Extension Planning, West Kent

Client Brief

The client had bought an oast house in Kent, with two outbuildings on the same plot. The oast house hadn’t been refurbished since the 1980s and the outbuildings had lapsed planning consent.
 For the oast house, the family wanted:

  • A large extension across the back of the property to join the inside to outside 
  • Small, divided spaces to be transformed with open plan design
  • Small windows replaced with something new to take advantage of amazing views
  • To turn a downstairs bedroom into a bathroom

For the two outbuildings, the family wanted:

  • Designs and planning consent for a cottage for visiting family
  • A yoga studio design and build for the second outbuilding

Planning ideas

Although the oast house was already converted, our experience with barn and oast conversions helped inform the design of the extension. We knew the planners would be keen to have an agricultural simplicity to its design.  We proposed a lean-to design for the extension, reminiscent of the way many agricultural buildings are extended – which the planners liked and approved. 

Open plan
The redesign of the layout opened up the previously small rooms, giving them the space to enjoy a large kitchen, lounge and dining room. A family room was designed into the ground floor of the roundel.
The existing home had small windows looking out to an amazing view and one of the client’s main requests was to have larger windows to enjoy it more. The extension across the back of the house has a 9m sliding door which allows the view all year round – in the winter from indoors and in the summer, the outdoor space becomes part of the house. The sliding glass door opens to 6m wide; the span is supported by circular columns on the outside of the building instead of a chunky, lintel, which gives a much more delicate and minimal appearance to the structure.
New bathroom
The clients wanted to change an unused bedroom downstairs into a bathroom, so we designed it into a two-storey master en-suite with the bathroom downstairs, connected to the bedroom upstairs with a curved staircase.


The site sits in the green belt. Whilst some local authorities have very strict limits on how much an existing home can be extended in the green belt, this local authority, we knew from previous builds and conversations with them, to be more flexible and so were able to achieve a generous single storey extension.

What our client said…

“Vernacular Homes took care of everything from planning to design and construction. The whole team would walk through the space to see how best to use it. They were great at coming up with ideas for maximising space; for example, we had an odd-shaped living room but they came up with some great ways of dividing it up to make it work.

We also wanted to replace one of the bedrooms with a bathroom but didn’t quite know what to do with it; they suggested breaking through from the bedroom above to make it an amazing ensuite room.”

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