Greg Toon from Potential etc... has a regular column in The Sunday Times 'Home' supplement. In the column, he gives advice on unlocking the potential of properties and helps solve problems with readers' homes. (If you are a Times subscriber, you can access the full column by clicking on the below extracts). Greg also contributes to Real Homes and House Beautiful Magazines.

15th January 2017

Mini new-build house:

Detached garages are ripe with potential for conversion into dwellings. And now’s the time to do it — some modern cars are so vast that you can no longer open the doors inside the building. What’s more, with the housing shortage, revamped garages could be a good depository for boomerang children.

 

4th December 2016

Functional extension:

When it comes to extensions, bigger isn’t always better — minor alterations to a layout can make an enormous difference. For homeowners who need an extra bedroom, but can’t afford a big project or lack the land to extend far back, there are tricks to reduce the size and expense of an extension while gaining the space you need.

9th October 2016

Alpine apartment with a view:

There’s no point having a holiday flat in a sublime location if you can’t see the view. But planners in the French Alps are strict about altering chocolate-box chalets. This proposed revamp of a top-floor flat in an Alpine holiday home opens up the panorama and should satisfy Gallic bureaucrats; its design could work equally well in a British beauty spot.

 

28th August 2016

Framed-view extension:

Most homeowners want an extension that adds light, but few want to live in a goldfish bowl — and nobody wants bigger windows if the view is dire.

24th July 2016

Self-contained annexe:

Members of Generation Rent who’ve been holding out for a hero, you might finally be in luck. Forget bunking up in a grotty flatshare over a fried chicken shop in an overcrowded city, Alma and John are aiming to provide you with a self-contained flat in stunning north Wales countryside.

 

22nd May 2016

Basement design:

Basements cost about double the equivalent of above-ground building works, so it’s a real shame that so many end up becoming subsidiary spaces.

10th April 2016

Creating privacy in a suburban setting:

When your neighbours add a patio and a rear extension, it can be doubly dispiriting. Not only must you put up with all the construction chaos, but at the end of it, you may lose privacy in your garden and at the back of your house. To stop being overlooked, build an extension of your own, designed to guard against prying eyes.

 

28th February 2016

Extension to a Listed building:

Sure, it’s a First World problem, but it can keep the owners of historic homes awake at night. You’ve got a listed building — or, at least, a traditional one — with all those great features, but it’s a little too dinky. You want to extend, but in what style? Do you try to keep it close in feel to the original structure or branch out into something more modern?

24th January 2016

Rear extensions:

It is a key design weapon in our efforts to improve, not move. Whether boldly contrasting with the rest of the house or stylishly segueing with the original architecture, a successful rear extension — creating vital light-filled extra space — can be the making of a house.

 

22th November 2015

Studio and terrace:

From Abba and platforms to punk and Star Wars, we have a lot to thank the 1970s for. The architecture of the time, however, is more divisive — particularly if it’s stuck on an attractive older building.

11th October 2015

Bungalows: Drab, uninspiring bungalows are everywhere. They do however offer great potential to be transformed into modern living spaces. Here, Greg tackles a bungalow that is not making the most of the dramatic Northumberland country views.

 

13th September 2015

Dilapidated outbuildings: A rare Manchester coach house is in poor enough conditions that the owner is considering demolishing and re-building. I propose a restoration project that both retains the character and provides the modern guest accommodation and studio spaces that the client desires.

16th August 2015

Rear extension roof pitches: Too many rear extensions are built with little consideration for their roof designs. Here I replace a tried flat roofed extension at the back of a London period home with a quirky, copper-roofed kitchen and living area.

 

12th July 2015

Porches: In this article I looked at the historic use of porches and their modern-day demise. With a refreshed functional design, I show how porches can still have a role to play in the national housing stock.

7th June 2015

Building in the grounds of a Listed Building: Having a Listed building can be blessing and a curse as these owners found out with their house. In the grounds however, there is more scope for creativity, as shown in this detached garage conversion to a contemporary, flexible games room, home office and summerhouse.

12th April 2015

Cost-saving exercise for an 'upside-down' house: A retired couple scoured the UK for their dream seaside location but the design their architects provided tendered to twice the budget. I showed tips to get the costs down while retaining the key design features.

8th February 2015

Victorian terrace extensions: Four page article on the extension options for a typical Victorian Terrace: loft, rear and basement. Includes general outline, tips and costings for each.

18th January 2015

National Parks: An owner of a property within Exmoor National Park felt he was letting the village down with his property. Greg showed how to research and fit-in with the local architectural vernacular, while having a contemporary twist at the rear of the house.

16th November 2014

Giant Dormers: A full-width dormer proposal for the first floor of a chalet bungalow trebles the available floor area, gets all the bedrooms on one level, freeing up space for more living area downstairs.

5th October 2014

Orangeries: With a reader planning to open-up the rear wall and add a full-width orangery across the back of the house, Greg advises a contemporary, eco-friendly alternative, which minimises the impact on the host home.

6th September 2014

Multi-generational homes: A three page article on how to re-design homes so they can be used be 3 generations of the same family, potentially allowing all to live mortgage-free. Including designs for 3 homes and 3 different family scenarios.

9th August 2014

Ground floor layout: Greg shows a family how to tweak their ground floor layout to help the spaces flow better and to be open-plan yet zoned. The garage is also converted to a playroom.

6th July 2014

Facelift for a drab 1970s home. A lumpy, dated house is given a fresh look with new materials and a re-design that benefits he interior spaces too.

1st June 2014

Rear link corridor: a cost effective way of getting more daylight into a developer-built 80/90s house whilst adding more space and improving functionality.

20th April 2014

Roof terraces: Make the most of the flat roof on top of your house or flat. Greg designs a new rooftop living space that is hidden from sight.

16th March 2014

Side returns: Greg's solution for a couple who think their 'side return' is a waste of space.

2nd February 2014

Loft conversions: We show how to transform a humdrum loft conversion into a boutique hotel style master bedroom suite.

10th November 2013

We design a modern yet sympathetic replacement for a UPVC conservatory which is spoiling a 100 year old house. The new structure is a garden room, linked to an open-plan kitchen.

13th October 2013

We help show a semi-retired couple how their house can be extended to capitalise on the heavily sloping site - giving them great views and a better connection with their garden.

15th September 2013

See the house that inspired the idea behind Potential etc...

Greg gives advice for home reconfiguration and shows new case studies of 3 different house types.