A 100-year-old property, Brighton Road included both a house extension and renovation work together with extensive landscaping. The result is an elegant New England style beachfront property, with expansive views of the south coast.

We first met with the owner in early 2019 after their previous builder had left an unfinished house renovation with the building in a dangerous and exposed state, together with a client who was emotionally drained and financially worse-off. Unfortunately, this is something that we at R.J.Steele have seen all too often. Renovating a house can be a lot more complex than at first it might appear. But we have the know-how and experience to put things right in these situations. Having little more than the ruins of a building, we set about creating new working drawings and structural calculations for the combined renovations and rear extension through our architect and engineer.

The structural work included stripping out all of the failing and damaged work of the previous contractor. We then had to create new load-bearing raft footings and retaining walls with metal reinforcement to stabilise the existing house and support the additional load of the extension. The steelwork was then assembled to allow for the large glass aspect and vaulted ceiling of the new lounge. We created two new bedrooms with skylights and tall windows that framed the sea views beautifully. We added underfloor heating which was covered with Woodpecker flooring throughout. In the lounge, huge glass windows met the apex of the high vaulted ceiling which was finished with an oak fan. In addition, we hand-built a bespoke solid oak bookcase and birch cupboards.

On the rear of the exterior, the two storey elevation was covered in brilliant white Cedral cladding, while the marine grade windows and doors were made to order in the client’s chosen colour. Patio doors lead out from the upper floor lounge onto a large deck with stairs down to an even larger deck which can also be accessed from the ground-level basement of the house, again by patio doors. Both decks are covered with Coppered oak millboard. These are flanked by privacy screens of bespoke timber louvres to the sides together with balustraded handrails that match the stairs. From the lower deck, a second wider staircase cascades down to the lawn which is at an even lower level. The terraced effect that these features create means that the house is seamlessly linked to the sloping garden with the well-lit decks providing extensive outdoor seating day or night.

In the garden, we undertook extensive landscaping that took its design inspiration from the beach that the house backs onto. Reclaimed sea defences and railway sleepers make up the hard landscaping with a shingle path winding from the house to the back of the garden where railway sleepers are used to create steps to the beach itself. Leading off of the path, closer to the house, is a bespoke heated shower handmade from copper tubing. This is shielded from view by a unique wall of upright sea defences. Nineteen different mature plants (picked for their suitability, design, and beauty) create the appearance of a more established garden. Feature lighting is used to pick out details and to allow the garden to be enjoyed in the evening – even from inside.

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