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Need more space - which would be the best option for us?

(14 Posts)
SomewhereNow Sun 08-Jan-17 08:43:19

DH, DD14 and I live in a 3 bedroom 1990s-ish semi in a small village. We are tied to this area due to schools, jobs and families for the foreseeable future.

Because it's a modern house the rooms are very small e.g. the third bedroom can literally only fit a bed, no other furniture, and storage is a real problem.

We'd desperately like a bit more space and a more practical layout, plus due to the age of the house there are starting to be lots of things that need doing - e.g. kitchen and bathroom are both very shabby. We can't decide on our best option though - we're not sure we want to stay in this area (although we may have to due to the constraints above) so in some ways are loathe to spend money on the place, but I'm now wondering if it would be a good investment that would help if we sold in a few years time.

Options as far as I can see are:

- A full-on extension (either single or double height), creating the extra room and improved layout we want plus new kitchen, bathroom etc. Downsides: expensive obviously, plus stressful and disruptive. Would give us the house we want (more or less, there are some things that can't be changed like the fact it's a semi with shared driveway which I hate) though in an area that's practical if not exactly where we want to be.

- Decorating, patching up, improving where we can but basically living with the house as it is until we can move. Downsides: still costs money which could be better spent elsewhere and wouldn't really improve that much. We'd still be living in a cramped impractical space. If we decided to sell, not having done the kitchen, bathroom etc may be an issue but at least we wouldn't have spent thousands.

- Selling up and either buying in the same area (even though we may not want to stay here long term) or looking at renting. Downsides: not sure as moving is so expensive plus there's very little in our price range here that'd be better than what we've got. We'd need to change areas which we're happy to do one day but it's not possible at the moment.

I'd really welcome any advice on the different options or any we might not have thought of.

user1471549018 Sun 08-Jan-17 09:06:01

I'd go for option 2 (sorry!) Why do you need a bigger third bedroom? I think this kind of small 90's semi 'is what it is' and making it bigger by extending would be a mistake unless it's on a large plot or in a very expensive area. If you're going to be there for 5 + years I would definitely redecorate, look at redesigning downstairs space (knock down walls? convert garage?) and redoing kitchen and bathroom. Could you do something with the third bedroom to make it work for you like converting it to a utility or putting up loads of shelves for storage (then turn it back to a bedroom prior to selling)? Why don't you post floor plan for ideas to improve layout?

Testificateman Sun 08-Jan-17 10:22:43

My advice is. Tidy up on the cheap and take a look on rightmove.
Put in the search your area plus 1 mile. See what comes up.
Or, as there is only 3 of you in a 3 bed house, make the third bedroom a dressing room/store room.

RandomMess Sun 08-Jan-17 10:39:57

My advice is - declutter properly, board out loft for decent storage. How can you be ridiculously cramped unless you have too much stuff?

Decent storage makes a difference too.

Kidnapped Sun 08-Jan-17 10:54:24

I'm also with option 2. Declutter, repair, paint.

A 1990s house with original kitchen can't look that bad, can it? (Ours is a 1970s kitchen and looks fine).

If the cabinets do look naff, then look into painting or changing just the doors.

You can get a cheapish bathroom suite and fit it yourselves if you are any good at DIY.

SomewhereNow Sun 08-Jan-17 17:32:33

Sorry should have said we use the third bedroom as an office as I run a business from home. It wouldn't be much good as a bedroom anyway.

It's not so much that we have too much stuff, just that there's not enough storage space for anything and the rooms are so small that getting furniture to fit is a constant issue. There's no decent space to have people over and obviously nowhere for anyone extra to sleep except a floor.

We do have a big conservatory but it suffers from the usual problem of being totally impractical - hot in summer, cold in winter, damp, poorly lit. Annoying because it's in a much better position than our living room and would make an great room if it was more useable.

The main issues we have with the house are:

- Scruffy kitchen and bathroom
- Not enough storage space
- Rooms too small generally
- Tiny hallway that leads straight into living room making it very much a 'through' room instead of somewhere to relax
- Shared driveway

I agree that working with what we've got would probably make most sense but part of me is loath to spend the money on a property that will never be quite right - or do you have to accept that nowhere is ever completely what you want?

Zhabr Sun 08-Jan-17 17:57:16

I would not do an extension. You and DD have bedrooms plus study/home office/walk in wardrobe, should be sufficient?
May be take some quotes for kitchen and bathroom, it may add value when selling? Also will make your current living in the house more pleasant.

Zhabr Sun 08-Jan-17 18:05:01

Posted, then saw your new post. in this case may be just single story extension? Do your neighbors have something similar so you can have a look?

EineKleine Sun 08-Jan-17 18:36:06

It sounds to me that you don't love it enough to do A. Do you have separate kitchen and dining room? If so, bear in mind that quite a few buyers may be looking to knock through and won't pay a premium for a nice kitchen.

How about throwing money at the conservatory? Even if that's just getting some oil fired radiators in there and using them on a timing switch, accepting this will push up your heating bills. Or improve the roof, get the latest thermal blinds (ours have air pockets), or for more money replace the conservatory with a garden room. Consciously use thevventilation and open doors more in summer to make it a usable room. A conservatory that's never sat in doesn't look inviting but if you start using it anyway, it may well improve IYSWIM.

RandomMess Sun 08-Jan-17 20:26:00

I think upgrading your conservatory could be the money best spent.

We had 6 of us in 3 bid 60s house 18' x 22' and we managed to create storage/get suitable furniture - I can't imagine your house is that much smaller? We had all the big toys and equipment that goes with babies/young children.

Have you got furniture that is too big?

We use floor to ceiling storage units - they hold so much, but a truly ruthless declutter could work wonders.

Do you not have any loft space that could be boarded out - up there Christmas Decs, suitcases etc.

CakeThat Sun 08-Jan-17 21:07:29

I feel your pain as we used to live in a 90s 3 bed house and it was tiny! The 3rd bedroom was only really big enough for either a cot or a desk, not what could be considered an actual bedroom. The other rooms were only big enough for basic furniture and no extras such as storage chests, i.e. Bed and one small wardrobe in master bedroom, virtually no space around the bed to move or put chests of drawers. The house was no bigger than our friends' 2 up 2 down terrace, in fact it would have been more practical with 2 slightly larger bedrooms than with 3 small unusable ones.
Our decision was easy to make though because we had no room on the plot to extend at all and there was no adjoining garage that could be converted or space for a conservatory, so we moved to a bigger house in the same area. It was such a relief to have more space although it took us ages to afford more furniture to fill it and money has been tight at times over the years. I certainly wouldn't recommend you spend money doing up your current kitchen and bathroom as you are unlikely to get the money back if you sell. If you can afford it move - if not do a decent extension. I've heard that 2 storey extensions are better value than single because only one lot of foundations and one roof are needed but you get double the floor space. Go for it!

Svalberg Sun 08-Jan-17 21:36:28

I'd go with what others say & sort out the conservatory. Get someone in to look at having the roof made more thermally efficient for a start, followed by decent blinds. It doesn't sound as if you want to stay there tbh...

RandomMess Sun 08-Jan-17 21:56:15

If you spent the money on a double extension could you do something that you would love enough to stay?

puffylovett Sun 08-Jan-17 23:31:50

We've sorted our conservatory roof ourselves, although it needs a competent diyer to install the insulation we've put up. It's made it masses warmer, we desperately needed to as the previous owners opened it up to the kitchen.
Could spending money on your conservatory help? Roof, flooring, furniture, add a woodburner?

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