Decisions, Decisions…

By, Phil Durkin

Deciding on whether to move house or stay in your current home and make improvements is a dilemma faced by many home owners. With the current uncertainty over Brexit and a fluctuating house market this decision is more difficult than ever. It‘s very rare to buy a new house which is exactly to your taste – so further costs almost always materialise.

But moving house is an exciting prospect, whether somewhere bigger or smaller. It’s an opportunity to re-establish your home in new surroundings. Finding the right property can take time and there are usually always compromises to be made. It would be very rare to find the perfect property, in the perfect location which doesn’t require adapting to your personal taste. This invariably leads to additional costs which may or may not have been budgeted for. Often when viewing a prospective property, we have an eye on future improvements and modifications that can be made, and as such the advice would be the same as if you were improving your current property.

Deciding to improve your existing or new home is huge decision, but you can achieve a lot with a re-imagining of the existing space and possibly the addition of an extension. We’ve come a long way from sticking a conservatory on the back of the house which beautifully cooked you in the summer and froze you in the winter! Before you uproot your family with a house move it really does make sense to re-evaluate what you have first. With a bit of vision you may realise that you already have your dream house right under your nose.  If you’re not confident about doing this yourself then it’s well worth considering  involving an expert. If you already have great neighbours and a great location then change your house not your street. You may think your current home is lacking in space or just doesn’t let you live your life the way you want to. The way we live has changed a lot  over the past 20 years and people now yearn for large, modern kitchen / dining / living open space with indoor /outdoor living capability but not much of our current housing stock is laid out this way. The reality is that with an expert in indoor architecture your current home can be remodelled and extended to provide exactly what you want.  

Whilst re-evaluating it’s important to understand the dynamic of your home, is extra space needed, can that be achieved with a re-configuration of the layout or is added space required? Write a list of what you actually need with regards to space and facilities and the features you’d like to incorporate. Most internal walls can be moved, although some will need structural support so imagine your house without any internal walls and imagine it laid out the way you would like. If its still not big enough then consider an extension. Don’t just stick an extension on to existing rooms though without any real thought – you don’t want to have to pass through one room to get to another if you can help it. Try not to make the extension become every room in your house – think about how every other room will still be put to good use. An extension should feel as if it has always been there and not upset the character and flow of your home. There’s no point creating new space, if that space ultimately creates unused space elsewhere in the house. An extension should merely enhance everything you love about your property and help you realise its full potential.

Sometimes though simple solutions are all that is required, moving a door position can free up wall space, adding features to a ceiling, like cornicing and back-lighting can add interest and additional windows can lighten a room. Be creative with walls – forming recesses, moving door openings from the corner of the room (a former British standard) or using mirrors and metal panels on walls to add a different dimension. Moving radiators or installing underfloor heating can allow you to completely rearrange furniture….

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