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We gained a studio flat

When Simon and Kam Pancutt were faced with the decision of either moving out of the home they shared with her parents or creating more living space, a loft conversion seemed like the best option.
Here, Simon shares his experience of the process, from start to finish…

We chose to convert the loft in Kam’s parents’ house……because we needed more room to accommodate the whole family, including our son, Aryan. Neither Kam nor I wanted to move – we’re happy living where we do.

 

A loft conversion made more sense than creating a double-storey side extension as the side conversion would only give us one average-sized bedroom plus another tiny bedroom. Instead, with the loft extension, we could create a large bedroom with en suite as well as a sitting area. It was an easy choice to make.

Once we’d decided to convert the loft, we had the plans drawn up…
…by an architect who had originally done the plans for us to create a double-storey side extension. We got together and I told him what we were looking for, so he drew up a set of loft conversion plans. Fortunately for us, the council had just amended its planning and building regulations, which meant that we were allowed to have a full loft conversion whereas previously, we would have only been allowed a smaller conversion with a dormer window.

When it came to deciding how best to divide up the living space…
…we left the planning to the architect. I told him that we wanted maximum space and an en suite so he came back with a few designs and we chose the one that best suited our needs. We decided on an open-plan bedroom with living room-style seating on one side and the bedroom on the other.

There were a few things that we overlooked, mostly to do with the electrics and plumbing that we’d require in the uppermost part of the house. Because the fuse box and the sewage pipes were on the ground floor, it meant we had to do a huge amount of work to accept new mains hot/cold piping, sewage pipes, lighting cables, ring main cables, telephone and satellite extensions.

We completed the project quicker than planned…
…and, from start to finish, it took just three weeks for the structure to be completed. 

Thankfully, we also came in under budget…
…mainly because I decided to do the electrics myself. Also, Dad had a brief stint in the building industry, where he’d gained some valuable contacts.

I think the conversion has added value to our house…
…although we haven’t had it valued by an estate agent yet. But, if you look at the space we’ve gained, it has definitely made our home much bigger, which must also translate in terms of price. With a loft conversion, you can never quite envisage how it’s going to look, even though you have the plans on paper in front of you. And, even when the building work begins, it’s very hard to picture how the whole thing will look. We were constantly wondering: Where are the stairs going to go? or How big is it going to be? It’s very daunting at the beginning as the scaffolding goes up one minute and, the next, you have no roof to your house! Luckily for us, though, it all came together quite easily and didn’t take that long at all.

The whole thing cost us around £18,500…
…which includes the labour, all the materials, and the windows. However, that price doesn’t include the cost of the fixtures and fittings such as the carpet and the bathroom suite. All in all, those added about another £3,000 to the final bill.

It was worth it in every single way…

…and we have no regrets. That would mean we’d planned it badly. In fact, we had all the planning in place before the start and that’s crucial. If we’d moved out and bought our own home, we still wouldn’t have gained a bedroom this size, so it has more than lived up to our expectations. As I said before, you cannot imagine the end product as it is all being built above your head and out of sight. Because the stairs are the last thing to go in, you can’t even see what’s happening. It’s such a nice surprise when you do eventually get up there and see the sheer size of it. It’s like gaining a whole studio flat!


 

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