Whether you’ve started to grow your family or you’re simply outgrowing the space you’re in, creating a home extension could help you avoid the stress of moving.
But how do you make sure the space you create is fit for all that’s asked of it? And just where should you put those extra feet and inches? If you’re struggling to find a quiet spot to do your daily yoga, need a nook for all the kids’ toys or an office space to call your own, these are the points you can’t gloss over when creating a home extension fit for everything.
What, where, how?
Sometimes it’s really obvious where you should put new walls. Other times, your options aren’t as clear. I’m definitely not the most decisive person in the world, so making even the smallest of decisions can throw me over the edge (much to my husband’s dismay). For the most part, extending existing structures, such as adding a bedroom over a garage, tends to be the most fuss-free option.
Check What’s Doable
First, you need to check that what you have in your mind is actually doable without the house falling down. You’ll need to check the strength of your foundations to make sure the room below can take the weight (or get someone in to do it).
The biggest pain in the bum will be applying for planning permission to cover any increase in height or change in roof pitch. For example, if you’re converting a loft space, you might not need planning permission, but do look into it thoroughly; you don’t want to be asked to tear the new extension down.
Chances are, there isn’t just one extension option. You might be able to convert a garage, build above the garage, convert the loft, build outwards, build upwards. Think about and consider all of your options, before rushing in to anything.
If your home is in a sought-after location, and you’re adding an extension for the value, adding a bedroom would be a good move.
If you have a garage and you don’t use it for car or other storage, converting it into an extra room would probably add value to your home. My parents originally had a double garage, and turned it into a large kitchen diner. It really works, and didn’t require planning permission. However, if you decide to build beyond the existing walls of the garage, an application is required.
Before you start knocking walls down and paying architects, you need to think about the implications of your extension. If you’re converting a garage, will you miss that storage space? Similar with a loft conversion. If you have a car, do you have another place to park it?
You should also think about your neighbours. It’s polite to ask them what is and isn’t acceptable. Where are the house boundaries? Will your new conservatory block all the light from one of their windows? We’ll be doing a big garden renovation in a couple of years time, and we’ve already made our (very lovely) neighbours aware that we’ll be doing it, and that it’ll be messy. They don’t mind too much!L
Let there be light and warmth!
Once you’ve thought about how and where you’ll grow your home, it’s time to move onto the finer details. The level of electrical work you’ll require will depend on lots of things, including if you’re planning to run heating or just lighting into the room.
If you’re creating a home extension downstairs or converting a garage, bi-fold doors will be an amazing addition. I’ve always wanted them!
Choose something energy efficient with floor to ceiling panes. You’ll have the bonus of lots of light when needed along with an attractive and convenient route to your outside space.
Your choice of doors and windows will impact any heating requirements too. You may want to match the style of those elsewhere in your home. Energy efficiency should also be a checkpoint on your list, especially if your extension isn’t sheltered by other areas of the building. For more compact spaces where you don’t want to sacrifice floor and wall space to radiators, underfloor heating can be a worthwhile, though not inexpensive, investment.
Hopefully this post has given you a few pointers for creating a home extension!