Even a small loft conversion is a major project for the average household, aside from the expense it’s the upheaval of builders in your home for many weeks and in some cases months, the dust and mess and stress of ensuring you get the final product you dreamed of.
It’s worth researching interesting ideas and possibilities for your loft space project
Best of design
There are many ‘standard’ off the shelf solutions for loft conversions out there, the reality is that lofts can be many and various; they can be imaginative, creative and uplifting. So don’t accept the norm – explore what’s possible and get a fantastic loft space design that will not only work for you in terms of practicalities but will also work for the building in terms of aesthetics.
“No boxing the Victorian’s!”
The typical, hanging tile-clad box with a row of small UPVC windows stuck unsympathetically on top of that unsuspecting Victorian terraced house, is not how it has to be.
Speak to a variety of experts, and consider investing a little more in that creative, bespoke solution. Hold onto your suspicions of mass-replicated designs that may be the easiest ones to build, after all, 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
Rooms in lofts have something that ordinary rooms usually don’t – sloping ceilings. Sloping ceilings are frequently seen as problematic, but they can also provide opportunities. You can celebrate the symmetry of the roofline with the addition of roof windows either side and the positioning of a bed in a bedroom or bath in the bathroom – central to the room and windows – creating a wonderful, uplifting space.
Plain hanging tiles are commonly used on the outer skin of a dormer, but these can look clumsy in many instances, consider a soft metallic finish. There are many metal roof and cladding options you could consider: copper, lead and zinc are all traditional roofing materials with fantastic qualities (albeit at a price). You can also consider coated steel and aluminium options these can give tremendous and cost-effective results.
The design of your loft dormer has to handled sensitively, both from the outside and imaginatively on the inside, look at how the window will frame and open up the views from the new loft room.
A slight reduction in the dormers overall size, by setting the elevation of the dormer back will cost a little space internally, but the effect on the outside with its reduced bulk will be much more pleasing.
The style and positioning of the new stairway incorporated into the loft space provide opportunities as well as challenges. Often (but not always!) the best location for the new flight will be directly above the existing ground-to-first floor staircase, but with smaller terraced properties this can make the first-floor landing more closed in and dark.
The inclusion of glass and glazing either in the construction of the stairs or in roofs or walls near could help and alleviate this problem.
The new staircase doesn’t necessarily have to go above the existing one. You can change the stair arrangements in all sorts of ways to make the best use of space. The key to good stairway design is to think where you will depart the first floor, and where you will arrive on the loft level then consider how these two points will be best connected by the stairway.
Work with a professional architect to generate a design you will love, after exploring with you, the variety of options open, the choices made will provide a result that works beautifully. On many occasions, clients are advised that they can’t convert their loft as there isn’t enough height, with Permitted Development allowing you to go higher than the ‘highest point’ of the existing roof.
There are several options you can explore, such as mezzanines that can create additional useful space.
Permitted development rights allow householders to improve and extend their homes without the need to apply for planning permission where that would be out of proportion with the impact of works carried out. This allows you as the homeowner the opportunity to increase your available space on small to medium sized extensions without the constraints of planning issues.
Converting a loft space can also benefit the rooms below. The lower parts of the roof slope that give little usable space upstairs can be opened up to space below. Rooflights are the key, particularly well positioned and correctly sized. By installing a couple of skylight windows, a room that could otherwise have been quite gloomy is filled with natural daylight giving it a really special feel and quality.
Bespoke rooflights can be manufactured in a variety of shapes and sizes, lantern rooflights, pyramid rooflights, walk on rooflights and flat rooflights, to name a few.