If you have previously recommended this thread, you should see a tick / check mark on the recommend button. Click the tick to undo the recommendation (the tick may appear to change to a cross as you do this.) If you added a comment with your recommendation, you will need to delete that from your facebook wall separately.
So I recently got onto the property ladder and the house is in great condition but I am not sure what to do with the lounge so please help me and let me know what you would do if you owned the place. I have uploaded a few pictures and floorplan on my profile.
Here are my current thoughts:
1) Front of house - Get rid of the current bushes and pave it all over and have a few plant pots/ hanging baskets - whilst I like the grass I find that with my car on the driveway there is nowhere to walk by the car and I end up tramping over the grass - no one else has done theirs yet so not sure if it will stick out like a sore thumb.
2) Lounge - this is my biggest dilemma - if you see the picture (soda/TV/table are prev. owners). The prev owners had sofa right by the door to lounge but I didn't like that so I have now put my sofa against the wall that backs onto the garage (see floorplan). Will also be repainting the room to a light green colour as my current sofa and furniture are a walnut colour.
My plan was to knock out the large windows and door to garden and put in bi-fold doors and landscape the garden (see garden pic) as I like the idea of opening up the house to the outside. The radiator would then move to the wall backing onto the kitchen as its a retty much a redundant wall due to doors. I was then going to put my dining table in the space near the bi fold doors and leave my sofa against the wall that backs onto the garage. This would then ensure the room still looks big. I tried my sofa in various different places but it just made the room feel small.
3) Would you convert the garage into a functional room? I tried putting my car (skoda) in but its super tight fit i.e. can't get out of the car once its in. And if you would convert the garage what layout would you then have for downstairs?
NB Hall way is essentially a room in itself but because you have to walk through it all the time I have decided to keep it as a hallway.
Please help because we can't make up our minds on what to do - sorry for the long post
Just one observation about paving over your front garden - some councils dont allow this now as it contributes towards flooding.
IMO garages are a waste of space, especially when you cant actually park in them. But I'd ask an Estate Agent about the resale value of your house if you did convert the garage.
An option may be to retain part of it for storage; lawnmower, bikes etc (so keep garage doors) and convert behind that and knock through to house. This would be cheaper than removing garage doors, putting in windows etc and wouldnt change the look of the property.
I don't know how long you have bee nin the house but if you are really undecided leave doing anything until you have lived there a bit longer. I've always waited at least 6 months before making any major changes as you really do need to get the feel of a house.
Our garage has been converted (done before we owned the house) as Sunnyshores outlined, with a window put in the rear part. It works very well.
As to front garden I gravelled the lawn & have a couple of plants in the gravel. It gets round the paving over ban by councils & looks good.
I have been in the place for over 3 months and will be waiting until spring before doing anything - the first on my list is repainting and I need to save up for everything else but want to make sure when I do something it not to then decide I should of x,y,z instead.
I was just thinking about what sunnyshores said about needing permissions, I might just pave the existing driveway add a tiny bit extra for walking and as you say put down gravel where the lawn was and maybe just add one additional pathway leading from the front door directly to the pavement.
It all depends on your budget, too, of course. You might find it cheaper and easier just to pop down a few paving slabs across the lawn to make a path in the short term, while you worry about the house.
Here's some useful advice about what permissions you need and ideas from the RHS: apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/Profile.aspx?pid=738. I think their sample garden / parking layouts are lovely (a neighbour has done a layout like their example 3 and it does look very good).
A friend had their front garden entirely gravelled over and the problem is that from the front room you get an view of what looks like a car park and then you're straight onto the road, which isn't very nice for them or safe for the children. I think you do need enough tall planting that you don't see cars from your front windows.
I would have to see if the wall between kitchen and lounge is load bearing but I have considered that idea too. Perhaps when I do do the works I should get an architect in? Do they advise on how best to design the downstairs layout?
My first goal is to get double glazing and as I am doing that I will get the bi fold door, then next is getting someone in to design the back garden.
Since the garage sticks out the front of the house it might be difficult to make it look nice. Have you considered a rear extenesion? Something across the whole width as a dinign/sunroom would be nice.
Glad you're keeping the hall, I think a generous hall always makes a property feel spacious
I would definitely go for plants and paths rather than paving the whole front garden.
I can't see the room sizes so taking a stab here, I would keep part of the garage for storage and make the rest into an office or snug. Might put the laundry stuff in the storage bit . Then knock the kitchen through into the sitting room. Definitely the bifold doors. In the meantime I would make 'paths of convenience' at the front - walk on the grass where you need to for the first few months, then put paths on the worn out bits and keep the rest of the front as garden. The entrance hall seems very generous which is nice but I'd nick a bit of it at the back to square off the living room. And I really wouldn't bother with landscaping the back garden for at least a year, a bit of research in garden mags and a couple of gardening friends may be all you need.
I'd keep the garage, storage space is always usefu, and the design is such that I think it would be difficult to convert and for it to look good. You say you love cycling, where would you keep your bike if the garage went . I'd perhaps knock a door from the garage to the hallway which increases it's usability.
I'd think carefully about converting the garage - we've seen quite a lot recently and if the garage is too small to get a car in then it's also usually too small to be an extra reception or dining room that people use (the ones we saw seemed to have ended up as 'offices' aka junk room).
I have thought of a rear extension Tyranasaurus but there is a public sewer running under the garden within a foot of the house so there is access to the sewer I have to consider and additional costs to having to build over it.
I have the cupboard in the kitchen as a larder as there are no electrical points in the cupboard but thanks for the idea purplewithred I will keep it in mind if I ever re-do the kitchen. The entrance hallway is generous in size and I currently have put my bookshelves there with a bench to sit on when people are waiting for someone else/ or to put shoes on. The cupboard in the entrance hall next to the kitchen one will be where I will store coats/shoes/ hats/ bags and scarves.
I have considered putting a door to the garage as it means I can empty rubbish from the kitchen and put it in the garage much quickly.
I have thought of putting some gym equipment in there a treadmill, mat for stretching, maybe one or two other machines. Although there is a gym within 5 mins walk it is really busy and costs £47pm so this could save me money in the long term - anyone done something similar?
I suppose I could be flash ILikeBirds and get a screen hooked up into the garage and have my bike on a stand where I can cycle when the weather is crap and have one of those cycling simulation DVDs running - pretend I am cycling in France.
We deconverted the utterly dire garage conversion on our house. We kept the door from the hallway into the garage though and had a utility area fitted at the back of the garage. We've got a length of worktop, a big sink an drainer, a double cupboard and space/plumbing/electrics for a washing machine and tumble drier. We use the rest of the room for (much needed) storage. It means there's loads more room in the kitchen too.