London loft conversions

Loft Conversions

A loft conversion is the process of transforming an empty attic space into a functional room, typically used as a bedroom, office space, a gym, or storage space.
A loft conversion for your house is considered to be permitted development, not requiring an application for planning permission, subject to Regulations.

A cutting-edge two-bedroom loft apartment in Paddington

This stunning refurbished former church in Tower Hamlets

Loft Conversion with ensuite bathroom,Clapham

A spacious one bedroom loft style flat in Notting Hill, complete with roof terrace, in a white stucco fronted period building

New York loft-style penthouse in Chelsea

A three-bedroom loft-style penthouse in Wapping, decorated in contemporary style

A Wandsworth loft conversion set over two floors, with double height ceilings and wooden floors

Large windows on both sides and a roof light over the kitchen area flood mean this Spitalfields lloft apartment is light and airy

In family-friendly Wimbledon is this two-bedroom left apartment, only 500m away from the Common

This four-bedroom home in the Richmond suburb of East Sheen has a well-presented loft conversion.

Building a home office in the garden

Old buildings can be modernised and redesigned for specific types of work, or equipped with the basic essentials of good lighting, working surfaces,desks, cupboards,internet connection, water and electricity supplies so that they are easily adaptable for many offices. Don’t be afraid of the initial expense incurred in having water and electricity laid on, because in the long run it is cheaper than late extensions. You are also more likely to give regular use to somewhere that is well equipped and comfortable.

garden office

The ideal solution when working from home

Where there are no existing buildings suitable for conversion, a new building designed specially as an office is a dream well worth pursuing (convincing your family of this will probably be easier if your plans include a children’s area). Once you have made the decision to build, do not skimp on the size or complexity of the building. Your garden will probably already have separate sheds, fuel store and garage. Rather than adding to this list by building a workshop, consider the possibility of having a single multi-purpose building incorporating all your outhouses. This will look tidier, and also reduce maintenance costs. If the building stretches across the bottom of your garden, you could perhaps reach it via the garage.

In this example, the clean ‘studio’ area is kept well away from the garage. The workshop in the centre is equipped simply so that it can serve as an over-spill area for either the garage or the studio with a minimum of alteration. Such a building will have a fundamental influence on your property, and will give an opportunity to landscape your garden during the building stages. Once you have chosen where to set up your office, you can begin to plan what is going to go in it in detail, but as with all the designing that you carry out for your home, resist the early temptation to let your enthusiasm run away with you. Spend your time and thought not only in drawing up your plans, but also in writing down a list of all the things you would ideally like to have in your office. When making your final decisions consider the following: function (this should take precedence over appearance); lighting; heating and ventilation; storage; and floor treatments.

Don’t worry if your furniture and equipment do not all ‘line up’ visually, but let considerations of safety and function dictate the layout. For instance, if a particular operation suggests that you need a desk at sitting level and one at standing height, or that you need a working surface beside you as well as one in front for ease of assembly, then design the layout in this way. ‘There will always be some equipment which imposes strict limitations on your arrangements, for example, equipment that must be permanently fixed, like a computer,printers. Some office equipment require a minimum amount of space around them.
Multi-purpose offices will impose so many limitations that you will have to decide on the most important factors-the first of which must always be safety.

Lighting for garden offices

Good lighting is vitally important. Have windows as large as possible, though bearing in mind that they will increase your heating bills in winter if they are too large. Position precision equipment and your main work desk close to the natural light, taking care that your body will not cast a shadow over your work. To provide light from the same direction throughout the day, place electric lights between you and the windows. Put power points as close as possible to working areas-preferably above and below the office desk, rather than close to the floor. This avoids stooping which can be dangerous in confined office spaces.

Planning an office or workshop

Finding space to work or for pursuing hobbies only too often means ‘stealing’ it from your living area, and having to break off every time the family wants to eat a meal, use the computer or watch television. And working in inadequate offices or cramped surroundings often means being content with poor equipment, which leads to shoddy workmanship and can be dangerous. So wherever possible try to set aside an office for yourself, or given over entirely to hobbies such as carpentry which need plenty of space and specialist equipment.

garage home office

A home office not only alleviates these difficulties, but also provides a place where you can relax for a while away from your daily routine and the rest of the family. If you have an office which is properly fitted up, working from home will take less time and run more smoothly. An office is also a good selling point if you decide to move. Every home should have one If you are moving into a new house, then the major considerations such as bathroom fitments, kitchen layout and so on will occupy much of your time and thoughts.

But this is precisely the time to recognise the need to plan for areas which will be devoted to leisure activities such as play- or familyrooms, and workshops, particularly if you intend to do most odd jobs yourself. If you have lived in your home some time and intend to stay there, then a re-allocation of the available space may be called for, especially if your family includes keen handymen. You may be lucky enough to have a home large enough for you to set up a permanent indoor workshop. But remember that noise may be a problem. The noise you create seems far louder and more irritating to others than it does to you.

Cellars are generally the best places to install indoor workshops, as they are often large enough to be split into more than one area for separate activities, and their position underground helps to restrict the spread of noise. But they are not ideal to be converted into offices. Lofts are less suitable because they tend to become very warm in summer; many hobbies involve some physical effort, which would make working in a hot loft unbearable.

You might also have to impose a ‘curfew’ and curtail night time work there because of sleeping children. Both cellars and lofts often share the disadvantage of having an over small entrance, don’t be caught making a beautiful wall unit which won’t go through the door !

Many people transform their garage for crafts and hobbies; it is quite suitable for all types of home offices too. If there is additional car parking space on your premises, it may be worth building a separate carport and converting your garage into a permanent workshop. If you use the garage regularly for heavy carpentry or metalwork, the car tends to spend most of its time outside anyway. However, for most people a garage serves both purposes well enough.

Room for children

Toys and furnishings should be lead-free,( made in China ) and free from sharp edges and too many loose parts which could get swallowed. Any free-standing furniture (as few pieces as possible should be used) should be light enough to cause little damage if they were to topple on the child, and have rounded corners. Again,’paper’ pieces are ideal here. But if you do use cupboards which are not fixed to the wall or floor, do make absolutely sure that they are sufficiently heavy to withstand the weight of a child swinging on an open door or drawer.
children room furniture
On the other hand, chests should have lids which can be easily lifted by the child himself in case he decides to climb in them and hide-if he is trapped he could easily suffocate. Electric sockets are best positioned out of the child’s reach until he is old enough to respect their potential danger. Wherever they are, they should comply with the standard safety regulations and it would be best if each socket was fitted with a switch. Although some changes in a child’s room will be inevitable, sensible planning over the basics, such as flooring, wall surfaces and furniture, will ensure that these changes are minimal and inexpensive.

Converting the Loft or Attic in London

Building on to the side of your house and adding an extension is becoming more and more expensive, what with the cost of having to lay new foundations, walls and roof. Your loft, however, will probably be large enough to create suitable space for living as well as storage at a considerable saving. There are other advantages in utilising your loft space. At least 30% of the heat loss in the average house goes through the roof. If you use your loft you will have to insulate and plank it, cutting down the major source of heat loss.

Loft Conversion London
A typical loft. Because junk tends to accumulate, the idea of converting a loft can present a frightening prospect. But behind the old suitcases and tatty wordrobes, there is really a vast amount of space that could be used for better purposes.

Planning the Loft Conversion

Most of the preparatory work will be done on paper, so you will have to have every loft dimension available. A complete set of measurements must include the length and width of the base; height (from the top of the joists, to the bottom of the ridge timber); the arrangement and number of joists, rafters and any other timbers; the dimensions of the joists, rafters and other timbers; the locations or wiring, pipes, water tanks and other such items. Front these measurements you will be able to work out the size of the finished space or

room and what it can, or cannot, be used for. In Britain, for instance, half of that part of the ceiling which is above the l.52m mark must be not less than 2.lm in height if the room is to be used as a living or bedroom area. Remember that you will lose perhaps 75mm at the bottom through strengthening the joists and adding flooring. Take a length of batten across the rafters at a height not less than 2.13m from the joists. If you can’t do this, then you cannot use the space for living accommodation, in Britain at any rate but you might be allowed to use it as a children’s playroom. There is no height restriction if you only want to use the area for storage. Modern regulations usually stipulate that some form of vertical interior wall, normally at least 1.35m high is required. You are not permitted to use the outside edges of a loft space which has a pitched or sloping roof. (Usually you cannot, anyway, because you must leave in place any struts supporting the purlins, which in turn support the rafters.)

In most cases it will be useful to approach your local authority with sketch plans before you submit any definite plans. They are in a position to know about local building variations and will be quite helpful. First, sit down and detail your present and future requirements on paper. The more thought you give to the project the more ideas you will get- even more important you will stumble on aspects that you might want to avoid. Start at the beginning. How will you get to the loft? It is obviously too inconvenient to get the ladder out of the garage whenever you want to enter the loft. The simplest answer is to have a suitable ladder stored nearby, against a wall and boarded in like a tall cupboard, so that it is quick to get to. On the other hand, there are many proprietary ladders on the market that are specially designed for this job. The basic principle is the same in most cases; the ladder, usually a sliding, concertina or cantilevered type, is installed just inside the loft access door. You are provided with a long pole which has a hooked end. With this pole you push the loft hatch open, hook the end of the ladder and pull it down until it is resting on the floor and rigid.

You reverse the procedure when the ladder is not required. Each brand of ladder is installed by different means, but each comes with its own instruction leaflet. Although a ladder may be the only way of entering your loft. it does require a certain amount of agility to climb and descend, so that if you convert loft storage space to a proper room later you will have to put a staircase in. However, the building of a stairway involves problems additional to the intricacies of stairway construction. For instance, in Britain, the building regulations will not permit a simple open-tread stairway (consisting of two heavy planks for stringers with the treads housed in between) above the first floor unless you add a fire escape. In some other countries this restriction does not apply. The next point is the loft hatch space. In most houses this is only just large enough to allow a person to enter the loft, and will not permit objects much larger than a dining chair to be taken into the loft.

So your second consideration is whether to enlarge the access space. If you intend storing only books or similar objects it might be all right as it is, but in most cases it is better when made larger. Insulation is an important consideration. If you insulate the roof area-the spaces between the rafters-you will satisfy the needs of your storage space, and be well on the way towards the insulation you would need for a room. It is not essential to insulate the floor area, which will be planked over, although lack of insulation at this point will make your heating system work harder. Finally, bear in mind that your loft joists were probably not designed to provide a living area and are not strong enough for this purpose, or for heavy storage. In most cases they will have to be strengthened as described later.