A semi-detached Victorian extension in London

semi-detached Victorian extension made of brown brick and glass, with modern furniture inside

This month’s Been There Done That is all about The London Semi, who renovated a semi-detached Victorian extension in Streatham Hill. Owner Ed Pateman-Jones told us all about how he and wife Katie transformed it.

“The space before the renovation of our semi-detached Victorian extension was rotting and wet! That’s not an exaggeration. While it had loads of character and felt like a really nice and happy house, the existing conservatory-extension was leaky and cold. The floor had even swollen due to water coming through the glass ceiling!”

Semi-detached Victorian extension

“We decided to undertake the project as we knew that the house had loads of potential. And we really wanted to make it ours by designing a space that suited our exact needs and taste. We think the house price potential gave us headroom to do something ambitious, and so we did!”

How they started the process

“We started the design process by initially going down a steel-framed window route. But it would have ended up compromising the ‘up and over’ side return with two contrasting styles (traditional and modern). Eventually the architect convinced us which route was right for what we wanted. So we think we have ended up with the right balance.”

a semi-detached Victorian extension featuring black-framed glass and brown bricks
Another gorgeous shot of the project taken by Chris Snook. The glass roof is angled at 5 degrees to allow rainwater to slide onto the patio and down the drains.

The process was very difficult and stressful

Semi-detached Victorian extension

“The process was very difficult and stressful! It felt as though we had to hand-hold a lot of the contractors with lots of chasing and foresight for what was coming. We often got told that materials (tiles, for example) were needed for installation with only days to spare. That’s even though we had been asking those questions for months!”

Semi-detached Victorian extension

“Finding the right glaziers who could accomplish the complex installation at a reasonable price was also very difficult. Ultimately, because we aren’t a business that is going to come back time and time again, it felt like contractors didn’t have an incentive to keep us super happy. The quality of work has been great but it certainly felt like we pushed for it. We were told that we were very demanding customers, which I do not feel any guilt for!”

Semi-detached Victorian extension

“The final space has a large open-plan kitchen-diner-living room that integrates the garden into the home. We wanted a space that felt like we were in a hotel and on holiday, particularly when entertaining guests.

“Now we love hosting dinner parties at the large table and having smaller romantic dinners at the countertop. Also having a cup of tea in the lounge area with guests. And, of course, watching our toddler play in the patio or indoors depending on the weather.”

Advice for readers undertaking a similar project

Semi-detached Victorian extension

“My advice for readers wanting to create something similar is: make sure your house is wide enough. Make sure the spec or design you are asking for is achievable for the team you employ. Our contractors were very capable (despite me demanding a lot of them). But the challenge was complex so many builders may find it difficult.

“My top tips when it comes to home renovations are: make sure you know exactly which contractor is doing what. Get them to talk to each other to clarify how they will interact and how their work will integrate. We had a few occasions when contractors disagreed about who was responsible for something.”

Semi-detached Victorian extension

“Don’t be afraid to ask for and demand high standards. Ultimately I believe that if I was afraid of conflict we would have ended up with a product that was not as good as it now is.

“Be aware that you’ll spend £15k+ on professional advice and planning before you even start.

“Make sure you factor in all your finishing materials and furniture when you make your budget.”

Semi-detached Victorian extension: add in your future plans

Semi-detached Victorian extension

“If there’s anything you’re considering doing in the future, try to add it into the quote now. This will save you money long-term. Consider increasing your mortgage to get it all done at once because it’s a massive relief getting things out of the way. Then you’ll be able to properly use the whole house.”

Featured image: The glorious finished extension. Photography: Chris Snook.

Want to read more Been There Done That renovation features? Then you’ll love this luxurious kitchen pantry.

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