Tuesday, 23 June 2015

EXTENSION MAKE-OVER: BEFORE & AFTER

We have been planning to replace our old, leaking conservatory for quite some time now. After years of brainstorming and looking for the right trades people, we finally decided to demolish the old conservatory and build a single storey rear extension earlier this year. You can read about the progress week by week in my previous posts week 5week 4week 3week 2 and week 1.

The 'before' pictures will show you just how inadequate the old conservatory was. We only used it to store our daughter's toys as the room was too cold during the winter and too hot during the summer months. Not to mention, it was leaking when it rained. We always knew that this was going to be a relatively big job. There was no way changing the roof or doors would have cut it. The room would need to be demolished completely and after some consideration we decided we wanted to build an extension rather than another conservatory to replace it. And, it was the best decision we could have made! Hopefully the 'before' and 'after' pictures will speak for themselves.

BEFORE!


AFTER! 



BEFORE!


AFTER!

BEFORE!


AFTER!


BEFORE!

AFTER!


BEFORE!



AFTER!


BEFORE!


AFTER!

I am thrilled with the transformation! I love how modern our new extension is and it's safe to say that it has changed the way we live as a family. We have have gained another lounge/entertaining area and I feel like I actually live in a different house thanks to our open plan living area. Removing the internal french doors and opening up the entrance to the kitchen has maximised the amount of natural light we get. The patio double doors also invite more light into the room and showcase our leafy garden.

So, what do you think? I know the space will divide opinions. Some people don't like open-plan living while others do. But, for us it is ideal! I simply cannot believe the amount of natural light we get in this room during the day. Light bounces off the off-white walls beautifully creating an airy, fresh environment for us to live in. I suppose you could call it a family room. We are already spending more and more time in these 3 rooms and our daughter is loving the extra space.

We chose to live in the house during the building works which was challenging at times, I must say. I really don't regret the decision though. Being around the builders really made it easier to see the progress and ensured that everything was done as planned down to the tiniest detail. If you are not planning to live in the house, it's worth hiring architect to oversee the project for you!

So, were we right to keep the pillar? I'd like to think so. Even though, many builders and architects adviced us to get rid of it, I feel it brings definition to the room and is a nice feature. My builders also told me that removing it would have not been as easy as many architects told me, so I am very glad we kept it in the end. Also, the opening to the extension, where the internal double doors were, would have had to be a lot lower due to a new beam so this way we get more light in the dining room. A win-win situation as far as I am concerned.


The high, sloping ceiling was one of the smartest decisions we made in the plans. So many people opt for a flat roof but the result in never as impressive as far as I am concerned. If you have no restrictions, build a sloping roof I say. You will get more light and high ceilings give a sense of greater space to any size room. High ceilings also look elegant and look particularly good in old, period homes (although I find sloping ones more suitable for a modern look).

Another smart decision was to get one large velux window rather than two small ones. Our velux is perfectly positioned next to our dining room which means we get tons of light into the dining area. It's so easy to use and I love that you can program opening and closing times on it. It's worth to pay the extra 300 bucks to get a remote controlled window in my opinion! My husband loves technology and gadgets and I could imagine something like this being a good selling point for men if you ever plan to sell your house!


We did a kitchen remodel last year (read here) and I am very pleased how well it goes with our new extension and dining room. All three spaces work very well together in my opinion in terms of the function. I am glad we went for quite a glamorous kitchen style (of course I am referring to the sparkly worktop!). Especially, since the kitchen is no longer hidden behind a door but is more like a feature on it's own. The white gloss cabinets keep with the same theme with the 'all white' look I have been gunning for in our new extension. It's all very modern and minimalistic which pretty much sums up my personal taste I guess.


I also love our Reina Fiore designer radiator. It is definitely a statement piece and it seems to function perfectly as well would you believe! Well, I will need to wait until the winter months to really see how much heat it gives but I don't think it will be a problem. Let's not forget, our room is south east facing which means during the Morning/Afternoon the sun keeps it very warm. It's also handy that hot air rises and seems to escape through our velux window during the hot summer months which makes the room very pleasant to be in. The obvious choice would have been to place the radiator underneath the window but I am very glad I decided against it. There is no need anymore to have radiators near doors or windows thanks to double glazing and having a vertical long radiator spreads the heat a lot more evenly in a room with high sloping ceiling. Plus, it also saves us some space! I feel the radiator complements our contemporary decor extremely well and I have received a lot of compliments from friends/family saying how unusual looking it is. In fact, some have even said that it looks like a piece of art!


I spent 4 years getting my plans together for this room but a lot of the credit goes to using good architects that helped me to make some important decisions as well as our excellent, hard working builders. We used Add A Room Kent and I would recommend these guys for anyone wishing to extend their house, whether it is a loft conversion/extension or anything really. Dave and his colleagues are very nice to deal with and are very good at what they do. Good builders are booked up usually at least a year in advance so if you are planning to extend start looking for one now!

You might have noticed that I am still not quite finished with decorating the room. The truth is, I needed a bit of a break from it all. As exciting as this 'project' has been, I did feel like I needed a break after the building works were finished. I had been waiting for this for 4 years but dealing with suppliers, builders, architects and council was exhausting. Don't get me wrong, I have loved every minute of it but sometimes I guess it's healthy to take a break and do something else. This is probably why my posting frequency on the blog has reduced a bit during the summer but there is more to come I promise.



I will be doing another post about the decor soon but I have to say that I am very happy with the width of the room (which was initially a big concern for me). Since we are in a semi-detached house, we had some restrictions but we made it work. There is plenty of room for a sofa and a chair in the corner. Although, I am going to keep the furniture to minimum as I don't want to over crowd the room. I need a room to be organised and clean cut to feel comfortable in it and I can't think of anything worse than having each corner filled with storage/shelving. As you can see there are no kids toys anywhere to be seen. I was planning on having storage for our daughters toys in the room but I have managed to store them in the cabinet underneath the stairs which is a much better, space saving solution.

Even though, we have managed to achieve a lot this year our new 'entertainment area' is not quite finished yet. We want to add a timber decking outside the extension so that you actually feel that the room flows into the garden. I wish I had asked our builders to build one but it's too late now and they have moved onto their next job. I think we will leave it until next year which will give me plenty of time to get my plans ready. I might even consider hiring a landscaper rather than a builder for the job. I'll keep you posted!



I'd love to hear any comments/feedback! I am very happy with what we have achieved and I feel that all three rooms now complement each other extremely well. Hopefully I have provided some ideas for anyone who is planning to extend their house as well. It's not as intrusive as you'd think but most importantly it's definitely worth it. Another piece of advice I'd give is to listen to yourself. Do what works for you and/or your family. I get inspired by new trends all the time but at the end of the day I will go for a style that suits me and our family. All trends will outdate at some point so keep that in mind. The best part is that I have no regrets. We got exactly what we wanted which means this was, without a doubt, the most successful transformation we have done in this house to this day. And, of course the most value adding too.

Builder: Add A Room Kent
Architect: Aztech Architecture
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