Ugly house makeover:  this house was the ugliest house in the road!  All the other houses had the same outlook at they have been built by the same developer, but they had received some ‘Tender Loving Care’ throughout the years and looked pretty neat and looked after, unlike this house which the owner nicknamed ‘Ugly Duckling’.  On top of this the house is quite cold as it was built in 1979 when homes where not insulated properly, so that when the heating goes on most of it is dissipated through the walls and the heating bills are huge, considering it is such a small house.   To make matters worst the cavity walls can’t have any additional insulation pumped in as the construction is timber with an outer layer of bricks, so quite a dilemma!  How do you make a house like this one more energy efficient without adding insulation in the walls?

As part of our home improvement we made an energy analysis of the house and found that the following items could immediately help keep the house warmer: new energy efficient boiler, insulation in the loft, replace double glazed windows to triple glazed.  This would help a lot, but something more radical was needed.

Transforming the Ugly House:  someone once said that we ‘are all partial to the pitched roof!’ not everyone would agree with this, and 70′architecture with it’s big windows and modern outlook had a lot of positive outcomes.  But sometimes a style can be used in the wrong way, as in the case of the Ugly House, where a pitched main roof had been combined with a flat roofed porch creating an unelegant outlook to the house.  We decided that the best way to move forward was to do lots of sketches and drawings until we developed a design that could radically upgrade the house, and the pitched roof became center stage! Additionally, to address the energy efficiency issue, we decided that the best way to extend the house was to ensure that the new extension would ‘wrap’ around the existing house as much as possible while retaining the existing main door. This allowed us a double advantage , the owner would not be too disrupted by the works as she simply needed to ‘close her existing main door’ and the retaining of the double door would allow for an 11% of heat being retained in the house as the current front door let lot’s of cold air in and masses of hot air out.

The ‘wrap’ around would have to be super insulated, so that we inserted 150mm of natural insulation in the walls and floor and 200mm in the ceiling!  Consider that builders would normally want to put only 100mm!

Also we needed the space to be very airtight as their is no point in super insulating a space if you don’t make sure the heat cannot find a path to get out.  This was more complicated than initially thought as the contractor had not plastered and sealed the two new internal  meter cupboards.  We made sure that the contractor came back and rectify the problem!

All is well now and the Ugly House has become the most Beautiful House On the Street!


11 Harefield Place St Albans - before







11 Harefield Place St Albans - after