With property prices rising and more people working from home, homeowners with outdoor space are using it to maximise their home’s potential. Building a contemporary garden studio or summer house does the job of adding space while turning a home into a haven.
Scenario can design a bespoke outbuilding or garden studio design that ticks all the boxes for now and years to come. Aside from adding economic value to your property, it can transform the garden view and draw focus from the common areas.
Your Summer House project
We launched Scenario with a vision to transform period architecture for the 21st-century, using big ideas, technological skill and durable contemporary elements. Working closely and collaboratively with our clients, we aim to maximise space without sacrificing period charm, taking on projects of every scale and scope. The results make the nation’s most treasured architecture functional, liveable and covetable in the long term.
Our landmark project is Scenario House, a light-filled contemporary home adapted from an East London Victorian terrace and tailored to the owners’ requirements. It was shortlisted for several architecture prizes, including the prestigious RIBA London Award.
Discover if your chosen architect has had success pushing planning applications through your local council. Visit the “planning applications” section of your council’s website and enter the architect’s name in the search criteria.
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
We collaborate with our clients every step of the way, from initial concept through construction to final completion, and we go to great lengths to finish all projects on time and within budget.
Using the latest 3D design and visualisation technology to streamline the process, we produce reliable construction information and accurate data to save time and money for our clients. A Chartered Institute of Building case study, featuring one of our flagship projects, highlights the benefits of using advanced technology for modern house design.
A RIBA Chartered Practice, Scenario complies with essential criteria covering insurance, health and safety, and quality-management systems.
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.
We demand a lot of our homes. What’s more, current trends point to a more permanent shift towards home working, staycations and entertaining indoors. As these practices become the new normal, casual, temporary solutions are falling out of favour. Our rooms are doing too much.
To make a high-functioning home work for us physically and mentally, we need to set boundaries between family time, home office and leisure. This is where the summer house comes in. If you have even a small patch of outdoor space, a summer house can zone out activities for maximum productivity. If it functions as a home-office, the journey to work, even if it’s just a stroll down the garden path, offers an invaluable commute that keeps home and work lives separate. If it functions as a relaxing garden room, it can provide a weekend retreat from the distractions of everyday life – a modern-day version of the cabana or bottom-of-the-garden shed. The Scandinavians, in particular, treat their summer houses like a second home.
The skilled architects at Scenario can help design a bespoke summer house with your guidance, tailoring it to your needs year-round so you get a garden studio with maximum comfort and security. We design to the highest specs, with natural, sustainable timbers that blend into the garden surrounds; mirrored surfaces that both camouflage and create the illusion of a bigger garden; eye-catching metals like copper or blackened steel; translucent fibreglass or swathes of glass. And we won’t forget about temperature and sound insulation, double-glazing, heating and lighting, locks and alarm systems, and mains connections for water and electricity.
The orientation for your summer house is key. North-facing structures avoid or minimise direct sunlight into a home office, as do roof overhangs and veranda structures to reduce summer glare. Other angles invite in summer sun if heat and light are key for the purpose. Not that you have to choose a single function for your outbuilding. We can build satellite offices that accommodate overnight guests or act as studios for yoga or art. Or guest houses that double as playrooms. Even hybrid buildings can include built-in furniture, bathrooms and kitchens.
Before you go deep into your planning, have a look through design and interiors magazines and online at sites like Pinterest, Houzz and Instagram. Key in “summer house” or “garden studio” and see how they can incorporate sunken Japanese onsen baths, saunas, table tennis, wet bars, living walls and glass ceilings.
Frequently Asked Questions
- 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.