Examining every option pushed this extension project out of the ordinary to become something very special indeed
Communication, as any architect will tell you, is an essential element in every successful build. But is there such a thing as too much talking? Karen Stewart was worried that might be the case in her project. “Our architect, Craig Amy, was so patient with us during the early stages of our extension,” she recalls. “I was coming up with so many ideas that I think I was speaking to him more than I was to my husband at one point! And I was always sending him images of ideas or things I liked. But it was so exciting…”
Her project was an ambitious one that involved extending and remodelling the 1980s brick-built house she shares with her husband Nial and their two teenage daughters in Dalkeith. Her non-stop discussions with Craig Amy lasted for two years. “He must have worked on more than 20 plans between 2012 to 2014,” admits Karen. “But we all wanted to really push the project and max out on it to get the best results. It has meant that there’s nothing I wish I’d done differently. I knew that I was only going to do this once, so it had to be right, and I had to have the right architect to take me on this journey.”
That journey had begun when the family were trying to decide whether move to a bigger house or to reshape the one they already had. “We’d done some work upstairs, knocking box bedrooms together, since we’d moved into the house in 2000. But as the girls got older we found we needed more space. The kitchen was also dark and pokey and the utility area was tight and awkward.”
The catalyst was an extension that Craig Amy had designed for a similar house in the same street. “We really liked what he’d done so we got in touch with him,” says Karen.
The architect was impressed by the scope offered by the Stewarts’ sizeable corner site, which benefits from a large L-shaped garden that wraps around two elevations of the house. It also has the original 4m-high brick boundary walls of the old Newbattle Abbey walled gardens and glasshouses.
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