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Bringing Light In

Transforming a Terrace House by Reducing Floorspace


When we are approached by clients, we will always explore whether extending and creating more floor space is really the best way of resolving a brief. One of our blogposts from earlier this year explored the idea of refurbishing your house and not extending.


In some cases, the best design solutions might not involve extending. Preserving the original footprint of your house can have several advantages, including cost-effectiveness and time efficiency; Building extensions can be expensive due to the need for additional materials, labour and planning permission. Extensive construction work also prolongs the completion time of a project, whereas opting not to extend ensures a quicker renovation process.


Our project in Bristol takes this one step further, as we explore the benefits of removing floor space. This approach isn’t for everybody, usually due to losing ‘valuable’ square meterage. However, the added benefits can often outweigh these negatives; by bringing a huge amount of light and connection into a home.


Our clients in Bristol wanted us to explore options for reimagining their terrace home, with a focus on light and open plan living, as well as an improved connection to their private garden.


As is often the case, their Victorian terraced home is disconnected from the garden, with small openings and fenestration restricting views to the outside. As keen gardeners, their garden is a loved and private space; this is uncommon for terraces, where gardens are usually overlooked. Their middle rooms are dark and unconnected, and our clients struggled to use these isolated rooms effectively.

The house lacks space for the family to come together, with disconnected existing rooms and a disproportional amount of circulation space. Creating a stronger connection internally, as well as with the garden, is therefore key to improving their home.


During our design development, our focus was to transform the house into a functional and comfortable family home. With a modest budget proportionate to the type and location of the house, the strategy was to use the existing rooms more effectively.


Our clients wanted the home to feel open and connected, but not cavernous. On the upper floor various lightwells are introduced, permitting a dialogue between the bedrooms, the living spaces below and retaining views to the garden.


Our options also explored positioning the utility and services in the dark central portion of the house, with the living spaces pushed to the brighter edges.



Starting a residential project can be daunting and overwhelming. Hiring an architect can often be the key to unlocking the full potential of a house, whilst working within your priorities and budget. We love working closely with our clients to understand their lifestyle, preferences and requirements. Get in touch with us, here, if you would like to talk through your own project with us.


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