Which loft conversion is right for my house?

Understand the different loft conversions available to you

So, you’ve decided that you would like to increase the space in your home by building upwards into your loft. But what kind of loft conversion is the best solution for your property? Bigger Homes have extensive experience in creating stunning loft installations including Mansard, Velux, Hip to Gable and Dormer conversions; however, the right choice will depend on the style of your home, the available space and whether you require planning permission.


Dormer loft conversions

If you need to maximise headroom in your attic, then our dormer loft conversions Essex team will add a dormer box onto your roof. Dormer conversion projects are suitable for a wide variety of property types, regardless of their style or roof pitch. As the structure sits at a 90-degree angle to the floor, you will enjoy more height and floor room when you opt for this type of conversion. In terms of planning permission, if your dormer is added to the rear or side of your property, then you can usually expect this project to fall within the scope of permitted development. This ensures that the conversion continues to reflect the character of your home.


Velux loft conversions

If you’re looking for a low-cost loft conversion solution, then a Velux is the way to go. This is a simple project which is essentially a room in the roof with windows added to it, although you will need to ensure that you have ample room in the floor beneath to create a new staircase up to your new upper storey. Guest accommodation, teen dens, exercise studios and home offices are all popular uses of a Velux loft conversion. The top floor can be flooded with light if you opt for a large Velux window, or even a Cabrio system where the window converts into a balcony too.


Hip to gable conversions 

 If your property has a free sloping roof, then this is the key criteria needed for a hip to gable conversion. For this reason, hip to gable conversions are commonly added to semi-detached or detached properties, although you may also find them on end-of-terrace properties. If you live in a single storey bungalow, then hip to gable conversions may be appropriate too. At the sloping hip end, a vertical wall is added to extend the square footage available in the roof, opening up the room to accommodate a spacious master bedroom, guest bedrooms, luxury bathroom or even an exercise studio.


Mansard conversions

 A mansard conversion is typically the most complex roof project and will require planning permission. It also produces the greatest amount of living space, with many mansards designed to create two bedrooms and a bathroom. This loft conversion type is suitable for a variety of housing stock, both in rural and urban areas, although obtaining approval will often depend on whether your neighbours have previously been granted planning permission. Take a look at the roofline on your street or look up former applications through your local council’s planning department.

Are you ready to explore a loft conversion project for your home? Get in touch with Bigger Homes on 01268 553648 and we’ll discuss the best option for your property.

What Benefits Do House Extensions Provide?

There’s nothing like months of lockdown to help homeowners evaluate their living arrangements, which is why internet searches for ‘house extensions’ hit an all-time high in 2020 according to Google Trends data. If you’re on the fence about whether you’re interested in a house extensions Essex project, here are some of the top benefits.

Added space

Let’s start with the most obvious reason that homeowners explore a house extension – the promise of more space. Depending on the size of the plot you own, and the legalities around extending, there are many possibilities for your extended interior. If you’re going for a single-storey extension, then common uses of the extra living space include a large kitchen diner, more spacious living room, or the addition of a home office, playroom or even a downstairs bedroom. Going up a level, if you’re able to build a two-storey extension, then extra bedrooms with en-suite facilities upstairs will skyrocket the resell value of your home. Your extension also allows you to play around with the existing layout of your property, perhaps switching to an open-plan or broken configuration if that suits you.

You don’t always need planning permission

It’s common for homeowners to hear the words ‘house extension’ and assume that planning permission is required. But many extension projects can fall within the scope of permitted development which is a far easier route to take. Always feel free to check in with us so we can help you find out of any specific regulations attached to your property as well as the area you live in.

Avoid moving house

If you love your existing home and don’t particularly want to move away from your friends and family, neighbours and great schools, then extending your home is an excellent alternative to relocating. But more importantly it’s often cheaper too. Instead of forking out for costs such as stamp duty, and fees associated with removal firms, surveyors, conveyancing and estate agents, you can plunge all of that unspent cash straight back into the value of your existing property by opting for a home extension. The stress of putting your home on the market, finding a new place and then wondering if it will all go through smoothly is also removed if you choose to extend rather than move.

Tailoring your property to the needs of your household

If you have lived in the same property for a while, and plan to stay for many years to come, then your needs are likely to change over the duration. Perhaps your young children are now teenagers and long for their own space to play video games and entertain friends in? Maybe you have a returning college student who needs their own personal space or an elderly relative who is moving in with you? You may also need to make accessibility modifications such as creating wider doorways or changing your bathroom layout to accommodate everyone in the household. A home extension will allow you to create the space you need with all of the accessibility features you require.

Bigger Homes are available today to begin exploring the possibilities for your home. Call us today on 01268 553648 or email [email protected] to arrange a consultation with our house extensions Essex specialists.

Interior Tips for a Garage Conversion

What do you use your garage for? With only 9% of household vehicles parked in garages overnight, many Brits are using this space as a dumping ground to house garden equipment or items they no longer use. Instead, why not transform this unused and unloved area into stylish accommodation that can add a minimum of 15 square metres to your home? Our garage conversions Essex team reveal some top tips when designing your interior.

Consider the layout of your home

Before deciding the purpose of your new garage room, have a think about how it connects to the rest of your home. If your garage is integral, then consider which room adjoins your new conversion – for example, a garage room leading to a kitchen might be a great place to house a new utility or boot room. Whereas a garage extension off your living room could be a great place for a playroom, teen den or home office.

Storage solutions

If you have been using your garage for storage, then this could be a great opportunity for a declutter. You may choose to use a loft space or a shed as your new designated storage area. Alternatively, you can opt to convert only part of your garage and keep a section of it for storage – this is particularly popular with larger double garages.

Power points

Your existing garage may already have power, but once you have turned it into a more functional living space, you may plan to plug in everything from a TV or fridge freezer to wall heaters, lamps and even phone chargers. If this is the case, then your garage conversions Essex team can adapt the electrical wiring to your needs. It is much easier to make these changes early on and not after you’ve decorated your room.

Natural light

Most garages are not blessed with natural light, so when you integrate yours as part of the overall living space, you will want to ensure that it is bright and airy. Depending on the position of your garage in relation to the rest of your home, some options include Velux windows, bi-fold doors along the length of the garage leading into a garden, or installing a simple window and door combination. Bear in mind how the addition of windows may affect the layout of your room when you are trying to position your furniture.

Futureproofing your room

When planning your garage conversion, you might have an immediate purpose in mind, such as turning it into a playroom for your family. But if you are hoping to stay in this property for many years to come, consider the longevity of the room. Once you no longer have a need for a playroom, could the space be converted into a teen den or even a granny annex? Should you put in the plumbing if you wish to add a small wet-room into your conversion down the line?

Your garage conversions Essex team will take you through a range of options so we can design the perfect interior for you. Contact Bigger Homes today on 01268 553648 or email [email protected].

Dormer Extension

Do Loft Conversions Add Value to A Home?

Loft conversions are one of the most popular type of extensions, and Brits have been extremely busy committing to this type of renovation project during the pandemic when there has been a ‘race for space’. Whether you are looking to add an extra bedroom or just make room for a quiet home office, our loft conversions Essex solutions have plenty of functionality. But do they add value to your home? The answer is a firm yes!

How much do loft conversions cost?

The exact cost of a loft conversion will vary depending on the complexity of the project and the amount of space available to you.

At the lower end of the scale, you can expect to spend upwards of £30,000 for a simple Velux conversion, whilst a Mansard-style conversion might cost as much as £60,000 or more. But the average loft conversion will set you back somewhere between £35,000 to £45,000. For this price, you can expect to gain a double bedroom with en-suite bathroom as part of a dormer loft conversion.

After completing your project, you could add as much as 21% to the value of your property, according to a recent study conducted by Nationwide. Let’s just say you have a 3-bed home worth £300,000 and want to convert your attic into a 4th bedroom with en-suite. If you spend £40,000 on your conversion, but your house is now worth £360,000, then you’ve made £20,000 profit over a six-week renovation period. That is a pretty great return on your investment.

What about non-financial value?

Of course, you cannot put a price tag on the personal benefits you will experience from gaining extra space in your home. If you are not planning to sell, but rather to stay and enjoy the space, then a new upper storey of your property has unlimited potential.

Have you been struggling to find a distraction-free office space for your new remote working role? A loft conversion is your ideal solution which will keep you well away from the distractions of daily life. You can save money on the cost of commuting into work or avoid spending money on hiring work premises elsewhere.

Need to make a little extra cash? By letting out the top floor of your property as a guest bedroom, you can open up an additional source of rental income to help you pay the bills.

Perhaps you are welcoming a new arrival into your family? If you need an extra bedroom for a growing family, then the price of a loft conversion will typically be far less than the cost of moving house. The stamp duty holiday will be phased out from the end of June 2021 and the majority of buyers will be paying the full amount in tax again from the 1st October. Alongside the cost of estate agents, surveyors, removal firms and conveyancers, plus the increased mortgage to gain an extra bedroom, this can far outweigh the average price you will pay for a loft conversion.

Is a loft conversion the right choice for me?

Building upwards can be a fantastic decision for many homeowners, but ultimately it depends on the type and size of your property. It is worth considering that although you will gain room from a loft conversion, you may also lose storage space and possibly some square metres where you will need to accommodate stairs from the floor below. In some cases, a rear or side extension or a garage conversion may be a better solution for you, which is something we would be happy to discuss in more detail.

Bigger Homes are specialists in creating dream spaces for homeowners. Book a FREE consultation with our loft conversions Essex team today and we will explore the potential that your home has to offer. Call us today on 01268 553648.


What planning permission do I need for a loft conversion?

So you’re thinking of having a loft conversion – great idea! Loft conversions are a great way of gaining well needed extra space without having to build an property extension. At first the amount of work may seem daunting, especially if you have never overseen a project like this before – that’s were we come in! A Bigger Home is here to do all the hard work for you. We do everything from design, planning and building control, right through to construction and completion. All you will have to concentrate on is the finishing touches to your new living space. First, lets take a few steps back and start at the beginning – planning permission. The first thing you should be thinking about, but do you even need planning permission? Well, Loft conversions are classed as permitted development and do not require planning permission, providing they meet the following conditions


  • Any new roofing must not exceed an additional 40 cubic metres of space on terraced houses.


  • Any new roofing must not exceed an additional 50 cubic metres of space on detached and semi-detached houses.


  • No extension must be made beyond the plane of the existing roof slope.


  •  No extension can be higher than the highest part of the roof.


  •  New roofing materials need to be like-for-like or close to original fittings.


  •  There must be no raised platforms or balconies.


  •  Side-facing windows must be set with obscured glazing and an opening 1.7-metres above the floor.


For listed buildings or those in conservation areas, visit planningportal.gov.uk


Sound interesting? Get in touch today.



12 bathroom ideas you’re going to love

Want to jazz up your bathroom a little? Take some inspiration from some of our favourite looks and ideas…

1. A sunken bath

A bath sunk into your floor is the perfect thing to slide into and relax after a hard day at work. Treat yourself to a little luxury!


2. Pool-style anti-slip mosaic tiles

These aren’t just stylish — they help make your bathroom safer and more slip-proof. Especially useful if you have little ones running around.


3. Storage shelves

If you’re tired of bottles and other junk cluttering up your bathroom, a few elegant mounted shelves can be the perfect way to free up floor space and get everything out of the way.


4. Uniform tiles

Using the same tiling across the floor and walls of your bathroom is a great way to achieve a uniform look and make the whole place feel a little more zen and peaceful. It’s a place you want to be calm, so make it as calm as possible!

5. A walk-in shower

If you’ve got the space to box off for a walk-in shower, they’re the perfect way to add a touch of class and make your bathroom feel more like part of your home.


6. Wooden floor

Say goodbye to tacky linoleum! A wooden-floored bathroom gives a home an unmistakably rustic feel while still being easy to keep clean.,


7. A skylight

The perfect way to let more light into your bathroom without compromising on privacy — a skylight can completely transform the feel of a small bathroom, especially an attic conversion.

8. Shower and steam room combo

No reason it can’t be done, if you’ve got the space! A bespoke walk-in shower that also functions as a walk-in steam room is a lovely luxury that could be just what you need to unwind on the weekend.


9. High ceilings

Bathrooms often tend to feel cramped. A high-ceilinged bathroom feels extremely modern and is a very relaxing space. A great place to perfect your morning routine!


10. Marble

Want that spa chic? A marble bathroom simply screams opulence and taste, and the flexibility of colour means you can get it the exact shade you want it.


11. A copper tub

Hey, it was good enough for the Victorians! And these days it just screams vintage charm and comfort.


12. Dual sinks

For him and her, perhaps? A pair of matching sinks is a lovely way for you and your partner to enjoy your morning and nighttime routines together.


Case Studies: Billericay

The location:

Billericay is a lovely little Essex town and a place with truly ancient history — it’s thought to date back to the Bronze Age! It houses many beautiful residences from the Georgian and Victorian eras, and those lucky enough to live there have plenty of attractions to enjoy such as the beautiful Mill Meadows, a local nature reserve. It’s a gorgeous place to visit!



The brief:

It’s always a good feeling when a customer comes to us through word of mouth. This client approached us because they’d heard we know our business when it comes to double-storey extensions — and they were absolutely correct! It’s an area of particular expertise, and it’s always a pleasure to take on this kind of job.

The customer wanted not only to add two bedrooms to the upstairs, ideally with an ensuite, but also create an extended kitchen/dining area on the ground floor where the family could cook and eat together.

Sounds simple enough, right? Time to get to work…



The job:

First things first, the new bedrooms. We constructed the new double-storey extension in which to house the new master bedroom, complete with ensuite bathroom. This bedroom we finished off with full-height sliding doors and a glazed balcony — all the better to enjoy the beauty of Billericay from!

Next it was time to sort the downstairs. We knocked through the walls between the kitchen and dining room, creating the larger open-plan cooking and eating area for the family to enjoy, just as the client asked.



The result:

A home to match the loveliness of the town surrounding it! Adding space to both the upstairs and downstairs of the house has made into a much more relaxing and homey space, providing room for a family to grow and make a few memories together.

A wonderful success story! Time to move on to the next job…





Case Studies: Chafford Hundred


The location:

We headed to Chafford Hundred to take on a new brief from a prospective client. A relatively new and desirable area to live in, Chafford Hundred is proving more and more popular for buyers, especially those with an eye on commuting into London. It’s previously been named among the most coveted areas in the country by The Evening Standard, and many of the people who buy there are keen to put down roots and settle permanently. Chafford Hundred comes under the jurisdiction of the Thurrock local authorities in Essex, and any planning decisions will go through them. As you’ll soon see, this would prove important for this particular job…



The brief:

Our Chafford Hundred customer was blessed with a rapidly expanding family, and found themselves needing a space for the children to play. Of course, big kids need a place to play just as much as little one, and the client was keen that the new space would also be able to house their pool table and running machine. This space needed to serve another function as well — as an extra spare bedroom, where other family members could sleep when they came to stay.

Time to get to work.



The job:

Fulfilling this brief proved to be a challenge, as there were many different elements at play. We designed a loft conversion in conjunction with not only the architect but also the local authority — a lack of developing rights on the property meant we had to be careful with planning permission and be very sure exactly what we were and weren’t allowed to build.


We decided a dormer-style conversion was the way to go, however according to the Thurrock Planning Department, flat roof dormers were out — it’d be against the planning regulations for this particular property. Instead, we came up with a Mansard-style dormer designs, which required us to remove the existing roof and brick up the existing gables. This gave us free rein to create the roof design we had envisioned, build the Mansard-style dormers, and fulfil our client’s brief.



The result:

A great success. The client’s growing family use the new space daily, and the extra space goes a long way towards making this house feel like a proper family home. Thanks to our careful work with the planning authorities, it’s all above board as well.


Job done. Onto the next one…


10 Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Home



Is it time you had more space? We list ten ways to tell if your home isn’t suiting your needs any more


1. There’s clutter at every turn

Does it seem like every surface of your home is taken up with stuff? Your desk, your dining table, your floors, your bed, all covered with various bits and bobs that you can’t get rid of but don’t seem to have any place for. If this sounds like your home, then it’s a big red flag that you need more space.



2. You’re constantly tidying up

In a similar vein, there’s always something that needs putting away, isn’t there? Whether it’s that sagging clothes horse, that jumble of shoes or those fancy wine glasses that don’t properly fit in the cupboard, it always seems like there’s something you need to find a space for yet again.



3. You work from bed / the sofa / the kitchen table

Ideally, if you work from home, you should have a dedicated space to do so. It’s better for your mind, health and wellbeing. If you’re constantly finding yourself working from the same space where you eat dinner, watch telly or — god forbid — sleep, then it may be time to admit to yourself that you need more space.



4.More kids than bedrooms

This is a classic. Whether you’ve got little ones sharing a bunkbed or boomeranging uni graduates who are looking to crash, if the kids outnumber the rooms they can sleep in then it’s time to have a serious think about your space.



5. Little personal space

Everyone needs peace and quiet every so often. Are you finding it hard to get yours? Do you find yourself longing for a quiet room where you can read, relax and enjoy a little you-time?n If so, then it’s time to make that room a reality.



6. You don’t want to entertain

This one can sneak up on you. It’s easy to make excuses to yourself for why you don’t want your friends and family to come round — oh it’s always stressful, we don’t want to cook, it’s nicer when we go out — but is the truth simply that you don’t feel your home is up to the task of entertaining your loved ones?



7. Glastonbury toilet queues

Morning bathroom arrangements can be fraught at the best of times. If you’re noticing a Glastonbury-style queue regularly forming outside your house’s one toilet, then you might need to think about easing that burden.



8. Stubbed toes

Ow. Ow, ow, ow. Whether it’s on chairs, the clothes horse, boxes or furniture, always finding yourself stubbing your toes is a surefire sign that you’ve got less space in your home than you need.



9. “Creative” storage

Laundry in the car. Shoes on the dishwasher. Plates in the airing cupboard. Do these kind of makeshift, improvised storage arrangements sound familiar?



10. You’re constantly dreaming of improvements

Following more than a few interior design accounts on Instagram? Constantly updating your Pinterest mood board with items from your dream home? Finding yourself saving Ikea furniture on your lunch break? It’s time to face facts — you need more space to make your home into what you always wanted.