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Opening up bungalow space

(12 Posts)
iwishicouldtapdance Mon 25-Sep-17 00:14:26

I'm considering buying a bungalow which has had a long thin extension added to the side where the garage was originally, running from the front to the back of the property. The kitchen adjoins the extension at a right angle to it at the back of the property, and a bedroom adjoining it at the front. The extension has been done in such a way as the entrance to the converted room is at the back, through the kitchen.

I'd like to open up the space to incorporate the extension into the main building and so enlarge both the kitchen at the back and the bedroom at the front. I know that I will need to consult an architect and structural engineer, but I was wondering if anyone had actually done this? It would essentially involve removing the whole of the original bungalow end wall which spans about 16 feet and I'm having horrible visions of the remaining three original walls falling flat like a pack of cards shock. Just for completeness, there is a central chimney stack between the other end of the kitchen and the living area on the other side.

I'd love to hear some success stories or alternatively things to watch out for, even (or especially if) it's 'don't do it'.

Mosaic123 Mon 25-Sep-17 08:42:51

No. I haven't done this but am currently looking for a bungalow and would happily change the layout as long as I can afford it. You might want to consider getting an architect round, even for a one off visit. They may have good ideas good luck.

mammatotwo Mon 25-Sep-17 09:59:08

We renovated a bungalow a few years ago, extended the back to create open plan dining/ kitchen which meant we had to take out the whole of the back wall of the house, we just propped it with acro's and added a large steel beam, full length of the back.
Get an structural engineer or architect to look at it.

Titsywoo Mon 25-Sep-17 10:07:24

We have renovated our bungalow recently. We didn't remove the entire back wall but it was most of it and the whole corner and down part of the side too (built a large extension out the back and into the side return). We used an architect and a structural engineer.

guilty100 Mon 25-Sep-17 10:19:50

Just a quick note about bungalows - in the last 12 months, a ton of people in my area have taken the entire roof off and put on an entire extra storey. It is A Thing round here. I would have assumed the costs of doing this would be prohibitive, but apparently not!

Make sure you get a good architect and a very good structural engineer, and they will show you the easiest and most cost-effective way of making the changes (along with options you've not even considered yet!). Chances are you may need to leave some supporting structures in place.

Lunalana Mon 25-Sep-17 14:28:55

Steel structural works are very expensive and can often have a long lead time when ordering the steels, so you should also factor in how long will your build programme be and if it is worth doing/value adding at all.

Also 16feet is a long span, we've knock down a structural wall at ours which is around the same length. In order to cut the cost down and reduce the thickness of the horizontal beam, instead of a clear span without columns, our architect suggested to have 2 exposed steel columns near the centre which turns out to be a lovely modern architectural feature of our open plan house. Hence as others have said - really important to get a good architect and good structural engineer from the start.

iwishicouldtapdance Mon 25-Sep-17 23:32:59

Thank you for all your comments. I haven't purchased the property yet, but it would really need opening up as the current configuration is a series of poky rooms so it's good to know it's feasible if done with care. The point about a central supporting column is interesting and not something I'd considered.

When you say structural steels are expensive Lunalana, could you or anyone give me an indication of how much work like this might cost please? I''m in the south east.

BubblesBuddy Tue 26-Sep-17 00:08:22

We have opened up 5m between two rooms in several places in the house and also removed the corner of the house to provide an open entrance from the new porch into the hall. There is no supporting column beneath the right angled beams, or indeed any of the beams. Personally I would avoid them because they interrupt flow but look good in huge warehouse conversions. 16ft really shouldn't be a problem and look for an engineer who can give you solutions to problems, not more problems. You may need a temporary prop as the wall is knocked out before the beam is inserted.

DH is a structural engineer and a lot is possible without support columns that are visible. If you want to open it up, I would do so because the cost of beams won't be prohibitive in terms of the overall costs.

Our costs were £250,000 but that was a lot of remodelling! It's also a big house. I think I would talk it over with an architect to rule ideas in or out. Posters are not doing the same work as you will be, so your job will not priced like another. Fixtures and fittings add a lot. We love our house being partially open plan. Everyone has said it looks bigger! You get a better flow and I would suggest you zone areas. In addition to the walls being removed in some places we also have "openings" between the hall and the kitchen, the kitchen and the hall and the kitchen and the lounge that are about 2m. There are no doors and we can see from one area to another. The hall area is large and incorporates what was 3 dingy rooms! It now has a variety of purposes and is light. That was a major gain of doing this work - light!

Lunalana Tue 26-Sep-17 12:29:24

iwishicouldtapdance do bear in mind that the cost all depends on your design, existing conditions and structural requirements etc., so what's happened to us might not be relevant in your case. Our total steel cost alone was more than £50k, but that includes other bits of the house as well. In addition, do factor in the cost and logistics of delivering large steel members to your property, the temporary support required when you take away the existing structure, new foundations needed if you can't reuse the ones when you take down the existing structure, the making good of surrounding areas etc.

For ours we've knocked through 80% of our ground floor which created a huge open plan to make use of our double height spaces and double height bay windows, and we love modern architecture so we're happy with our architect's proposed exposed structures in appropriate locations as architectural features. Having exposed structure also means additional cost to fire-proofing them with intumescent paint etc to satisfy building control. We are also particular about the detailing of joints in the steel (welded and polished) so that can be additional added cost, but you won't have that if the structure is blocked up in the nib walls.

Sorry to go on so much... I'm still excited to talk about our project as it took us a year to complete :p Bottom line is you have to tailor the design to what suits your need and what you like best of course, but structural works is usually a significant number in your overall build cost. You can always have a chat with your architect and structural engineer on initial ideas, and then get some rough quotes from builders before deciding if you want to go ahead with the works.

Happy to share our experience and photos so pm me if you want to discuss more details smile

another20 Tue 26-Sep-17 13:00:16

Bubbles and Luna - would love to see some pics - both sound stunning.

iwish - another thing that you could do with your bungalow is punch in some large rooflights / velux to let in overhead light....and /or vault the ceilings which makes a space feel immense.

We have a flat roofed low slung MCM house with loads of vertical glazing - but where we have a couple of roof lights it is soooooooo much lighter and brighter. I would invest only where you have views with standard vertical glazing - and then put in strategically placed overhead glazing in living / hall areas which a bungalow allows you to do. Also some bungalows are dark in the centre - due to large floor plan and punching through a velux there has so much more light impact than opening it up to vertical glazing far away IYSWIM...

nemno Tue 26-Sep-17 13:43:17

We took about a 16ft supporting wall out of the upstairs of our house. Because it was the upstairs there is less above it to support ie only the roof; same as a bungalow. And because of how our joists run we didn't even need a steel, I think the builder added a timber but everything is in the loft so the ceiling inside is plastered to be seamless. I appreciate that in your circumstances the wall was once the exterior wall so it is most likely that your project is likely to be different. But my point is that depending on what is already there nobody other than a structural surveyer can tell you what is definitely needed.

iwishicouldtapdance Thu 28-Sep-17 00:34:35

Thanks so much everyone for your comments and for sharing your experiences. Luna and Bubbles your projects sound fab!

Unfortunately, further enquiries have revealed a fairly serious structural defect in the property so I won't be proceeding after all, it's quite disappointing. But the need for structural alterations is likely to come up again during my search for a new home so I'm sure that I will be able to put all this information to good use at some point!

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