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Make the house the way we want it or get extension?

(11 Posts)
TakingTheStairs Mon 10-Mar-14 09:00:38

DH and I have had our offer accepted on what could very well be our forever house. We will have approx 30K cash to do it up when we move in.

It's a 1930s semi that has been "modernised" but really not to our taste.

The fireplaces have been taken out
The reception rooms have laminate flooring (We think the wooden floorboards are underneath)
The original doors have been taken out downstairs
The banisters is a 70s one (this will have to be changed as the slats on the landing offer no protection against very young DS falling through)
The carpets aren't great
The bathroom has no bath (essential with DS)
The bedrooms have early 00's recessed spotlights
There is only a storm porch so nowhere to leave the pram
There is no downstairs loo.

All of the above I would like to change and I know that all of the above will eat the majority, if not all of our budget.

But, we could live with it if we had to, and stretch the budget to put on an extension at the back of the house to give us a family eat in kitchen. There is just the 5m x 2.25m kitchen now.

Part of me thinks we should do all of the smaller jobs as I will still be determined to get the kitchen extension eventually and otherwise the smaller jobs will fall by the wayside. And then the other part of me thinks "stretch for the kitchen extension, you can do the other bits as you go"

I also think that 30K might not be enough for the extension (hopefully 6m wide by 4m deep) & new kitchen and so we're better off doing the other things and making the house perfect (for us).

What would you do?

Depending where you are you'll struggle to get your kitchen extension plus kitchen for £30k. And some of the other things are necessities that will eat Into your £30 k anyway (banisters, bath). I'd go for the bits and pieces while getting a proper idea of the cost of the extension.

HappyAsEyeAm Mon 10-Mar-14 09:16:41

What will make the biggest difference to you?

If it were me, I would do the extension. Having an eat in kitchen is such a bonus, and the kitchen table is the hub of the home imo. Lots of in depth discussions happen round the kitchen table! And if you have DC, in my experience, that will be the place where they do their homework and colouring and creative things whilst you and your DH get on with other things in the kitchem as they will want to be with you.

The other jobs could be done out of saved income on a job by job basis. It would take much longer to save whatever the cost of an extension would be than to save for one job and then another job.

When we moved into our current house (which is our forever home), I saw jobs eveywhere. I had an enormous list of things that I wanted to change. My mum gave me the best advice and said to live in it for a while and then see what I wanted to change. And so my list of what I'd like to do has altered. We are planning an extension (building another storey above our existing single storey extension, which would give DH and I a bigger bedroom plus an en suite which would fit a bath in it - I am tired of looking at plastic bath toys whenever I try and have a relaxing bath!). My plans to install double glazing, renew the cracked patio, replace flooring in the hall, create some type of storage room for coats and shoes etc have fallen by the wayside. They will happen, but the extra space will make the biggest difference to us.

Preciousbane Mon 10-Mar-14 09:29:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsFlorrick Mon 10-Mar-14 09:38:16

Could you save up for a year and then perhaps with a small top up loan or mortgage do both an extension and refurb the house?
It would
Make sense.

How old is your DS? My two (4.6 and 2.6 ) love showers. Or perhaps install a temporary bath arrangement until you can do all the work.

This way you would add the maximum amount of value to the house as well as making it perfect for you.

Just refurbing the interiors can add some value but when you add extra sqft to it with an extension, the equity you create rockets.

MummytoMog Mon 10-Mar-14 09:38:27

I don't think £30k will be enough for the extension, but it depends where you are and how expensive your kitchen will be. We moved into a similar thirties semi and lived with it for four years and then did everything in one fell swoop, which has been horrid. Can you stretch your budget at all to include some jobs like the spotlights and bath? Would be cheaper to have done at the same time and spotlights are so expensive to run. I did go back to floorboards on our ground floor and it is very very draughty in the winter unless you have them sealed properly. We just bodged it with stopgap for now as we're planning a new floor in a couple of years, but I wouldn't take the laminate up unless you really can't bear it or you going to have the boards done properly.

moonblues Mon 10-Mar-14 09:56:16

I think if you have enough money I would do the kitchen extension first. The other bits are easier to do as smaller jobs over the years. Friends of mine put stair gates infront of happy bannisters - would that work for you as a temporary measure?

LondonGirl83 Mon 10-Mar-14 10:58:28

I don�t think 30k is enough for the extension and I don�t think 30k is enough for the work you want to do unfortunately!
Certain things you shouldn�t do until you are doing the extension�like the ground floor flooring. If original floor boards aren�t underneath, you might have issues laying new flooring that then ties in with the flooring in your extension�even if you intend to go for different materials, there may be tedious levelling work involved.
Similarly, if you wait to do the downstairs loo at the same time you are doing the extension it will be cheaper and you will have a better chance of being able to tap into the waste pipe as the flooring will be up anyhow�otherwise you might have to settle with a macerator which isn�t great.
Also, don�t do anything to your carpets until all your building works are done. Even if the work you are contemplating is all downstairs, builders will use your look and ruin your carpets. Replace as the absolute last thing you do.
If you plan to change the flooring, don�t do the doors yet�they will have to be re-trimmed for whatever the new flooring level is anyhow so its more cost effective to change the doors after the final flooring is down.
If I were you, I would do that bath, the bannisters and the fire places first�these three things should only be a few thousand quid assuming you don�t have to move your toilet position to get the bath in and assuming that you only need to put in a fire surround�if you need to line your chimney or rebuild the chimney stack or move the toilet, then it will all increase the costs. While you are doing that work, get your plans designed for the ground floor extension, submit them for planning (if necessary) and get building control approval- this process by itself can easily take 5 months during which time you can finish the first 3 items on your list.. Continue to save up during that period and after until you can afford the downstairs extension you need as well as all the work that should be done at the same time (loo, flooring and doors). Permission lasts for 3 years so it�s good to have it in place. Once you have the money you need, start speaking to builders�getting builders to quote and then waiting for a good one to become available can easily take 5 months as well. At the very end I�d do the carpets. You can change the recessed lights whenever, but see how you feel living with it for a while as its rather costly and given all the other things you�d like to do, might not be the top priority but obviously that�s a totally personal decision.
I am (hopefully) near the end of doing most of the things you�ve mentioned plus more so good luck!

AlisonThacker Mon 10-Mar-14 12:15:35

We had our side return done and, trust me, you'll never look back. Definitely worth doing ahead of the minor details that - as HappyAsEyeAm says - you can do ad hoc with income.

We used Open Space London who were absolutely fantastic. They are on Twitter at and really, I can't recommend Alastair and Pawel highly enough.

Good luck

TakingTheStairs Mon 10-Mar-14 13:53:15

Thank you all so much. You've given me lots to think about. DS is only 4 months old so we should get away with a baby bath for a while yet and we could do a temporary fix for the banisters for a while. It will be a while until he is mobile for that to be dangerous but will have to be done.
We might do a side return to extend the existing kitchen which would be cheaper than a big extension at the back but would vastly improve the usability of the kitchen

You guys are fab, thanks for your thoughts. And for the advice on the floor too!

lovingmatleave Mon 10-Mar-14 21:02:19

As someone who is living with a kitchen that is not big enough for a family to sit and eat in comfortably I would go for the extension.

You probably won't even notice the laminate flooring or doors or lights after you've been living in it for a while, nor would I bother doing anything about carpets until your child is older (food and drink spillages to come,muddy footprints, plus potty training etc.) It is however most annoying not having a big enough kitchen on a daily basis.

We are currently waiting for p.permission to extend for dining/family room. We've been told av. build cost will be around £1100 per sqm plus on top of that is planning fees, building warrant, architect plans and new kitchen cost itself, heating and flooring, so you would need to shop around, but you might just be able to stretch to it and I think it would be well worth it.

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