Architecture Q&A: can I buy my council house and convert it into a family home?

Architect and interior designer Peter Morris answers your questions
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Question: We live in Pimlico in a council housing estate. My wife is pregnant and we're looking to buy but would prefer not to move. Can I buy my council house and convert it into a family home?

Answer: Yes, now might be the perfect time to think about buying your council home. At the beginning of the year the Government launched it’s new ‘Right to Buy’ scheme. You can now get a maximum discount of up to £75,000, or £100,000 if you live in a London Borough. The Government is also simplifying the process and reducing the qualifying time from five to three years.

In terms of converting the design of the house, I would normally need to visit your property and discuss how you would like to live, but what I can give you is some advice on what you and your architect should consider.

Space might be tight so the layout of your home is crucial to get right. The right layout will make any amount of space liveable. Invest in robust sound proofing of the party walls and floors. Lighting can add the final touches to a home. You can never have enough storage, so good space-saving ideas, such as storage under stairs can help.

If you are a bit more adventurous and have high ceilings, you can create long-term storage in the ceiling or even a false floor in the bathroom, so it is level with a standard bath. The icing on the cake is mirrors to make the space seem bigger.

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If you have a question for Peter Morris, email We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Peter Morris is an architect and interior designer and a director of Peter Morris Architects, which specialises in modern, innovative and practical designs (

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