How to add a garden room to make the most of a beautiful old house with a magnificent outlook

Architect John Comparelli has created a contemporary garden room to make the most of its pleasing outlook. Amelia Thorpe finds out more.

As do many period properties, this Victorian house in Wiltshire had a kitchen that was small and had only one modest window, offering a limited view of the garden. Keen to create a new, larger kitchen suited to family life with their three young children, the owners asked John Comparelli to conceive a plan that would open up the house to the beautiful south-facing view.

The solution was to add a former artist’s studio to the new kitchen and to replace the next-door greenhouse with a garden room. Floor-to-ceiling glazing with minimal framing offers far-reaching views and the structure itself maintains the ceiling height of the existing house. In addition, the floor was lowered to the level of the terrace.

‘My approach, and one that garners support from planners more and more, is to create a contemporary extension on a period house,’ he continues.

‘Historically, buildings were added to in a style of the time, so you might find an Elizabethan house with an unashamedly Georgian front. The same applies today — if I can use modern, 6ft-tall panels of glass that offer an unimpeded view, rather than small period window panels, and if it works with the original, I will.’

The garden room is built with a slender, but strong steel frame that allows for the cantilevered corner: sliding doors on two sides can be pushed back to allow uninterrupted access to the terrace. The result is a transformative space that is connected both physically and visually to its surroundings.

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Comparelli Architect —