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Things to know before starting a house renovation

We caught up with Charlie Luxton, Soho Farmhouse member, TV presenter and director of sustainable architecture practice, Charlie Luxton Design, to get expert guidance on renovating a house
Soho Farmhouse

Sustainable architectural designer, TV presenter and Soho Farmhouse member, Charlie Luxton, knows a thing or two about designing from scratch. Based in north Oxfordshire, he transformed an unkempt brick stable into an eco-friendly three-bedroom house, where he lives with his wife, Kate, and their two children. He experienced the trials and tribulations of a self-build back in 2017, and now shares his tips for creating a sustainable and considered home.

'So often, I see major renovations turn out a bit bland,' says Luxton. 'Don't be scared to use your imagination, whatever your budget or space. Be bold. Working with a designer at the start will spark design inspiration and you'll see what's possible. Once you've established a solid foundation, there are a few areas that I like to focus on to help you get the most out of your renovation project.'

Don’t be scared to use your imagination, whatever your budget or space. Be bold

Charlie Luxton's Home

A green home is about comfort, as well as the planet

'Sustainability should underpin all decisions. A well-insulated home is much more comfortable than a badly insulated one with the heating turned up.'

Think about the space, not just the plan

'People often focus on sweating every square inch from a plan at the expense of the quality of the space. Nothing kills a room like the wrong proportions between ceiling height and space. Keep this in mind when knocking out walls.'

Avoid more of the same

'When extending, always try to create something new, don't just add more of the same. Use the opportunity to add light and height - whatever your current space lacks.'

Charlie Luxton's Home Extension
Soho Farmhouse Indoor Pool

Double height

'The trend in valuing houses by floor area takes the light away from double-height spaces. Double heights don't waste space, they create it. It's the perception of space, rather than a measurement, that defines how a home feels.'

Soho Farmhouse Double Height Living Space
Charlie Luxton Double Height Room

Stairs are key

'With a clever design and not a lot more money, you can transform stairs from a necessity into a striking element. I put stairs in double-height spaces to accentuate the connection between floors and bring daylight into the heart of a home. Think of them for movement, experience, and illumination.'

Get the entrance right

'It's always worth spending time and money on the front door. The impression you get when you first arrive sets the tone of the home. Be generous with your entrance space.'

Doors don’t have to be standard

'People tend to stick to standard-sized doors, even though a large door and an extra set of hinges cost just a few extra pounds. Don't just go wider - go taller, as it draws the eye up, accentuating height and space.'

Charlie Luxton's Home Entrance
Kettner's Entrance Door

Position windows from the inside out

'Far too often windows are placed to look symmetrical and neat. Their real function is to create views and bring in light - not act as decoration for the exterior.'

To find out more about Luxton's work and his practice, head to