Garage conversion/extension into house annexe, Clydach, Swansea

This project came out of the ‘Architect in the House’; scheme run by Shelter in which I participated each year that it ran. The semi-retired owners, having seen their children move out, wanted a whole series of improvements to suit their new lifestyle.  They guessed that the side garage area could provide the solution. Through some lateral-thinking, we created an exciting series of spaces whilst avoiding the need to obtain planning consent by carefully limiting the overall height.

The main access was an undistinguished side door into a dark narrow hall.  The views and sun were on the back of the house but all living rooms were at the front.  The clients wanted to create a sun trap looking out over a great garden and parkland. They also wanted direct access to a utility area, a large bik store and workshop, a downstairs shower/wc, a day-room, am improved bathroom, a new kitchen, a patio/deck,  and thermal improvements to their conservatory!!

The solution was simple: we insulated the existing garage and kicked the roof up for section into a single soaring plane running into the side of the house.  The internal wall around the store and the utility was curved, like an egg, and this draws one in from the entrance round into the day room.  The entire circulation spine roof was glazed, flooding the hall with light but without creating solar gain.

What the client said:
Within an hour of Stephen’s initial visit, he was able to show us a rough sketch of the completed conversion. Where we only saw a detached garage full of junk, Stephen saw a sun-room, shower room, utility room and bike shed, connected to the main house! This is a reflection of Stephen’s creativity and imagination. The initial plans were fine-tuned during the following few weeks in full consultation with us both. Stephen’s attention to detail and breadth of experience were invaluable in not only employing a reliable builder but in producing a finished product of the highest quality. Our requests for, as far as possible, “environmentally friendly” products to be used were readily taken up by Stephen, and suitable suppliers found. Throughout the building process, Stephen monitored progress by regular phone-calls, e-mails and site visits. The “aftercare” that Stephen provided was also second-to-none: the final payment only being made 3 months after the completion date.

Alan and Pam Cram

Project Details


Simple but radical transformation of a garage to extend the house.


Clydach, Swansea

Project Size

£54,000 including finishes and fittings

Gallery Before

Gallery After

Extra Information

‘Permitted Development Rights’ (PDRs) is a valuable seam to exploit. Wales, like England, allow a whole range of extensions without the need for planning consent.  Rather than householders assuming therefore that an architect isn’t required, bringing in an experienced architect will maximise and exploit the creative potential of the rules to the full.

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