Last year we were lucky enough to be able to buy the house we had been renting for 5 years. I love the area that I live in but we wanted to do some building work to the house. When I found out I was pregnant last year we added a big extension downstairs.
The original house
On the left we had a kitchen and on the right was our dining room out onto the decking area. The lounge is at the front of the house and we’d find ourselves in the kitchen whilst the kids were in the lounge. I liked the idea of having more open plan living.
It took 2 days for the footings to be dug for the new extension. At this point I was worried that it wasn’t going to be big enough. Standing by the hole in the ground it didn’t seem like we were adding enough space.
The wall has been removed between the old kitchen and dining room. Along with pretty much all the kitchen. I managed to keep a dishwasher and oven until the last possible minute.
The back of our house had to come down really early on in the build. The reason for this was the massive steel that we needed. The only way to get it in was to remove the back of the house before the extension was built.
The extension is taking shape
The walls are going up
Now the walls are going up I was worried that actually the space was too big. I spent a lot of time measuring and planning it out on my computer. Doing a scale drawing in powerpoint allowed me to play around with the design and layout.
For months we had boarding across the back of the house whilst the extension was being built and the roof put on to make it weather tight. It was cold and very messy. These are all the wires that were left over from the old part of the house. The electricians did a good job making it all safe. Due to new building regs we also needed to upgrade the fuse box.
Seeing the space for the first time
This was the first time I’d seen the full space. By this point I’d already had to order the kitchen and furniture and just hope that all my measurements were correct. I was so pleased to see it all open up and get a feel for the space. The boards were still there whilst the glass doors were ordered, so we were almost water tight.
When the plasters started it really felt like we were getting somewhere.This meant that the new kitchen could be delivered and the end was in sight.
My husband and stepdad were responsible for putting down the floor and making sure it was the same height as the old house.
Having one big open plan downstairs has completely changed the way that we live. We spend so much more time together and I can see what the kids are up to all the time! For entertaining the space is great. I’m not concerned about getting everyone round for Christmas this year and where they will sit.
It was all worth the mess, money, tiredness and stress. Having building work done when you’re living in the middle of it is never easy. I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing. It is an amazing space.
Thing to consider before you start
- Get lots of quotes, don’t always go for the cheapest.
- Ask tradesmen for reviews and examples of previous work.
- Never pay for everything upfront, a bit for materials and stepped payment plan is best.
- Have a contingency. Any good builder will tell you things can crop up, until they start digging you don’t know what the ground is like.
- Plan – use powerpoint and do a scale drawing. Play around with furniture a lot to make sure you’ll be happy with the end product.
- If you have a good tradesman and need to get other trades in ask him for recommendations.
- Be patient it will be messy and hard to live in. (Especially when the plasterers start!)