I love lofts!
Why? Well they are often the most unusually shaped and therefore the most architecturally interesting spaces.
If you haven’t converted your loft already then you should definately do it.
Being right at the top of the house, with the best views over tree tops and uninterrupted sunlight streaming into the space, lofts are wonderful room.
As they are above all of the other spaces in the house I feel they are often the quietest rooms in the house as you have escaped from the world beneath you. Because of this unique atmosphere and the room’s unique shape lofts are very special, intimate spaces.
Converting a loft isn’t quite as simple as it used to be because of party wall agreements and improved building regulations but this shouldn’t put you off doing it.
Here are a few top tips to get right when converting your loft.
1. Make sure you get full planning permission or permitted development rights to convert your loft space.
2. You will need to appoint a structural engineer to redesign the structure in the loft. Building Control will need the engineers calculations in order to be able to approve your scheme. You also want piece of mind that your new roof is not going to fall down!
3. If you are building into the side ‘party walls’ of your house (the walls jointly owned by you and your neighbour) then you will need a Party Wall Agreement with your neighbours before you can start work.
4. When designing your loft try to install a good sized dormer window, or even better, a Romeo and Juliet balcony, to the rear of the roof which will give you increased headroom within the space and better views out.
5. Try and install skylights where possible. Top light is the strongest light and skylights will give you amazing views up to the sky. Select a skylight with integrated blinds so you can block out the light when necessary if you use your loft conversion as a bedroom and I always specify skylights that can be electrically opened and closed with a remote control. It saves standing on chairs and ladders everytime!
6. The position of the new staircase is THE most important design decision you have to make when doing a loft conversion. It will affect the entire layout of your upper floor as well as the layout of the loft space itself. Get it wrong and both levels will be a design disaster. Get it right and the architecture will sing!
7. Insulate your loft way above the necessary requirements of the building regs. So much heat is lost through your roof and insulation is relatively cheap when you think about how much money you will save on your heating bills.
8. Make sure you provide lots of access to the available eaves storage (this is the triangular area of space left over as the roof slopes down to meet the floor). It’s great space to have for suitcases etc.
9. Always put in underfloor heating in a new loft. It’s the best form of heating and allows you to use valuable wall space for putting furniture against rather than it being wasted on radiators.
10. Get the artificial lighting right in lofts. They can only become beautiful and romantic spaces if the lighting is right at night. Make sure you put all lights on dimmer switches to give you maximum flexibility and have lamps plugged into 5 amp sockets so bed side lamps can be controlled from the main light switches when you walk in
Happy loft converting!