As families grow up there is usually a need to upsize into a larger house, just as the grandparents may have downsized after all their children had fled the nest. Although interest rates have been at an all-time low for a long time, it’s still not as easy to get a mortgage as it used to be, and sometimes it is quite impossible to find the required large deposit.
The solution for many people requiring extra space is to look upwards in the home and plan to convert the loft. It will cost money, of course, however, it can be considerably cheaper than moving home, and it will also add to the value of the house when it is finally time to move on.
Local authorities have strict rules for planning, and it is important to establish whether or not planning permission is required for a loft conversion. In many cases, it is not required, but this point should always be clarified before starting any work. An architect, if one is employed, or a builder will know what the regulations are for the area, but a search on the local authority’s website should also find the information.
Planning the space
It is surprising how much-wasted space can be found in the loft area of a house. Many people just use it for storage (and often hardly ever use what is stored), so turning it into a brand new room that could be used for a variety of uses adds real value to the property. It could become an extra bedroom, a playroom for the children that they can call their own, a new living room space or a neat home office. Depending on how it is converted, it is possible to sit at a big window in the loft and get a completely different perspective of the landscape around.
The best way to create more headroom is to install a dormer window(s). These extend out from the original roof and can be as large or as small as required – taking into consideration the building regulations and what it will look like from the outside. Neighbors and the council may consider it intrusive if it is not well designed. Dormers can provide a large expanse of glass, allowing in plenty of light to make the new room feel bright and airy.
Windows can also be put directly into roofs (Velux type) as well as at a gable end, though no extra space will be gained as with dormer windows. Windows for dormer conversions must be designed to match the windows in the rest of the house.
Curtains, blinds or shutters?
Window coverings are a matter of personal choice, and often blinds are used for roof windows. A homeowner may want to use curtains for dormer windows, perhaps to create a theme, or take the designer option and fit shutters. These are extremely versatile and can be designed to fit all window sizes and shapes. They are ideal for controlling the amount of light admitted, and also give that added insulating layer when it turns wintry outside.