Adding extra living space to your home can transform how you use it and make day-to-day life more comfortable. For one couple, a modest addition created the perfect spot to unwind at the end of a long day. Read on to see how a small extension allowed them to add a cozy den that meets their relaxation needs.

The Original Layout and Vision

The house originally had a traditional layout, with the living spaces on the ground floor and bedrooms upstairs. The back of the house faced south into the garden. While the couple loved their home, they wished they had a dedicated room downstairs where they could relax and read in the evenings, away from the busier living areas.

They decided to build an extension that would project out into the garden from the back of the house. It would be a single-story addition housing a new den/library. The goals were to:

  • Create a quiet, peaceful space for relaxing at the end of the day
  • Take advantage of the south-facing aspect with big windows for natural light
  • Use materials that blended with the existing house rather than stand out
  • Keep the scale modest to preserve most of the garden

The Design Process

The homeowner drew up initial sketches to map out the size and layout of the new addition. They then worked with an architect to turn these ideas into technical drawings and plans.

The architect suggested building the extension using brick with a sloping tiled roof. This would emulate the materials of the main house, helping the addition blend in. The pitch of the roof would match that of the original as well, maintaining harmony.

Inside, the den would occupy one end of the addition, maximizing the southern exposure. French doors would open out onto a small patio, seamlessly connecting indoors and outdoors. The rest of the space would contain a short entrance hall and small cloakroom.

Constructing the Addition

The builders broke ground by excavating the footprint of the extension and pouring concrete foundations. With the structure in place, they used traditional brickwork to erect the outer walls.

The roof involved creating a frame of wooden rafters and battens overlaid with roof felt and tiles. The tiling mimicked the pattern on the main house, using reclaimed tiles where possible to ensure a consistent aged look.

Inside, the team insulated the walls and added plasterboard lining to create smooth surfaces ready for decoration. Underfloor heating was installed for cozy warmth underfoot. The French doors were fitted, along with stylish hardwood flooring throughout.

The Finished Den

The completed addition blends beautifully with the original house. Its brick walls and sloping roof seem like they have always been there. The modest scale also preserves the proportions of the garden.

Stepping inside, the den delivers the peaceful, welcoming vibe the owners desired. Bookcases line the walls and plush armchairs invite you to curl up with a book. The underfloor heating and sunlight streaming through the French doors make the room warm and bright.

Outside, the adjoining patio has become a lovely spot for morning coffee. And when the French doors are open in summer, the indoor and outdoor areas become one big, relaxing space.

Overall, this small but carefully planned addition succeeded in giving the homeowners that extra bit of living space that enhances their enjoyment of the home. The cozy den has become their favorite room to unwind in during precious free time.

Key Takeaways from This Addition Project

  • Modest-sized extensions can still make a big impact on a home’s livability. This one created a perfect spot for the owners to relax.
  • Matching the style and materials of the existing house makes new additions feel cohesive. The brick walls and tiled roof mirror the original exterior.
  • Maximizing natural light and garden access turns the den into an indoor/outdoor oasis. French doors connect it to the garden.
  • Underfloor heating and plush furnishings transform the space into a warm, welcoming retreat.
  • Well-planned additions that respect the original architecture can enhance a home without competing. This one blends nicely.

Frequently Asked Questions About Room Additions

What are the first steps in planning a room addition?

The first steps are deciding how you want to use the space, determining the optimal size and layout, checking if an addition is allowed by zoning laws, and consulting an architect to draw up plans. They can advise on the feasibility and costs.

How disruptive is it to add on to an existing house?

Adding a room extension involves a construction project, so there will be some disruption. The noise and dirt can be confined by good planning. Be prepared to live in a bit of chaos for a few months. The results are worth it.

Should the addition match the existing home’s style?

In most cases, it’s best to match the architectural style and materials to create a cohesive look. Repeating design elements like the roof line, windows, and exterior materials makes the addition blend with the original house.

What are the main costs involved?

The main costs are: construction materials, contractor fees, architect fees, permits, utility connections, windows/doors, roofing, flooring, tradespeople for electrical, plumbing, and HVAC work. Underfloor heating and high-end finishes will increase costs.

How can I make good use of a small addition?

Focus on quality over quantity. A modest addition optimized for how you’ll use it and fitted with features like big windows, French doors, built-in cabinets, and warm luxurious finishes can feel expansive.

Should I tie in the addition’s flooring with the main house?

Yes, using the same floors or a compatible style of flooring will make the addition feel like an integrated part of the home. Seamlessly carrying the flooring from the existing rooms into the addition creates flow.


This home addition project shows that extending a house doesn’t have to involve large-scale disruptive construction. A modest, thoughtfully-designed extension can greatly enhance livability. By respecting the original architecture while optimizing the new space for its intended purpose as a relaxation room, this small annex gave the homeowners a perfect daily retreat without compromising their garden. If you need extra room for a particular activity, consider how even a small, well-planned addition could enrich your enjoyment of your home.