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Anybody had a loft conversion?

(7 Posts)
LilllyLovesLife Sun 30-Mar-14 20:26:45

With baby number 4 on the way we are looking at how our 3 bed house could be put to best use. We ideally will be living here for life so not interested in moving and not massively concerned about value to the property (although obviously it does come into it slightly in case things change).

Current layout of upstairs is 2 double bedrooms and a teeny box room plus a small family bathroom.

Really considering converting the loft but have various concerns:
- Will we actually gain enough space to make it worth while? Guessing we will loose the box room for the stairs.
- Where on earth do you put stuff that would usually go up into the loft? We don't have junk up there and would obviously have to be extra careful about that but do have Christmas decs, clothes that one child has outgrown, while the next grows into them etc.
- What is best to do up there? 2 small bedrooms so the girls can have their privacy when they get older, or put us up there with a double room and en-suite? Or something different?! I really don't know!
- How much does it cause disruption when you have young children in the house? I have no idea how long it takes to get done or what is involved.
- Cost?! Guessing it's just a matter of getting quotes but would like to somehow have a rough idea before hand.

I have no idea where to start! I am clueless! We were renting until last year so not used to having to make important, expensive choices!

I am not expecting anybody to come along and answer all my concerns, was just thinking really. But if anybody could share their experience or opinions I would be really grateful!

MrsHerculePoirot Sun 30-Mar-14 20:34:41

We had one done a few years ago. We had two doubles and small single (although if you had a bed in there nothing else would have got in! Our stairs just turn twice and we moved the wall to the box room by a few inches, the other option was to have stairs that turned three times without moving wall - others down our road had this and it was fine, but we preferred the straighter stair option.

Others have split into two rooms upstairs, we went for one big with ensuite for us, but we are only planning two children so that was fine for us. If we were having more I might go for two rooms upstairs for children, people opposite did that and it worked very, very well.

There is still storage space in the eaves with a door/opening to get things in and out and a light. It is quite big and works for what we need.

Loft is less disruptive than other works, there is dust and noise, but our builders mostly accessed from outside and it was no trouble compared to a kitchen extension downstairs!

Depends where you live, but SW London and ours was about £36000 about five years ago, next door neighbours doing theirs now is about £40,000. That is for basics, if you want different windows, sockets etc... Then add on a bit, that was the build and plastered but not decorated or any bathroom furniture (although included the fitting of those things).

NaturalBaby Sun 30-Mar-14 20:39:14

We did it when I had a toddler and a baby. We had a box room at one end and the stairs came up to that room so the next lot of stairs to the loft went at the other end of the landing so we just had a step on the landing.
- We got less space than I imagined - I kept looking at the ceilings on the main floor and imagining all that space! We still got a good sized room though.
- We had enough space in the eves at the edges of the roof. We had a 1/2 door put in so we could get through from the main room. We didn't have a lot up there anyway so had bit of a clear out to fit it in.
- We only had space for a double room with ensuite and built in wardrobe so we went up there as I wanted my own personal space and my stuff to be further away from the dc's!
- At the beginning the only disruption was the banging of the steels being put in, drilling etc. It was then o.k till they had to break through the ceiling to put the new stairs in and then the workmen were in the house but it didn't last too long.

LilllyLovesLife Mon 31-Mar-14 09:59:49

Thank you! That's a big help!

Can I ask where you start? Do you go straight to builders companies or do you need to have a proper design first? Will I need planning permission for the loft?

Really appreciate the replies!

MrsHerculePoirot Mon 31-Mar-14 14:39:54

We went to builders and got three quotes. We used people/companies after looking on www.checkatrade.co.uk (maybe .com). You put in what you want and your postcode and can find rated tradespeople - I am a bit paranoid so found it helpful. Someone down the road had a loft conversion and extension and their company hosted an open house at theirs and we went and liked it and they were very happy with them so got a quote from them too.

Most of the builders were able to draw up their own plans I think, or had someone that could do this for us. It was a relatively straightforward conversion and lots of other houses down the road have them so we were sort of going with the normal.

We didn't need planning permission, something to do with the number of cubic metres our house was and how much we were adding on (just the dormer) so we could do it via permitted development I think (and something to do with building regs!). All the builders seemed to know about that tbh - we had assumed we needed planning permission - we didn't just needed to have things signed off by council building man as we went along.

If you know anyone else down your road, worth going to have a look and see what you can do - although the basics were the same, there were lots of little different things that we found helpful to consider (like the stairs turning 2 or 3 times or one or two rooms upstairs, boiler in bedroom or out on little landing bit, bathroom off main room or off landing etc...). We just knocked on some doors introduced ourselves and had a good old nosey and met some lovely neighbours!!!!

LilllyLovesLife Tue 01-Apr-14 09:42:05

Thank you. Unfortunately I don't think we could just knock on doors (not really one of those areas). However you did give me the idea to look at local estate agents and maybe go and view a few similar houses! Bit cheeky I know but may save us making some pretty major mistakes in the long run!

NaturalBaby Tue 01-Apr-14 14:45:03

We had plans drawn up then it took us a couple of years to decide to do it. A team of builders had done a few in our road so I sent DH out door knocking. We had gone to the homebuilding show at the NEC but were happier getting a local recommendation.

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