Pod extensions, party barns, modular lofts — the language of the domestic makeover is changing as families who would like to move, but are being held back by stamp duty bills or the slowing property market, stay put for another year and try to make the most of the space they have.
The shortlist for the annual Don’t Move, Improve! architectural competition was announced this week. The wealth of entries for the awards, which are run by New London Architecture, highlights the demand for new and attractive ways to create space, in the hope of adding value when the market recovers. If you want inspiration for your makeover project in 2019, read our guide.
This is not a cheap extension — basic conversions start at £15,000, but can go up to £45,000 for a dormer with a double bedroom and en suite — but should cost less than a basement extension and the light is usually good. It’s no wonder that the number of planning applications for loft conversions has risen by 22 per cent over the past five years.
The typical loft extension is constructed in the old-fashioned way, ie in the home that is being extended, but a more modern way to do it is to buy a modular loft, built in a factory, which is craned into position. Modular lofts start at about £50,000.
Converting a garage can be relatively cheap, costing from about £5,000 to £7,000, depending on the size of the garage. The cost is adding electrics, plumbing, damp-proofing if necessary, insulation, a window if the garage is dark and possibly pouring a new concrete floor. Ensure that the windows and brickwork match the rest of the house and keep the doors, skirting and flooring consistent.
It’s also sensible to consider how you can incorporate additional storage into the rest of your home to make up for the space you have lost in the garage — a new garden shed is a common solution for this.
Removing an internal wall to create an open-plan living and dining area costs about £3,500. Another way to upgrade your kitchen is by replacing worktops, floorings and/or cabinet doors. You could splash out on an Aga or a Rayburn, “which are much sought-after and fashionable again now among those moving to the country,” according to Carol Peett of West Wales Property Finders, a buying agency.
This week Aga launched a new oven, the Aga 90, which, at 90cm in width, is the company’s smallest full-size model. It has two cast-iron ovens, a tall warming oven, a hotplate and a choice of warming plate or induction oven, and is priced from £7,900. One homeowner in Dorset so loved his Aga that he installed a second, compact Aga in the shepherd’s hut in his garden, where a friend baked bread. The hut had to be strengthened to support the weight.
Peett says that in Pembrokeshire homeowners are extending their kitchens and adding bifold doors for between £20,000 and £30,000. In Oxford, William Kirkland of Knight Frank says that homeowners are pushing back their rear walls to add 2-3m, at a cost of £30,000-£50,000.
To make a kitchen bigger, extend into the side return, if you have one, and into the garden, to create a wraparound extension. Bifold doors and frameless skylights are popular ways to add light. To achieve this in a standard Victorian terraced property costs about £60,000 to £90,000, says James Bernard, a director of Plus Rooms. The price includes the design, plans, all permissions, project management, building work, electrics, plumbing, glazing and external doors, and usually adds about 270 sq ft.
For families staying put and willing to invest, converting a kitchen into a large, multifunctional space is popular, but there is also an emphasis on creating private areas within the space.
Those of us with underfloor heating will be feeling pretty pleased with our choice as the temperature drops this week. The cost of installing it can vary from £800 to £2,000 a room, but it is said to be 25 per cent more efficient than radiators, so you should see savings on your energy bills. Underfloor heating can also make a space larger as you don’t need radiators.
Energy-efficient additions fall into two categories: simple, low-cost improvements, such as adding loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and draught-proofing, which can typically be done for less than £1,000; and high-cost works: external or internal wall insulation, double glazing, a high-performance boiler or renewable technologies. “More expensive energy improvements may not be worth investing in purely to boost your home’s value, but, as a long-term investment, the money saved on your energy bills each year will help to offset the cost of the upgrades,” says James Mackenzie of the country department at Strutt & Parker.
Rear extensions above a flat roof — known as “pod extensions” — are popular because they are one of the less expensive extensions and are considered to be the least intrusive if the owner is living in the property during the works. They can be built up from a flat roof, or a modular construction can be lowered on to it. “A ‘pod’ can house an extra bedroom, family bathroom or an office — depending on the property,” says Phillippa Dalby-Welsh of the Fulham branch of Savills. An extension pod costs about £35,000, assuming no stairs have to be built.
If you are landscaping your garden with a view to selling, “a simple, low-maintenance garden is often more attractive to buyers than a cluttered space that will require a lot of upkeep,” Mackenzie says. His experience is that privacy and security are rated by buyers — walls, fences or tall plants that don’t block out sunlight are popular. Good garden lighting is important and a space for alfresco eating is sought after. “A grassed area isn’t essential, particularly if your garden is very small, but a healthy, flat lawn will make your home more attractive to families with young children,” he adds.
The creation of party barns, or party rooms, has been a huge trend of late, according to Damian Gray, the chairman for the Chilterns region at Knight Frank. “They are designed to encourage children or teens to invite their mates back to theirs, rather than be out of sight. A cinema sound system, table tennis and table football can all be found in party barns,” he says.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/project-new-look-the-latest-home-makeover-trends-t0ghkqzlc – The Times Bricks & Mortar – Friday, 30th November 2018
If you are thinking of moving to West Wales, or buying a property here, give West Wales Property Finders a call on 01834 862816. We can find your perfect property for you whilst saving you time, stress and often money too. http://www.westwalespropertyfinders.co.uk