9 incredible ideas to transform your home
9 incredible ideas to transform your home
Nine things the architects really want you to know! Find out how to completely transform your home so it works for you…
You love where you live – the neighbourhood is great, you’re in a prime location… but your house simply doesn’t work for you anymore. Maybe you’ve found yourself working from home, there’s a new addition to the family, or you’re just fed up with that tiny kitchen when you love entertaining. Whatever the reasons, there are plenty of ways to completely transform your home to make it work for you
Create a stunning open-plan kitchen and diner
Opening up your downstairs space can be truly transformative. It provides the perfect sociable space for entertaining as you can chat to your guests as you cook the dinner. And it’s the ideal family solution, too, allowing you to keep an eye on little ones while you go about your activities. Where you once had small, dark rooms, open-plan can bring in much more light, particularly with bifold doors that open on to the garden and gorgeous skylights. But do look at at how to zone the space to make it work for different tasks.
Fill in the side return
How much do you really use that awkward passageway by the side of the house? If you think you can do without it, then filling in this space to extend the kitchen can make a big difference with very little upheaval.
A luxury loft conversion
A popular way to transform the home, and with good reason. The loft can be converted into an extra bedroom with an en-suite, a gorgeous home office or an extra lounge or games room. Advises Pablo Lambrechts of L+ Architects: “A loft conversion is relatively low in cost compared to an extension: key points to think about are head space, whether you can add two rooms rather than one, perhaps adding a ‘floating’ floor to minimise acoustic transmission to the rooms below. We always take care in specifying the right amount of roof insulation and acoustic windows otherwise the space will suffer from heat and cold and sound from the likes of overhead aircraft.”
Add an en-suite
No more fighting over the bathroom in the morning, an en-suite can restore harmony to a busy household. You’d be surprised how little space you need, too – clever planning can work around low head heights and pocket doors create private spaces when there is little space for a traditional door to open. ‘If the space allows it we often add two en-suites to a loft conversion, for instance, as having individual shower rooms/WC create a better quality of family life as infants turn into teenagers or if you want to Airbnb a room,’ is Pablo’s tip.
Create a utility room
If you are entertaining in your kitchen/diner, then a utility room is a must to store away all your stuff and avoid clutter. Says Pablo: “A utility and combined boot room is a must for families with children for laundry but also all the muddy sports gear, dirty dogs and of course boots. You could also add a laundry chute from the floor above.”
Pictured left to right: 1-2: Ladbroke Terrace for Adams Collingwood Architects © Jim Stephenson; 3: Pike and Partners Architects; 4-5: L+ Architects; 6: Yard Architects
Change the number of bedrooms
The number of bedrooms your house has is not set in stone… tailor your home to suit your needs. One large bedroom that the children shared as tots might benefit from being divided as they get older. Equally, two smaller bedrooms might be better suited to being knocked into one to create more light, space, or even a dressing room. A spare reception room downstairs may also lend itself to being a guest bedroom.
A complete rethink of how the house is configured might be needed. Adams + Collingwood redesigned the upper elements of a property in Notting Hill to allow for a 15% increase in its useable area. This required rearranging the staircase and replacing the roof with a steeper mansard. “Doing so meant gaining full height over the majority of the second floor creating enough space for two generous double bedrooms, an en-suite and a family bathroom. The new fold in the roof opened up the previously eaves-constrained top floor, while reconfiguring the stairs delivered enough space for an extra two metres in the living room and an en-suite for the first-floor bedroom,” explains Tamsin Bryant.
Bring the outdoors in
With a huge emphasis on making sure our homes enhance our wellbeing, consider how you can bring nature inside – Juliet balconies, glass walls, glazed roofs and even glass walkways that connect parts of the home will connect you with nature. Tamsin says that good design takes into account the natural light available. “Track the sun’s path through the day and work out which rooms should be used in the morning and which are better at dusk. This will allow you to focus your efforts if and when you do more substantial alterations as key positioned windows can add the wow factor to an otherwise basic extension or loft conversion.”
If you’re lucky enough to have a cellar, make the most of it. You might also be able to excavate and create a basement in your home, but it needs a specialist contractor. When done well, such spaces are much more than a storage area and can run under the whole floor plan of the house to offer possibilities such as games and cinema rooms.
Convert the garage
If you could find other places to store everything that ends up in the garage and you don’t need it to park your car, then converting the garage can be a simple project to undertake, and it can make a handy study, utility room, play room or even an extra bedroom. “This is quite an easy gain if you can adequately insulate the building and if the build quality is good. This would be subject to a change of use approval in Planning depending on the location and also subject to building regulations,” notes Pablo.