A Loft outside the box
A loft conversion can be a very complicated process, so don’t just accept the first design you’re offered – it’s worth seeking out interesting and different ideas and possibilities for your loft
There are many ‘standard’ solutions for lofts out there – you may even have been advised that this is the only or the best design for your project – but the reality is that lofts can be many and various; they can be imaginative, creative and uplifting, not just a ‘box on a roof’. So don’t accept the norm – explore what’s possible to get you a fantastic loft space.
Beyond the box
We have all seen them (and many of them!) The typical, tile-clad box with a small uPVC window (or two), stuck unsympathetically on top of an unsuspecting Victorian terraced house – but this is not how it has to be.
Choosing the correct materials and finesse of the external design will lift your loft conversion above the usual standard.
Speak to different experts and seek out – and consider investing a little more in a creative, bespoke solution. Be suspicious of mass-replicated designs that may, simply, be the easiest ones to build. Converting and extending your loft is likely to cost tens of thousands of pounds, so it would seem well worth spending a little to get the best design possible.
On the slopes
Sloping ceilings are a feature of loft rooms that most other rooms do not have. These are often seen as problematic, but they can also create opportunities. Working with the geometry and symmetry of the roofline and with the addition of roof windows, you can bring a whole new feel and use for this area of the property.
In rooms such as a bathroom, you can create a ‘hero’ element where the bath takes on – almost like an altar in a church – this will create a wonderful, uplifting bathroom space.
Where most loft conversions are clad using standard hung tiles, which will often look try cladding with metal panels.
There are lots of metal roof options to consider: lead, copper, and zinc are all traditional roofing materials with fantastic qualities. You can also consider using coated aluminium and coated steel options on the market these days that can give tremendous results, too.
Framing and opening up the views with help from a properly thought out dormer window. You could try setting the elevation of the dormer back slightly, which will cost a little space internally, but the effect on the outside can be much less bulky as a result. Many people want to use every millimetre of available space inside, but often maximizing inside can result in a very bulky effect outside.
Let there be light
One of the keys to loft design is how to handle the addition of a new flight of stairs. Very often (but by no means always), the best location for the new flight is directly above the existing ground-to-first staircase. One downside of this – particularly in terraced houses – is that the first-floor landing can become closed in and dark.
In this example, the new flight of stairs has been built in glass, and roof glazing and the inclusion of a lantern rooflight will allow natural daylight to pour down into space below, alleviating the closed-in feeling.
Stairs into space
The new staircase doesn’t necessarily have to go above the existing one. Stairs can be arranged in all sorts of different ways to make the best use of space. The key to a successful stairway is to think carefully where the best place to depart the first floor will be and where the best place to arrive on the loft level will be, you can then consider how a stairway could connect these two positions.
It’s complicated, but it is time well spent, and working over and over the different options until the best solution is found.
Up on deck
People are often told they can’t convert their loft as there isn’t enough height. Height is frequently an issue, as Permitted Development rules will not allow you to go higher than the ‘highest point’ of the existing roof. But, there are many ways of addressing the problem, and you will still come out with a viable solution, even if it isn’t the solution originally imagined.
Permitted Development allows a lot of scope for altering your home, but ensure you get good architectural and design advice. could let you do in your home
Loft rooms don’t always have to incorporate a dormer extension, and they don’t have to be bedrooms, converting a loft space can also benefit the rooms below. Lower parts of the roof slope that give little usable space upstairs can be opened up to space below. And with the installation of a couple of skylight windows, a room that could otherwise be quite gloomy and standard is filled with natural daylight and given a really special quality.