A loft conversion is a great way to gain living space without changing the external appearance of your home. Building a new storey is an obvious solution on a tight plot where lateral space is limited. Builders can access the space from outside, limiting disruption to your home life. But keep in mind that installing a staircase does add to the cost, and will use up some of your newly won space.
The most common place for an extension, building behind can take advantage of unused back garden space. Many people opt for a large open plan kitchen/dining area, leading directly to outdoor spaces. Using large windows or sliding doors encourages the relationship between indoor and out while allowing more light into your home. Again, the builders work from the outside until the existing wall is knocked through.
Side extensions can take advantage of unused space between the house and another existing structure, like a garage, or the space between the house and the property boundary. Lengthways they can link spaces through additions, such as a sun porch or glazed corridor. They are also often less obtrusive than rear extensions and preserve the rear façade of a building which may be more visually appealing than the side.
Digging down is becoming an increasingly common solution especially in urban areas or where planning restrictions are extremely tight. Where tall, narrow buildings have been constructed with the ground level at the rear of the house lower than at the front, the half-submerged rooms are ripe for a makeover. The use of large windows, skylights and sliding doors can introduce more light into these often dark and dingy spaces while the entire floor can be extended into the back garden.
Victorian and older-style properties that have timber-suspended floors are the ideal homes for basement conversions, as the builders can dig from the outside, and the homeowners can live comfortably in the house while the basement
is being converted.
Allowing sunlight in by day and glowing by night, contemporary glass boxes can have a striking impact on your home. The use of glass enhances the visual link between indoors and outdoors, making the room seem larger and also encouraging the use of outside space. It can be expensive, but when used creatively and in key positions it is more affordable. Plus glass technology has now evolved to produce a highly energy efficient and structurally sound material.
Often dismissed for being hard and unforgiving, concrete is actually an incredibly versatile and reliable building material. It can be moulded into many shapes and is structurally strong. It can be left rough and naturally grey, dyed or polished to a high sheen.
A tactile and warm material, wood is also environmentally friendly when sourced from sustainable forests. Some woods, such as plywood, are cheap, while others, like oak, are pricier.
An extension can be clad in a bewildering range of materials. From brick, stone and render, to metals like aluminium and corrugated sheeting, the possibilities are endless.
Cheap and reliable, brick is a good material to use if you are extending on a tight budget. If the existing home is brick built, you can match the bond, mortar and brick to create a cohesion between the house and extension. When adding to an old building, reclaimed bricks can be used, though they are expensive and it can be difficult to find the same size, colour and texture as the originals.