For this week’s blog we thought we would talk you through some of the latest home trends for 2019.

Natural material:

Sustainability is becoming more and more widespread and the concept of living a more sustainable lifestyle has become integrated in the design of houses as well. Sustainable and natural materials, particularly combination of brick and wood will be one of the main house design trends for 2019.

Natural interior finishes will give the home a natural and organic feel. Some wood elements incorporated into the internal design provides a warm and cosy feeling. Brick or stone featured walls will add a natural impression inside the house.

Latest Home Extension Trends for 2019

Introduction of colour

This year’s interior colour trends will move away from neutral and cold colours to rich tones and bold primary colours.

Latest Home Extension Trends for 2019

Fire Features

Whether they are found indoors or outdoors, fireplaces or log burners will continue to be a must-have for 2019. Fire features can serve as a main feature of a living room or as an outside entertainment area.

Latest Home Extension Trends for 2019

Basement remodelling:

In the past basements were considered as unused spaces or space for a storage only. Now all that has changed, homeowners seeks to expand their living space, and add value to their home. Remodelled basement spaces can become a main space of your house.


Are you thinking about having work done on your home in 2019? Get in touch now to book your FREE 30 minute consultation.


Paul recently took a holiday in New York, check out his architectural highlights in this amazing city.

Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is New York’s most recognisable landmark and visiting the Empire State building is a must for anyone traveling in the city. If you want to visit the Empire State building it helps to know a little bit about it.

The building was designed in the Art Deco style by the architect William F. Lamb, who drew up plans for the building in just two weeks! The building rose incredibly fast as well – 410 days after construction began, the building was officially opened on May 1, 1931. Empire State Building rises 102 stories, there may be taller buildings, or more innovative ones, but this Art Deco beauty is perhaps New York City’s most beloved building. However, it was the tallest skyscraper in the world for 41 years.

Every evening, the building’s top 30 stories are illuminated with colours. These might reflect the season, celebrate a holiday, or commemorate local sporting teams or worthy causes.

The world-famous Empire State Building offers unobstructed panoramic views of New York City.


The World Trade Centre Transportation Hub in Lower Manhattan was officially opened to the public on 4 March 2016, replacing the PATH train station that was destroyed in the September 11 attacks.

The structure is formed by softly-curving, white, steel ribs that rise from below the ground to form an elliptical dome over a vast concourse. The transparency of the structure allows light to flood through onto the grey and white marble floors below, and a skylight that runs the length of the Oculus’ spine will open each September 11 to honour the memory of the victims.

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most well-known symbols of New York City. The Brooklyn Bridge was the world’s first steel-wire suspension bridge. More than mile-long span is notable for its suspension construction and its beautiful stone anchorages, with their elegant Gothic arches. At that time, the bridge was the only land passage between Brooklyn and Manhattan. Today, tens of thousands of people, vehicles, and bikes travel over the Brooklyn Bridge every single day.

The biggest question everyone asks, is: ‘Where do I start to walk the Brooklyn Bridge?’ You can walk from the Manhattan side or from the Brooklyn side and we recommend both. They are very different experiences, so we suggest walking across and then back. The walk is 1.3 miles each way, so that distance should take around 20-25 minutes.

Flatiron Building

Designed by architect Daniel Burn and built in 1902, the building is a historical significance to New York City. Today, it is purely an office building. At the time it was built, the Flatiron Building was one of the tallest structures in New York City. Although it’s lost that distinction and only its triangular shape helps it stay one of the city’s most recognizable buildings. It was originally named after George A. Fuller, founder of the Fuller Company. But New Yorkers gave this building a name of their own, the Flatiron Building, because of its similarity to the flat iron.

Getting inside the Flatiron building is not that easy. You can enter the lobby but cannot go upstairs into the offices. The views from the Flatiron onto Madison Square Park and Broadway are quite nice.

New York Architecture

Which is your favourite building in New York?


A well-designed garage conversion can add value to your property by as much as 10%. On average expect to pay in the region of £5,000 to £8,000 for conversion costs based on converting your average 2.5m by 5m single garage. This makes the garage conversion one of the most cost-effective ways to add value and improve your property’s resale value. In addition to this you have increased your amount of living space without having incurred the associated costs of moving to the next size house.

A normal garage will be approximately 2.5m by 5m which gives longer thinner room than most rooms in your house. These spaces lend themselves very well to be used as utility rooms, ground floor bathrooms, home offices, playrooms or simply a spare bedroom. Consider how you intend to use the space, what additional space in the house do you desperately need, how will this flow with your existing space. This is useful information for professionals to allow us to consider your needs and what you are trying to achieve.

So here is our guide of the main points for you to consider when starting out with your garage conversion:

Design and Layout

Design and use of the space and how this will flow with your existing living area

Planning Permission

Planning permission is not required for most garage conversions as you’re not altering the structure of the building. Although conservation areas and listed buildings may need planning consent

Building Control

Building control approval will be required to convert the garage to a habitable room and meet current building regulations. The main points under the building regulations are structural soundness, fireproofing and means of escape. Other elements do apply such as moisture, ventilation and insulation.

Insulation and Waterproofing

Consider how you are going to insulate the thermal elements such as the walls, floor and roof. Garage floors are often lower than the existing floor level as a fire break and can be reasonably straight forward by insulating and screeding above the existing floor or alternatively using timber flooring. Walls can be insulated using either an insulated stud frame or create a cavity using blockwork and cavity insulation. Your existing roof can be insulated as either a warm deck or cold deck insulated roof. Something to consider when using a cold deck system and raising the floor level by 120-150mm this may have an impact on the height in the finished room.

Windows and Doors

When installing windows and doors you will need to consider fire escape routes and escape windows with minimum clear openings for windows of 750mm x 450mm or 0.45m2. Usually an external garage door will be removed; to reduce the size of the opening this can be bricked up to make a window opening a more standard size. To do this, you will probably need to install a lintel above the window and any new brickwork fixed mechanically to the existing walls for structural stability.

So, what are the main pros and cons to converting your garage

The Pros

Creating additional space or an extra room if space is an issue

Adding value to your property – converting your garage adds more value to your home than it costs to convert – in most cases on average 8-10%

A cheap and cost-effective way to add space and value with the average garage conversion costing around £5,000 to £8,000

Savings on moving to the next size house up for the extra space

Great home office spaces

The Cons

You lose storage space and your existing garage, but today not many people use their garage to park the car; they become a dumping ground for anything and everything.

The disruption whilst the work is carried out can be messy, but this is only a temporary

The time and energy to control the work, allowing tradesmen access and making decisions

So, if you have a garage conversion project in mind get in touch today to book your FREE consultation on 02476 629192


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People often ask what is sustainability? What is sustainable construction? And why do we need this?

Why the need for change and sustainability?

The built environment shapes how we live our lives and is at the heart of our economy. The way we use natural resources, the effect that pollution from making these materials has on our environment and in the use of buildings once they are occupied is unsustainable. All of these influence our environment as well as traditional buildings that consume vast amounts of energy, thus burning more fossil fuels with inevitable damage to our climate.

However, the knowledge exists to create buildings that minimise these environmental effects and provide more healthy spaces for their occupants with lesser cost.

What is Sustainable Construction?

There is no strict definition of sustainable construction but the over view of this can be taken to mean “construction which has minimal impact on the environment”

Sustainable construction can include the following:

  • A building that is energy and carbon efficient, minimising energy consumption
  • A building that leaves the smallest environmental footprint as possible
  • A building constructed to use minimal waste in its construction or re-use of existing on-site materials
  • A building designed to use less water consumption through, for example, more efficient appliances
  • A building constructed with good access to public transport in mind
  • A building that harnesses the use of recycling and composting for ease of occupants

So How Can We Achieve This?

There are some simple rules that we can follow to achieve sustainable construction within most projects:

  • Make the building as efficient as possible
  • Use local labour and suppliers
  • Re-use existing buildings as much as possible
  • Use local natural non-toxic materials or products
  • Prioritise on quality both inside and out

What are the Benefits of Sustainable construction?

There are many potential benefits to gain from implementing sustainable construction

  • Low running costs and low energy and water usage
  • Local involvement
  • Potential to design for low future maintenance
  • Aesthetics – creating a building visually attractive
  • Innovation and interest from local people
  • Healthy living in your work and home environments
  • Financial injection into local communities’ economy

Implementing Green Energy

Green energy now plays a part in our energy consumption – so what is it? Green energy is energy that comes from renewable resources. Combined with energy efficiency improvements and sustainable construction this can help reduce our overall energy usage and aid climate change. These sources of energy can meet our future needs in a more sustainable manner.

Design Considerations for New or Refurbished Buildings

So how can we break these down in to smaller elements that we can implement in the construction or refurbishment of our buildings? These are some key sustainable and energy efficient design considerations to consider when designing your new or refurbished building:

  • Orientation – Taking advantage of the sun solar gains and ease of shading
  • Daylighting – Maximise the use of daylight
  • Insulation – Insulating above building regulations specification
  • Glazing – High performance glazing with higher U-values
  • Lighting – Dedicated energy efficient light fittings throughout the building
  • Heating Systems – Using highly efficient heating systems and heat recovery systems
  • Cooling – Adequate external shading or mixed mode air conditioning systems
  • Ventilation – Can the building be naturally ventilated partially or fully to reduce the need of cooling systems
  • Thermal Mass – Increased thermal mass to reduce the need for heating in a building
  • Energy Harvesting and Efficiency – Minimise total energy demand by using efficient devices
  • Water Harvesting and Efficiency – Re-using grey water and harvesting rainwater for other uses
  • Green Electricity – The use of green energy technology roof mounted solar panels (PV), wind turbines or consumers investing in renewable energy by purchasing “green electricity”
  • Solar Panels – Capture the suns energy by using photovoltaic cells solar panel electricity systems to run household appliances and lighting
  • Ground and Air Source Heat Pumps – Extract heat from either the ground or the air using electrically driven pumping systems to pass heat to radiators or underfloor pipes
  • Materials – Choosing sustainable, natural and locally sourced materials for your project
  • Acoustics – Improve the acoustic properties of the building
  • Health and Wellbeing – Provision of natural daylight and planting of native species to attract wildlife

These are the types of design consideration we try to incorporate here at LiteBox Architecture within our design stages to help create more sustainable building and help protect our environments future and reduce climate effects.

To discuss your project get in touch today on 02476 629192.

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Everyone asks me that same question…”what is the best way to add value to your property?”

Adding value to your property in my opinion is largely determined by three things: the type of property, the amount of budget and where to find the finances to fund the project

Here I will discuss the six best ways to add value to your property:


Potential Value Added: 11-20%

The most obvious addition to any property is to extend adding extra square meterage which is pretty much guaranteed to increase the value. This could be in the form of a single storey extension to increase your living space or a two-storey extension to create extra bedrooms. The average cost of an extension would be upwards of £25,000 depending on the size and would generally require planning permission for larger projects. Potential property increase of average 11%

Convert Your Loft

Potential Value Added: 15-20%

Most traditional lofts are ideal for conversion to create an extra bedroom with en-suite for relatively low cost. Most lofts are dark and dusty places to hide lots of junk that you never use or the Christmas tree. Its worth seeking advice from your architect or builder before moving forward. Loft conversion can be an easy project, but I would recommend using an architect to plan both the space and the structural conversion, the last thing you want it the roof collapsing! You will need to look at the most suitable conversion for your property like rooflight conversion (the least expensive) to dormer and mansard conversions. The majority of loft conversions are classed as Permitted Development so don’t require planning permission but it’s always good to check with your architect or local planning office.

Convert Your Cellar

Potential Value Added: 30%

Transforming an existing dark and damp cellar can increase a property’s value by as much as 30% as long as the build cost per square metre is less than the price per square metre of area. Converting your cellar can be one of the least complex home improvements to your property and doesn’t require planning permission. However, you will need to apply for building control approval as with most building projects.

Now if you don’t have a cellar, creating one can be an expensive option and requires specialist skills from architects, structural engineer, excavation and waterproofing. A cellar is a complex project as you are essentially removing the ground that supports the rest of your house. In areas such as London creating a new cellar is the only option due to limited space to extend, downwards is the only option and would require permission from your local planning office.

Converting your garage to living space

Potential Value Added: 15%

If your garage isn’t being used to house a car then why not convert it? Especially if you have parking space outside. Most people only use their garage to store bikes, tools and all manner of junk they never use. Why not buy a shed for this stuff and use the space more efficiently to add value to your property by converting it. Firstly, you should check with your architect that the garage is suitable for converting and if you require planning permission. Most garage conversions are classed as Permitted Development but it’s always worth checking with the planning office. The key areas to be mindful of are; is it a single or double skin structure, insulating the floor, walls and roof, moisture, structure and fire protection. A garage conversion will always be subject building control approval.

Adding an extra bathroom

Potential Value Added: 3-5%

With the ever-increasing size of families and the simple fact that children are staying at home longer and an extra bathroom can relieve the stress. En-suites and wet rooms are very much in demand as people are increasingly looking for comfort and simplicity. An additional bathroom can range from £4,000 to upwards of £6,000 depending on the size and mainly finish. Go for affordability that might appeal to buyers in your area rather than expensive taps and tiles that usually go over the budget. It is possible to update this on a budget by keeping your existing layout as moving sanitary ware is expensive. Updating your shower enclosure is another option, framed enclosures are generally cheaper than frameless. Exposed showers would be a cheaper option to concealed models and wall hung sanitary ware is normally pricier than floor mounted alternatives. And if you are looking to save even more money try choosing a bathroom suite as opposed to individual items, unless of course you have a mansion and an extensive budget to match then why not indulge yourself.

Added living space with a conservatory

Potential added value: 5-10%

In my personal opinion, I have never been a fan of conservatories and I always hear the same issues “too hot in the summer” and “too cold in the winter”. However, conservatories can provide a solution to extra living space. They come in a range of styles and to suit various budgets, although the material you choose will directly affect the performance of the conservatory. Consider your options, uPVC, aluminium, timber, polycarbonate roof or glass panels. Double glazing, in my opinion, would be a better option for your roof as there is a host of glazing options out there from solar reflective, triple glazing to self-cleaning glass. Conservatories may require planning permission depending if your permitted development has already been used with an extension, although they are generally exempt from building control. This said it is always best to check with your architect or local planning office.

Kerb and garden appeal

Potential added value: 10%

Landscape your garden and make your external space feel like an extra room with a natural flow from your living area. A deck or patio can transform a garden to an entertainment space or tranquil setting bringing the outdoors in to feel like part of your home. It’s worth considering a summer house or garden room that can also add valuable space and double up as a guest room or home office. Kerb appeal is something that all to often is overlooked, a lick of paint or a new front door can make a massive difference to the first impression of your home.

Open Plan Living

Potential added value: 3-6%

Open plan living is still very desirable for many homeowners and buyers as this adds very simple and practical space that can be very versatile in use. Open plan kitchen and dining rooms are becoming a must with most home buyers. You can transform your home and save on the cost of extending by simply knocking down a wall. This can be a DIY job depending on your skill level, but before knocking the wall down you will need to consider if this is non-load bearing or load bearing, the latter could be disastrous. The typical cost of a new kitchen is £8,000 combined with opening up your existing space which can range up to £18,000.

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If you’re looking to improve the look and feel of your home but don’t want to extend there are lots of things that you could consider.

Paint the house
A fresh lick of paint gives your property a clean, crisp look. Whether its painting the fascias or fences to redecorating the walls inside and out. Paint is relatively cheap these days but can have a massive impact on how your property looks and feels. You need to select the right colours for the right rooms. Try using paint to make a feature of an unloved alcove of shelf. If nothing else, your house should at least look better than your neighbours. Check out these elegant period colours by Farrow and Ball truly amazing.

Hang mirrors in the hall
The first thing visitor’s see is your hallway, often narrow and cramped. Optimize the space by installing mirrors either side that magically transforms the space to feel bigger.

Kitchen tiles
Transform a kitchen in an instant with new splash back tiles or a worktop. Experiment with alternative materials like coloured glass or metals or bold ceramic tiles for a contemporary look. Mix this with a simple worktop, like laminate or wood which is generally the cheapest. A custom worktop would range from £800 upward dependent on the material, with huge range of tiles from as little as £4.60 per m2.

Install sleek lighting
Add atmosphere to rooms with contemporary lighting. A clinical kitchen with warm-white seamless fluorescents, a new type of lighting that gives an unbroken strip of light. Or upgrade your lighting with HIVE technology for a high tech system approach.

Knock down the walls
You can add space to your property by simply removing a wall that allows the space to feel bigger with more natural daylight. Just remember to check first if the wall is a structural element of the building before knocking it down.

Residential Architectural Designers Coventry & Warwickshire

If you are thinking of a more drastic way to improve your home such as an added bedroom, house extension or even a loft conversion, then speak to LiteBox Architecture. As specialists in residential architecture in Coventry, Warwickshire & London we have helped to transform the lives of many families by helping them to achieve their dream home.


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Project: Loft Conversion to existing Mid Terrace 3 Bedroom House

We were contacted by the client asking if we could help after a bad experience with another architectural designer. The previous architectural designer didn’t provide the service that was promised, and they were left disheartened, out of pocket and desperate to start work on their loft conversion.

The project’s brief involved converting the existing roof space to a flat roof dormer loft, providing an additional bedroom and en-suite for their eldest son. We met with the client and discussed their proposed plans. Although the client’s budget was practical, they hadn’t allowed for any extra finishes that we would recommend being added. We wanted to restore the client’s faith and move their project forward quickly. Initially, we looked at the previous architect’s plans, but these were confusing. We explained the best way forward would be to start the process again. Initially, the clients were understandably reluctant. However, the client agreed, and we set a plan in motion.

During the first week, we surveyed the property taking all the necessary dimensions of external elevations, internal floor plans and we took a look at the existing space. Later that week we prepared sketches and details of the proposed room layout and proposed location of the staircase from the landing area.

Quickly we moved forward and began to prepare detailed floor plans and elevations showing how the external and internal areas would look. Within the plans, we had borrowed space from the original box room to enable the installation of the new winding staircase. Building regulations require 2-metre headroom for the stairs and landing area within the loft, so it is sometimes tricky to locate the stairs so they strike in the highest point of the ridgeline of the roof. The staircase will lead to a large bedroom area with a flat roof dormer with Velux roof lights to the vaulted roof section and a window to the en-suite shower room.

Within 7 days we submitted our building control application along with structural engineer’s calculations for the steel beams that will provide the skeleton framework for the conversion. A loft conversion does not require planning consent as long as the works proposed meets certain planning criteria.

After just 7 days we had the great news, that our building control application had been approved and that our plans met the building regulations. It was now time for the client to select a suitable builder to carry out the works, we recommended Oaklands Mill. Keith and the team have extensive experience and quality workmanship, converting lofts and general building works.

Within just 3 weeks the customer had approved plans.

In part 2 of this blog, we will share how the project progressed.

Are you looking to make the most out of your loft space? We can help and we offer a FREE 30-minute consultation. If you would like to discuss your project, call us on 02476 629192 or email us at

Utility Rooms

The humble utility room has slowly increased in size over the last few decades, from the Victorian times of a small wash house to the nineties box rooms with the washing machine and tumble dryer and somewhere to hang the wet washing and the dog bowls. This small space has evolved to create what is now a secondary kitchen in most homes, leaving the kitchen to be a minimalist space more for show than functionality.

As client’s desire and trends lean more towards sleek, minimal kitchens in an open plan environment, with everything on show, so too has the utility evolved to compensate. The utility now houses the main functional items that once used to live in the kitchen area.

So, what are the things to consider when designing these keys spaces?


Consider carefully what will suit your needs and where the best location for your utility room is?

Where are the external drainage and water supply located, as that may have an impact on location?

Design & Practicality:

Will this space be a laundry room or a utility room?

Does this space need to be adjacent the kitchen or on the first floor?

Does it need to include natural daylight and access to the outside area?

How much room do you need in m2, (this may be dependent on the next question of what will be included)

What should be included:

What things will the room need space for? Washing machine, tumble dryer, cloaks, storage for linen, cleaning products, cupboard space.

Utility rooms are perfect for hiding and housing everything, along with being favoured places for feeding and cosying our beloved pets.

As we move into a new era of the 2020’s these spaces are far from the traditional workrooms of the 80’s and 90’s. They are no longer destined to be junk rooms hidden away but modern multifunctional spaces that are purposeful, practical and uber stylish.

If you are thinking about adding a utility room to your home why not get in touch and book a FREE 30-minute consultation on 02476 629192.

Broken Plan Kitchens:

Open-plan kitchens have revolutionised the way we interact and entertain as a family, but they do have their cons. For example, where do you hide all the dirty pots and pans? So if you’re after a little more privacy, broken-plan might be for you.

The concept is simple, take an open-plan design but add in a freestanding shelf unit or raised breakfast bar to create separation without the need for a full-on wall. This creates the more zoned approach and is an evolution of open-planned living and allows for a more sociable experience for everyone.

Matt cabinet finishes are superseding high-gloss options. They reflect less light to give a more understated look and, on a practical level. Create contrast with rustic wood or stone surfaces and metallic fittings.

Luxury details such as smoked glass, warm metallics and deep colours are key to creating focal points. Heavily grained wood and dark veneers are also making a comeback. Bleached walnut, Oak and elm in graphite grey and black offer an on-trend look that moves away from pale woods


Black is definitely back both a leading kitchen or simply as a supporting cabinet. The use of contrast is used as a design and style element using deep and muted tones or a mix of cool and warm tones. Playing with contrasting interior and exterior finishes adds a fashionable touch. Painted cabinet colours will be popular with either soft medium blues, but bold blues and khakis are on trend this year. Matte black stainless appliances are happening now!


This marmite material was cool in the ‘70s, uncool in the ‘90s, cool in 2018. Yes, Terrazzo is back. The colourful floor tiles add an incredible edge to any room expect lots of more affordable options to appear on the market over the coming months as designers open their arms to the composite stone once again.

If you have a project in mind, give us a call today to have a FREE 30 minute consultation to discuss your kitchen extension idea.

We are now proud to announce that we will be working with the Home Environment Assessment & Response Team (HEART) based in Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council.

The HEART team provides advice and assistance to deliver disabled adaptations and home improvements to keep your home safe, secure and warm.  The team assesses customers needs and housing conditions and provide them with tailored advice and support on a range of issues including:

  • Home aids and adaptations
  • Housing conditions, repairs and safety matters
  • Benefits, grants or loans for essential building works

Our involvement will be to provide architectural knowledge and assistance to both the customers and the occupational therapists (OT’s). From our brief, we will then design, and prepare the architectural plans. We will administer the construction phase of the home extensions to help deliver high-quality disabled adaptations and home improvements. We will be working alongside selected local contractors to carry out these works in both the North and South regions of Warwickshire.

We have a vast experience in working on aids and adaption projects which include adaptions for the elderly, disabled adaptions, improvements for quality of living, ground floor bedrooms, wet rooms and level access areas.

We take great pride in these types of projects, living in an accessible home is something that many of us take for granted.  We know that we can help to improve the quality and accessibility of the lives of those who require aids and adaption to their property.

We look forward to sharing some of the projects we work on over the next few months. You can find out more here…

If you have a project that you would like to discuss please call us on 02476 629192 or email


LiteBox Architecture
50 High St,
B95 5AN

T: 02476 629192

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