Side Return Extension

The opportunity to build a house in or around London is a unique prospect packed with potential. But it requires an architect who understands your vision, your lifestyle and the local protocol. Scenario Architecture has been designing high-end, hard-working contemporary homes across London for more than a decade. One of the top small architects in the city for house building, Scenario has featured in Elle Decoration, Dezeen and Houzz, and its modern design has been shortlisted for several prestigious architecture prizes – including the 2018 RIBA London Awards. When you build a house in London, Scenario is a skilled and proven partner.

We established our boutique firm in 2007 with a vision to develop a uniquely collaborative architecture, where clients who wish to build a house get a high-functioning first-class partner. Devising a liveable, modern design is the product of a deep understanding of each homeowner’s unique lifestyle. That shows in our design, and it’s made Scenario one of the best small architects in London for building a house.

Side Return Extension Your intention to extend your home

Side Return Extension in London

If you plan to build a house in or around London, Scenario is here to help.

Most architecture projects in London require planning permission from the local council. With our successful record securing planning permission for House Building projects on behalf of our clients, we can claim home advantage across the capital.

We’ve created a brief illustrated overview to help you understand each stage of the House Build process.


Discover if your chosen architect has had success steering planning applications through your local council. Visit the “planning applications” page of your council’s website and enter the architect’s name in the search criteria.

Side Return Extension


To help you understand what it takes to obtain planning permission to build a house in London, we’ve created this helpful guide. Download it below.
Planning guide

Side Return Extension Side Return Extension with Scenario Architecture

Working with Scenario Architecture to extend a house London

Scenario is a boutique architecture studio focused on high-end House Building projects in and around London. Through our bespoke modern design service, we tackle projects of every scale and complexity, from new-builds and full renovations down to interior alterations and refurbishments.

Our highly skilled team can walk you through the steps required to build a house. We collaborate closely with our clients from the initial drawings, detail design and planning through tender and construction to the project’s successful completion. On time and on budget.

We use innovative 3D design and visualisation tools as a standard for all projects. Our experience shows that real-time visualisations and virtual reality are efficient tools for choosing finishes, fixtures and fittings, and simulating natural light. And our expertise with 3D building information modelling (BIM) technology produces reliable construction information, so all our project data comes from an accurate, coordinated 3D model. Using this cutting-edge technology collaboratively with consultants and contractors saves our clients time and money.

A Chartered Institute of Building case study featuring a Scenario project demonstrates the great benefits of this advanced technology for domestic architecture.

Scenario Architecture is a RIBA Chartered Practice. We comply with the strict criteria of the Royal Institute of Chartered Architects, covering insurance, health and safety and quality-management systems.

Side Return Extension

Wrap-around extension and full renovation

Side Return Extension

Extensive renovation within a conservation area

Side Return Extension

Full refurbishment of a terraced house

Side Return Extension >> Your Side Return Extension Project Further Reading

The housing market in Britain’s southeast is hot. Trading up to accommodate a growing family is particularly daunting, and in many areas in and around London the saying “Don’t Move, Improve” has caught on. Recouping space from a house’s side return – the empty void at the rear that separates the kitchens and gardens and many attached terrace homes – is particularly common. With this option available to most Victorian homeowners comes the ability to plumb new areas of the home. Small period kitchens can open up into the side return of an attached house without eradicating the period look of the place. And in the recovered space, a corner can be reserved for a small guest toilet or utility room. In some neighbourhoods around London, side-return extensions are grouped under “permitted development”, which means they don’t require planning permission from the local council 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.

Extending your house only a few metres can open up any space in a dramatic way – particularly if you find an architect whose drawings integrate the adjoining rooms. A side-return extension can turn several poky rooms into a so-called Great Room in just a few months. It can enable a family to include a kitchen island or peninsula in their plan where, previously, counter space was at a premium. Where once cupboards and uppers crowded the room, a good side-return extension can deliver clean, uncluttered walls hung instead with art. In a typical Victorian terraced house – still the most common style of family home, at least in London – a side-return extension has the greatest potential for transformation for the price.

Many Victorian homes – particularly in London and some of the market towns within the Home Counties – sit in conservation areas with strict planning regulations. Applying for a side-return extension in one of these areas should be fairly straightforward, as long as the project complies with vernacular elevations. Anyone seeking to undertake a side-return extension in one of these areas would be wise to hire an architect to help ease them through the planning process. On top of this, they will have to undertake a Building Regulations application to make sure your design complies with national standards in fire safety, ventilation, plumbing and structural integrity. Better architects have relationships with most building and planning commissions and will be able to tackle these responsibilities for their clients. If you’re interested in taking on a side-return extension, contact your preferred architect or visit the Projects page of this website for more information.

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Side Return Extension In our clients words


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 designed a kitchen extension for us, and we are delighted with the results. The process was well organised, planned and delivered, and the whole team were a pleasure to work with. I would highly recommend them for their design, planning and project management skills.


Worked with these guys on the internal development of our office. From start to finish they were great. They got what we wanted first time and really made working with them very easy. Their aftercare has been great too helping us deal with something that they were not involved with in the first place. Will highly recommend them to anyone.

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