How Duplex or Maisonette homes can have outside space

How Duplex or Maisonette homes can have outside space


Contemporary Architect in London

Bringing the outside in is the dream. Giving a home with no traditional outside space an outlook on to greenery and sky changes it into a home with a view, a home with possibilities.

A garden flat already has outside advantages built in. So, how to bring a little of that advantage to homes with different specifications? Talking to a client in London Fields, we learnt that keeping the ability to view the sky and garden from the living area was something they felt strongly about, and had cherished in their previous home. Our clients had purchased a unit in a 1990s live-work complex, and were moving in to the upstairs – with planning permission for a roof extension. They needed a contemporary architect in London to help with this project.

Our plan was to incorporate a glazed, sunken roof terrace to this extension, one that would flood natural light to each living space, as well as giving the owners views of green living things to gaze at whilst drinking their morning coffees. This was achieved by lowering the ceiling and creating a window up to a roof garden. We gave them their much desired glimpses of sky and greenery – in effect a personal sky garden.

Another project with outdoor ambitions is a mixed-use development of flats and commercial spaces, with a large shared roof garden. Converting existing office spaces into residential ones inspired us to plan a contemporary and sustainable intervention, taking every opportunity to introduce greenery above protruding windows, on each roof slope; really anywhere we could.

Balconies can be a great way to give access to the outdoors. And however small the footprint is, a balcony is still somewhere to be outside, which is magical. A terrace takes this one further, more like a room outdoors. Terraces can have different levels, be a combination of planting, seating and decking, and with spaces for different outdoor activities. And at its smallest and simplest, introducing plants and flowers to outside window sills will frame your view with a little bit of bucolic beauty.

This guide is suitable for anyone requiring consent from the local council to alter a home. It reviews the ins and outs of UK planning and strategies for successfully navigating it, based on our own experience.