Decorating

Outgrowing Pains- Expanding Your Home

Growing your family is a wonderful experience for the whole family. We have 3 small daughters and we are currently expecting baby number 4 in September. Unfortunately, the novelty and wonder of it all soon wear off when you realise you’ve simply run out of space- trust me, I am starting to panic. When yet another baby is on the way, and you’re already tripping over each other, some drastic changes might be needed around the home. Of course, this is your home- It’s the place you brought your babies home from the hospital to and the place where all of your most wonderful memories are being made. If there’s no chance of leaving, can you stretch a little more space out of it?

Loft

Most lofts in the UK have a pitched roof. Unfortunately, this means that head height is low and almost completely restricted in places. Still, there are opportunities for conversion. Take a look at the roofs of the houses nearby. If anyone else has popped a window up there, then there is a precedent for you to apply for the same. This doesn’t come cheap, and planning permission could take ages. You’ll also need to consider escape routes, and stair cases. A loft conversion though means you could gain an extra bedroom or office (and value to your home!)

Garage

Converting your garage can be a fun project to take on, and may offer you an annexe that suits an older teen. A closed friend of ours converted their garage into an annexe for an older family relative. We used to use the garage as a hide out when we were kids, but now it is a gorgeous whole extra living space. Of course, the trouble with garages is that they can become the general junk storage facility for the family! Tidying up and keeping it clear will be a bit of a challenge if you’re not providing somewhere to store the things you need to keep. But, why hold onto junk that you’re not using? It could be a good excuse to declutter and make use of all that extra space. The building itself may need to undergo a lot of changes to be fit for a living or sleeping space too. Speak to your local building regs department about what can be done.

Basement

As with the loft, you’re looking for precedent here. I would absolutely LOVE a basement. A friend has one as has turned it into a man cave (complete with miniature railway) and I admit that I am very jealous. Not all basements can successfully be converted into bedrooms, but they may make a second living space or home classroom, play den (clearing toys from my lounge sounds very appealing) or extra office space. Again, it’s expensive because access is so restricted. However, like the loft, it could be a huge space that you’re freeing up to become some sort of living or working space. Most basements already have electrics installed, and basement conversions can be achieved for less than loft conversions. The basement would be perfect for teens to move into- I would have jumped at the chance to live in a basement, when I was a sulky teenager!

Extension

Now regulations are more relaxed, you can build an extension without all the red tape of planning permission in some cases. You can even build it yourself if you’re up to the challenge. Plumbing and electrics will still need to be certificated by a qualified engineer. The entire project will also need to be signed off by Building Regs. You can install a flat roof with materials from a roofing superstore without the need for much specialist equipment. You will likely need a digger, though to prepare the plot. If you have a garage attached to the side of your property, you could consider building an extra room above it, that’s joined to the upstairs of your house (something that we actually plan on doing one day!), A conservatory can make a gorgeous extra living space- such as a dining area.

Interior Reconfiguration

Most interior walls of your home are not load bearing. That means they could come down. If your dining space simply isn’t big enough for another high chair at the table, then why not go open plan? Even if the wall is load bearing, you may be able to find a builder to install a supporting joist or pillar so you can still open the space up. You can do the same with bedrooms. Of course, upstairs, you may need to create more rooms. Changing the dimensions of each room could be possible.

How will you create your space?

Hazel Newhouse

Hazel is a mum to 3 daughters and a son, she lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, kids and pets. Hazel has written for various publications, and regularly works alongside popular parenting and gardening brands.

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