5 Things to consider when renovating in Brighton and Hove

By July 18, 2019April 8th, 2020Knowledge & Tips

5 Things to consider when renovating in Brighton and Hove

With so much uncertainty in so many areas due to the global health crisis, many house-moves and renovation work projects are, rightly, paused for now. However, to the extent it’s possible to do so, we suggest continuing to work on finalising the planning/ designing/ decision-making during this ‘on hold’ period.  When normal-ish life resumes, you will have made (most of) the remaining design/ choosing, etc. decisions and obtained related costings, with less time pressure than usual, and be ready to start ordering and getting on site at an appropriate time. Working on your renovation project may also be a welcome distraction…  We’ll continue to share content to advise and inspire, read on to discover our list of 5 things to consider when renovating in Brighton and Hove.

With vibrant culture, great food & drink, and the sea and South Downs on the doorstep, Brighton and Hove have always been very popular places to move to from London. Brighton has a rich architectural heritage and while property prices are still high, you get more for your money here than in London. Some things – like more space in your home – you’ll find anywhere outside London and the M25. However somethings like a sea view and a hub of environmentally friendly, green, vegan shops and restaurants are unique to Brighton. This is no tired sea-side town: The city is vibrant and varied, full of creative cosmopolitan people.

from L-R: The Vibrant North Laine / Hiking the South Downs / King’s Gardens Hove

The city is full of many different types of homes and as a buyer or renovator each of these properties has it’s own issues that you need to consider. Let’s take a look at some of the things you may come up against when renovating in Brighton and Hove.

5 Simple Steps to Prepare for a Successful Renovation Click here for our free guide

1 Listed buildings, conservation areas and beautiful period features

Kemptown and the inner city areas of North Laine and Hanover contain some of Brighton’s oldest buildings. In Kemptown the neo classical facades of Lewes Crescent and Sussex Square are the crowning glory of the Kemptown estate.

These grand listed buildings sit alongside more modest pebble and brick mews properties. These are also part of this historic conservation area. Just west of the station the West Hill conservation area is full of rows of pretty white victorian terraces.

Further west into Hove and the cream coloured regency town houses – now mostly apartments – in grand crescents and squares dominate the sea front. Listed buildings and properties in conservation areas require specific consents for some repairs and renovations. These may include replacement windows and doors as well as larger works such as extensions. You’ll need to check whether these apply to you. Find out if a property you’re considering renovating in Brighton or Hove is a listed building by visiting the Heritage section of the Brighton and Hove council website.

Whilst something of a luxury in London, high ceilings are more commonplace in these Brighton apartments. Paired with almost full height, south facing windows, these make for some spectacular, light rooms with lovely views. Before you fall in love with a Kemptown terrace in the middle of the East Cliff conservation area, consider how you will keep it warm in winter and cool in summer. You may need to consider secondary glazing (or at least really effective window treatments), upgrading insulation, and natural cooling methods.

Walk into a pub in Brighton in the winter, and you may be met with the welcoming smell of wood-smoke. Outside the ‘Smoke Control Areas’, you are permitted to have a ‘real’ fire in Brighton. For advice on opening up a fireplace, read our guide.

from L-R: High ceilings and large windows are common on the seafront / You may need to consider secondary glazing

2 Bungaroosh

This peculiar name belongs to a building material which is almost exclusive to Brighton’s terraced houses. Created to avoid brick taxes in the 18th and 19th centuries it consists of pieces of brick, flint, wood. However it can contain pretty much anything found lying around bound into a lime plaster to create walls. This comes with it’s own unique issues when renovating. From issues of structural soundness and damp proofing to simply being able to put up a shelf. Drill one hole into the wall where it hits the lime plaster which simply pours out as dust offering no support for screws and fixings. Move a few millimetres along to try again and find a solid piece of flint which simply can’t be penetrated. This is a common problem people wome across whilst renovating in Brighton.

Depending on the scope of your renovation homes with bungaroosh can benefit from a structural review. Professional advice is advisable before undertaking any renovations to avoid expensive mistakes.

3 The quest for space

Where space is at a premium clever design and renovation to maximise light and space can make all the difference in making a house a home. Central Brighton homes with small courtyard gardens benefit most from extensions into side returns to increase space in kitchens. As well as making the most of courtyard space to create an outdoor room seamlessly connecting indoors and out.

There is also a quest for storage space in the centre of town. Unfortunately there is often a trade off for period features such as high ceilings, fireplaces and decorative mouldings found in Regency, Victorian and Edwardian homes. Often it means narrow hallways, damp basements and a lack of adequate storage. When renovating in Brighgon we’ve become adept at using bespoke joinery to create innovative storage solutions in otherwise unused space.

Loft conversions are a popular solution for renovating in Brighton when considering how to add space to the city’s terraced homes. They are a great solution for adding an extra bedroom, bathroom or home office space to your home.

from L-R: Neoprene – coming to a bathroom near you / You’ll want all the storage you can get

4 Living by the sea

Salt, wind and sunshine damage exterior finishes rapidly – and that can stop your home from being weatherproof. Be sure to specify external fixtures and finishes as being suitable for coastal use. Additionally budget for a regular re-paint of your external woodwork. The avenues of Edwardian, terraces and semi detached villas in west Hove lead straight down to the seafront. They come with pretty front gardens, but you’ll have to rethink your garden or balcony planting schemes with hardier plants. Think of this as an opportunity for some unique planting rather than a problem.

from L-R: Fleasbane / Coastal lighting by Astro / Decorating external woodwork

5 The Brighton suburbs

Just a stones throw from the city centre are the suburbs of Tongdean, Withdean and Hove Park. Here you’ll find some of the city’s largest houses and gardens. Ranging from arts and crafts mansions on Dyke Road to large mid-century villas and ultra modern architect designed homes. Often tucked away on the lesser known leafy streets. These houses are often very spacious inside as well as being on large plots. The ability to add innovative extension designs as well as having existing large rooms to work with make them perfect for renovating into Grand Designs style dream modern homes. Think large open plan living areas and lots of glass to take in the distant sea views.

Absolute Project management have years of experience in taking care of renovations and interior design projects. We’ve worked across all kinds of buildings in both London and Brighton. Download our guide today and start preparing for your next renovation project. 

For advice renovating in Brighton or London, get in touch.

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