It was during the Victorian era that London became the great modern city it remains today. Victorian architects gave London its charming streetscape and wealth of gracious residential terraces, popularising the use of red brick and steep, ornate gables. Yet as much as we still covet this archetypal London style, most Victorian houses lack the loftiness and openness we crave today. Fortunately, most London boroughs will allow sympathetic Victorian renovations, provided they do not interfere with the original front aspect.
Scenario takes a fresh, inventive approach to revamping period properties. Founders Ran Ankory and Maya Carni, graduates of London’s Architectural Association, have built an extensive portfolio of Victorian renovations throughout London, and a RIBA-chartered practice on top of the latest methods and technology. They see the city’s most diverse residential neighbourhoods as their backyard.
With more than a decade’s experience adding vaulted spaces and graceful curves to classic Victorian homes, Ran and Maya have earned their place as London architects of choice: changing the architectural landscape house by house. Their Victorian renovations have featured in such magazines as Elle Decoration, Dezeen, Houzz and Ideal Home.
Their landmark project Scenario House, a Victorian terrace house with a double-height extension in Stoke Newington, was shortlisted for several prestigious architecture awards – including the 2018 RIBA London Awards. It demonstrates Ran and Maya’s unique, considered approach to domestic architecture.
A beautiful, highly functional home is the product of a deep understanding and precise analysis of each client’s unique lifestyle. That shows in Scenario’s work. Each tailor-made extension tells the story of the owners – not the architects.
Your Victorian renovation project
Starting your Victorian Renovation
If you’re considering a Victorian renovation in London, we’re here to help. We’ve created a brief illustrated overview to help you understand each stage of the process.
Most Victorian renovations require planning permission from the local council. With our successful record securing planning permission on behalf of our clients, we can claim home advantage across residential London.
TipDiscover 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.
AdviceTo help you understand what it takes to obtain planning permission for Victorian renovations in London, we’ve created this helpful guide. Download it below.
Your Victorian renovation project >> Scenario Architecture
Working with Scenario Architecture on Victorian renovations
Scenario is a boutique architecture studio focused on high-end residential projects in and around London. We tackle domestic projects of every scale and complexity, from interior alterations and refurbishments to full renovations and new-builds, through our bespoke architecture service.
Our friendly, highly skilled team can take you step-by-step through the challenge of designing your Victorian renovation. We’ll collaborate closely with you from the initial drawings, design and planning through tender and construction to the successful completion of your project. On time and on budget.
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.
Early adopters of the latest technology, 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 extremely efficient tools for choosing finishes, fixtures and fittings, and simulating natural light.
We use 3D building information modelling (BIM) technology to produce 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 is proven to save our clients time and money. This Chartered Institute of Building case study featuring a Scenario project demonstrates the great benefits of this advanced technology for domestic architecture.
Your project >> Further reading
Why do Victorian renovations make up such a large percentage of the British homes you gaze upon in shelter magazines and advertisements? The tall, sturdy, generously proportioned houses make safe and attractive prospects for a family home; they make sense structurally, have plenty of nooks and crannies to exploit and often come on ample plots in which to extend. But mostly Victorians make up the bulk of what you see because they are. The reign of Queen Victoria saw the biggest building boom in the country’s history. In less than 75 years, the UK built more than six million homes, and the majority still stand today. They run the gamut from Gothic, Tudor and Jacobean revival to Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau, many in the familiar terraced configuration. In terms of layout, they established a residential architectural canon we still keep in mind when building today.
Victorian renovations are far more compassionate today than they’ve ever been, with homeowners striving to preserve architectural elements from the era, like decorative cornicing, ceiling roses, skirting boards, dada rails and picture rails. The sash-window industry is still going strong, as 20th-century plastic versions fall out of favour. Where successive residents sealed up or shaved off fireplaces – having a heart in every room seemed unnecessary once central heating had become prevalent – today homeowners are reopening the traditional fireplace, adapting them with gas capability and surrounding them with extravagant marble mantels. Paint companies like Farrow & Ball have built multinational businesses from replicating the de rigueur colours of the Victorian era. In a similar vein, tile companies are bringing back traditional motifs for front gardens and foyers. And lumber companies sell wide reclaimed boards to replicate the knotty oak and pine flooring favoured by the Victorians.
Still most changes among Victorian renovations come in the hardest-working areas, like the kitchen and bathrooms. Recouping space in the loft and side return is particularly common, and 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 a Victorian house without eradicating the period look of the place. And in the recovered space, a corner can be reserved for a toilet room or utility room. Ditto the loft: pushing up the ceiling and pushing out dormer windows can make new space available for an en suite bathroom.
With extending out into dead space comes the welcoming in of natural light. Upward-facing Velux windows become possible once the upper floor is properly extended and the main floor pushed out beyond the confines of the original footprint. If a second-storey extension is permitted in your plans, an internal void can bring natural light from the top floor downwards, and vice versa.
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.