Eco Renovation

brighton, east sussex

Our brief for this project was to renovate a draughty 1920’s end-of-terrace house in Brighton. The client wanted to radically re-imagine their under-exploited living accommodation to create a more practical modern environment, whilst being as environmentally friendly as possible.

Over several years, they have made vast improvements to the design and energy efficiency of the home. Although the rooms were small, they knew that they would benefit from changes to its layout in order to improve the flow. They have increased the home’s usable space and created a modern day living within a traditional style house without having to extend outwards.

We created a design that removed the walls between the galley kitchen and dining room, as well as between the dining room and lounge. In order to maintain the feel of separate rooms, we came up with the idea of a ‘folding wall’ between the lounge and the dining room. The wall, made of a light aluminium frame clad in painted aluminium sheets, gave them the option to keep the space open or close it off.

They also wanted to make sure storage was factored into the remodel of the living space. We designed a stud partition to be built across one wall with a recess for a cupboard and an alcove for their TV. This also helps provide acoustic protection from the neighbours.

The dining area adjoining the lounge now has a folding sliding door which opens out onto the garden. This creates a seamless connection to the terrace outside, bringing in light and building upon the open feel of the new layout. The kitchen footprint has remained much the same, but with a new U-shaped layout, built in appliance and floor-to-ceiling cupboards, the space is now being used more efficiently.

The clients were also keen to find space for a second bathroom. Having added a loft conversion some years before and creating a fourth bedroom, the house would benefit from this extra room. By knocking down the walls on the ground floor and creating an open plan space, they no longer needed the door from the hallway to the kitchen, so were able to utilise space under the stairs in front of where this door had been. The new room is small, but they fixed a shower head to the ceiling and lowered the floor to create a wet room without the risk of water escape. Floor to ceiling glass creates a waterproof and easy to wipe down room.

We sourced high-performance double glazed Crittall (80 percent recycled steel), which were more in keeping with the original look of the property. The renovation project provided the perfect opportunity to add much-needed insulation to the building. Cavity wall Ecobead insulation and underfloor heating make for a much warmer home.

We also specified photovoltaic (PV) panels for the roof to allow the clients to generate their own electricity. The panels are connected to an inverter stored in a small storage room, and when there isn’t enough solar energy, the system automatically switches to Grid electricity. The South Coast is the ideal place for solar panels, as not only does the area get more sun than the national average, but it also gets plenty of radiant light reflected from the sea.

To be as environmentally friendly as possible, the project made use of reclaimed materials. From the glamorous worktops, cleverly fashioned from recycled glass, to the reuse of existing timber panelled doors, slate roof tiles, salvaged paving slabs and cobble setts reclaimed from local yards which would otherwise be sent to landfill.

The clients took their time to save money for the best quality possible, knowing that despite the initial investment, a greener home would soon start to save them money with low-running costs.