Best way to add third bedroom to my 2 bedroom mid terrace house?

(47 Posts)
littlecrystal Fri 03-May-13 09:58:38

Hello, I am looking for an advice from the wise mumsnetters. My house is fairly typical 2 bed, 2 up 2 down Victorian mid terrace (no extension at the back). The layout is good and the rooms are spacious, apart from the kids bedroom which is about 2.4m x 3.3m. I could fit 2 single beds in there (they are in junior beds now) but it leaves no room for anything else (especially wardrobes– ideally each of them should have a wardrobe).

I can think of several options:
1) Take up DC’s bedroom, and divide our front bedroom in to two equal bedrooms (two windows in there) - my heart cries here as our master bedroom now has a “wow” factor and then it will be just “meeehh” three small bedrooms.
2) Create a super small 3rd bedroom (1.8m x 2m) off our master bedroom and let one DS have it. The problem I can think of is sound insulation with our bedroom, would DS hear everything DH and are I up to?
3) Bite the bullet and extend to the loft, and let one or both DC have their space up there. Even without a dormer it should give us a decent space (around 4m x 4m). What worries me that if I come to sell in 5-10 years time, the asking price of option 1, 2 and 3 will be similar because all will be called 3 bedrooms even of ridiculous size but we would have invested in the loft and will likely to lose out financially. What surprises me that people still go for the no. of bedrooms rather than space and some completely disregard the sq. footage!

Any advice will be very much appreciated.

chocoluvva Fri 03-May-13 10:17:57

I'd go for number of bedrooms and wouldn't want more than two bathrooms.

It's hard for an older child to have a very small bedroom - they can't invite friends in to it.

cooper44 Fri 03-May-13 10:19:02

I would do the loft. I would think slicing up your rooms to make smaller ones would be off putting when you sell. Depends where you are of course. But the wow factor counts for a lot when selling.

Triumphoveradversity Fri 03-May-13 10:21:10

If you can extend in to the loft without using too much space for the staircase I would do that. I would also consider having a small loo and wet room up in the loft.

SavoyCabbage Fri 03-May-13 10:33:04

I would get some loft conversion quotes to see if its an option.

Could they not share the master bedroom so they have more space, then it wouldn't be permanent?

littlecrystal Fri 03-May-13 10:38:57

Thank you. Still amazes me how houses with a miniscule 3rd bedroom (e.g. 1.8m x 2.5m) sell for 30-40k more in our area. This is one of the reason which prevents us from moving.

I am thinking of simple loft conversion (no dormer, no ensuite) due to budget, but we have big family bathroom on the 1st floor and will soon have a downstairs cloakroom.

littlecrystal Fri 03-May-13 10:42:28

I see nothing wrong in DC sharing a bedroom and initially thought of just swapping our bedrooms, but unfortunately DC1 has some behavioral traits which makes me think he will need a separate space.

titchy Fri 03-May-13 10:47:44

What's your downstairs accommodation like?

If prices in your area are determined solely on the number of bedrooms you could always have the loft as the master (get a small en-suite up there), then split your current bedroom into two and voila - a 4 bed house!

I agree go into the loft though. If budget restricts the option of an en-suite at least get the plumbing put in for one.

CheesyPoofs Fri 03-May-13 10:55:05

I was going to say bunkbeds, but I see you would prefer them to have a separate space.

I would say loft as well.

ouryve Fri 03-May-13 10:59:45

If you're not planning on moving in the next few years, then you need to do what works for you - going up into the loft, if you have space up there (we don't, as ours isn't full height) would work the best for you in terms of space and flexibility and would still be cheaper for you than moving.

And I agree with what titchy said - you always have the option of turning it into a 4 bedroom house, then, if the footprint of the house gives it sufficient living space.

littlecrystal Fri 03-May-13 11:00:07

My downstairs is hallway + living room + big kitchen/dinner + conservatory + downstairs cloakroom off conservatory. I will probably sound very house proud but currently kitchen/diner, master bedroom and bathroom have wow factor because of their size. True I could make it 4 bed, even 5 if I divide loft into 2 rooms smile but I refuse to make a joke of my house.

So I am warming up to the loft idea!

MortifiedAdams Fri 03-May-13 11:06:26

If its something temporary, as in, you would plan on selling in a couple of uears and buying a three bed, could you and dh have the lounge as your bedroom, use the kitchen,diner, conservatory as all living space, then the boys in a room each upstairs?

happyAvocado Fri 03-May-13 11:15:30

get quotes for loft conversion which would include shower upstairs, it may be more than 40K by the time you add changing doors to all bedrooms etc

littlecrystal Fri 03-May-13 11:19:54

Actually I just tried to sell my house in a bid to buy a 3 bed house in our area, but as much as we viewed we need to add 20-40k for a tiny 3rd bedroom, or all bedrooms are medium/small size, or the downstairs is very small (cottage type 3 bed with extension at the back) with a galley kitchen, so we do not feel it is switching to such. This made us look for alternative solutions how to create extra space.

MadBusLady Fri 03-May-13 17:28:45

I was going to say be wary of extending into loft if the downstairs isn't really big enough to balance out, but actually it sounds like it is. I hate "unbalanced" houses and always look at square footage (I realise I'm in the minority as a buyer though!) Your house sounds like three decent sized bedrooms would be perfect for it.

Am very much in sympathy over the not wanting to make a joke of your house thing, but if you do the loft extension now you've always got the option of later selling your soul and putting a stud wall into the current master to sell it as a 4-bed. wink

littlecrystal Fri 03-May-13 21:38:01

I just found out that our neighbour has 3 bedrooms on the 1st floor (master and 2 singles) and a windowless bathroom squeezed in between front and back bedroom. Hmm.. two singles would suit our kids, but windowless small bathroom... not so sure.

greenformica Fri 03-May-13 21:47:58

Do the loft. It's not as expensive as extending and you will get your money back. Make it the mater bedroom with en-suite.

Your kids room is presently 8 by 11 feet. I'd leave it as it is as it could still be the guest double bedroom with built in wardrobes.

I'd split your front room evenly and stick your boys in there.

Could you build upwards on top of your conservatory?

Serafinaaa Sat 04-May-13 08:12:50

I'm in the process of buying a house with 3 beds but a smallish windowless bathroom. We are planning to put a sun tube type thingy in to bring natural light into the bathroom. It might not be too bad?

flow4 Sat 04-May-13 08:28:25

Fwiw, I considered turning my bathroom into a small bedroom and creating a windowless bathroom at the back of my 5m x 3.5m bedroom, but my builder said it would cost around £10-12k and the value I gained from the extra small bedroom would be lost from the windowless bathroom...

littlecrystal Sat 04-May-13 15:21:00

I just saw my neighbour's house with the windowless bathroom squeezed in between the bedrooms and then the 3rd bedroom made from the bathroom - I LOVED the house along with the 1st floor layout and the windowless bathroom looked loved and lovely. I would buy that house in an instant. It is a shame that when it was on the market I disregarded because it of the windowless bathroom without even looking.
I realize that changing the layout to a windowless bathroom will not add the value but it would work for me.

UptheChimney Sat 04-May-13 17:30:56

What worries me that if I come to sell in 5-10 years time, the asking price of option 1, 2 and 3 will be similar because all will be called 3 bedrooms even of ridiculous size but we would have invested in the loft and will likely to lose out financially

But you'll have had 5-10 years use of the extended house. Can you quantify that in monetary terms? The convenience, the family harmony, the sense of not being squashed?

If the house were an investment, yes, you might be over-capitalising, but have a look at similar properties in your area. And 5 years is usually enough time to absorb costs into the capital value of the house.

And frankly, the "slicing" you're talking about is far more likely to put off buyers than a well-done, according to regs loft conversion. Well, it would put me off -- I like simple "clean" space, not messed about with.

Jaynebxl Sun 05-May-13 05:45:27

Houses may go on the market for significantly more just because they have an extra, possibly tiny, bedroom, but that doesn't mean they will easily sell for that much. Once people view I guess they would prefer the loft room with a bit more space. I know I would, plus as the poster above said, it gives you good, useable space now, which is invaluable.

flow4 Sun 05-May-13 07:32:47

Yes, me too. I offered on a house that had been 'sliced', and knocked off the cost of putting it right. A loft that has been done well, to building reg standards, will add value.

MortifiedAdams Sun 05-May-13 08:44:59

Whilst a third bedroom on the first floor and a third in the loft will both amount to the same - a thirs in the lofr will be much more wow and will be viewers forst choice, and as such, would fetch a higher price.

If you do look at doing the loft conversion do bear in mind the staircase. We got some quotes for a LC and all of them said that the only way to do it would be lose DD's (tiny) room to put in the staircase, so in our case although we'd be getting a much bigger room in the loft, we'd be losing a bedroom to get it and when we sold we'd almost certainly not get our money back.

Mum2Fergus Sun 05-May-13 10:17:03

Sorry if I missed it mentioned during thread but depending on ages, would a garden room hold any potential? If kids too young it could be used as a playroom to free up some space inside.

purplewithred Sun 05-May-13 10:20:56

Another vote for loft.

littlecrystal Sun 05-May-13 22:08:02

It is going to be a tough call. I know that a loft is more appealing, but having just seen the option of a bathroom squeezed between two bedrooms I though that would be perfect for us (and probably cheaper to convert to).
<Can I make my neighbour to swap houses with me envy )

olivertheoctopus Sun 05-May-13 22:20:34

We live in what was a 2 bedroom (both decent sized doubles) Victorian terrace and spent £40k converting our loft 4 years ago. Our bedroom is in the loft and we have a rear dormer with French doors and a Juliet balcony overlooking the garden plus a small en suite. We love love love it and as we were otherwise v happy with the house and area, delighted that it buys us many more years in this house. Hard to tell about added value as prices are silly money and recession proof round here but we def haven't lost anything.

littlecrystal Mon 06-May-13 00:06:14

olivertheoctopus £40k for the loft conversion! shock Are you in London by any chance? It is difficult to understand what costs so much, labour? Materials? I was hoping for approx. £20k (no dormer, no en-suite option).

BlueSkySunnyDay Mon 06-May-13 00:25:43

Loft conversions are expensive, its one of the few things we ruled out doing due to cost. I think a proportion of it is due to the fact that a room you sleep in has to comply with certain fire regs - we were told we would have to have new floor supporting beams which would need to come in via the roof.

When we gave it further thought we decided that we also couldnt afford to lose space from a bedroom to make room for the staircase.

Do you know other people who have done it locally? I would get a few quotes and their ideas but also be very careful about following up references as I think there are a few sharks in the loft conversion game.

I'm SE London and our loft conversion was £32k with dormer and ensuite inc all fixtures wardrobes carpets etc and I like nice stuff ! The conversion cost was £27k

Start looking at houses with conversions in your area as a (false) prospective buyer to get inspiration

flow4 Mon 06-May-13 08:21:52

I think there are a lot of sharks! I'm house hunting at the mo, and looking to see whether lofts are convertible... My builder friend (who has done several conversions including one in his own house) says costs are very variable because they depend on the state/structure of the existing loft, but break down roughly as:
£4-8k - strengthening floor
£500-1.5k - stairs
£500-2k - velux style windows
£1.5-5k - boarding, insulation and plastering
£300-1k - electrics
£500 incidentals/bits and bobs
+ £2-6k to add an en suite

So if the floor of your loft has already been strengthened, it could cost as little as £3-4k to do a basic loft conversion... All the way up to about £25k for a loft that needs more structural work, or even more if you have 'special features' like a juliette balcony. And obviously, labour costs are very variable...

Vakant Mon 06-May-13 08:31:17

Our loft conversion cost 32k. But that went up to nearer to 40k once VAT was added. We live just outside London and that was out most expensive quote but we were impressed with the company so felt the extra cost was worth it as a loft conversion is something that needs to be done well in order for it to pay for itself when the timer to sell comes. Our cheapest quote was 28k so not a massive difference.

lalalonglegs Mon 06-May-13 08:44:26

I agree that going into the loft is the best option. I am puzzled that you say a tiny third bedroom barely large enough for a bed adds £30k in your area but you are worried you won't recover the costs of conversion if you sell. Whatever the cost, as others have pointed out, if you have several years' use out of it then it's got to be worth the outlay.

Serafinaaa Mon 06-May-13 09:10:15

Just to give another point of view about loft bedrooms and selling- I was in the market for a 3 bed terrace with starting a family in mind and I preferred the three smaller bedrooms on the first floor rather than the 'wow' loft room. I didn't want potential children to be on a floor below me and I didn't want to lose the loft space for storage. Just another idea.

OP I am in a mid terrace (1950s council, not a period property like yours!) and we made a third bedroom out of a huge front master (5m total width of house). The smallest bedroom is now long enough across the window for a standard single bed (we got a cabin bed so that when he needs it he can have the roll-away desk option) and there is enough height underneath it for an air bed so sleepovers are still possible. There was a big built in wardrobe already which we thought about extending over the stairs by way of knocking through and making a false back. But didn't. The other thing we had to do for all this was to take out a cupboard in the upstairs hall which had once had an immersion heater.

One other thing to think about is whether you have a chimney breast which you don't need. We left ours in place (dead centre of the house) because it was just too much disruption to deal with, but if we had taken it out it would have given us about three square metres downstairs, two upstairs, and more flexibility on layout generally.

HotelTangoFoxtrotUniform Mon 06-May-13 09:39:31

Please put a bathroom in if you're going to do the loft. I spent my teens in a bedroom in a converted loft with no bathroom and it bugged me no end. When we were house hunting I disregarded anything without a bathroom on the top floor (if it had been done) too many memories of teenage drinking and vomiting out of the window

NickECave Mon 06-May-13 09:55:10

We have a similar 2 up 2 down victorian mid terrace although less space than you downstairs as the bathroom (not much bigger than a cloakroom) is off the living room and we have a kitchen/diner. We hummed and haahed for years about doing a loft conversion but finally decided to go ahead last year as we now have 2 children and had no prospect of moving as I currently work very part-time and we couldn't get a larger mortgage.

We've built a dormer conversion which gives us a decent sized double bedroom which we use for our 2 girls and a lovely shower-room/toilet. We've kept the large master bedroom on the first floor and what was our girls bedroom (decent enough double) is now our living room/spare bedroom and the ground floor reception room is now mainly used as a dining room/entertaining space/play space for kids. We now have a 3 bedroom house but as we're happy for the girls to continue sharing we've actually given ourselves a second reception room/spare bedroom which works really well for us.It cost about £35K including redecorating through the stairwells afterwards but has bought us another 5 years in our house and means we can stay in the area until I hopefully start earning more money once both children are in school. I don't think you should just think of the conversion purely in terms of how much value it adds to the property in the long run, as long as you're planning on staying for another 5 years or so you really will get value out of it in the improvements it makes to family life.

BlueSkySunnyDay Mon 06-May-13 11:26:10

I agree if you were doing the loft a bathroom would be a good idea too, if I were looking for a house id like a loft bedroom but if there was no bathroom up there it would put me off buying - so long term worth the investment.

It doesnt cost you anything to look about at what you can do and get quotes - H is a tradesman and im sure a lot of his clients are what we call "tyre kickers" just getting quotes out of curiosity rather than with any intention of actually getting work done.

If you then decide on plan b and rejig your bedrooms and bathroom then as someone says cabin type beds often make more of a small room. DS has a high sleeper aspace one with space underneath, we have a bookshelf, toystorage and he has curtains round it so he can use the area as a "camp" if he wants. You could always get a carpenter to build something to your spec, i've seen some great ideas on pinterest.

littlecrystal Mon 06-May-13 11:41:00

As I think more of that, in addition to loft conversion we would have to make room for a staircase in between the bedrooms, which means new walls and redecoration of the bedrooms, adding up to the cost. And like Serafinaaa, I also prefer all bedrooms on the same floor. I am now really tempted to move the layout only, which would cost possibly only £10-15k and would work better for me. Thankfully we still have a bit of work to do on our downstairs so I have some time to think about. Oh and we have an architect coming next week, hopefully he will be helpful.

flow4 Mon 06-May-13 11:49:09

You already know what you want, dontcha... You don't need our advice! grin

littlecrystal Mon 06-May-13 11:51:31

RakeABedOfTyneFilth I would love not to have the chimneys but I ripping them off would devalue the house even though I am not planning on selling any time soon. It is a bit of shame, I have bought a house with period features, I don't really like them but I feel like I must maintain them.

littlecrystal Mon 06-May-13 11:53:36

flow4 I started this thread thinking I want a loft until I visited that neighbour's house 2 days ago. I keep changing my mind between my head (loft) and heart (bathroom in the middle) decision.

olivertheoctopus Mon 06-May-13 20:28:29

No, not in London (housing recession proof area of East Anglia) but we did have to have an awful lot of additional structural steel as they found that the first floor was being held up by what was no more than a scaffold board! That did also include the cost of having our first floor ceilings lowered to give the buildings regs height in the loft as raising the ridge height wasn't an issue. I think the French doors, Juliet balcony and ensuite added a chunk too. Suspect non-dormer would be a lot less but we couldn't have done it without the dormer. Plus had to replace every door in the house to meet fire regs and our front roof needed re-roofing too. Still worth every penny.

MinimalistMommi Tue 07-May-13 09:36:23

Make sure you get building regs signed off properly if you convert the loft otherwise it won't be legally considered habitual and you can call it a bedroom. So many houses I viewed with loft rooms when I was buying didn't have building regs....needless to say we didn't buy them...

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