Home ยป The Extension, Part 1: Planning & Inspiration

The Extension, Part 1: Planning & Inspiration

So, it’s no secret that we have a shed load’a kids (5 boys between us, in case you hadn’t been keeping up!), and with that many small peeps hanging around comes a requirement for space – lots of it! When we first decided it was a fab idea to get our two families and make one big mega-family, we each moved out of our relatively normal 3 bed homes (renting them out in the meantime) into one super-sized 5 bedder (rental). Whilst living with an abundance of space has been fun (and a bugger to clean!) paying copious amounts of rent each month is not so much fun – especially when we have our own houses just down the road! So, we’re moving back – oh, but we’re adding on a whacking great extension in the process!! THAT’s the fun part!! (get to the bottom of this post to find out how we’re doing this without planning permission!).

Not that this girl needs a reason to create a Pinterest board, but if ever there was one, a house renovation is it! I’ve lost hours of my life to my “House Renovation” board, pinning some relatively sensible ideas, along with the just plain “not even in your wildest dreams” pictures. To help you get a better idea of what we’re working with – here’s some very shady shots of the exterior,along with the limited space we have inside as it stands.

the only girl in the house blog, the house extension part 1 inspiration and planning, house plans, exterior picturesBut, I have all the faith in the world, that with my lovely architect, stacks of Elle Decs, Pinterest and blind optimism, our newly fab’d home will reek of scandi chic for miles!

One thing the process of drawing-out all the possible layout options has made us think about is: What’s important to us as a family? What has living in our current, very spacious home taught us about our living habits?…

  • Too much open space is a useless thing! In the rental there is a huge, sunken (5 steps down), double height room – semi open plan onto the kitchen etc. At the end of this room is a floor to ceiling window.  Now you’re probably thinking “this sounds like heaven, what’s that moany-moo whinging about?”, but we’ve filled this space with a multitude of things and it just never fitted into our family life.  We’ve had it as a games area with a pool table and ping-pong table for the kids – they used it about twice; we had a huge, curved sofa down there with the TV as a big family lounge – no one ever ventured down there. Perhaps if that big window at the end opened onto the garden, as doors, this space would become friendlier, but as it stands it’s a large expanse that we naturally shy away from!
  •   We love a breakfast bar! There may as well be a waiting list for a seat at our breakfast bar – everyone wants to eat, sip tea, work, chat and generally congregate around this central point.
  • The grown-ups like having their bedroom suite at the other end of the house to the kids.  Don’t worry, the house isn’t so big we’re in different wings – we’re still in earshot!
  • With this many boys its imperative to have a boot room, utility room, a huge (if not one then two) fridge and lots of toilets.
  • The list is endless, but the last, must have on my list would be a light kitchen. It’s where we spend most of our time nattering as a family (read: the kids run round and round the island driving me crazy), so natural light is a must – it makes everyone happy!

So, to visualise all that, here’s a little snippet of the mood board I’m putting together for our fab new space…


the only girl in the house blog, the house extension part 1 inspiration and planning mood board for scandi chic interior

Image credits: Background image from Bodie & Fou, Hay “About a Chair” available from Ambiente Direct, main (& dream) kitchen from the home of The Design Chaser (you can’t go on in interiors life without this blog!!), bottom left from the home of KeskiPiste Blog (another must-read!) & bottom right, from Elisabeth Heier.

Technical, planning, stuff, in case you’re interested…

We’re adding on two extensions, one back and one side within permitted development (pd) rights – meaning we don’t need to go through the slog of planning permission. Our rear extension, adding on a much needed bedroom, shower room, cloakroom and utility cupboard extends 3.5m from the house (single storey) and the side extension, giving us a fab open-plan living space with light and airy kitchen, leading onto the garden is stretching about the same.This article goes a little way to explaining it better than I could ever do! But this is well worth investigating  if you need a little extra space!


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  1. August, 2015 / 5:19 pm

    Wow! I am really looking forward to seeing the progress and it looks like it will be one amazing extension! I agree that open-plan living is not always ideal for families… It needs some serious planning! I would also love a breakfast bar.. Maybe in the next house (or life) ๐Ÿ˜‰ Also agree that natural light (and plenty of it) is a must. Good luck with your new extension ๐Ÿ™‚ Pia x

    • September, 2015 / 11:39 am

      Thanks Pia – hopefully it will be amazing! To be honest I think a breakfast bar is more useful to our family than even a table – what is it with perching?! So much easier than sitting!! Jess x

  2. February, 2021 / 10:28 am

    Outstanding post! Thanks a lot for sharing please keep sharing more.