Marcus Hirst

Cellars & Basements

By Marcus Hirst, February 2, 2017 DESIGN & LAYOUT


Cellars, basements and lower ground floors have sky-rocketed in popularity over the past decade. They are an incredibly effective method of extending, as you don’t necessarily face the same planning implications as you would when extending a ground floor or loft. When extending a ground floor or loft, your local council are most concerned about the size and style of the proposed works as they don’t want it to become overbearing on your neighbours, or unsightly from the street. You don’t tend to have that problem with basements and cellars as they are all hidden below ground level.

Whether you intend to go large and invest in a lower ground floor, or keep it simple and go for a cellar conversion; there are tons of ways you can use this underground space.

Wine Cellars

Wine cellars make for a very interesting addition to a home – whether you want to show it off to your friends or use it to house your beloved vintages. Market research currently suggests that most bottles don’t even survive a week in a typical household, however a wine cellar is a great place to store wine in larger quantities – and hopefully the bottles will last more than a week!

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Building underground takes advantage of the earth’s thermal mass. In this case, the thermal mass will retain heat from the ground in winter and shield the environment in the summer. This means that the cellar is kept at a constant temperature as temperature fluctuations are detrimental to wine. You can also equip your cellar with an environment monitoring sensor if you’re very serious about your wine collection or if you’re storing something valuable. These sensors constantly monitor fundamental factors like temperature and humidity and then they deploy the appropriate countermeasures if necessary.

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The wine cellar shown above is from one of our projects in Clapham, and has been cleverly disguised in the floor. If wine is not so much your style, there are plenty of other options for your cellar or basement. Lots of our clients want a utility area to hide away unsightly items like your washing machine and drier, or a pantry to store larger kitchen utensils like kitchen aids and blenders.

Remember – cellars are smaller and don’t require natural light or ventilation so their functionality is limited. Most cellars are simply used for storage as the space cannot be used as a ‘living space’ with natural light and ventilation.

Lower Ground Floor

Creating a Lower Ground Floor is a big investment, both in time and cost, however the benefits are incredible. If you choose to replicate your ground floor footprint, you’re gaining an incredible amount of space – much more than a ground floor extension or loft would be able to offer. You can also create some truly show stopping features such as glass paving slabs, which sit on your garden floor and look down into your new space.

If you’re thinking of extending, the first thing to do is book a site visit to meet with our Architectural Team, who will discuss the options available to you. There are tons of additional considerations and design options – we’ve only just scratched the surface here. To book your site visit, get in touch with our team today on 0207 242 5353 – we’re open 7 days a week!

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