With holiday plans scuppered and moves delayed, we look at the ways you can transform your home into the perfect, functional family space you need…
Replacing a glass or polycarbonate conservatory roof with an insulated solid composite roof will match it up to the house and make it look like a natural extension with a sense of permanence. There’ll be no more problems with sun glare, leaks or a build-up of condensation, transforming your old conservatory into a more usable living space that is also more sound-proof. Composite roofs are also ideal for home office spaces, home studios, garden rooms, and orangeries.
Looking to replace your French doors? Crittall-style aluminium doors look wonderful in a whole host of properties – including period rooms where they complement the grandeur and scale of the space.
EXTENDING LIVING SPACE
If a move is off the cards but your house is bursting at the seams, first consider where you can make the most of unused space – it’s generally the most cost-effective way to gain those extra square feet.
Loft conversions will require professional drawing plans and, in some cases, planning permission too. If you live in a flat, a semi-detached, or terraced property, then a party wall agreement will also be needed. And if you live in a conservation area as well, there are additional hoops to jump through. Lastly, loft conversions need to adhere to building regulations. As a rule of thumb, you need a minimum height of 2.1 metres over 50% of the room after the new floor has been put in.
There are many different types of loft conversion available including: skylight, rear dormer, double dormer, mansard, double mansard and hip-to-gable. So, giving an estimate of costs is tricky as it also depends on where you live in the UK. But once you’ve decided to invest and upgrade your loft space, you can take comfort in knowing you’ve created that beautiful extra room you and your family have been looking for. And, of course, you’ll have added several thousand pounds to the value of your home.
If a loft conversion won’t satisfy your needs, then you might want to consider a reconfiguration or extension in your living space. Rules, known as ‘permitted development’ rights, allow you to extend a house without needing to apply for planning permission if specific limitations and conditions are met – check your local authority website to find out the specific details. Usually, even an extension of a few square metres can make a huge difference to how you can use and configure living space – creating more convivial, conversational zones which appeal to modern ways of living.
Indecision costs! Before starting your conversion of any space, make sure your plans are fully spec’d out. Make the most of all storage space – that’s often at a premium in smaller homes. The addition of a bathroom is great in a loft conversion, but don’t add one at the expense of making the bedroom too small. Keep decor light and breezy and invest in roof insulation to help control temperature in the space, as well as sufficient wall coverings.
The kitchen is the undeniable powerhouse of the home, the hub around which most of family life swirls. If you only have the budget to change one space, this will probably be the one that will have the single biggest impact to your life.
Many houses, typically period properties, don’t allow for larger kitchens without some reconfiguration of space – either in the form of opening up walls between reception rooms and the kitchen, or by adding an extension. The former is obviously the more cost-effective, requiring the advice of structural engineers if load-bearing walls are removed.
If you do add an extension, either side return or larger, to make space for a larger kitchen, be aware of the light you are taking from any other spaces and try to compensate for that with your other glazing choices.
When it comes to choosing a kitchen, it’s best to go for what you like over following ‘trends’. These are substantial investments and first and foremost the space must be functional – there is no point in having an island if there is not sufficient space to move around it, nor for marble worktops if your counters have to stand up to the rigours of family life.
That does not, however, mean you should eschew interesting developments – kitchen tech constantly evolves, from extraction hoods, ovens, worktop technology. Cabinet design has come a long way too – deep drawers replace hard-to-use cupboards and the larder is coming to the fore again with inbuilt electric points – with many of us looking to hide all our products and small appliances from sight.
Those blessed with larger gardens have probably made the most of a lockdown in the sunshine…but larger gardens can also house garden rooms. These purpose-built structures can be fully plumbed in and have electricity installed, making them a viable space if your new work from home regime looks likely to stay in place – anyone who has been working balanced on the edge of the dining table with the family running riot around them will know it is not conducive to a happy working environment, so utilising space outside of the house is an excellent solution which causes no major interior upheaval. Unless you live in a conservation area or your home is listed, you will generally not need planning permission for these structures.
Even with a smaller garden, utilising the space and making it feel like one homogeneous zone will make your living space feel amplified. Consider using matching or tonally similar flooring from the kitchen out to the patio, and if budget allows, opt for large panes of glazing or bi-fold doors to really allow the spaces to flow between each other.
When setting up your outside space, the key is layering soft furnishings and lighting to make the seating area feel inviting. Use similar tones and textures in the adjoining room to make the spaces flow between each other. Al fresco entertaining will never have been so stylish!
Light and dress your outside space with the same care and attention you would your dining table when hosting. Will there be enough light after sunset, from the side, the table and maybe overhead like these fabulous string lights form
Dress the table too with lovely linens and have provisions like small throws over the backs of chairs just in case the temperature drops.