.

Snug architects_house refurbishment_grand designs magazine

Hanlin_modernist house_UK_Snug Architects

6. Hanlin. Snug Architects

In the two examples that follow we instead recommended renovation. This is not what most people want to do and your architect will need to work hard to get the qualities of a new build house from a renovated property.

The first example is Heronbrook. The existing bungalow sat on a generous plot with plenty of potential for the site to accommodate a large new build house. The challenge was that the site was in a conservation area and the surrounding properties offered little opportunity to raise the ridge height. The critical issue here however was our clients budget. They had neither the money or need for the size of house that would be required to justify knocking down the existing property. Our challenge was to significantly improve the look and feel of the existing property within a constrained budget. Success here was that few people would ever know this wasn’t a new build house.


Heronbrook_modern renovation_snug architects

1970's contemporary refurbishment

The second example of a renovation is Point Pleasant. Here the site could also accommodate a larger building and so could the budget, but just because one can does not mean one should. One should always consider the bottom line and it may not always be financially prudent to rebuild. Careful analysis of the projected costs of both new build and renovation options were essential here. In the end it was felt that the substantial renovation offered most of the qualities of the new build at a lower cost. Renovation was felt to be the best value for money.

Point pleasant_bungalow conversion_snug architects

contemporary house conversion_bungalow conversion_snug architects

stunning house refurbishment snug architects

Just incase you were thinking everything we did was black and white we want to show one final example. It is one of our favorite projects, not least because our clients love the house so much.

stealth house_snug architects

The challenge this time was that our clients had bought the existing bungalow at the peak of the market with the intention of extending and renovating. The problem was that a review of all the refurbishment options was resulting in a significant loss. Through clever design, and despite being surrounded by bungalows, we were able to secure planning permission for a significantly larger house. It became know as the ‘stealth house’ for obvious reasons. The result was a wonderful new house and some equity. It took a courageous client who placed great trust in their architect to see this one through to a successful conclusion.

More pictures of these projects and many others can be seen on the portfolio section of our website.

If you are considering whether to renovate your rebuild your property we would welcome the opportunity to help you establish with confidence the best way forward.

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