Loft Conversions: Think Outside the Box
LOFT CONVERSIONS: THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Turning the idea of a typical loft conversion on its head, these stunning designs show just what you can do with that space in the roof…
Top image: Roncarati Design
When you think of a loft conversion, the most common use is as an extra bedroom or increasingly, as we work more from home, a study. But by taking a whole new look at your property, you could find that the top of the house makes the perfect living area, as these ideas reveal.
Completely transforming a modest three-bedroom semi-detached house by turning the loft into an additional living space, Roncarati Design, with help from Zaffera London, won the prestigious SBID International Design Award for their project.
Tom Marquardt, president of the SBID, said of the design, which won the Residential, Budget up to £50k category: “I am so moved by this creative revision of what normally would be an awkward space, transforming it into a hip yet zen sculpture for living.”
Founder Roberto Roncarati moved into the design field as a labour of love. He says: “For years I’ve run a design-related market research agency, but actually, I am a designer at heart, and finding solutions to design challenges is something that gives me great pleasure.”
The brief for Woodside Loft was to create a unique multi-use loft space, which took advantage of the views and would be in a modern-retro style.
It’s quite some achievement, with clever, practical ideas matched with beautiful design touches.
The wide dormer structure to the rear was given an artificial side, so that the shape of the pitched-roof is maintained on both front and back – allowing for a powerful triangular form to meet the eye upon entering the room, and also to provide deep storage compartments along the party wall. The artificial dormer side houses a bar and kitchenette area.
Rear-facing, is a 4.5m-wide sliding window, which adds a huge amount of light but also creates a large opening for furniture access. A table and bench were created from kitchen worktops. With the addition of two side-panels, the table converts to a full-size table-tennis table.
The landing/washroom area was clad in oak battens, which creates a striking yet warm feature in its own right. Strips of light can be controlled between a warm white for night-time and a cool white, to brighten up dreary days.
Images: Woodside Loft by Roncarati Design
Planning consent for a permanent balcony was not possible, so the widest possible combination of Velux Cabrio windows was utilised on the frontal aspect and the project went ahead fully under Permitted Development.
The windows allow the loft to take full advantage of the better views to the front of the building. They also create the necessary headroom for full-height access to the toilet/ shower-room entrance. The party wall was heavily sound-proofed. Cork bark panels hide supporting steels, whilst providing a textured and natural backdrop for the “jungle” feature – highlighted by LED strips and spotlights.
Mirrors have been installed in the deepest recesses for the illusion of additional space. Water-retaining planters were hidden behind a sculpture created from batten offcuts – in a partly-accidental homage to a city skyline.
There is even a ‘cave’ area, designed for relaxing on the floor, watching TV, reading or sleeping in.
THE UPSIDE DOWN HOUSE
Increasingly popular in upstairs flats and maisonettes, home owners rejig their living arrangements so that their kitchen, dining area and lounge are up in the loft and the bedrooms below.
Says Nicola Chappell of loft conversion and kitchen extension specialists, Nuspace: “Many clients, especially in first floor flats, are opting to put living and communal spaces on the top floor and particularly in loft extensions. The reason for this is you get much more access to natural light and you can add skylights in the roof or any part of the space. There is also potential access to a roof terrace from the living area, giving a very nice open-plan, sociable space to use. The terrace will also be used on a more regular basis as opposed to being attached to a bedroom.”
Images: Run Projects, photographed by Chris Snook.
Kate Strong, of Project Management specialists, Run Projects, explains how they changed the layout of a flat in south west London in this way: “Our clients maximised the full potential of their first floor flat by extending into the loft. This allowed them to push the living space and kitchen up to the loft level and even incorporate some outside space, in the form of a roof terrace.
“The first floor was remodelled and dedicated to four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a separate utility space and even a bike store!”