From bland to beautiful, these properties have each been given a new lease of life with an external re-design.

 living space home exterior renovation to 3 bedroom home after picture - grand designs

Image: Brown Hill Photography

Take a critical look at your home from the street. With any luck it just needs sprucing up, but at the other extreme a home that’s stuck in a time warp could be reinvented with a new façade.

Some are easier to remodel than others, but as these five examples of homes given a radical new look go to prove, there's plenty that can be done if your home has an eyesore exterior. 

A modern addition 


 placefortyeight exterior renovation before picture - home improvements - grand designs

A double-height extension clad in Siberian larch is linked to a 1930s house in Darley Abbey, Derby, by black fibre cement boards, which carry over to the bay window. Simon Foote Architects designed the £250,000 project for blogger/stylist Katy Wilson of PlaceFortyEight, and her family. It includes a rear extension.


placefortyeight exterior renovation after picture - home improvements - grand designs

Image: Matthew Jones Photography

Total transformation


 living space home exterior renovation to 3 bedroom home before picture - grand designs

Living Space Architects retained the width of the pitched brick gable of a three-bedroom 1970s bungalow in Lympstone, Devon. It was replaced with a rectangular box gable and projecting terrace, with an outside porch and repositioned front door beneath. The project cost £246,000. 


living space home exterior makeover to 3 bedroom house - grand designs

Image: Brown Hill Photography

Character cladding


 roderick james architects exterior renovation of house - before picture - grand designs

Roderick James Architects took on a 1920s four-bedroom detached house near Ottery St Mary, Devon, extending and renovating it. The original rendered building, now insulated and clad in untreated sawn larch, has a new pitched roof and links to a slate-hung extension. A wraparound oak-frame veranda ties it all together. The project cost £300,000.

Read more: Exterior cladding: which material to choose for your home


roderick james architects exterior renovation of house - after picture - grand designs

Image: Kilian Hall

1970s revival


 leaf architecture house exterior renovation - before picture - grand designs

Transforming the front of a detached 1970s house in Collingtree Village, Northamptonshire, was challenging due to a visually dominant catslide roof. Leaf Architecture enveloped it into a two-storey front extension, also adding a large, glazed gable entrance and a two-storey rear extension. Dark concrete roof tiles, white render and cedar cladding were selected to suit the character of the street. The project cost £250,000-£300,000. 


leaf architecture house exterior renovation - after picture - grand designs

Image: Leaf Architecture

New England style


cottage before exterior renovation project - home improvements - grand designs

Space & Style Home Design extended a small pre-war bungalow in Fareham, Hampshire, up and outwards for £230,000 and it now has three bedrooms. Big gables, an open porch, a widened entrance, cladding and self-coloured render give the building a New England look. Window and door openings were adjusted to suit the new design.


 after image of cottage extended and given a new england style look - home improvements - grand designs

Image: Gaby Reyl-Lewis


For more incredible home transformations, read Grand Designs magazine digitally for free now by registering your details

read a free issue of grand designs magazine


How to upgrade the exterior of your home

5 practical considerations when installing a new driveway

Architect tips: How to upgrade an outbuilding

Kevins Column

Top self build highlights at Grand Designs Live 2019 hosted by Kevin McCloud

Find top experts, specialist exhibitors and a wealth of inspiration for your self-build or renovation project all under one roof.
Home Improvements

Make a design impact with contemporary stairs and balconies

Bespoke contemporary staircases, gates and balconies can have a transformative effect on a self-build home
Home Improvements

Future-proof your home with a luxury home lift

Lifts can be a real feature in your dream home. Not only that, they future proof it too, ensuring it will be accessible for you...
Home Improvements

Triple glazed windows: what you need to know

Triple glazing is increasingly popular with self-builders. We present a handy guide to the ins and outs of triple glazed windows.
Home Improvements

Get a healthy house when you install a ventilation system

Boosting the air quality in your home can have a transformative effect on health and happiness. We look at why adequate home ventilation really matters.
Home Improvements

Discover a wine room design service for self builders

Luxury wine storage can be the perfect addition to your statement home. Discover spiral cellars and bespoke walk-in wine rooms.