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All Posts in Category: Conversions


#1 Home Improvements (Loft Conversions) – What Lies Above?

Whether it’s in the hope of selling or it is simply because you want a nicer family home, home improvements are tasks that, when done right, can be very effective. You know how to avoid dodgy tradesmen and when considering home improvements you certainly want to find an Al Borland and not a Tim Taylor. In this new blog series, we will look at some of the options when looking to improve your home.

Old boxes of junk that never got disposed of, Off-cuts of carpets, tiles, and extra wallpaper leftover from when you last decorated, Christmas decorations for 11 months out of the year. This is the typical case when one dare venture up into the attic of their homes. We personally think this is a huge waste of potential. Which would you rather have? A place to hide your junk that you keep constantly closed and argue about whose turn it is to go up there? Or a wonderful new room that is a pleasure to go into? Loft conversions add a brand new dimension to the family home whether it is a new bedroom, bathroom or study.

  1. Space. Is there sufficient space for the project you have planned? We know the idea is always tempting but if you cannot stand up straight in the centre of the loft then the conversion will only lead to awkward movements and back problems. There are options to raise sections but this would all be subject to planning permission. Contact the local Council to find out the regulations and planning permission rules before you consider undertaking such a project.
  2. Access. Another regulation is that of a fixed staircase. Do you have enough landing space for a fixed staircase? The most common options are fixed ladders or spiral staircases, these will take up less space and still meet the requirements.
  3. Function. What are you planning to convert the loft into? If there is sufficient space for the above and any planning permission is granted, then now is the time to decide what this loft conversion is going to be. An extra bedroom, bathroom, study? The choice is yours. Once you have decided, get in touch with a trusted local Loft Conversion Company for the quotation. Now is the time to start designing, let’s look at some ideas.
  1. Windows. Any room in a house needs natural light. How this natural light is delivered is your choice. The two real options for lighting a converted loft are roof lights and dormer windows. Roof lights are the standard fair when it comes to loft conversions, easily fitted into the roof itself, they certainly are the cheaper option, also requiring less work and come from a variety of sources. There are different versions, each of which open at an angle that allow for cleaning from within the loft, some are even treated so they require cleaning much less frequently. Dormer windows on the other hand require more work but will allow for extra headroom wherever they are placed, which is certainly advantageous over the former option.
  2. Fixtures. If you are planning to convert the loft into a bathroom then consider where the fixtures will go. Balancing the loft is imperative in creating a functional room and careful consideration is required here. Consider the roof height in relation to the fixtures i.e. the bath doesn’t require a high ceiling above it and therefore, should be situated at a point where the roof is lower. The sink and shower on the other hand are used when standing so these should be placed centrally under the highest point of standard housing roofs. Consider the same with a bedroom or study. Beds and desks do not require standing so they again can be situated under lower points whereas wardrobes and bookshelves will need sufficient height wherever where they are situated.
  3. Colours. You are free to do whatever you feel is best here but a point worth noting is that lighter colours give the illusion of a more spacious room. This illusion is also furthered depending on the amount of windows installed and with most lofts being relatively small; these minor considerations make all the difference.

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#2 Home Improvements (Basement Conversions) – What lies Below?

So you want to turn that old damp basement into a brand new room? It might sound like a mammoth task but with the help of a reputable building contractor, it can be as simple as outlining your vision. As with any conversion, all it takes some careful planning and some creative thinking to achieve the desired result.

  1. Height. Although most cellars have enough headroom to begin with some do not. It is possible however, to lower the floor but this is a very expensive and time-consuming task that requires extending the foundations. Unless there is absolutely no other option then we recommend avoiding this.
  2. Waterproofing. Basements are always the dampest rooms in any house so the waterproofing is essential. The options are waterproof cementing or membrane cavity draining. Speak to a Basement Conversion Company about the best option for you.
  3. Purpose. As with all of the conversions and extensions, decide on the purpose to allow the required work to be done early on. Some wiring is required regardless of purpose but, working with the electrician, consider the power outlets for televisions etc. if it is a living space. Think about the plumbing if you want a kitchen. Consider how the basement will be heated and ventilated and speak with the contractor about implementing it.
  4. Features. A basement is essentially a blank canvas, with less constraints than a loft conversion. This allows you to consider adding some built in features such as shelves and storage etc. get creative here, do what you like.
  5. Neighbours. Although, unless you are extending the foundations, you will not need planning permission for a basement conversion, you will need to check the building regulations with the local council and also notify your neighbours. After all, we don’t want to be falling out with good old Wilson now do we?
  6. Lighting. Although the artificial lighting is more of a design choice, consider how you will get natural light into the basement. Your two most viable options, if there are no existing windows, are light pipes, which are reflective pipes extending from the exterior into the basement, or window wells, which are flat windows in the garden that bring light into the basement. The window well can be used as a method of ventilation, so do consider this as you will kill two birds with one stone.
  1. Stairs. Although the stairs are already in place, they tend to be old, worn out concrete steps. Instead of trying to hide the staircase under carpets or paint why not consider replacing them all together. Spiral staircases are not only space saving but they’re also a great design feature. Look around into the different options of staircases i.e. wooden or metal in order to find ones to match the aesthetic of the room you have in mind.
  2. Lighting. The artificial light in the basement can be a great focal point for the room. If it is a living space then consider low hanging lighting with dimming lampshades in order to give a warm feeling to the room. If the room is going to be an office or other practical room then consider spotlights to really brighten up the room and highlight the important features.
  3. Colours. For a living space, do choose a strong colour. Reds have a warm and intimate quality that give a cosy feel to a living area. Lighter colours for a more practical space giving the impression of space and clarity.
  4. Flooring. If you are opting for hard flooring then consider the temperature. Basements are typically cold places and under-floor heating could be a great way to combat this. For living spaces choosing a carpet may be the best option to add to the warmth of the room.

For more information regarding home improvements, please Get in Touch. Also like and follow us on Facebook & Google+.

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