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!



At Acre Design, we often find that when our clients are building a self-build home, home extension or renovation, the garden design is left until last. You probably have a long list of things to plan and consider including: bathrooms, kitchens, materials, fixtures and fittings, furniture and so on. However, with even the smallest budget, spending wisely on your garden can have a huge impact on your satisfactions with your project as whole. A well thought out garden space can also have a big impact on the value of your home, so it is well worth considering! Even if you plan on carrying out the gardening and landscaping work yourself, developing a plan early on will be beneficial.

When you begin your project, you will have an idea of the funds you have available to spend. We recommending allocating some of your budget to the garden space at the start of your project. Who wants large, beautiful bi-fold doors if the scenery beyond them is a disaster?

Practical considerations

If you’re a self-builder, this is a really advantageous position to be in, in terms of landscaping. However, you may also come across a few challenges here. You’ll need to consider: access, driveways, garages, and storage, as well as the normal garden wants. If your budget is limited, you may consider focusing your budget on permanent fixtures such as access and your driveway. Greenery, turf and landscaping can always be completed in the future, once your budget has replenished a little. You may be surprised to learn that a well-built driveway can cost around £20,000.

If you are building an extension to your home, you will need to consider how to maintain privacy in your new space. Will any new windows be more visible to your neighbours? Do you need to think about screening off?

Planting early on is a good idea if you wish to use hedges and plants for privacy or protection from the elements (as a windbreak perhaps). Most hedges can take around 5 years to grow to their full height and provide the desired screening effect. It is also far more cost effective and easy to purchase and plant younger, smaller plants than it is to purchase and plant established, larger hedges and plants. Mature plants are readily available to purchase, however the cost of this is significantly more than a young plant or seed.

Fences are a great, short term, cheap and easy option for your boundaries but they can lack kerb appeal. Brick and stone walls can cost upwards of £300 a metre. Therefore, fencing and hedgerows can be a very cost-effective solution. Also, studies show that looking at greenery and plants boosts our mood. Good garden design is good for your health too!


Budgeting for the highest quality that you can afford for your garage, shed or driveway is a good idea. These elements will all add to the value and overall aesthetics of your home. Thinking of your project as a whole plot is key – you want to feel delighted every time you pull onto your driveway in front of your beautiful new home, for example. You may think that your front door and hallway will give that all important first impression. It is more likely to be the overall appearance of your home from the outside that will impress you, your family and friends and even perspective buyers in the future.

Utilise your existing garden design

If you have some garden items in place already, it is worth working these in to your plans to save money and effort. You can then spend your budget on other upgrades! Often, when you extend your home it can be disruptive to your garden. The building work can take its toll on plants and grass and the new structure can disturb the layout somewhat. If there are some plants you know you would like to keep, make sure you protect these during the build. You could even move them out of the way where possible. Working alongside your project design, you could plan pathways and terraces that flow from and to your new extension.

Lastly, research suggests that a well-designed garden can add up to 20% to the value of your home! consider your garden as a long term investment, one for your enjoyment and for future financial gain.

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 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

11 questions to ask an architect



Choosing an architect for your project is a big decision.

So, we put together this list of 11 key questions to ask before deciding if the architect is the right fit for you…

#1 Have you completed any similar projects locally?

Word of mouth is everything. Being able to speak to previous clients who your architect has worked with will reassure you that you are making the right decision. How many times have you avoided a restaurant because of a bad review from a friend? We think the same principle should apply to choosing your architect. 


#2 How many people are in your team?
It is important to know how many designers will be working on your project. Furthermore, it can be reassuring to know that your architect is contactable through an Office Manager. Importantly, at Acre Design, we always ensure that your plans are discussed with our whole team. This ensures we utilise our full creative pool and give you the best possible design. Some designers work as a one-man-operation. As we have a number of team members, if anyone is off sick or on holiday, someone is always on hand to work on your project at any given time. 


#3 Do you have target dates for achieving completion of each of the design stages?
We have found that it is reassuring for our clients to know when to expect each phase of their design process to be completed. Though it is important not to rush your project and to ensure that you achieve the best design possible, a timeline is vital to help you plan ahead for start of works etc. 


#4 Will you provide 3D drawings of the proposals so that I can fully understand the design?
Often, it can be difficult to interpret technical plans. This means that a 3D model of your plans help you to fully understand and visualise your new space. The Team @ Acre Design use state of the art Building Information Modeling (BIM) software.  BIM is an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.


#5 Can we have meetings outside of normal working hours?
Our clients are often very busy with work and family commitments. It is important to know that you will be able to meet with your architect at times that fit around your schedule. This is why we offer early morning or evening appointments to discuss projects with our clients.


#6 How many drafts are included in the design stage of the process?
There is nothing worse than feeling under pressure to agree plans that you are just not happy with. Ask your architect how many revisions they offer for the price that you agree. Though most of our designs are finalised before this point, at Acre Design we offer four revisions in our design package. This means that you can explore different options until you are content we have designed your dream home.


#7 Will you keep in touch during the process? And if so at which stages?
You want to know that your architect is working on your project and meeting your agreed deadlines. At Acre Design, we are proactive when it comes to communication. We’ll keep in touch regularly and update you as your project evolves. We are always at the end of the phone or available by email should you wish to discuss your project with us, we love to hear from our clients as much as possible!


#8 How many meetings are included to discuss the proposal? Where will these take place?
It can be reassuring to know from the outset how often you can expect to meet with you architect. Knowing where meetings will take place is also helpful: will they be at your home or at the architect’s office? At Acre Design, we keep a flexible approach to meetings. Our business centres around our clients. We are happy to meet with you wherever you feel it is necessary. This, coupled with our out of usual hours availability and video conferencing software, means that you are reassured and listened to throughout the design process.


#9 If changes are required by the planning department to allow them to approve the design, will we be charged for these?
No one likes hidden costs. Unexpected bills can be a nightmare when you are working to a budget. So, ask your prospective architect whether you will be charged for possible additional work needed to gain relevant planning permission. Though this doesn’t happen often, we occasionally have to tweak a design slightly to gain approval. Rest assured, we would not charge you for this. Our aim is to ensure you get the home you dream of, at the cost you agreed to.


#10 How does the scheduling of payments work?
Knowing when payments will be expected in advance is important. Will you have to pay your architect an upfront amount? Will the bill be settled at the end of your project? In order for you to prepare, it is a good idea to ask your architect about their payment process. At Acre Design, we like to keep it simple and up-front. We will only invoice you once a stage has been completed. Our work is usually split into four main stages: Preparation (measured survey and drawing of your existing property), Concept Design (completion of a first draft ready to be developed with you), Developed Design (making alterations to your design to ensure it is perfect whilst meeting any planning criteria, working closely with you to agree the design) and finally, Technical Design (Detailed construction drawings and Building Control process).


#11 How do you work out your prices?
Ask your architect how they formulate their estimates. You are paying for their services and have every right to know what they base their prices on. We are always transparent about our quotes and are more than happy to discuss this with you. 


Please don’t hesitate to ask us the above, we love to explain why we are the right architecture firm for you.


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

Understanding Architect Language


We know that the world of Architecture is full of some confusing jargon. So, we wrote this jargon buster to help clarify a few of the terms your architect may use. We hope that you find it helpful! Please do let us know if there’s anything you think should be added. Email

Air admittance valve (AAV): Commonly called Durgo valves, air admittance valves are designed to decrease the number of pipes that need to penetrate the roof and walls of a property. They reduce the number of parts required to ventilate soil and waste removal systems and do not compromise the performance or either. These valves essentially let trap seals within the system work correctly and effectively by creating negative air pressure in the system.

Articulation: creating interest to a large or uninteresting surface by adding windows, alternative materials, features, etc.

Approved Documents: a set of documents providing guidance on how to meet the requirements of the Building Regulations

Boundary: An imaginary line that marks the limits of two adjacent pieces of real property. The line is generally, but not necessarily, marked or indicated on the surface of the land by a wall, fence, ditch or another object.

Building Envelope: the walls, floors, roofs, windows, and doors

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB): An area with statutory national landscape designation, the primary purpose of which is to conserve and enhance natural beauty. Together with National Parks, AONB represents the nation’s finest landscapes. AONB are designated by the Countryside Agency.

Axonometric projection: A three-dimensional drawing to combine the plan and elevations. The accurate plan is drawn at a convenient angle and verticals from suitable points create the elevations. All horizontal and vertical dimensions are to scale, but diagonals and curves on a vertical plane are distorted. The result is similar to a perspective.

Best Value (Value for Money): The value that is represented by considering quality and lifetime costs, rather than construction costs alone. Central and local government clients are charged with obtaining best value for their construction projects, as for all other aspects of government, rather than seeking lowest price.

Bill of quantities: A list of the costs – usually a contract document – which is calculated by a quantity surveyor (see below) from the architect’s drawings and specifications using a ‘standard method of measurement’. If planned works are changed they are re-measured to calculate the change in cost.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) software: Building Information Modeling (BIM) is an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.

Brief: Description of what a client wants to include in the project and how the finished building is to perform. Different terms are used in different guidance documents. The brief develops in complexity from a simple statement of need and/or a vision, through an outline or strategic brief, to a detailed, quantified brief for design. See Detailed design brief, Outline brief, Strategic brief, Statement of need/requirements, Project brief, Vision.

Building inspector: The person responsible for inspecting building projects on site to ensure that all building regulations are being met. Normally an officer in the local authority.

Building Regulations: statutory standards for design and construction of buildings which ensure minimum standards for health, safety, welfare, energy efficiency, sustainability, etc.

Building Surveyor: A surveyor trained in building construction, law and sometimes costing. Often leads the design team for alterations to an existing building.

Cable Capping: Thin metal or plastic channelling sometimes used to contain electrical cables when fixed to a wall. This capping makes it easy to run multiple cables together.

CAD [Computer-aided Design]: drawings and design produced on a computer rather than by hand

CDM [Construction (Design and Management) Regulations]: a set of regulations for managing the health, safety and welfare of construction projects

Change of Use: A change in the way that land or buildings are used (see Use Classes Order). Planning permission is usually necessary in order to change from one ‘use class’ to another.

Character: A term relating to Conservation Areas or Listed Buildings, but also to the appearance of any rural or urban location in terms of its landscape or the layout of streets and open spaces, often giving places their own distinct identity.

Cladding: Where the mortar used to join bricks or stone of a building begins to degrade, repointing renews the exposed mortar. This reseals the building from the elements. The remaining old mortar is usually chipped away first.

Conservation Area: Areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.

Context: the features, both natural and manmade, surrounding a building or site

Contingency: Provision of time or money for unforeseen problems arising during the construction project. The money set aside should relate to the degree of risk, and be part of a formal risk management approach. Risk and
uncertainty and can be reduced as the project proceeds.

Density: In the case of residential development, a measurement of either the number of habitable rooms per hectare or the number of dwellings per hectare.

DPC [Damp Proof Course]: a ribbon of plastic that stop moisture moving from one part of a building to another.

DPM [Damp Proof Membrane]: the sheet of plastic that separates the building from the ground and prevents damp getting in

Detail: The technical construction specifications you will see on your plans.

Economic impact: The effect a project has on the local economy. An increasingly important factor in achieving a successful project. Specialist input should be sought when a business case requires the prediction of economic impact and regeneration benefits.

Elevations: drawings showing what each external face of a building looks like

Energy efficiency: The quest to reduce the amount of fuel required to heat, cool, light and run a building, compared to standard consumption.

Façade: exterior wall of a building, which is usually, but not always, the front

Fascia: Part of the face or elevation of a building, where the shop or occupier’s name is usually displayed.

Fenestration: openings in the walls and roof, including windows, doors, roof lights, etc.

Feasibility study: A review carried out objectively and early in the process to check whether a set of proposals is likely to fulfil the organisation’s objectives and whether the chosen site is suitable for the intended building. It is not a fundraising document.

FFL [Finished Floor Level]: the top of the floor that you walk on

Flood Risk Assessment: An assessment of the likelihood of flooding in a particular area so that development needs and mitigation measures can be carefully considered.

Gable: A peaked, usually triangular, portion of wall at the end of a double pitched roof. The terms ‘gable wall’ and ‘gable end’ mean the entire external wall.

Habitable rooms: Any room used or intended to be used for sleeping, cooking, living or eating purposes. Enclosed spaces such as bath or toilet facilities, service rooms, corridors, laundries, hallways, utility rooms or similar spaces are excluded from this definition.

Handover: The moment at which responsibility for the completed building, including insurance and management, is passed from the contractor to the client. A full check is needed to ensure that everything promised under the contract has been fulfilled.

Herringbone pattern: The pattern of bricks, wood or tiles where they are arranged like the bones of a fish. See the image below of herringbone wood flooring at Beamish Museum.


Infill Plot: Infill plots are in an urban or village setting and are a gap in the street scene.

Insulation: materials used to stop heat escaping (thermal insulation) or the transfer of noise (acoustic insulation)

Jettying: In timber-framed homes, a jetty is a projection of an upper storey beyond the storey below to maximise the available space in buildings without increasing the footprint. Using a cantilever, the system is made by the beams and joists of the lower storey oversailing to support the wall above.

Latent defects: These are building defects that appear after completion. They are covered by Limitation Acts, which state a time limit after which claims cannot be brought for errors in the design and construction. If, during this period, the client can prove that the design or construction team is responsible for any defect, they will normally be liable for losses suffered by the client as a result.

Legibility: The ease of understanding a building and knowing how to find one’s way around and use it.

Lintel: a beam that is used over a door or a window to create the opening

Massing: the shape, form and size of a building

Mixed use: Provision of a mix of complementary uses, such as residential, community and leisure uses, on a site or within a particular area.

Orientation: the positioning of a building or parts (Eg. windows) in relation to the sun, wind, etc.

Original house: The term ‘original house’ means the house as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948 (if it was built before that date). Although you may not have built an extension to the house, a previous owner may have done so.

OS Plan [Ordnance Survey Plan]: a plan produce by the Ordnance Survey mapping company which shows buildings in relation to their surroundings – roads, paths, other buildings, etc.

Outline planning permission/consent: Outline permission can be sought for a building before detailed designs have been proposed, based on an outline scheme. Normally full planning permission is sought after discussion to determine the likely acceptability of the project. See Planning permission below.

Party Wall: a shared wall between two adjoining buildings

PD [Permitted Development]: what you can build without planning permission

Planning permission: Permission that must be obtained from the local authority before construction starts on most projects. It controls the proposed use, how much of the site is covered, the size of the building, site access, external landscape and parking and conformity with existing local plans. If permission is not granted, an appeal may be heard by a public enquiry and determined by a planning inspector. The Secretary of State for the Environment makes the final decision.

Quantity surveyor (QS): A specialist in all aspects of the costs of construction, providing information on the likely cost of a project at every stage including cash flow. The QS can also advise on the form of contract, procurement routes, suitable contractors, inflationary allowances and the need to make contingencies in the cost model.

Rainwater Downpipe: A rainwater downpipe is a pipe that is used to direct rainwater away from a building, typically from roof guttering to a drainage system. It is sometimes also referred to as a downspout, drainspout, roof drain pipe or leader.

Render: The coating applied to the exterior of a home to protect the building from weathering. Render can be simply decorative.

Revit: Autodesk Revit is Building Information Modeling (BIM) software for Microsoft Windows, which allows the user to design with parametric modelling and drafting elements. We use this state of the art software to design and develop your project. It enables us to show you 3D models of how your project will look.

RWP [Rain Water Pipe]: the pipes that take rain water from the roof to the sewer

RSJ [Rolled Steel Joist]: a beam, usually ‘I’ shaped

Scale: the size of a building in relationship to another building or its surroundings

Section: drawing based on a vertical cut through the building

Setback: distance a building is set back from a street or from an adjacent part of the same building

Site Plan: A plan of your whole site, including surrounding land.

Snagging: the process of identifying and fixing defects prior to project completion. The responsibility for remedying these normally lies primarily with the contractor. The project timetable should always allow time for snagging before move-in. However, some items, such as air handling systems, can only be fully tested after running through all seasons of the year.

Soil vent pipe: this commonly runs vertically from the underground drainage system to the top of a property, just above roof gutter level. It is also known as a soil stack pipe, a drain waste vent or a ventilated discharge pipe.

Statutory Applications: applications required by law in relation to building projects. Eg. Planning and Building Regulations

Structural calculations: A structural calculations report provides a full outline of design and build work to be carried out. It is minutely detailed and will include such information on how the foundations are to be dug, materials required, structural works, supporting walls, measurements, beams, joists, rafters, load bearings and concrete reinforcement or steel connection calculations. The report will be created by a qualified structural engineer. Where required, this report will ensure that our design meets to correct safety standards.

Structural engineer: Engineer specialising in the design of building structures. Decisions about the type of structure are integral to the design and should be taken with the architect. The engineer is responsible for ensuring that the structure has the appropriate strength and flexibility.

Structural Opening: opening in the wall of a building, often for a door or window

Surveyor: a surveyor measures and maps out various aspects of land and buildings, for example in relation to dimensions, costs and construction.

Sustainable materials: resources that will not be exhausted. For example, timber from renewable forests is sustainable, while that from slow-growing tropical hardwoods is not. Sustainability is a concept that good design is expected to incorporate, reducing waste, promoting whole life value and a healthy environment

Tender process: this is the process of inviting organisations to submit a proposal, with costs, to carry out a piece of work. It covers the preliminary invitation to tender, formal invitation to tender and the actual form of tender.

U-Value: a measurement of how good walls, roofs, walls and windows are at stopping heat escaping from a building

Value management/Value engineering: A formalised approach to managing a project through its whole life that seeks best value for money. Multi-disciplinary workshops can be organised to determine whether better value solutions are possible within the constraints of the brief and the project.

Variation: a statement of the costs associated with changes to the contracted works.

Vernacular: design that is based on identifiable local materials, styles and traditions

Weatherboarding: A type of cladding which is usually made from timber – sometimes UPVC – which is laid with an overlap to prevent damp.

Whole life costs: The full cost of all the parts that go to make up a building, including initial capital costs, replacement costs, maintenance and repair costs. Sometimes referred to as life cycle costs.

Whole life value: Value of an asset when its whole life costs are considered. Sustainability is an important aspect of whole life value.

The Team @ Acre Design hope that you have found this architect’s jargon buster useful! Please check out or latest projects if you’d like to see what we’re made of. Our InstagramPinterest and Facebook pages are all brimming with extension, loft conversion and self-build inspiration too!

How to choose the right fireplace for your home extension

Why do we love a fireplace?

More and more of our clients are opting for a striking fireplace or hearth. Our post on inspiring design ideas  discusses the idea of Hygee. 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. These things include: 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 is the epitome of cosy calm. Our busy lives can impact on our health, so planning spaces which invigorate and recharge us both mentally and physically is important.

With so many styles and fuel options to choose from, how do you know which to pick?

Firstly, the fireplace needs to be suitable for your property. Secondly, you need to decide upon its primary function – heat, aesthetics. Or do you need both of these needs to be met?


Wood burners and open-flame fires will, of course, require a chimney or flue. Wood burners are very efficient and are currently very fashionable. Obviously, real fires will require some level of maintenance (cleaning out etc.) but some even have built in boilers enabling you to heat your water and radiators too! Check with your local council before getting your heart set on a real fire. Some areas are smoke-controlled and burning wood and coal is not permitted.

You can find information on Newcastle Council’s smoke-control policy here. If you are in North Tyneside, have a look here, for Northumberland council, it’s here and for Geteshead, it’s here.

Modern fires are often gas-fuelled and you can find flueless options. Bioethanol fires have very low emissions and don’t require a chimney or flue, however, they can be exceptionally expensive to run! Bioethanol is considered one of the greener fuels. With so many realistic-looking electric options out there, they are a good option too. However, it is questionable whether an electric fire has the same relaxing, stress-busting effect as a real, burning fire. For a fuss-free real flame, a gas fire is your best bet, as an open-basket gas-burning fire with ceramic “coals” is virtually indistinguishable from a real coal-burning fire. It’s a relatively simple task to run a pipe to the fireplace opening. However, this will need to be installed by a CORGI-registered fitter.


It is important to love your fire when it is both active and inactive.  During the summer months, will it still be beautiful to look at when putting it on or lighting it would make your home hotter than hell? With more contemporary designs, we find that they can look a little odd when unlit. Think empty fish tank with some coals in the bottom.

Traditional fires tend to suit most spaces and Architectural salvage and reclamation yards may offer the best chance of finding something appropriate. We have found that traditional designs in light-coloured stones such as limestone and marble are very popular at the moment. If modern styles are more your thing, they offer flexibility of scale and proportion. Whether the fire is gas, gel or electric, contemporary surrounds use sleek and minimalist modern materials. Glass or polished steel and lots of other materials are easily available. A hole-in-the-wall design does away with the hearth completely, and often the surround, too. These fires are usually gas, and can consist of a burner providing a regimented row of flames, a firebowl, or a pile of driftwood or pebbles. Hole-in-the-wall designs are often more suitable if you have a smaller room, where floor space is limited.

The size of your fire surround is important – too large and it will overpower your room but too small and it will look insignificant and lost. If you are renovating or altering rather than building a new space, the size of the existing opening, chimney breast and flue will influence the size of fire and surround that will be suitable for the room. If possible, it may be worth considering structural alterations to get exactly what you want.

Chim chiminey, chim chiminey, chim chim cher-ee

If you are fitting a fire, getting your chimney swept and assessed is very important. When renovating an existing property and using the current chimney, you’ll need to ensure you choose a suitable fire. However, if you are extending or building a new-build home, you have a lot more flexibility. It is worth bearing in mind that a chimney must be at least 4.5 meters tall.

If there’s no flue in your home or design, or even no fireplace opening, there are still some electric and gel models that can create an interesting focal point in the room. There is a choice of flue-less gas fires available too, where the waste gases are taken out of the room via a pipe that is ducted through an outside wall.

Look at our recent projects in Newcastle and the surrounding areas for further inspiration! Get in touch with the Team @ Acre Design to arrange a free, no obligation consultation at your home!

While you’re mulling over all of the fabulous fireplace options out there, here’s a nice warming fireplace video…

Extension Design: Lighting


Pendant lights add a lovely, stylish finish to a room. We often see them places elegantly over dining tables or kitchen islands in the extensions we design. There is good reason for this – they look great! Whether you decide to make a statement with your lighting or subtly complement your colour scheme, there is a pendant lighting style for everyone’s taste. If your budget is IKEA or a high end designer supplier such as Chaplins, there are some beautiful options available. However, it is important to ensure your proportions are correct. Our 3D modelling software makes it easy to understand the dimensions of your project (whether it’s a self-build, extension or loft conversion) and build your interior design scheme. Ask your architect about this if you are not confident about the size of your spaces.

Tynemouth-Extension-3D-and-floorplans-examples                                  Tynemouth Extension, Newcastle, Acre Design


Choosing a pendant light that is too big may overwhelm the space and a smaller option may end up looking lost.

Sizing up:

Width of pendant: If you add the length and width of your room together and then divide this number by 12, it will give you an ideal pendant width for your space. For example, if your room measures in at 3m by 5mm, added together this makes 8m. 8m divided by 12 = approximately 67cm wide. If you are thinking of opting for a multiple pendant light, you can simply divide this by the number of pendants you’d like. So, using our example, a three pendant piece should measure in at around 22cm per shade.

Height (or drop length) of your pendant light: Firstly, multiply the floor to ceiling height of your space by 3. For example, a room that is 3m high would equal 9m. Next, divide this measurement by 12 to give the ideal height of your pendant light. Our example would therefore need a drop of 75cm to suit the space.

How low can you go? Can you go down low?

Ensuring you have adequate clearance for your furniture and family, these rules are helpful:

Where people may walk underneath your light, allow 2.13m from the floor to the bottom of your pendant. If you’d like to place your pendant above a dining table or kitchen island for example, allow around 71cm to 91cm from the bottom of the fitting to the top of the surface. For a hallway, your pendant should be at least 15cm higher than the top of your front door, unless you have a very large amount of floor space of course.

Choosing the right style

There are so many different styles of pendant lighting, so it’s wise to begin by considering the function of your lights. Thinking about the type of illumination you want for the space will also depend on the other light sources in the room. A room with large windows or bi-fold doors will need less illumination for daytime use, however you may also require task lighting in certain areas and ambient lighting in others.

Types of lighting

There are four basic forms of lighting: task, ambient, accent and decorative.

Task lights are functional, helping you to see clearly whilst working (chopping, writing etc.) If your pendant lighting will help illuminate tasks such as children completing homework, reading or chopping food, you want a fixture that aims light downwards, preferably with an open bottom. Open bottom fixtures can create too harsh a light if paired with powerful bulbs, so bulb choice is also important. If the light proves too severe, you can always swap in a lower output bulb or install a dimmer to adapt to the use of the space and time of day.

General lighting which gently illuminates a whole space is called ambient lighting. A softer, ambient fitting will create a nice intimate mood for socialising.

If you want to highlight a design feature such as an art piece or an interesting building material, you could use accent lighting. Typically, accent lighting will be a picture light, however you can target your pendant lighting if you want to draw attention to the material of your worktop or table for example by having it closer to the surface or with a brighter bulb.

For simply adding a bit of sparkle and interest, decorative lighting is effective. These do not usually cast targeted light or serve any particular purpose other than to add to the feel or mood of the room.


We hope that you find this information helpful, at Acre Design Newcastle we are passionate about all things lighting 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!