Always a tough one. Last year, after gaining planning permission we had to set a budget. We were clear in our head with our wants and needs for the project so now we needed to see what we could achieve within reason. For us, we have a couple of set ideas that we’re not going to compromise on…
The floor plan as drawn out by our architect.
The bi fold doors out from the kitchen diner to be flush with the ground outside (we won’t have a risk of flooding in our kitchen as we don’t live on a flood plain). And to help counteract we’ll have ample, well positioned drainage and the slabs outside will be slightly sloped away from the house.
The material of the bi fold doors, there going to be aluminium.
However, there are aspects of the build we are willing to compromise on to save money…
Instead of having the wall out between the existing lounge and dining room and a steel with pad-stone work etc – have a smaller opening with french doors instead.
Instead of a cranked steel beam in the new master bedroom upstairs to incorporate a gable end window to allow as much light into the vaulted ceiling – go with a traditional roof and have a portrait shaped window positioned as high up into the pitch of the roof as possible.
We had thought of a ball park figure of how much the work would cost but combined with this was to get quotes from builders and another crucial question to throw into the mix… To project manage or not to project manage?…
Ground work indeed. When we first bought the house in Summer 2016, we had the vision to what we’ve now had planning approval on. It struck us immediately that this house is a diamond in the rough.
First off, personally, we’re not a fan of walls (downstairs that is). We prefer open plan. So the main changes we saw needed to be made were…
Either french doors or wall out completely between the existing lounge and dining room
The existing kitchen would become a walk through, some where with larder units and an area for post to sit and action, and a cool chalk board/magnet area on the wall above for family planning, calendar and the like
That the rear of the house had the potential to be extended in its entirety, right across the back without impacting too much on the garden (it’s a decent sized garden, in two stages at the moment but we want to make it flat – another job right there! They’re adding up!)
The existing lounge to become a playroom for Master.H and Miss.H
The existing dining room to become part of an elongated ‘L’ shape lounge area of the kitchen extension
The extension to house the kitchen, a dining room table and part of the lounge area
Upstairs, the four existing bedrooms would remain the same but the vacuous space above our downstairs flat roof utility room could become a fifth bedroom, the new master bedroom. To go all out, we’d make it a vaulted ceiling, gable ended one with a walk in wardrobe and en suite
The main bathroom upstairs has a separate WC, and we’d make that as one
With all this in mind, we set about seeking planning permission from our local council.
This involved narrowing down an architect to do some floor plan drawings for both approval and building regulations and calculations (for steel RSJs as we are taking out walls).
We then interviewed many architects and design planners to find the one right for us. And I say interview because you have to ensure they’re the right fit for you and your wants/needs from your renovation project. Some were too big of a company and quoted prices way out of our budget for the drawings stage and proposed lots of 4D drawings which we just didn’t need. As soon as they started talking about having their ‘team’ look at our project I knew I’d missed the mark and invited them round to quote when they were too big of an outfit. Some were independent though, which on the surface could suit us but came across as inflexible. For example, when I proposed phoning them up for extra advice outside the drawings and calculations they intimated they would charge. A no go therefore for us. Some independents also tried to impose their ideas on us instead of being willing to work around our wants and needs for our family home. Again, not going to fly with us.
Eventually we found the one for us and commissioned our drawings and calculations with only one small revision required. Which shows we got the right architect for us, he ‘got’ our vision straightaway.
Then we had the nail biting wait to see if our local council approved it all, and they did, with conditions of course, but all very standard ones. Nothing out of the ordinary or specialist.