Our clients move to Guildford to get the best of both worlds. Guildford offers homeowners more space and quiet than a life in London with the benefit of excellent transport links to the capital and proximity to vast green spaces. The historic centre is a gateway to the rolling Downs with the West Country beyond, but also a hub for great shopping and dining. The housing landscape is a mixture of historic, half-timbered villas and modernised 20th-century homes.
Renovating or expanding a home in Guildford requires close attention to local regulations, and it pays to have an architect helping to navigate the local permissions process. Since its inception in 2007, Scenario Architecture has built both a reputation for transforming English homes and successful relationships with planning departments across the Southeast. Our experience has helped make Scenario one of the region’s most coveted architecture practices.
Scenario began with a vision to combine a passion for vernacular English architecture with contemporary design to create striking living spaces. To achieve this harmony, we put our clients’ needs and desires at the forefront of every design. A home that functions for the present and the future is the product of a deep understanding of each client. Scenario’s tailor-made homes tell a story about each owner – not about the architects.
To understand our talent for transforming period homes with beautiful, functional results, look at our landmark project, Scenario House. Shortlisted for the RIBA London Awards in 2018, this family home showcases our fresh, customised approach and our commitment to the needs of today’s homeowners.
Your Guildford project
The architects at Scenario have put together an illustrated synopsis of the planning process in England’s southeast to help you understand what it entails, whether you hope to extend your home, renovate or build a new home entirely. Most property expansions and renovations in Guildford will require approval by the planning department of the Guildford Borough Council. Our continual success securing planning permission on behalf of our clients means we can help you navigate that process, collaborating with Guildford officials to see through your project application.
Discover if your chosen architect has had success steering planning applications through your local council. Visit the Guildford Borough website, click on “Planning and Building Control”, go into the search engine for planning applications and type in your agent’s name.
Scenario is an established architecture practice focusing on contemporary residential design. We take on projects of every scale and scope, from home refurbishment, renovation and expansions to new-builds.
Working with Scenario Architecture
Scenario Architecture takes on residential projects of every scale and complexity, from refurbishments to renovations, expansions to new-build homes. Our London studio provides bespoke architecture and design and a team of skilled architects.
Scenario is a RIBA Chartered Practice. We comply with the health and safety criteria of the country’s professional body.
We use 3D design technology on all our projects. Real-time visualisations and virtual reality are the most efficient tools for choosing fixtures and fittings, simulating natural light and seeing a project come to life. This Chartered Institute of Building case study – featuring a project by Scenario Architecture – demonstrates the benefits of advanced technology for residential architecture.
In our client's words
Great ideas and vision to help with our substantial improvement of a Victorian terrace. In our experience Scenario's method prioritises the final result. That may mean more professional fees or higher quotes from contractors, as they understand the exact requirements.
Great, professional service. Good drawings and models and ultimately passed planning at the first attempt with Hackney Council. Would certainly recommend!
Scenario Architecture have created an outstanding design and space that was beyond my expectations. The design was through their unique process of understanding the client’s daily scenarios and collaborating with the client to come up with a unique design. The design process is one of the most memorable parts of the process and they also stretched my existing ideas to help create this unique space. A stress free journey throughout the whole process which Scenario were indispensable by giving advice on many difficult design and build decisions.
We wanted to renovate our house in a conservation area in central London. Given this involved a complete demolition and new build with an extra floor on top, getting planning approval was always going to be tricky. Scenario did an amazing job on the new house 'envelope' and throughout the planning phase. We couldn't have wished for better from them and having succeeded in gaining planning approval owe them a very big 'thank you'.
Scenario were great at thinking imaginatively and coming up with a design for a ground floor extension that was more ambitous than other architects we spoke to. They also helped us find a contractor who was able to complete the project working within timescale and our tight budget. I would recommend for mid to large sized projects with sufficient budget to allow for full utilisation of their creativity.
Since Saxon times, people have been settling at this spot overlooking the North Downs, then known as the Hog’s Back. They called the town Guildown, either for the golden colour of the marigold and wildflowers that coated the hills, or for the fact that it housed the country’s mint under the Anglo-Saxon kings.
Either way, there is no dispute that this high ground 30 miles southwest of London has a spectacular vantage point onto the surrounding countryside. The River Wey, running up through town, meanders between two chalk hills that rise over Surrey, with views to London in one direction and pretty rolling green in the other. Guildford High Street gets the gamut of well-known British shops, plus a good share of independents as well. Head to the other side of the river, just shy of the striking 20th-century cathedral, and The Mount climbs up past a cemetery to a patchwork of farmland. Distinguished Georgian houses give way, the higher you climb, to white stucco mock Tudors, built after the war. The local train hubs connect to London Waterloo in less than 45 minutes.
The city has the highest number of property millionaires in the county – nearly 6,000 in all. They live in the steep roads beyond the grounds of the thousand-year-old castle, or in the tidy residential streets north of the centre, where outstanding schools dot the neighbourhoods. Sprawling detached homes with four bedrooms are plentiful here, and homeowners add onto them with glass conservatories. There is ample opportunity for the expansion of smaller, newer homes, whether detached or semi-detached, nearly doubling their square footage in the process.
Enlarging a historic property in the city is not unheard of. There is some recent history in the area of local architects converting Grade II-listed properties and expanding houses that fall under conservation laws. Basements, garages, garden rooms and orangeries are popular forms of expansion. Some families have had the opportunity to build from scratch, adding pools and double-height great rooms. Further out into the surrounding rural area, old barns and farmhouses are being converted into family homes, using traditional oak frames to support wide banks of glass.
Ask your architects about their knowhow navigating the local permissions processes. The best architects will pilot your project through the Guildford regulations and liaise with you throughout the life of your home extension, renovation or new build.
Frequently Asked Questions
- As a dynamic practice operating in London’s premium residential market, managing projects remotely and conducting virtual meetings was a very familiar territory for us, long before the pandemic began and ‘working remotely’ became the norm.
- Our clients have very busy lifestyles and may move between several different locations, both within the UK and beyond, during the lifecycle of a typical project.
- To accommodate such client needs and enable us to run their projects smoothly we had all the technology and know-how associated with remote working in place for several years.
- Read our full (Virtual) Process
- Scenario based design – We start each and every project with a meticulous analysis of our client’s vision, requirements and aspirations. We do this by asking our clients to imagine their everyday scenarios living in the completed house and describe their desired interaction with it.
- Uniquely interactive - Our client’s deep involvement in the process does not stop with completion of the brief. Our design meetings are highly interactive, informal and fun.
- Designed to reflect you – Based purely on your lifestyle, aspirations and requirements and free from externally imposed concepts, metaphors and pre-conceptions, a completely fresh and unique design will gradually emerge and it will tell your story not ours.
- Collaborative – We start the conversation with planners early and advise most of our clients to seek pre-planning advice prior to submission of a full planning application. Our experience shows that when properly consulted and liaised with, most planning case officers will be receptive to conduct a professional dialogue, increasing chances of successes.
- Strategic – We tailor a custom planning strategy for each project based on its circumstances such as planning history, local context and specific challenging elements. We sometimes split applications or introduce minor tweaks to the scheme during the consideration period in conversation with the officers to prevent one contentious element from jeopardising approval of the main scheme.
- Professional – Our experience shows that the quality and clarity of the submission in terms of background research, planning history of the property and context, precedent and of course the arguments presented to support the case has a tremendous effect on success rate.
- The decision period clock only starts ticking once the application is validated by the Council, This requires then to check that the forms are completed correctly and that the submission contains all the necessary drawings, statements and reports.
- Although required by law to provide a decision within the statutory eight weeks period, it is not uncommon for councils to miss the deadline of the consideration period, normally only by a few days, sometimes longer.
- In some cases the council may ask us as your agent for an extension of time, this may be requested due to internal reasons or as an acceptable result of a professional discussion that we are conducting with them about certain aspects of the application that they are not sure about.
- Our experience shows that planning officers respond better to projects when they feel consulted and collaborated with. We find that when we truly listen to their often helpful and valid feedback and treat them as consultants for the projects and not representative of an evil enforcing authority, they tend to collaborate well with us and demonstrate increased flexibility.
- Although the council in theory have eight weeks to consider your application, in practice they are constantly overloaded. They will only look at your application in the last few days of the consideration period. If this is the first time that they come across a scheme that they were never consulted about, our chance to secure permission for you in a single attempt is significantly compromised.
- The standard practice is for the council to consider the full planning application as submitted and then issue a yes or no decision. Case officers are not required or even encouraged to enter a discussion with us or accept resubmission of minor changes to the proposed scheme during the consideration period.
Can I Renovate My Period Home?
If you are looking to improve your period home this year, we have a couple of ideas for you…
Improve your home with a wood window design
It will soon be time to welcome the wonder of autumn for another year. Planning ahead is important. For a lot of people, autumn is a favoured season because they get to enjoy the beautiful rustic red and warm brown colours that come to the fore. They get to embrace the warmer fashions without dealing with the horrific winter weather. Whether you are a fan of autumn or not, one thing is for certain; this is a period whereby you must adapt to the style of your home. You need to move away from the light colours and thin materials of the summer and make your home more inviting and warm. How can you do this? Well, there are lots of different options at your disposal, however, a stunning wooden window design is definitely one of the more recommended ones.
Wood is a material that is fantastic for autumn and winter. This is because it is a material that literally brings warmth into your home. When you consider the terrible weather that usually descends during this period you see why it is so important to take warmth in any way you can. And wooden windows are certainly a fantastic way of doing this. After all, who can deny how stunning wooden windows look? Wood is a material that is extremely rustic and homely. It possesses much more character than any other material does. Imagine a wooden window. Now, imagine a PVC window. There is only one clear winner isn’t there? Wooden windows will upgrade the image of your home dramatically. It is additions like this that turn a property into a home so to speak. In addition to this, keeping on the subject of wood’s appearance and style, one of the great things about it is the fact that wood will never go out of fashion. It has achieved the elusive timeless status which ensures you never have to worry about your windows being considered unstylish or outdated. This is important when you consider the fact that replacement windows can mark a substantial investment.
This leads nicely to the next point; you can benefit from a gorgeous wooden window design without having to break the bank. If you have a good look online you will see there are companies offering wooden windows at favourable rates. This is important. Furthermore, not only do you have the benefit of low costs, but you also have the advantage of great variation. There will be a wealth of different designs for you to choose from. You can opt for something contemporary or you can go down the vintage route. The choices are endless. No other type of material offers you this much flexibility.
The weather may be about to turn dull and dreary but this does not mean your home has to. You can really update the look of your property with a stunning wooden window design. There is no home addition that is more fitting for the current autumn period. You will add warmth, style and a wealth of character!
How to give your home a new look with a staircase design
There is little refuting the fact that your staircase has a massive effect on the overall look of your home. After all, it is one of, if not the, biggest structure in your property. It usually tends to be situated in a central location as well. Thus, the impact is huge. You should definitely take advantage of this. Choose your staircase design with care. Enhance the overall image of your home; make it spectacular, extravagant and simply stunning. Nothing gives you greater potential to do so than your staircase does.
There is a wealth of fantastic options to choose from. Designs vary from string built, to open tread, to straight, to winders, to cut and mitred, to door leg. The possibilities are endless. Take a peek online and familiarise yourself with each one via looking over a selection of pictures. Open tread stairs are very popular at the moment, they have a real contemporary feel about them. Winder staircases are great for adding a show-stopping effect. Of course their practicality is one of the main reasons they are chosen; they can change the direction of your stairs without requiring a landing. Nonetheless, their style is also a major factor. The choice is of course up to you. But don’t rush into your decision. Moreover, it is recommended that you speak to a professional as well. You may have ideas of what looks nice but you also need to discuss the practicality with them too.
In addition to this, you also want to determine the overall feel you are looking to generate. Essentially, this is where theme and style comes into play. Do you want something simple? Or do you want the spectacular? Do you want a contemporary design? Or would you prefer a traditional option? What about intricate detailing? Or do you want to go for the minimalistic approach? These are all worth mulling over. Minimalism is a trend that is very much in fashion at the moment. However, if you want something timeless then you may prefer to go down the traditional route. At least by doing this you know that your staircase will never go out of style.
You should also think about the finishing touches as well. From metal work, to carved wooden posts, to a continuous handrail. The possibilities are endless. However, this is something a lot of individuals tend to forget about. They pick their staircase design and overlook all of the added extras. This is a big mistake. After all, these finishing touches are what truly complete the look and make your staircase unique.
There is very little getting away from the fact that your staircase makes a massive impact upon your home. This is something you should certainly use to your advantage. You can generate a five star feel in your property with a stunning staircase design. The options are endless. There is no rule book when it comes to selecting the right staircase to go for. So, consider all possibilities and make your decision with care.