We can help create your perfect home
Your perfect home will be as unique as you are, but there are a few major, practical considerations everyone should deal with before they start choosing the wallpaper. Here we help you decide if you should renovate, convert, extend or start from scratch and build your own home.
Consider the way you live in your home now and think about where it doesn’t quite work – for instance do you regularly cook for friends but find yourself stuck in the kitchen on your own while your guests sit in another room enjoying themselves? Do the children share a bedroom when they are really ready for their own space? Do you have a dining room you only use at Christmas which might be better used as a home office?
The first step is to decide which route you want to follow to improve your home.
Extending your property
- Single storey or two storey extension
If you are running out of space at home you have two choices, move or extend.
A single storey rear extension with a loft conversion is a popular choice for terraced homes, but if space allows, semi-detached houses may benefit more from a two storey extension. But the trick is never to over extend your property, every road has its ‘ceiling price’ and if yours is out of keeping with its neighbours you may not recoup your investment when you eventually sell.
Remodel existing rooms
- Knocking down internal walls
- Dividing rooms with partition walls
- Installing en-suite bathroom or downstairs cloakroom
Remodelling is often the best solution if you need different living accommodation rather than extra living space. In normal circumstances, planning permission is not needed for this work. However, the work must comply with the Building Regulations if it involves alterations to the structure of the building or the drainage, for example removing a load-bearing wall.
Converting unused space within the house
- Loft, basement or garage conversions
Loft conversions offer a convenient way to add an extra bedroom, bathroom or home office. The easiest way to tell if your loft is suitable for conversion is to see if you can stand upright at its highest point, as this needs to be at least 2.3 metres.
Basement conversions are becoming more popular in urban areas where land is at a premium, but should not be undertaken lightly. The specialist work involved to create a space that is waterproof, well ventilated and well lit, makes them much more expensive than loft conversions.
If your garage is only used as a junk store, ask yourself if it would be better used as habitable space. You will have to upgrade the structure to meet current Building Regulations covering energy efficiency, damp-proofing and ventilation. If the conversion involves building on top of the garage, the foundations will need to be checked to show they can take the extra load
Build your own
We have probably all dreamed of building our own homes, but unless you are a born designer, project manager, negotiator and financial controller the project could spiral out of control.
Every stage of the build will have to be planned in minute detail, from the location of the plot, the design and layout, the negotiations with planning authorities and selecting the right builder.
So if you’ve never had any experience in managing a building project, it might be worth getting a project manager or finding a builder who can also offer that service. You must be extremely clear as to what your requirements are and sticking to your budget is crucial, always build in at least a 15 percent contingency fund – if you don’t need it that’s brilliant but rare, but if an extra expense crops up, you’ll have no need to worry.