Monday 12 August 2013

Extending our footprint

Over the sumemr our plans for an extension have been gathering pace. We engaged Steve Tabb, father of one of Angus's pals and an architect with Fletcher Joseph, to draw up some ideas. Steve's first sketches were certainly challenging and unusual, but had taken on board our concerns that the current back bedroom and living room could become quite dark if we simply extended on the back of the house. He proposed an annexed lounge, down half a level and with a small terrace on top. This would have looked pretty amazing but the impracticalities of the build soon became evident: a sedum roof would cost a lot, expensive tanking would be needed to cater for the semi-sunken nature of the new lounge and it would be a long way from the new lounge to the front door.

Next, we moved on to variations of our original scheme. Steve proposed putting in new side windows, knocking out the bay windows and conservatory and replacing it with a box on the back. We also want to make use of the dead space currently in front of the garage. Given that the rear wall of the garage would have to be knocked out to provide access to the rear for the build, it makes sense for us to knock down the garage and rebuild a new store further forward, with a new utility behind it, accessible though Sharon's current office which will become a cloakroom. That room has had a chequered career in the 12 years we've been in the house. Spare single bedroom then nursery to Sean and Finn (complete with lovingly-painted tree) then the office from where Sharon built a million-pound business. A cloakroom may be more mundane and practical but if it solves the morning rabble of coat, bag, shoe, scarf, hat and glove dressing and evening divestment of same, or at least relocates it from the narrowest bit of the hall, I'll be delighted.

The plans were submitted to the council early in the summer and have now been approved by the planning committee, so we are now in the process of getting more detailed drawings finalised and building warrants issued. Naturally, a new kitchen is central to the plans and we had Gareth from B&Q round on Sunday to provide us with some ideas, plans and an initial (eye-watering) estimate. We have an overall budget we want to keep to and intend relocating as many units and other items as we can, to utility rooms and such like, although my plans for a summer house at the foot of the garden, utilising recycled windows from the conservatory, are likely to come to naught.

With a bit of luck we might be able to start the build in October, so we could be in for a winter of discontent as we squeeze into the remaining rooms of the house. It will all be worth it in the end, I'm sure!

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