It’s been just over a year since our loft conversion was finished. It’s been two years since we started and engaged the architect and many more than that where we dreamed of doing this work. It was held up by a lack of funds, a fear that the space wasn’t big enough, a few kids coming along and then… oh yes a lack of funds. So to say it feels like a bit of a dream come true is an understatement.
If you want to take a gander around the finished space, there’s a blog post HERE and also a video out on YouTube which has had over 40K views now and counting. I regularly get asked questions about our decisions. People send messages saying their house is similar and why did we do such and such… and how did we get round so and so… and much more. I love it. I love that our home is just a normal home and so many other people can see how their space looks similar.
If you’re thinking of doing something like this, I also put together a checksheet that guides you through all the actions you need to take on the journey, from making the plans, getting an architect and builder all the way through to the decorating process and how to use the space once it’s complete. It’s a handy guide that’s easy to follow and you can get hold of it HERE. I hope it helps you.
So, I thought I’d share with you the 3 ways the loft conversion has completely changed the way we live. Because it has, enormously.
Bathrooms: Our girls are almost 13 and now 10. They are growing pre-teens exploring their independence on a daily basis. They love to spend time on their own in their rooms and are fiercely private. So the fact that we had only one small family bathroom was becoming an issue. We could see how it was going to play out, with the eldest demanding more time in there without being disturbed (we’ve always been quite an open family and there isn’t actually a lock on the bathroom door) and me and the husband at the back of the queue in the mornings.
So it was important to add a second bathroom at the top of the house during this renovation, freeing up the main family bathroom for the girls. I’d always planned that the attic room would be an adult’s hideaway so adding an en-suite made it even more decadent. Now it feels like a private cocoon away from the hustle and bustle of life and what’s more, the children rarely come up there (unless the eldest wants to borrow hair straighteners!). So if you can squeeze in a bathroom, I’d highly recommend it. Check ours out, it’s really not that big but does that job.
Light: When we first bought this house about 15 years ago, one of the first things we looked at was the light. We needed the rooms to feel big, light and airy. Not a lover of small, dark spaces it was important that the loft, when converted was a hugely bright space flooded with natural light. Today as I write this the sun is shining and the room is just as bright inside as it is outside. I’d say that the design is a resounding success. Creating light and bright spaces isn’t always easy.
I wrote a post for the Network VEKA blog last week about this very subject and shared lots of my ideas and tips on how to make the most of the light when renovating. I think it’s a topic that often goes overlooked by us mere homeowners, and when we cross paths with an architect or designer, we feel a little underwhelmed by their ideas for bringing in more light. I know I did. But my advice is to trust them and trust their instincts. They’re the experts and they really do know what they’re doing. That post has lots of ideas on how to maximise the natural light in a renovation so do check it out if you’re looking for inspiration.
The Home Dynamic: Now this is where I’ve noticed the biggest change of all. It’s how we live in our home and use the space that’s changed for good, and for the better. By creating one new room at the top of the house, we’ve changed the dynamic in the rest of the house. On the 1st floor, we moved the younger daughter from the tiny, cramped box room bedroom into the largest bedroom which we vacated. It’s a tad smaller as we borrowed some space for the new stairs but it’s been the best thing we did. She is in a double bed too, so this is our guest bedroom for when the grandparents come to visit. You can see a full room tour here.
Next up that meant the tiny cramped box room was free. Yippe, my own ready made office. No more working at the kitchen breakfast bar or with my laptop balanced on my knee on the sofa. We now have a room for all our books and office paperwork, plus two desks and even a space where I can do a bit of styling.
Then on the ground floor, we’ve kind of released some space here. Mainly because we have so much more space upstairs. As I said, my ‘office’ got moved into it’s own dedicated room. Kids’ paraphernalia was put in their now bigger bedrooms and generally we have more space to move and breathe in. I never anticipated this at all. Never envisaged that simply renovating the attic into a bedroom would affect the whole house so much and change the space in the complete home. That’s been a revelation and totally changed our lives here.
If you’re thinking of renovating your attic space, I’d say just go for it. Funds willing. We were getting to breaking point in our house, needing more space, that second bathroom and not really wanting to move, this was the obvious answer. We’re lucky. Our kitchen is big for this size house so the downstairs can handle the family, and now, with the extra space upstairs, the ground floor seems roomy anyway because we aren’t always cramped in there together.