Adding an Extension to an Adelaide Heritage Home

BATYS | Adelaide Heritage Renovations

Owning a heritage property in Adelaide’s well-established inner-north suburbs such as Prospect, North Adelaide and Medindie undoubtedly brings with it many benefits, not least the distinctive buildings and streetscapes created by homes built in the much-loved Colonial or Federation styles from characteristic Adelaide sandstone or bluestone.

However, historic houses and villas in Adelaide do present some challenges to contemporary living. For instance, these properties were designed and built with very different lifestyle and family needs in mind, and the cottages and houses in and around suburbs like Fitzroy, Thorngate, Hackney, Kent Town, Collinswood and Bowden generally don’t provide for the sort of casual entertaining and outdoor living that many Adelaide homeowners want to enjoy today.

Adding a home extension is a way in which historic houses can be adapted for modern living, although this is not necessarily a straightforward process in some of these Adelaide inner-city suburbs or with certain types of property.

The first hurdle is meeting the requirements of local planning departments and heritage advisers with regard to any changes you want to make to a house or property with some historical significance. However, proposed changes to planning and development laws could make this process more straightforward than it’s been hitherto, particularly with regard to gaining approval to for an extension or renovating the exterior of your home.

It is thought that under the proposed new legislation, whole or part demolitions will be more readily approved, meaning that a new kitchen, bathroom or outdoor extension can be added to an existing older property without having to go through several layers of bureaucracy before permission is given.

There are, however, other challenges when it comes to adding an extension or renovating a heritage or period home. For instance, the planning and design is also more complex than is generally the case with more recently built properties.

The aim when adding an extension or renovating a period property is to ensure as seamless a connection as possible between the existing structure and your new extension. Most homeowners – and local planning authorities and heritage advisers for that matter – are keen to avoid a featureless ‘box’ being plonked onto the back of a character home, yet at the same time, a contemporary extension should be just that, and not an attempt simply to copy or recreate the original design features of your home.

In essence, a well-designed and constructed modern extension will never try to pretend that it is a part of the original structure – instead, it will be a successful blend of period and contemporary building styles. It may ‘reference’ original design features of the period part of the property (e.g., in the shape of the roof, or in the inclusion of a verandah) but will not attempt to recreate or copy them. The ideal is to create a distinctly contemporary home extension that is obviously modern but does not look out of place or conflicts with the original structure.

This is the most challenging planning and design factor when considering an extension to a heritage home, and a builder taking on such a task therefore needs considerable experience and expertise in this field. Builders at Your Service has been working on Adelaide heritage and period properties for more than thirty years, and we are vastly experienced home extension builders in this field. We have worked across Adelaide inner-city suburbs like Prospect, Fitzroy, Medindie, North Adelaide, Stepney, Thebarton and Brompton and have helped many homeowners to modernise, renovate and extend their period properties. Contact us to learn more about our work and what we can do for you.

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