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winter, and boiling hot in summer.” On the ground floor, a tiny hall led into an equally small kitchen that contained 30-year-old units which were not fit for purpose. A small inner lobby led to further rooms, including a dated bathroom; the wiring snaked above the skirting boards and the radiators didn’t work. “I would have the heating on, two jumpers and a blanket, and still be cold,” says Mark. Although he had a limited budget, Mark


realised that the only way he could continue to live in the bungalow was to plan radical changes, including an extension upstairs at the same time as replacing the roof and reconfiguring the ground floor to bring more light into the whole house.


This would involve moving the kitchen – which was a small, windowless and located in the middle of the property – into an area occupied by a master bedroom and study across the back of the house. The old dining room and part of the original kitchen would be turned into an en-suite bedroom.


“I had done a few bits of DIY and been involved with building projects through work, but never done anything like this for myself,” says Mark.


Undaunted, he began by drawing up a


few rough designs and presenting them to architects, one of whom came up with a proposal that would have cost more than £300,000.


Despite this, Mark employed an architectural 26 www.sbhonline.co.uk


technician to draw up a design which, he said, was a “useful exercise,” because it highlighted the challenges of the exposed site, and the availability of modern building materials to deal with it. Armed with these drawings, he approached


six architects, finally choosing Sheffield based architect Paul Testa, who instinctively knew what Mark wanted to achieve and how to meet the challenges within his maximum £160,000 budget. “We spent a lot of time talking about getting close to a Passivhaus design with airtightness and mechanical ventilation with a heat recovery system (MVHR); the pros and cons of the finer details,” says Mark. “I couldn’t afford a ground source heat pump, but we agreed that excellent insulation was key. This would be in the floors and roof, but also in the form of internal insulated boarding around all the walls.” This would be achieved by stripping off existing wall finishes and creating a new skin comprising stud panels filled with expanding foam, 75 mm Knauf Frametherm, and a vapour control membrane. All joints and junctions with windows would be sealed with airtightness tape. Paul produced detailed drawings which


were submitted to Sheffield planning authority in November 2017 and passed, uncontested, three months later without conditions. Mark then put the build out to tender and two came back. The first had a good reputation, but went beyond his budget by around £25,000


may/june 2021


LOW POINT


“Before the renovation, living in the bungalow was cold, damp and depressing, and there were times when I wondered what I was doing!”


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