Top tips for extending your period home

Written by Zoe Grey – an Outbuildings and GreenRooms Design Consultant


Is your home bursting with character and history? Would you love to incorporate a new space into the layout? If so, you may be looking into the possibilities of building an extension.

Regardless of the age of a property, an extension alters its appearance, so it’s always important to carefully map out your desired design. When extending a period home, establishing a design that’s in-keeping and sympathetic to its heritage is paramount to ensure a successful planning application, if required.

So, to drive your plans for the extension of your period home forwards, here are some top tips to consider.


Your purpose

Where planning permission applies, in most cases there must be a solid reason or need for your extension.

Typically, older properties have more rooms that are smaller in size, in comparison to a contemporary home, and the kitchen tends to be one of these spaces.

Modern life has led us into an age where the kitchen is the hub of a home and a place that’s a hive of activity throughout the day. With this in mind, you may have visions of your extension creating a bright and beautiful open-plan, kitchen/diner and lounge area. If this is a layout you’d love to achieve, it’s important your planning application clearly demonstrates why it’s essential to your home.

A consultant with planning experience should provide you with the right support to ensure your application details how such an extension will benefit both you and your period property while blending with your surroundings.

Your location

Period and listed properties are often referred to as ‘heritage assets’ in planning applications by the heritage officer because that’s exactly what they are: an asset to that particular area. Therefore, it’s vital your proposed extension is deemed to enhance the heritage asset.

I also recommend you take a look at how everyone else in your area has been extending or improving their homes. If they also live in a period property and have successfully gained permission, there’s a stronger case for you to do the same.


Your design

When putting pen to paper to brainstorm your the design of your dream extension, start by taking inspiration from your location. Paying tribute to the past by uniting key attributes and vernacular features into the overall look of your new garden room, sunroom, orangery or conservatory will undoubtedly support your planning application.

When helping our customers to design their dream extensions, I also take time to highlight unique features of their period homes that we can subtly intertwine into the internal and external appearance.

Windows are also key to the design of any period extension. The face glazing system we use here at Oakwrights is deemed acceptable by heritage officers, which means you have a lovely, modern double-glazed window, that looks in-keeping with your home and location.

It’s also important at this point to note if your property has already been extended in the past, you’re more likely to gain permission on the newer addition than the original part of the property. You’ll also more likely to be allowed to remove these walls or include additional doorways etc.

A versatile space for the whole family (four-legged friends included) to enjoy

Your building materials

As you can imagine, there are so many different categories of period properties, and a great deal of them are oak frame homes. Oak works in harmony with so many different styles and materials, and so an oak extension could be the perfect solution for your new dream space.

When considering the actual build of your extension, oak again lends itself well to the building as it can be much less invasive than other building methods. Here at Oakwrights, we like to craft freestanding additions to period properties. This is essentially a freestanding frame that’s butted up to the existing wall. This method ensures your oak frame extension is sealed, insulated and weatherproofed, and also means your home doesn’t take all the structural load, so is far less invasive than carving into the original wall.


Would you like to talk through your ideas with one of our regional design consultants? In place of arranging a meeting at your home/our Herefordshire offices, call 01432 353 353 to book your one-to-one online design consultation via Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom or other systems.

Our face glazing systems helps to create a light and airy atmosphere

Zoe Grey - Regional Design Consultant