‘We have a big, open plan family room that’s great for entertaining too’ - Ashfield Building Group

‘We have a big, open plan family room that’s great for entertaining too’


A large detached house in Scarcroft, north of Leeds, provided plenty of rooms for Phil Smith and his wife and two children to use but not the configuration or space they yearned for.

Whilst viewing the property prior to buying it, they were considering how they could adapt it to meet with their expectations, and had architects draw up plans prior to purchase. It was built in the 1980s and included what Phil describes as “traditional style” living with separate rooms: living room, dining room and kitchen/diner; as well as a conservatory.

“We really wanted to modernise the living space,” says Phil. “The layout didn’t work for modern living, we wanted a large open space where we could spend time as a family whilst retaining some of the separate rooms.”

He was careful in choosing a building firm and had five to visit, but felt that Ashfield director Brendon was the only one who, when Phil explained his vision, took the ideas in his stride.

“It gave us confidence that the company knew what to do and how to make it work,” Phil says. “That was really important as we were making major structural changes to the house.”

Phil recalls “a lot of steel went in and walls came down” as the rear of the house was taken down and rebuilt. A four metre extension has created a living area that is 10 metres square.

“We have a big, open plan family room, as well as retaining some separate rooms, which gives us a good blend of modern and traditional,” he says. “The luxury of space means we can spend time together doing different things but in the same part of the house.”

One of the benefits he enjoys most is a light and airy feel created by a high vaulted ceiling, three sky lights and bi-folding glass doors. The architect advised Phil that the doors had to be split into two openings with a pillar in the centre, which is not what Phil had hoped for, but Ashfield dealt with the council to clarify what was allowable in building regulations and confirmed a single span was possible.

“It’s really changed the feel from the rooms we had before and is great for entertaining too.”