Kitchen Extension in Newcastle


You may have found a house in your dream location and the kitchen is just too small, or perhaps your family has expanded and you simple need the extra space; a kitchen extension could be far more affordable than you might think. At Acre Design, this is our most common project type and having completed over 200 in the North East of England, we are the experts in this field. Adding extra kitchen space has numerous benefits: extra storage for that clutter free space we all dream off, room to cook family meals comfortably, a relaxing area which is enjoyable to be in or a modern, stylish place to entertain friends and family. Adding large windows and/or bifold doors adds natural light and brings beautiful views of your surroundings indoors.

It is essential to make sure your plans are detailed and exactly how you want your space as failing to be organised from the outset often incurs additional fees from builders, electricians, plumbers and so on. We cannot stress enough how beneficial detailed plans are for your budget. So, we wanted to outline some key considerations for the planning and building of a kitchen extension.

Investigating and Obtaining Required Planning Permission

It’s really important to share your plans with your local planning officer before you start any work, whatever the type of extension you are planning.. Planning rules are not always fixed and often vary between different areas within one town. If a similar extension was approved at your previous address for example, this doesn’t mean it will be the same scenario in a new location. Further to this, if your property happens to be in a conservation area or national park, you will need to consider certain design aspects carefully. At Acre Design, we handle the planning process for you so that you can focus on your family, work and social life. We have years of experience in this field and can anticipate planning requirements and ensure your design sails through any approvals.

Day-to-Day Use

Extending your kitchen or home is a big investment, usually costing between £1500 and £2500 per square metre. We have found it’s helpful for our clients to ask themselves some key questions. We always send our clients a questionnaire in addition to discussing their brief at length, enabling us to really capture their wants and needs. We find thinking about your dream kitchen in your mind’s eye is helpful. When will your kitchen be used the most? Will the space be used only for cooking or will you want seating for socialising, breakfasting, kids’ homework or play area while you are cooking perhaps? Will it be used by everyone? Do you have any existing furniture or appliances you’d like to accommodate? How many seats will you need around the dining table and/or at the island/breakfast bar? How do you envisage moving about the space?

Customising Your Space to Suit You

Budget is a large deciding factor on the space you create and the finish you achieve. Even with a small budget, you should consider how to layout the space to be exactly as you want it – we can help with this. We offer four drafts of alternative layouts in our design process, enabling you to visualise many different potential layouts. Building a new kitchen extension is an exciting opportunity, you have a blank canvas to work with! Everything can be customised to suit the needs of you and your family, from underfloor heating to lighting, from worktops to the location of power points. You have the luxury of being somewhat unrestricted by prior electrical or plumbing locations, giving you complete flexibility on location and size of appliances. Exciting right?

Practical Points

You probably already have some idea of your budget, which is great. You will need to consider ensuring a contingency fund is also included. Though we provide exceptionally detailed plans and consider all elements of the build process, unfortunately, we have found that occasionally clients may need some extra money for unforeseen events during the build process. Usually, these circumstances involve rare issues such as unknown drainage issues when foundations are dug or exposing unusual building techniques when plasterboard is removed. Communicating with any neighbours from the very beginning has proven helpful with several of our clients’ projects. Ensuring you inform neighbours of your plans from the start in open, honest discussions avoids any element of surprise – a good relationship with your neighbours can make sure the planning and build process runs more smoothly.

Knocking Through to Other Rooms

Often, extending your kitchen may involve knocking down partition walls, perhaps between your kitchen and lounge or dining room. This can create a beautiful open plan space and allow reconfiguration of what may currently be a small and cramped kitchen. Importantly, some walls may be load bearing so this may require the services of our structural engineer and the installation of an RSJ for support. If this is the case, it can be more expensive, however other options could be considered. We can determine this at your free consultation.


gosforth-extension-single-storey-bifold-doors-acre-design-newcastle-architect-300x170Victorian or period style properties are very common in Newcastle and the North East. Your kitchen may be small and narrow, this is particularly standard with Victorian homes. One way to increase floorspace is to build an extension, often creating an additional dining or lounge space at the same time. Sky lights in the extended area add to the open plan, luxurious feel of the new space while bringing in an abundance of extra light.

If you have extra space around the sides, front or rear your home, an extension may be your perfect solution. If you do own a period property, we can also ensure any alterations are in keeping with the existing design of your house. You may be more interested in a modern contrasting extension, this will often complement a period property, and we can show you previous examples of both.

Do You Need Help Building Your New Kitchen Extension?

Your kitchen could become a beautiful, comfortable, clutter free heart of your home. Yet, it may currently be too small or cluttered. Extending your kitchen gives you more space to cook, dine, relax and entertain. We can help you design your dream space, within your realistic budget.

Contact us today to discuss your exciting project. We will get in touch as soon as possible.

Office Manager of Leading Newcastle Architectural Designer – Acre Design



We thought it was about time we introduced you to our team properly! It’s really important to us that we create a trusting and open relationship with our clients, especially in a time where face-to-face meetings are unsafe. We’d like to tell you more about us with a series of interviews.

To kick it off, we’d like to introduce Laura, our office manager and amazingly organised heart of our team. There is nothing Laura doesn’t know about planning permission, building control, managing a team of creatives… the list could go on. Having worked with Alistair since he the very beginning of Acre Design’s journey, Laura has helped complete over 500 home extension, loft conversion and self build projects across the North East. I asked Laura a few questions…

What is your role within the team at Acre Design?

I am the Office Manager at Acre Design, the first point of contact for any client, contractor or planning / building inspector.  I’m always here to answer any questions and arrange telephone calls or meetings with the Design Team where required.

What do you think our clients would say about you?

I would hope clients see me as a helpful and a friendly voice on the other end of the phone to help with any questions and queries that they may have.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I am very much a people person.  I love conversation (sometimes a little too much).  This is usually with clients about their projects, hobbies or even the weather… I thrive on chat.

You’re such a happy, positive person. What really makes you smile at work?

Seeing clients dream homes being created by The Design Team is amazing.  It is like living in a Grand Designs programme every week day.  What more could you ask for?

What are the biggest challenges your role brings?

Being the first point of contact I remember a lot of names, a lot of addresses and the projects in general.  Acre Design has grown so much since I began working here in 2016 that it is slowly becoming impossible to remember everything.  Our computer systems provide a great resource in looking up each individual project and very quickly jog my memory.

What is your biggest strength?

I believe my biggest strength to be organisation.  I have always been one to keep lists, spreadsheets, dates and times.

Working from home can be a challenge, how have you maintained a work-life balance?

Working from home has been a lot more effective in my opinion.  It is so much easier to concentrate and get jobs done when there are no distractions.  Microsoft Teams has been a major help in keeping the team together and allowing discussions to keep everyone in the loop about all that is going on within The Design Team. I have been lucky that my working life can also revolve around my family life, I can do the school run for my children and still get all of my work done and be really productive. Doing the school run actually really helps me start the day cheerful and calm and finish it focused on my family.

You have a young family; how do you manage this alongside working at Acre Design?

My husband and two children are amazing.  Weekends are family time and this is very much a time we all make the most of.  We have 2 Labradors that love to be anywhere they can find water.  This becomes  challenge finding bigger and better places for walks.

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We hope that you find this information helpful, at Acre Design, Newcastle, we are passionate about all things sustainable and innovative. We would love to discuss your project with you in detail.

Take a look at our recent projects for further inspiration! Get in touch to arrange a free, no obligation consultation at your home

Ground Source Heat Pumps



Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) use pipes that are buried in the garden to extract heat from the ground.

This heat can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor or warm air heating systems and hot water in your home. There has been a lot of speculation about the government’s proposals to ban gas boilers in new build homes from 2025. This means that designers are looking for other, innovative ways to heat our homes.

A ground source heat pump circulates a mixture of water and antifreeze around a loop of pipe, called a ground loop, which is buried in your garden. Heat from the ground is absorbed into the fluid and then passes through a heat exchanger into the heat pump. As the ground stays at a fairly constant temperature under the surface, the heat pump can be used throughout the year. Longer loops can draw more heat from the ground, but need more space to be buried in. However, if space is limited, a vertical borehole can be drilled instead.

What are the benefits of installing a ground source heat pump?

Installing a GSHP could lower your energy bills – who doesn’t like saving a bit of cash? You could gain additional income through the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). Furthermore, you could also lower your home’s carbon emissions, depending on which fuel you are replacing. You won’t need to have any fuel deliveries and the GSHP can heat your home and your water with very little maintenance costs.

Air source heat pumps are usually easier to install than ground source heat pumps as they don’t need any trenches or drilling, but they can be less efficient. Water source heat pumps are another consideration. They can be used to provide heating in homes near rivers, streams, and lakes. It’s quite exciting to think about the potential of using naturally occurring resources to heat our homes and water.

You can find some stories from homeowners who have installed heat pumps via the Green Homes Network.

Size is an issue

Are wall-hung heat pumps the future of home heating systems?

Small homes and low energy homes are the challenge here as rural homes have utilised heat pumps for years. Rural homes often favour heat pumps over oil and liquefied petroleum gas due to the cost-saving benefits. One of the reasons why smaller homes are a technical challenge is due to space. Heat source pumps require quite a bit of outside space for the working unit. With many new build homes being built upon rather cramped plots, this may be problematic. These units can also require quite a bit of space on the inside of the home. For this reason, lots of companies are beginning to develop smaller, boiler sized units. This makes them handy for installing in flats as well as small houses. Excitingly, it also means that a number of these units in close proximity could be connected to the same bring loop, allowing for cheaper running costs for the homeowners.

We find the development of heat pumps pretty exciting, we hope you do too!

At Acre Design Newcastle we are passionate about all things green and would love to discuss your project with you in detail.

Take a look at our recent projects for further inspiration! Get in touch to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation at your home!

Errors to avoid when building your house extension


Having completed over 400 house extension projects in Newcastle and the North East, The Team @ Acre Design have seen it all! If you need extra space (bedroom/s, living space or that luxury kitchen, diner and lounge, for example) how can you avoid some common stressful and costly errors?

Seeking out advice from a local architect and doing your research is essential. This is why we’ve put together a list to get you started. If you have any questions, we’d love to offer our professional advice. Email us @ or call 0191 608088.

Taking some extra time when planning your home extension will pay off and give your project the best chance at success. Here are some of the more common mistakes people make when planning their dream extension:

#1 Not keeping an open mind or seeing the big picture!

You need to consider your house as a whole when designing any extension or alteration. It is often all too easy to focus on that dream additional space. However, you must keep in mind how you will move around in and use the rest of your home once your building works are complete.

Think carefully about: 

  • Will value be added to your property?
  • Who will use each space and is there sufficient room for how they will be using it?
  • How will you access all areas of your home? How will you get outside, for example?
  • How will your furniture taste suit the extended space? And how will the new furniture tie in with the old?
  • Will you want to phase works? If you think you may extend further in the future, should you also plan for this now?

Having a clear vision of how you would like you and your family to live in your new home is essential. Your architect will help you build this vision. Acre Design also offer up to four drafts of your design, meaning we can create a starting point and build your home extension dream from there. Exploring all possible options for your home is a really important step in the design process. At your consultation with our design team, you may find that we are able to recommend a solution or design which you had not thought possible!

If you have big dreams for your home extension but need to phase the build, it is worth putting some real thought into this early on. For example, if you would like to eventually build a two storey extension, you may start with a single storey extension first. In this case, we would advise on ensuring your footings are deep enough to support a single and two storey extension, for example. Or perhaps ensuring you have plenty of natural light as you will not be able to incorporate a roof light if you are planning to build your second storey above. You may do this for financial reasons or in order to spread out the disruption of building work perhaps?

#2 Having an unrealistic schedule

Realistically, some building work can take longer than expected. Until you break ground, there are some things you simply can’t predict or plan for. Being aware of this from the start of your project will minimise your disappointment should things take a little longer than you thought.  This will also make for a better relationship with your contractor. If an unforeseen complication arises and you are prepared for a potential delay, you will be able face it with a far more positive and relaxed attitude. Building your dream home extension should be exciting and enjoyable!

#3 Rushing into your planning application

Taking professional advice from your architect is the best way to ensure you achieve planning permission easily and without stress. Being impatient and pushing ideas your architect does not feel will get approved is a huge mistake. Architects know what they are doing and do not want your application to fail. Waiting until you have a design that both you and your architect are thrilled with, which will achieve planning permission, is a much more sensible approach.  Not all work will require planning permission. If this is a concern for you, ensure you ask your architect for advice and solutions that may avoid this part of the process. Ticking the right boxes at this stage will also ensure a smooth sale, should you choose to sell further down the line.

#4 Upsetting your neighbours

Ensuring a positive and friendly relationship with your neighbours before and during your build is very beneficial. We always advise our clients to communicate their extension plans with their neighbours as soon as they can. This means that there are no surprises and you can gauge their feelings on this. Often, building works can be disruptive to neighbouring properties. Understanding this and being as respectful and polite about it will make for an easier process for everyone. You also need to be aware of the 1996 Party Wall Act. The Team @ Acre Design are able to advise on this but you may need to create a written agreement with your neighbours about any new building work.  This agreement is usually done by a third party Party Wall surveyor.

#5 Going with a dodgy builder

It can often be tempting to go with a cheap quote for building work but it essential to consider why one quote may be so much cheaper than another. If anything, what are you missing out on? We can recommend a selection of local, reliable and reputable builders in Newcastle and the North East. Ultimately, it is your decision who builds your home extension. Ensuring you receive a detailed quote, with adequate explanation of the contractor’s process is important. If anything unexpected crops up, you need reassurance that this will be dealt with effectively and within your budget/contingency fund. Always seek references from previous clients before going ahead with a building firm. There is no safer way to check a firm’s reliability than by asking people with direct experience. We are always more than happy to put clients in touch with other clients who have worked with firms that we recommend. We also offer a service where Acre Design will act as your project manager, checking and completing contract documents and managing your build throughout. This is a more expensive method of completing your extension, however it ensures we bare the brunt of any stress on your behalf. An architect will also be able to advise you on cost saving measures, should your build quotes come in over budget.

#6 An unspecified budget

Running out of money is one of the most disastrous mistakes when building an extension. Ensure that you get fixed quotes and estimates from building contractors to mitigate this. Acre Design would always advise our clients to have a contingency fund – just in case! This will take the pressure off and if you have a bit of extra cash left over and a perfect home extension, what could be better?

#7 Being indecisive

We see a lot of clients who change their mind about certain design elements during their build. Sometimes, this is absolutely no problem and can be a really positive development. However, it can also incur additional cost if plans need updating or if planning permission applications need adapting for example. We can emphasise enough the importance of taking your time over your design. Getting it right early on will save you time and money later on.

#8 Choosing the wrong materials

Materials must be compatible with type of building you own and the period of the house. Ensuring your materials are suitable, aesthetically pleasing, energy efficient and budget friendly is very important. With a lot of experience and professional knowledge of building materials, The Team @ Acre Design are here to help! Local authorities may have guidelines about what is deemed acceptable here too so it is always best to consult an experienced architecture firm about you extension.

#9 Choosing the wrong windows

Choosing the wrong windows can make or break your extension. Researching your options and ensuring your chosen style fits with your current property is key. For more detailed advice on this, see our post on window styles.

#10 Not insuring your extension project

When you start building your extension, your existing home insurance policy may become invalid. When we get caught up with a build project, it can be easy to forget this detail. We always recommend that you contact your insurance provider to ask for advice as soon as you begin the design process. This ensures that you have plenty of time to shop around for a competitive policy and also that you don’t forget about this important aspect.

We hope that you find this information helpful, at Acre Design Newcastle we are passionate about all things design and would love to discuss your project with you.

Take a look at our recent projects for further inspiration! Get in touch to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation at your home


What do the updated Permitted Development Rights mean for you and your extension plans?



You may not be aware but the Government’s ‘Larger Home Extension Scheme’ has now been made permanent in England. Previously, this was a temporary scheme, applying to developments completed before 30th May. Permitted Development Rights mean that homeowners may be able to undertake some works without the need to apply for planning permission. This raises some innovative opportunities for you if you are looking to extend your existing home.
Planning legislation changes. Permitted Development rights are no exception and these have been revised quite a bit in recent years. The changes aim to take the pressure off planning departments processing planning application (lucky them, lucky us). A key change is that we now have a right to build larger single storey rear extensions under Class A. This scheme means that if you are planning to build a single storey rear extension under Permitted Development Rights, you are now allowed to double your permitted development allowance size. Applying to extensions up to 8 metres (from 4 metres) for a detached house and up to 6 metres (from 3 metres) for other types of houses.

Permitted Development explained

Permitted Development Rights are policies which effectively give homeowners more freedom to enlarge their home, with pre-approved planning permission being granted. Within these rules, you can extend your property (within certain perimeters), without needing full planning permission. Obtaining planning permission can be a long process for some and can delay the start of your build at a time when you may be keen to get going.

These rights do not usually apply to larger extensions, larger loft conversions or where your property may be protected (in a conservation area for example). It is worth engaging with a local architect early on in your project as they will be able to advise you on work that may be considered as ‘permitted development’ and therefore, not need planning permission.

The Team @ Acre Design are used to navigating these policies. Alistair Crerar, Managing Director of Acre Design, also has over ten years of experience in Building Control. Importantly, Alistair is well equipped to advise on the legal requirements when building your home extension. The Planning Portal also has some useful information on its website and the Government’s general planning permission advice site can also be helpful.

How will I know if my single storey extension idea qualifies for Permitted Development Rights?

To gain the additional allowance for extensions under Permitted Development Rights, your plans must extend no more than 8 metres (for a detached home) or 6 metres (for other types of house) from the rear elevation of your home. This applies to how your home was positioned on 1st July 1948. This means that if yourself or a previous owner has already extended your home, your permitted development rights may already have been used.

If you aren’t sure, Acre Design can advise you on this. You can also visit your local authority’s planning permission website to view any applications made in connection with your address. The relevant information is freely available to the public.

Other rules which apply when utilising Permitted Development Rights:

  • You cannot build upon more than half of the land around the original house.
  • Your extension must be a maximum of 4 metres high, from the highest point of natural ground. However, this does reduce to 3 metres if your extension will be within 2 metres of a boundary.
  • You must use materials which are in keeping with the existing house.
  • Additions such as: verandas, chimneys and balconies are not included.
  • Rights are restricted if your home is in a conservation area, national park, area of outstanding natural beauty, world heritage site or The Suffolk or Norfolk Broads.

Different types of rights

Class A: Extensions (single storey rear), Class B: Additions to the roof. E.g. rear dormers, hip-to-gable extensions, Class C: Roof alterations (other), Class D: Porches, Class E: Buildings (such as outbuildings), Class F: Hard surfaces, Class G: Chimneys and flues and Class H: Microwave antennas.

Neighbourhood Consultation

The Larger Home Extension Scheme calls to approval process for extensions in this category a Neighbourhood Consultation Scheme. Once your architect has finalised your plans, your local authority will notify your neighbours. They will ask them to make any objections to your house extension within 21 days. If there are no complaints and your build complies with the relevant regulations, you should be about 42 days away from the approvals you need to start constructing you home extension. Although it is unlikely if you work with a reputable architect, such as Acre Design, an application may (rarely) be refused. You can appeal to this decision but may need to alter your plans.

Lawful Development Certificates

On paper, if a proposal meets the criteria for Permitted Development no Lawful Development application should be required. However, it is still advised that you apply for the Certificate of Lawful Development to make sure your design meets all of the required standards. This essentially covers your back, should you be faced with any difficulties post construction. In essence, going through this small process ensures that your building work does meet the requirements of Permitted Development and fully complies. A better safe than sorry approach!

Choosing Acre Design to guide you through your extension design process…

All of these policies and regulations may seem a little daunting. That’s why Acre Design are here to help. We submit all applications on your behalf, meaning we can deal with any technical questions which may arise. We simply inform you upon the success of your application! This removes any stress from this part of the process from our clients. At your free initial consultation, we will be able to advise you on the feasibility of your project.

Even where planning permission is not required, detailed plans are vital. They will save you time and money.

We hope that you find this information helpful, at Acre Design Newcastle we are passionate about all things Architecture and design. We would love to discuss your project with you in detail!

Take a look at our recent projects for further inspiration! Get in touch to arrange a free, no obligation consultation at your home!

14 Inspiring Self-Build or Extension Design Ideas

We love designing self-builds, who are we kidding… we love designing full stop. But, if you are lucky enough to be able to build your dream home from scratch, it doesn’t get much more exciting.

Developing a detailed brief with your architect is an essential stage of your build process; communicating your needs and having these understood is paramount! You get to decide how your house will look, perform and function. You are in control of the budget.

Putting extra thought into the small details will make your new home truly exceptional. We love working with clients to help their dreams come to life, so we’ve put together some inspirational self-build design ides to get your creative juices flowing.

#1 How about a sunken bath?

Now, we LOVE a nice freestanding roll-top bath or a trendy ‘egg’ shaped bath. However, there’s something about incorporating a sunken bath into your self-build or home renovation design that gives off such an exquisitely opulent, organised feel. When the lighting is right, your bath can become a real treasure in your home. It doesn’t take much designing in and this element could really make your home stand out from the rest. Imagine stepping down into a large, warm bath, filled by a generous waterfall tap… heaven.


#2 Timber cladding, inside!

With the rise in popularity of the ‘Scandi’ design style, earthy, natural feeling spaces are so fashionable. What’s more, they just make you FEEL so good. The warmth, texture and colour brought by wood cladding is so refreshing. Another good thing about interior timber cladding is it can fit a traditional or a modern taste pallet. Talk to your architect about how best to incorporate internal wood finishes, it may sound trivial but when it is planned well, it can look incredible!

#3 Not just a kitchen island…

Installing a kitchen island has become a bit of a must when designing a kitchen. We love the idea of getting creative with your island. Making your kitchen island a focal point will create a real stand out space for entertaining. Huge, sweeping designs can also add masses of storage! Have a look at our pinterest boards for further kitchen inspiration.

#4 Booze, glorious booze!

Displaying your collection of wines, spirits or beers has become a very fashionable, and, we have to admit, satisfying thing to do. Loads of our clients are designing wine fridges or racks into their kitchens. If you have the luxury of the space and it’s something that floats your boat, why not think about making a feature of your collection? We’ve designed wine storage to meet traditional tastes as well as crisp, modern looks and we have loved all of them.

#5 Hidden ceiling lighting

Adding some secret, hidden LED lighting is a fantastic way to soften a space and create a warm, inviting, homely feel. This can also be a nice opportunity to add some colour to your interior design scheme too! Thinking about this at this stage allows you to incorporate crevices for lighting in your build, making it much easier and cheaper to install.

#6 Wood storage

Like most of our clients and us, you probably love the romantic idea of a wood burner. They are becoming more and more popular and for good reason: they are good for the soul! If you haven’t already read about the Danish idea of Hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga”), get reading. What freedom is to Americans, Hygge is to the Danes. The idea of Hygge is about finding joy in simple, cosy things such as: candles, blankets, fireplaces and so on. There is even a word for that favourite pair of jogging bottoms that you would only wear in the comfort of your own home – “Hyggebusker”. To us, a crackling fire surrounded by neatly organised wood piles is the epitome of cosy calm. Thinking about incorporating wood storage into the design of your home takes it from a pile to a beautiful feature.

#7 Pocket doors? What are they?

Pocket doors are a stylish space saving solution. They slide effortlessly into your wall, removing the space reduction and layout limitations of an opening door. Plus, we think they look pretty stylish. You’ll need to think about having your architect design these in as the adjacent wall will need a cavity for the door to slide into and you’ll need to avoid any plumbing and wiring.

#8 Non-standard doorways

Pocket doors could be really effective with a non-standard doorway. Thinking outside the box on door openings could create a truly exceptional space. A standard door opening is great but imagine one that mimics the angles and lines of your roof or windows. Or perhaps a curved opening could add a softer touch to your design?

#9 Stylish storage

If, like us, you love everything to have a place; it is well worth considering your built-in storage early on in your design process. When building a new extension or self-build home, you have the perfect opportunity to create storage that is perfect for your belongings. You could make an inventory of any bulky items or things you have a lot of (shoes for example) and then think about where they would be used and how you could create a stylish storage solution within your design.

#10 Relaxing window seats, with a view…

The window seat always adds a traditional, peaceful, elegant touch. We’ve incorporated a lot of these into our extension designs recently. A window seat can turn your open-plan lounge/kitchen/diner into a tranquil haven for you and your family. Incorporating one or more of these in your self-build project can add a special space for you to sit, reflect and deeply enjoy the space that you have created. If you love your garden, can you imagine anything more satisfying than sitting on a rainy day and looking out onto your hard work? See our post on window choices to add some even more exciting dimensions to this idea!

#11 Marvellous mezzanines

Our team get a little excited if a client mentions the word ‘mezzanine’. There is something beautifully dramatic about creating a grand, yet practical split space. Utilising a mezzanine floor as your office, play or relaxation space means that you can incorporate a vaulted ceiling without feeling overpowered by the enormous space. When you incorporate a high-volume ceiling, this also gives you the opportunity to use giant, invigorating windows. Winner!


#12 Work with nature

If you are building a self-build project or adding an extension, looking at the natural make-up of the plot is vital. Trees and other natural elements don’t have to be a hindrance. Try working alongside your architect to use these elements as starting points for your design. Obviously, careful consideration and planning needs to go in to designs around trees; roots can require engineered and creative solutions!

#13 A sheltered outdoor space

By continuing an interior wall to the outside of your home, you can break down boundaries between the garden and your home. In Newcastle and the North East, also adding a covered area for shelter from the elements is great common sense too. If you incorporate bifold or sliding doors/windows, these outside spaces can make your new space feel gigantic.

#14 Outdoor fireplace

If you love relaxing outdoors but are realistically pessimistic about the amount of time you can spend doing this in Newcastle, an outdoor fireplace might be for you. Chimeneas and firepits are readily available in DIY stores, however an integrated fireplace outdoors would make an incredible centrepiece for entertaining or relaxing after a long day. You could even ensure that the fire was visible from both inside and out.

The Team @ Acre Design hope we have given you some food for thought! Please check out or latest projects if you’d like to see more of what we’re made of. Our Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook pages are all brimming with extension, loft conversion and self-build inspiration too!

Home Extension Budget Saving Ideas


Extending your home is a great way to add space if you’re feeling cramped. It also allows you to create bold entertaining areas and even increase the value of your property. Whether you choose a rear extension, side extension, loft conversion or a sunroom, these ideas will help you to maximise your home’s potential.

Before deciding on your home extension idea, you should familiarise yourself with planning permission – something our experienced team can advise you on from your free initial consultation. Deciding on a budget is essential and enables our designers to get you the most for your buck. Once you’ve got a rough idea, it’s time to explore the world of home extensions. We’ve created this list to help you find the inspiration you need to create your dream home.


A Loft Conversion

Expanding out isn’t always an option so using your roof space could be the right option for you. As well as giving a great return on investment, loft conversions also create interesting, quirky spaces for bedrooms, en-suites, studies or games rooms. Installing skylights in these spaces creates a beautiful flood of light from the angled roof, while also opening up the space. Natural light is perfect for these types of spaces and reduces the need for as many lighting installations in the build.

Often avoiding planning permission, loft conversions are considered minor constructions – we can advise you on this from your free initial consultation.


A Cellar Basement Conversion

Again, if extending out isn’t an option for you using the downstairs space available could be the key to creating your dream space. Basement conversions can really add another dimension to your home with minimal disruption to your home-life. A great design solution to enable natural light in an otherwise dark, gloomy area is to use a cleverly placed lightwell, you can really bring these spaces to life with light pouring in from above. We can advise you on many other strategies to make the most of your basement/cellar space at a free initial consultation with one of our experienced designers.

A Rear Extension

One of our most popular extension choices, rear extensions are becoming increasingly common in the UK for a number of great reasons. Placed in the sanctuary of your own property, a rear extension affords privacy and doesn’t often impede your neighbour’s view – causing a very amicable build process. You can work with our designers to choose to be bold or understated – depending upon your personal preference. From low-pitch extensions that match your home to contemporary steel, wood, and concrete extensions that create a striking perspective; the possibilities are endless and truly exciting. Adding value to your home while creating space for precious family memories, the rear extension is a real winner. At Acre, we love designing these as they can take so many different forms – we can really create a space tailored to you.



Our design for a run-down house in Rowlands Gill is a perfect example of how you can add space while also creating a beautiful looking home. We included a modern living space and master suite with balcony views over the Derwent Valley… stunning.

A Side Extension



A lot of period terrace homeowners end up scratching their heads when looking for ways to increase their living space. Luckily, the answer is often right under their nose with a side extension – the perfect way to expand. Whether you decide upon a single or two storey extension, we design side extensions that really compliment your existing home. This video of a complete side extension in North Shields demonstrates how easy it can be to gain so much additional space…

Perhaps it is time for a home extension designed by Acre Design, Newcastle.

Let’s face it, it’s January and you’re feeling the effects from the festive period? Perhaps you had a house full of your nearest and dearest and upon reflection, you now realise you should change the structure of your home. Well, don’t worry, because Acre Design is here to help! Take a look at just a range of project types below to see if they would benefit your home renovation in 2019.


Single storey extension

Single-storey extensions are perfect for creating an open-plan living area or kitchen space. Nowadays, people want a large kitchen space where they can have the whole family in one place to relax while the cooking is being done – doesn’t this just sound ideal for Christmas 2019?

Two-storey extension

Adding a double-height extension to your house gives you added living space to the ground and those all-important extra bedrooms to your first floor. If you were looking at creating extra bedrooms but didn’t know what you could put in the extra ground floor space then just see our suggestions below:

  • A new entrance where you, your pets and your family can get showered and changed before coming into the house.
  • A cinema room for film lovers.
  • A ‘granny annexe’ with an en-suite on the ground floor for when the grandparents come to stay.
  • Add a utility to hide the washing machine and add some extra storage.


If you want a nice, airy room to entertain guests, and have dinner with many other uses then you should definitely invest in a sunroom. They are a great place to sit and read all year round! The main difference between a sunroom and a conservatory is the amount of time during the year the room can be in use. Conservatories are often too hot in the summer, and too cold in winter. This is due to their construction (an aluminium frame, covered in PVC, and massive amounts of inefficient glazing). A sunroom has less glazing and is built using more traditional methods like the slated roof, and brickwork piers.


Garage Conversions

Converting a garage into a more practical space is becoming increasingly popular! This space is ideal if you want to create a separate living space for your property or even a breakout room. Converting these wasted spaces into a separate reception room, or dining room, or even opening up to the existing house is a really cost-effective way of increasing the size of your home. It will require building control but our detailed plans will fly through to approval.

Contact Us Today!

If you’re looking to expand your home or even rebuild it then don’t hesitate to contact us today for more information or a quote. The team at Acre would be more than happy to help.

Ten Questions To Ask An Architectural Designer


Here at Acre, we like to respond to our clients questions and queries as often as we can! With 2019 coming to a close, we have compiled our top ten questions to ask a architectural designer and our advice to give a little helping hand for those looking to transform their space! If you’re planning a project to improve your home and want to recruit an architectural designer to help you, it is critical to ensure you ask all the right questions to guarantee they know exactly what you want from the project. Whatever your query, we are more than happy to help and we hope you find this article helpful valuable…

Question #1

What will the architectural designer advise for your site?

When meeting an architect, he or she will want to talk to you about your building project so they understand what you are looking for. You should take your architect’s advice into account when making decisions, but if they suggest something that you are not comfortable with, please say so. If you both clearly understand what you want at this early stage, it may prevent problems as the project progresses. It is your project, and the architect will want to make sure that you are satisfied with the end result.

Question #2

Will I need planning permission?

After the measured survey, we will draw the existing plans and produce a first draft proposal. We will then invite you into the office to go over the plans, this is an opportunity for you to tell us ‘what a great idea’ or ‘we never would of thought of that’ or alternatively tell us of any changes you need or areas you don’t think will work for you. We then make those changes and the process starts again (with another meeting or over email) until you are happy, then we will invoice you and apply for the relevant approvals.

Question #3

How long will my project take?

Unfortunately, every project in entirely unique and this means that the length of the project will depend on the size of the project. To get a time scale from your architectural designer they will need to visit your property or site. If you are looking for a design quotation, call Acre today and arrange a free meeting – we would be able to give you an idea of timescales and costs, specific to your project.

Question #4

Are your proposals achievable on your budget?

Be realistic and make sure you know if what you want to achieve is possible with your budget. You should remember that your budget will also need to cover any third party costs such as structural engineers and surveyors etc.

Question #5

How much will my project cost?

Like time scales, cost will differ extensively depending on the type of project you are looking to conduct. When using Acre Design we advise that you budget between 5-10% of total build costs for Acres Design fees, structural calculations (if required) and the council fees. We charge on an hourly basis for our work at £70 per hour. The time it takes to complete each stage will depend on a number of aspects:

  • We are required to measure the existing, so the bigger the house, the more time it will take.
  • The complexity of the existing house. A bungalow takes less time to draw that an stately home.
  • Do you know exactly what you want? If so we won’t need to show you as many options, reducing the time to agree a design.
  • The scope of the works. The larger the project the more time it will take to complete the proposals.
  • The complexity of the proposals. If you are looking for a cantilever balcony from a zinc clad dormer window this takes longer than a simple detached garage.
  • Planning requirements. In a conservation area you will need a heritage statement and design and access statement to be submitted with your planning application for example.

We will give you a price at our free initial consultation where Alistair will go through the stages, and apportion an amount of hours to each stage, you will then get a fully detailed quote within 48 hours of our visit.

Question #7

What different project types are there?

When transforming your space there are a number of ways through which this can be achieved. Here at Acre, our project types include:

Click to read in more detail about what these project type entail.

Question #6

Can I achieve an attic conversion in my home?

If you want to add space and value to your house, and there is little room to the side or back of your property (or you love your garden too much), then attic conversions are a great way to do so. However, we adding an attic conversion there are a few considerations. This includes making sure there is sufficient headroom, that you inform your mortgage and insurance lender about your conversion and so on. For more information on attic conversions click here.

Question #8

Why do I need a measured survey?

At Acre, we draw your house exactly on our 3D drawing software, we need the exact measurements so we can show you what you will have once building work is complete, it helps you make an informed decision, and get the most out of your extension, new home or whatever it is we are designing!

Question #9

What happens during the design process?

After the measured survey, we will draw the existing plans and produce a first draft proposal. We will then invite you into the office to go over the plans, this is an opportunity for you to tell us ‘what a great idea’ or ‘we never would of thought of that’ or alternatively tell us of any changes you need or areas you don’t think will work for you. We then make those changes and the process starts again (with another meeting or over email) until you are happy, then we will invoice you and apply for the relevant approvals.

Question #10

Will you keep me updated throughout the building process?

Acre Design will provide you with updates throughout the whole process. We can get your first draft to you within 10 days. After this we will invite you to the office to go through our initial design, we also give you a full print out to take home and look over. Once you have got back to us with any thoughts we make the changes quickly, ready for you to approve our final design and we can prepare the drawings for planning permission. This next bit is where patience becomes a virtue, once we have applied for planning permission it can take 8 weeks for a decision to be made. Acre Design will send you a link once we have applied to the local authority public access where you can keep an eye on your application in real time.

If you are looking to start your building work as soon as planning is approved, we will immediately begin preparing your technical building control drawings. Once these are complete (usually within a week of planning being applied for) we will send these to you. If required we can forward a couple of plans to our trusted contractors for them to begin pricing the job for you. You can also arrange in this time meeting them or going to see some of their previous work.

We hoped you found this article helpful! If you are interested in any of our architectural design services then please do not hesitate to contact us today, we would love to hear from you.

Let us help you turn your dream home into a reality.

Applying for Planning Permission for your project

The process of getting planning permission for any type of project can seem like long and daunting, and sometimes even cost you money. And if you don’t know your stuff, the risk of getting denied for planning permission can also add a lot of stress and worry to the whole process. Whether you’re planning a refurbish your home, or add an extension, then take note of these top tips to guide you through the planning permission process – start to finish.

Talk to people

One of the first things you should do when thinking about applying for planning permission is to talk to neighbours. This is especially important if you’re planning on extending your property, as it could obstruct neighbours views or the noise could even impact them. By introducing yourself and explaining your intentions, you could avoid future problems as your neighbours would already know what is going to happen – and it’s a lot better coming from you than the planning officials.

Research local planning policies

There are always different policies that you should be aware of and the best way to find the ones suited to you are on the local authority website – these can sometimes be tricky to find so take your time looking thoroughly.

Architectural plans are crucial

With any planning permission process, you always need to send away architectural drawings. These drawings take precision, patience and skill as everything inevitably comes down to the architectural drawings. Architectural plans highlight the whole construction process

Use planning jargon

If your planning applications look thorough and well planned out this could work in your favour. If you start using words such as; sustainability, street scene and access will make a huge difference to how you are perceived through the planning process. A well-rounded and most importantly specific planning application will do nothing but enhance your chances of being accepted.

Don’t lie!

Now, I know you’re probably thinking it would be easier to under-exaggerate your new extension or home design, but it is imperative that you don’t lie. Often, people will state that there won’t be any disturbance to the neighbours – which is all well and go to say at the time but if it becomes apparent that you lied then your application could be challenged.

Architectural Designer in Newcastle

If you’re looking for an architectural designer in Newcastle, then don’t hesitate to contact Acre Design today