When Charlotte and her husband bought their 1959 property, the previous owners had been working with an architect and already had planning permission for an extension. These plans gave the couple a good idea of what the space could become, but they wanted to put their own spin on it.
Their plan was to transform the existing conservatory into a proper flat-roof extension. They wanted to create a large kitchen, dining area and living room with easy access to the garden.
The family moved into the property in November 2019, but didn’t complete until April 2020, during the first lockdown. This gave them the opportunity to experience living in their home and work out what they really wanted from the space before starting work.
“What was really important was understanding how the house works with light.”
The extension would be north facing and their home was surrounded by other large properties, so losing light was one of the couple’s main concerns.
Charlotte adds, “We were used to the light that the conservatory brought and we didn’t want to feel that we’d been plunged into darkness.”
They’d also noticed that their property didn’t have the ceiling height of some of the surrounding properties. But, as it was in a conservation area, this was subject to building regulations and there were limitations on what they could change.
When they went back to the architect to discuss what they wanted, he already had a good idea of what was possible. He knew Roof Maker’s range well and suggested that a roof lantern with a slimline frame would be ideal for their needs.
The roof lantern’s shape would draw in sunlight throughout the day and the minimal frame would maximise light transmission into the space below. It would also give height to the room, while staying within the limits imposed by the conservation area.
The architect sent Charlotte emails to show the kind of roof lantern he was talking about and the couple did their own research on social media.
Charlotte says, “Our builders were really helpful as well. They’d worked with Roof Maker a lot, they knew the lanterns and had fitted quite a lot of them around Portsmouth. So they were able to say to us ‘we work with this company a lot, we think they’re the best ones’.”
She adds, “One of the other reasons our builders like Roof Maker products so much is that they know they’ll be passed by planning.”
In terms of the overall aesthetic, the couple decided on a contemporary industrial style for the extension. But, as this was a 1959 property, they wanted to keep some of the original character and not go too extreme.
For the look they wanted, the classic styling of the roof lantern worked perfectly. And the choice of colours meant they could coordinate the roof lantern with their chosen bi-fold doors and steelwork.
The couple chose one exceptionally large roof lantern for their property.
During the renovations they continued living on site, which meant they could see their extension taking shape.
One of the first things they noticed was how dark the rest of their home became when the conservatory roof was gone. Charlotte says, “When the work started… the kitchen was completely dark all the time. You had to have lights on and it was quite gloomy. And similarly… the hallway was dark, the living room was dark.”
The builders had to wait for a dry day, before moving the colossal structure onto the roof and setting it in place. It was only then that they could truly appreciate the effect.
The roof lantern has made a huge difference to the family home, creating a large functional room that’s flooded with natural light.
Charlotte says, “Even though we knew it and we saw it all on paper, we didn’t imagine it was going to be quite as dramatic as it is.”
They recall a series of wow moments as the transformation began to come together. But the installation of the roof lantern and the resulting light was particularly significant and still gives him a wow every day. Speaking about the roof lantern, Charlotte tells us, “I’m really pleased with the size… We wanted to try and keep the light, but it be a proper building and a proper extension.”
One of the reasons for making the conservatory a proper extension was to regulate the temperature in the space. Charlotte explains, “The conservatory was always freezing in winter and boiling in summer. Never ever the right temperature for what you want it to be.”
The couple have found that Roof Maker’s modern glass technologies has solved these issues. Charlotte says, “Considering we’ve got so much glass, it’s always a nice temperature.”
The space works beautifully in all situations. From busy mornings getting the children ready for school, to evenings spent entertaining friends.
Charlotte says, “It’s a lovely space. If you’ve got people over for dinner, they can sit on the sofa having a chat, you can be in the kitchen… all the children can be in the garden. And you’re all together. You can have the doors completely open and it feels easy.”
The couple have added LED lights to their roof lantern, which gives them a striking effect during the evenings.
“For me it was about being brave and bold in some areas.”
Charlotte says, “If someone showed me a photograph of this room and said, ‘this is what it will look like at the end,’ I wouldn’t have believed them at the time.” She says it was definitely worth all the dust!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
✅ Made to measure in our factory in Leicestershire
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