Scenario Architecture is a London-based practice founded on home extensions and renovations. Our creative solutions to the space constraints of urban living transform period homes into luxurious, hard-working spaces with smart storage and fluid layouts.
Our portfolio tends toward the high end of the market, yet we know all homeowners have concerns about extension costs. Scenario works with top architects, builders and cutting-edge technology to tap the potential of every home we approach, creating luxury – and the luxury of space – at competitive prices.
At Scenario, our architects take communication seriously. Good communication and the technical knowhow to efficiently carry out our clients’ wishes are what keep costs in check. When we design a loft extension, basement, side return or rear extension, we make sure our clients have control over every decision and every material. Our client-led process is what has made Scenario so successful since our first residential project in 2007. Scenario homes are tailor made to the needs of each of our clients, and every finished project tells their story – not ours.
Our landmark residential project Scenario House, located in Stoke Newington, East London, demonstrates the potential of a fully expanded and renovated Victorian home delivered on time and on budget for a growing family. Still as fresh and efficient today as when we put it to paper, it merges contemporary steel, glass, reclaimed wood, antique brick and eco-friendly elements that look extravagant but don’t cost the earth.
Your intention to extend your home
Starting a home extension in London
As a tool for homeowners thinking about extending into the loft, basement, garden or side return, we’ve compiled some handy research. Click here to read our illustrated overview, outlining the various stages. Remember: most residential architecture projects in and around London require planning permission from the local council. A good architecture practice will have built a successful record securing planning permission with various local councils.
TipTo discover whether or not your architect has had success steering planning applications through your local council, visit the “planning applications” page of your local council’s website and enter the architect’s name in the search criteria.
AdviceTo help you navigate the planning-permission process for any kind of home extension, we’ve created a step-by-step guide, which you can download below.
Double Storey Extension with Scenario Architecture
Working with Scenario Architecture to extend a house London
So you’ve bought a home. In London and beyond, that’s a huge move. Nearly any property you purchase in Britain’s southeast will retain or accumulate value. When and if it turns out you need to grow your living space, you’ll want any enhancements you make to your home’s footprint to enhance the value of your asset, too. A good architect will factor in your home’s location, layout and structural integrity as well as the size of your family to make your desired project work for you and your budget. After all: house extension cost shouldn’t cancel out the benefits of a house extension.
It’s always difficult to project the cost of extending without evaluating the home itself, the homeowners and their plans. But it’s likely you can nearly double the size of your home’s original floor area at a fraction of the cost of the home’s value, even at upwards of £2,000 per square metre. Plus you will, of course, gain a nearly new living space without paying the stamp duty and agents’ fees associated with moving house – although you may need to purchase renovations insurance.
As with most construction, it is wise to source a few quotes for extending your house. With a range of budgets at hand, you’ll be able to assess which seem low, high and just about right, and choose accordingly. The foundation, walls and roof will suck up about 15 per cent of your costs, followed by Velux windows and rear glazing. You’ll want to price fixtures, fittings, appliances and any upgraded materials separately, so as not to be shocked when you receive your last invoice – new kitchens are particularly pricey, so keep your eyes out for deals and floor sales in the months leading up to a project.
In some neighbourhoods around London, home extensions are classified under “permitted development”, meaning they don’t require planning permission from the council in question if the final plans heed the extended volume requirements of the area. Avoiding time-consuming planning applications will save you money in the short run.
Once you’ve agreed on a budget, set up a payment plan with your architect and builders that works for everyone. A great architect should be a problem-solver first and foremost: fitting the rhythm of your life into a physical shape and making sure every element of your home can be achieved structurally legally and financially. The professional you choose should create a bespoke space deeply attuned to your needs – not just today but in the future. He or she will be able to design special touches that make your life more efficient and pleasurable.
Less a costly investment or superfluous expense, a great architect is a value-adder, paying for him or herself over and over. Many homeowners, in an effort to cut costs, end up spending much more to fix the mistakes they make themselves or entrust to a layman.
In our clients 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.
- 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.