Renovate or rebuild? - How to decide

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.