• 20-07-24
  • 6 min read
  • Blog
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Victorian homes are something many of us take for granted, with their high ceilings and ornate details. 

But as modern life evolves, so must our living spaces. The challenge lies in enhancing these period gems with contemporary comforts while preserving their timeless charm.

Welcome to Design Team’s top 10 tips for extending your Victorian home. 

Whether you're dreaming of a light-filled kitchen, a spacious living area, or a modern home office, we'll explore the key elements that will transform your period property into a blend of past and present. 

Let's dive into the features that will make your Victorian extension a space and masterpiece.

1. Embracing Natural Light

Victorian homes often suffer from dark, poorly lit interiors, especially in tight city areas. 

Your extension is the perfect opportunity to flood your home with natural light, creating bright, uplifting spaces that enhance well-being and showcase your period features.

Key Features:

  • Skylights and Roof Lanterns: Install these to bring light deep into your home. Consider automated versions for easy ventilation.

  • Floor-to-Ceiling Glazing: Create a seamless connection with your garden while maximising light intake.

  • Crittall-Style Doors and Windows: These industrial-inspired designs offer a nod to Victorian architecture while providing excellent light transmission.

  • Light Tunnels: Light tunnels can channel sunlight from the roof to lower floors in areas where traditional skylights aren't feasible.

Design Tip: Position mirrors strategically to bounce light around the space, amplifying the brightening effect.

2. Open-Plan Living

While open-plan living is a hallmark of modern design, it requires careful consideration in a Victorian context. 

The key is to create a sense of flow while defining distinct areas that respect the original layout of your home.

Key Features:

  • Partial Walls or Pillars: Use these to subtly divide spaces without fully closing them off.

  • Level Changes: Slight changes in floor level can delineate different zones while adding architectural interest.

  • Exposed Beams: Incorporate exposed wooden beams to add character and subtly define spaces in a larger open area.

  • Island Units: In kitchen extensions, a well-designed island can serve as a natural divider between cooking and living areas.

Design Tip: Use consistent flooring throughout to unify the space, but consider area rugs to define different functional zones.

Above: Stunning modern kitchen extension in W3

3. Seamless Indoor-Outdoor Connection

Victorian homes sometimes lack a strong connection to outdoor spaces, leading the garden to go to rack and ruin.

Your extension provides the perfect opportunity to blur the lines between inside and out, creating a sense of expanded living space while invigorating the garden.

Key Features:

  • Bi-fold or Sliding Doors: Install large-format doors that open fully to merge your interior with the garden.

  • Flush Thresholds: Ensure the transition between inside and outside flooring is seamless for a truly integrated feel.

  • Outdoor Kitchens or Living Areas: Extend your living space into the garden with covered outdoor areas.

Design Tip: Use similar materials and colour palettes inside and out to create a cohesive look that flows from home to garden.

4. Preserving and Enhancing Period Features

Maintaining the character of your Victorian home is crucial. 

Your extension should complement and enhance original features, creating a harmonious blend of old and new.

Key Features:

  • Restored Cornicing and Ceiling Roses: Extend these features into new spaces for continuity.

  • Fireplaces as Focal Points: Restore original fireplaces or install period-appropriate reproductions.

  • Sash Windows: In areas visible from the street, maintain or replicate traditional sash windows.

  • Exposed Brickwork: Showcase original brickwork as a feature wall in your new extension.

Design Tip: Consider commissioning bespoke joinery that echoes Victorian styles but incorporates modern functionality.

5. Smart Storage Solutions

Victorian homes weren't designed with today's storage needs in mind. 

Your extension is the perfect opportunity to incorporate clever storage solutions that maximise space without compromising on style.

Key Features:

  • Built-in Cabinetry: Design bespoke storage that looks like it's always been part of the house.

  • Under-Stair Storage: Utilise every inch of space with pull-out drawers or a mini home office nook.

  • Window Seats with Storage: Combine comfort and practicality with built-in seating that doubles as storage.

  • Mezzanine Levels: In extensions with high ceilings, consider adding a mezzanine for extra storage or living space.

Design Tip: Use a mix of open shelving and closed storage to display cherished items while hiding clutter.

Above: Sleek cabinetry in SE3 kitchen extension

6. Energy Efficiency

Improving your home's energy efficiency is good for the environment – it's essential for comfortable modern living. 

Incorporate these features to ensure your extension is as efficient as it is beautiful.

Key Features:

  • High-Performance Insulation: Use the latest insulation materials in walls, floors, and roofs.

  • Energy-Efficient Glazing: Opt for double or triple glazing that complements Victorian aesthetics.

  • Underfloor Heating: A great option for extensions, providing efficient, invisible heating.

Design Tip: Consider a green roof on your extension for added insulation and eco-friendly appeal.

7. Bespoke Kitchens

For many homeowners, the kitchen is the primary focus of their extension. Here's how to create a kitchen that balances Victorian charm with modern functionality.

Key Features:

  • Shaker-Style Cabinetry: A timeless design that bridges the gap between period and contemporary.

  • Belfast Sinks: These deep, white sinks add a touch of traditional charm.

  • Range Cookers: A statement piece that adds character while providing modern cooking capabilities

Design Tip: Mix vintage-inspired lighting fixtures with sleek, modern appliances for an eclectic yet cohesive look.

8. Staircases

If your extension involves multiple levels, the staircase can become a stunning feature that links your original home with the new space.

Key Features:

  • Restored Original Staircases: If possible, restore and extend existing staircases for continuity.

  • Glass Balustrades: Combine traditional newel posts with glass for a light, modern touch.

  • Floating Staircases: For a bold statement, consider a contemporary floating design in new areas.

  • Storage Staircases: Integrate storage solutions within the staircase design.

Design Tip: Use the space under the stairs creatively – it could become a cosy reading nook or a compact home office.

Above: Modern extension staircase in SW4

9. Lighting

Thoughtful lighting design can transform your extension, highlighting architectural features and creating ambience.

Key Features:

  • Layered Lighting: Combine task, accent, and ambient lighting for flexibility.

  • Picture Lights: Highlight period features or artwork with subtle, focused lighting.

  • Statement Pendants: Mix Victorian-inspired fixtures with modern designs for an eclectic look.

Design Tip: Install dimmer switches to easily transition from bright task lighting to soft, atmospheric illumination.

10. Flooring

Your choice of flooring can unify old and new spaces, adding character while meeting practical needs.

Key Features:

  • Restored Original Floorboards: Extend into new areas for a seamless look.

  • Encaustic Tiles: Perfect for hallways and bathrooms, adding a pop of Victorian-inspired pattern.

  • Engineered Wood: A practical alternative to solid wood, offering stability and character.

  • Polished Concrete: For a contemporary contrast in new extensions.

Design Tip: Consider underfloor heating beneath tile or stone floors for added comfort.

Bringing It All Together

Creating a successful Victorian home extension is about more than just individual features – it's about how they all work together to create a cohesive, functional, and beautiful space. Here are some final thoughts to consider:

  • Respect the original architecture while being unafraid to add contemporary elements.

  • Ensure a smooth flow between old and new spaces through consistent design elements.

  • Don't forget the exterior – your extension should complement your home's façade.

  • Consider the long-term adaptability of your design as your needs change over time.

  • Work with professionals who understand the unique challenges and opportunities of Victorian properties.

Ready to Transform Your Victorian Home?

Your Victorian home holds endless potential, waiting to be unlocked. 

At Design Team, we're passionate about helping homeowners like you create spaces that honour their home's heritage while embracing modern life.

From the initial concept to the final flourishes, we'll guide you through every decision, ensuring each feature enhances your home's functionality and beauty. 

We understand that extending a Victorian property is more than just a project – it's about creating a legacy.

Don't let the challenges of modernising a period home hold you back. 

Contact Design Team today to start your journey towards a Victorian home that's perfectly tailored for contemporary living.

Book a FREE Design Consultation

Book a free Design Consultation with one of our team to discuss your project in more detail.

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