Designing Your Loft Conversion

Exterior Design

If planning permission is required then our Architectural Surveyor will design well balanced recessed type of roof dormer(s) at the sacrifice of some internal space rather than the huge top heavy dormers that will dominate the elevation and be refused permission. However, many home owners do not value the external look as much and insist on the largest dormer possible, this is acceptable under Permitted Development (no planning permission necessary). In some cases the space gained to the interior can compensate the large bulky dormer seen from the outside.

Fortunately, the planners have got to grips with a lot of loft conversion designs these days and they now have a great more control over schemes that a few years ago could have been built under Permitted Development. This means that they have encompassed good design guides in an attempt to stamp out the bulky full width box dormer built on the principle elevation (front) that turned a beautiful Victorian semi into something that looks like giant match box dumped on top of the roof.

Conversely, we have debated with the planners that the small cottage type pointy roof dormers are quite simply impractical and do not provide enough space for a fully functional room. However, designing your loft conversion is all about compromises and choices which have to be made. Fortunately, home owners are now becoming far more design aware than they ever used to be. We must accept that the formation of more space must not be at the expense of a poor external visual impact that simply jars with the whole look of the locality. This type of poor loft conversion design can not only decrease the value of your own home but that of the neighbours as well! However, there are exceptions, some inner city properties for example have an abundance of these types of loft extensions and the ones that have not yet been converted look out of place. In these areas we pay more attention to the internal design of the living space. There are also some areas from the 1970’s & 1980’s built estates where the whole so called architect design was for this style of flat roof box dormer and is an accepted design for that area.

Interior Design

Designing a practical and safe staircase for your new loft conversion is very important. Strict building control guidelines must be adhered to. The position of the staircase is one of the most important decisions we have to make. It will effect the entire layout of the upper floor. A small skylight (Velux window) installed to the roof line above the staircase will flood natural light to the entire stairwell.

Installing Velux windows to the roof line is undoubtedly a cheaper option than constructing a dormer. They are very quick and easy to install. Practically all loft conversions have them, even the dormer conversions. There are now a staggering array of roof light windows available and choosing the right type, size and positioning of them will affect the final look and feel of your new upper floor.

If a dormer is planned then a large window to the bedroom or better still a Juliet balcony will offer the best views. Our tubular marine grade stainless steel with toughened glass panels will make your Juliet balcony look beautifully modern giving you uninterrupted views.

Internal partition walls will effect the size of each room and are not usually load bearing. They can be positioned anywhere so getting it right is crucial and must be practical. This is most important if an en-suite bath/ shower room is going to be a part of the design.

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