Renovating a Listed Building

For the majority of architects, the opportunity to undertake a listed building renovation is one to relish. The challenge of implementing the requisite modern upgrades and materials, while adhering to the building's strict listed status guidelines, is difficult to pull off, but incredibly rewarding once complete.

Below is a list of three main design ideas that we have put together, for modernising and enhancing listed status buildings.

Add Light Sources

Many older properties were built with thicker walls and fewer windows than more modern buildings. Thanks to the imposition of the Window Tax in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many homes in England, France, Ireland and Scotland had their windows filled in, reducing natural light sources even more.

With most listed buildings it is possible to reinstate the blocked up windows without affecting their status. Arguably, you are simply returning the building to the intended design. However, you may find that some local authorities will prioritise the preservation of the historical significance, and story of the building, that blocked in windows represent.

Another potential option is to add roof lights and open up internal walls to allow light flow between rooms. It is not unheard of, especially in terraced houses, for people to install glass flooring in upper floors to add natural light to lower floors as well.

Energy Efficiencies

Of course, older properties were built in a less 'energy-conscious' age and lack many insulating properties that we take for granted these days. If you are thinking of adding insulation or any other energy-saving measures, there are a few things to consider first:

    • The location and orientation of your house will dictate the amount of sunlight, wind and rain that it gets.
    • What materials the house is made of and their condition will decide how much heat they retain, and thus what you need to add.
    • How you use the house is also important to pay attention to, as this varies from person-to-person and so too will the energy consumed. You may find that by simply controlling the heat in different rooms at the required times, you can make significant energy-savings.

Once you have considered all of the above, it is important to consult with a professional about your options for improving insulation without disturbing any listed feature.

Embrace Period Features

The listed status of a building can bring with it the opportunity to give your home some unique and eye-catching features. Exposing a covered internal brick wall, for example, can be well within the building regulations and open up huge character in your property. Strategically placed uplighting will also really show it off and enable you to maximise its impact.It is also not uncommon to discover disused wells that, once made safe and properly lit, can produce stunning results.

For more ideas and guides to listed building refurbishment, please contact us at Bluelime Home Design. One of our experienced team of architects and designers will be happy to offer you a FREE, no obligation design consultation to help get you on the right track, with offices in BexleyBromleyErithDartford and Croydon.



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