Attic conversions

With the escalating cost of moving home, more of us are staying put and making the most of our existing properties
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When it comes to extending space, the current favourite is an attic conversion. Dingy roof spaces are being transformed into appealing, high-quality rooms that are peaceful and full of light. Most often the new space is used for a bedroom and bathroom suite, but other ideas include home offices, playrooms, gyms and even a tranquil library.

Reading room

Determined to show that attic conversions can be the height of style, architect Nick Lomax created a lofty library at his own home at Hove in Sussex. Victorian roof trusses were replaced by steel beams to provide an open-plan space. Bespoke shelving was created to house the books, extra insulation was added and there was even room to create a small outside terrace. The scheme was completed within the planning laws of permitted development, which means that planning consent was not required.
Cost: £120,000.
Contact Nick Lomax at LCE Architects (01273 206710).

Bathing bliss

Always determined to make the most of every scrap of space in attic conversions, architect Alan Crawford achieved a spacious new loft room and roof terrace, plus the added bonus of a luxury bathroom, at his north London home. The small bathroom space is packed with ideas, including a Velux window to create extra height, the bath has been sunk into the floor to gain valuable extra inches, and the slimline loo cistern is hidden in the wall. Special attention is paid to lighting, too, with ceiling-recessed fittings and a tiny light in an alcove behind the loo.
Cost: £50,000 for the whole attic conversion, including terrace.
Crawford Partnership (020 8444 2070).

Attic conversion checklist

* Measure the height to the roof ridge – at least 2.3m is ideal. Check there is useful room width, too, or you will end up with little more than a corridor of new space. Extra width can be gained by fitting dormer windows or a mansard roof.
* Check with your local council to see if planning permission is required for the works. If you live in a listed building or a conservation area, you will need planning permission.
* Ask a local estate agent how much value a converted attic might add to your home.
* Make sure work is carried out to a standard that meets building regulations – particularly for access and fire escape, and ask for a Building Completion Certificate.

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