A friend of mine owns a house extensions in Wandsworth building company, and he was telling me sixty years ago the outward appearance of an average home would have changed very little from the time when it was first built. House extensions were quite rare until the 1960s and 70s when, for various reasons,many people needed to add extra space to their homes. Over the past fifty years there have been a number of different trends and influences in the design of house extensions and in how the extra space is used.
House owners began extending their properties in the 1960s, when more space was needed in many kitchens for a modern washing machine and a fridge, and in other parts of the house where children had more toys to play with or new rooms were required for other reasons.
Extensions in the 1960s did not always match the style of the original architecture. Prefabricated extensions made with concrete or wood panels and were often used to create a sun lounge with a corrugated plastic roof.
In the 1970s and 80s, extensions became less of an attachment and more of a practical living space that was made to blend in with the building style. At this people were starting to become obsessed with property prices and the value of their own home.
The introduction of a scheme which led to the sale of many council houses in the 1980s added to the number of homeowners wanting work done on their property.
Building regulations and planning permission granted by councils also had a big influence on the type of house extension that people could build onto their homes.
Conservatories were exempted from planning requirements, so there was a bigger demand for them than for any other type of extension. The development of UPVC window frames and polycarbonate roofing also made conservatories more practical and affordable.
A change to building regulations which removed height restrictions meant that suddenly a lot more attic and loft spaces were suitable for conversion. This was the start of a big trend in loft conversions.
Another trend began in some affluent areas where house renovation involved making major changes to the appearance of existing buildings, using expensive building materials and requiring a professional design for each individual building.
More houses have recently been extended to include additions such as a home gym, a garden room or a home office.
At present there is an obvious need for more home extensions, due to the economic climate and rising property prices. Adding an extension to an existing home makes a lot more sense now than moving to a bigger house.