There’s nothing like living by the sea! Westcliff-on-sea sits on the north bank of the Thames estuary, and its close proximity to London makes it a perfect place for commuters with families to put down roots. It’s always a pleasure to head out to this part of Essex for a job to get a taste of the sea air.
We could spot the issue here as soon as we arrived at the property! Our client at Westcliff had an old lean-to at the side of their house that was in terrible shape, leaky and shabby. It was also an impractical place for the house’s creaking old boiler to be housed. The clients wanted to do away with the entire thing, and use the space that was created to make a new open-plan kitchen space where they could entertain friends and family.
Sounds like a plan to us! Time to get to work.
First things first — the old lean-to needed to go! Thankfully this was quickly accomplished, leaving us free to get on with constructing a new single-storey side extension. We then knocked through the walls to make the open-plan kitchen and dining space our clients were dreaming of, and what’s more we added some aluminium bi-folding doors that could be opened fully for when the sun was out. This meant the space was even more open and airy — perfect for entertaining and al fresco dining.
With the leaky old lean-to gone and the new open space put in, the clients’ home had been transformed into a beautiful place to live, entertain and enjoy that seaside air in the sun.
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!
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.
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!
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…
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.
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…
How can you add value to your home most efficiently? Here are our cost-effective suggestions
This should be your first port of call when looking to add value to your home. Assess the exterior – the first thing a prospective buyer lays their eyes on when viewing your home — and look for ways you can improve. The windows, the roof, the front door, everything. These are things that you can spend relatively little on replacing or improving and as a result add a huge amount of value to your house. This isn’t just a sensible investment; it’s an essential one.
Don’t neglect your garden as well as your house, especially if you have a front garden that your prospective buyers will be walking through before they even cross the front threshold. You don’t need to over-complicate matters, but investing time and a little cash into making your garden well-groomed and stylish can pay dividends to your home’s value.
It doesn’t need to be about extending or adding bits on. Replacing your musty carpets or faded linoleum with beautiful, polished hardwood can be one of the most cost-effective ways to transform your house and make it feel so much more high-end and glamorous. The work is minimal, and the returns can be amazing. What more could you ask for?
A conservatory not only adds extra room to your house, it can also create a beautiful summery space to spend time and make a difference to how your house looks from the outside. Conservatories have a reputation for reliable return on investment — if you want a safe bet, this is a great place to start.
In many houses lofts are simply dead space — be honest, could yours be used more effectively? If so, it’s time to throw away those mouldering cardboard boxes and make your loft space into something that’s working for you. A new games room? A cosy, tucked away bedroom? It can even stay as a room for storage if you have too much stuff to get rid of, but you can still make it into an attractive space that’s adding value to your home, not taking it away. As a nice extra bonus, if you don’t extend the roof, you’re guaranteed not to need planning permission.
Studies have shown that one of the first rooms prospective buyers of a house pay attention to is the kitchen, wanting it to be just how they like it. So if you can make yours fully fitted and ready for prospective buyers who don’t want the hassle of making theirs from scratch, you can really bump up the value of your property. Here is where it’s especially important to invest properly — put the money in, and you and your buyers will be thrilled with the results.
And finally, if there’s one surefire way of making your home start earning more for you, it’s by extending your property. Relaxed planning regulations from 2016 mean it’s never been easier to start an ambitious extension project; if you want you can even expand over multiple floors, whether you want to expand your existing rooms or add brand new ones. Nervous? There’s no need to be — check out our blog on the 12 Myths About Property Extensions to put your fears to rest.
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…
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.
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.
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.
Many people are put off the idea of extending their property because of the same tired old saws that get trotted out by people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Well, no longer! We’re going to bust a few of the most famous myths about property extensions and explain why there’s nothing stopping you from getting your dream home.
1. It’s expensive
It doesn’t have to be! If you agree a concrete plan with your contractors in advance and know exactly what you want, getting an extension on your property can be managed for a very affordable price.
2. It’ll take ages
Again, this is where it pays to be prepared. Jobs like property extensions only tend to balloon out of control when people are unclear or unsure of what they want to get out of it. In reality, it can be a simple matter of weeks before you have your home looking exactly how you want it.
3. I’ll need planning permission
This puts many people off the idea of an extension, but the reality is that unless you’re planning something seriously big, you very likely don’t need planning permission at all. It always pays to check — your local authority can help you if needed, but there’s a good chance you’re safe to start extending without having to fill in any forms.
4. Planning permission will take ages
If it turns out you do need planning permission, then don’t lose heart — as long as you take time to check all your documentation is in order, you can see your application through in a matter of weeks and get to building.
5. I need to ask the neighbours
In a similar vein, many people assume they need their neighbours’ consent before making any changes to their property. In some cases this is true, but it’s always worth booking a free home consultation, so we can spot any party wall issues.
6. The neighbours will never agree
If it transpires you do need your neighbours’ assent for the build, it’s easy to be afraid that your plans will fall at this hurdle. However, most people are reasonable, and if you provide your neighbour with realistic assessments of how everything will work and how long it’ll take, really they have no reason to turn you down.
7. I’ll have to move out
Building work can be disruptive of course, but there are many steps you can take to minimise this. From building a makeshift temporary kitchen to erecting stud partitions to ward off the dust, there are plenty of ways to stop an extension from disrupting your life and allow you to continue enjoying your home while the work goes on.
8. It’ll completely disrupt my life
Work on your home can be intense, but you’d be surprised how many people who’ve had work done on their house will tell you how easy it was to cope with. Again, planning and preparation will pay dividends.
9. I should only use builders my friends recommend
This is a common sentiment, but in reality it’s not always so simple. You can often find a much better deal by doing your own independent research and comparing the work of builders yourself. Don’t simply assume that someone who was the right fit for a friend is also the right fit for you!
10. People only extend to sell their homes on
It’s best not to think of it this way. If you’re in your forever home and couldn’t dream of going anywhere else, an extension can still be a wonderful thing for you. You might want more space, or find yourself wishing you had a space to entertain friends, or even find yourself facing the prospect of a growing family. Extensions aren’t just about selling — they’re about making homes.
11. I just don’t know where to start
Not everyone is a building maestro! You can set the level of involvement you have with your extension at precisely the level you’re comfortable with, whether you’re competent to draw up plans yourself, or you’re happy to completely leave it in the hands of the pros.
12. I’ll just never get round to it
That’s something we can fix right now! Give us a call and we’ll see what we can do for you.
It’s always a treat to visit the parish of Laindon, a truly ancient village that can be traced back to the thirteenth century! These days it’s a peaceful but thriving community, where many happy families have made their homes, and are keen to make them better. That’s where we come in!
Our clients in Laindon quite simply wanted more space! Their house was at capacity, and they needed not only bigger bedrooms for the kids but also a larger living space where they could spend quality time together once the little ones were tucked up in bed. Having the right amount of space is key to a harmonious family life, and we were only too happy to accommodate in making this family’s dream a reality.
No one has ever accused us of doing things by halves, and from the start we could see that this job would require some major overhauling of the house. Indeed, a whole new room! We constructed a rear dormer loft conversion to house the brand new master bedroom for Mum and Dad, a peaceful space for them to relax and get a good night’s rest in peace. Doing this meant that the original master bedroom was freed up, and this is turn was available for one of the kids to move into — privacy gets all the more important as they grow up, as any parent will tell you.
Hey, presto! We’d transformed their three-bedroom property into a four-bed, thus bumping up its value on the market. We weren’t done yet though — next on the agenda was a rear extension downstairs, with bi-fold doors that opened fully and gave a lovely sense of space and opened up the living space for the family to enjoy.
The family were thrilled with the result of the work — a lovely, big open-plan kitchen and dining area that made for a great family space to spend time in. This also freed up the living room for cosy evenings on the sofa together, both for the kids and the parents.
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.
After a client got in touch, we headed to Hockley. A picturesque little Essex village, it’s always a pleasure to visit.
For this job, we had two main challenges. First, the customer wanted more living space to relax and spend their evenings in, whether that was watching TV as a family or entertaining when friends came over. The current living room was simply too small for their purposes.
Second, the family had previously converted their garage, and this meant they needed somewhere new to park their cars. It needed space for multiple vehicles, to be accessible of course, and if it could fit in a little extra storage space then that certainly would be no bad thing.
First order of business: the living room. The family needed a more open, accommodating space to watch TV, relax and spend time together. We extended the room to create more space, and made sure to include a large window to let in plenty of natural light. The result was a pleasant, open-feeling space that the family would enjoy spending time in.
The car space was a larger task. With the original garage out of action, we built a brand new double garage from scratch, providing ample space where the family could park their cars. Of course, a garage is no good if you can’t get to it, so we had to extend the driveway to ensure the garage was accessible. An extra challenge was present in the form of a great oak tree, a venerable specimen with a preservation order around it. We couldn’t disturb the old man (nor would we want to!), so we protected him throughout the build, and constructed the entrance to fit around him.
Success! The customers were happy — a great new living space for the family to enjoy, as well as a spacious double garage where they could keep not only their cars but also a few odds and ends that would make their house feel less cluttered. And all this done without disturbing the historic old oak that gave their property so much character. Mission accomplished — time to move on to the next job.
Have you thought about expanding your home? Here are six great ideas for property extensions to bring your property to life
1. A new bedroom for children
Kids need their space as they grow older, and you’ve got a couple of brothers or sisters sharing a bunk-bed, it’s time to give them the room they need. An extension is the perfect way to provide your kids with an extra bedroom than they can make their own, making life easier and more fun for everyone. Those night-time arguments will be a thing of the past!
2. Open-plan kitchen area
Rather than ferrying steaming plates from the kitchen to the lounge or dining room, you can use your extension to make a luxurious, open-plan kitchen area where your family can gather for cooking and eating. A cramped kitchen makes cooking so much more stressful than it needs to be — with one stroke, you can leave those days behind you, and make your kitchen into a place you want to spend your time in.
3. Opening up the house
Instead of constantly flitting from room to room, why not use your extension to let some light and air back into your house. Make some nice big living spaces, with areas for everyone to do their own thing and spend some quality time together. A living room that opens into a conservatory perhaps, or that extends onto a nice patio or terrace for those lazy summer evenings. Once you’ve done it, you’ll never look back.
4. Games room
Whether you want a space for the kids to play video games and hang out with their friends, or a pool table and fridge for when your mates come over, a games room is the kind of extension that you’ll wonder how you ever got along without. Having a spot dedicated to socialising and having fun is one of the best ways to turn a house into a proper, welcoming home.
5. Master bedroom
Getting good-quality rest is so important to your health and your lifestyle, and it’s high time you got yourself the restful space that you need. A proper master bedroom, with all the space you could ask for, is just the ticket. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes to your sleeping habits and how refreshed you feel, and if you can add an extra en-suite bathroom into the mix, you’ll find it really reduces the amount of stress in your house (no more queues for the one bathroom? Yes please!).
As remote working becomes more and more prevalent, you may find yourself with the opportunity to start working from home. If this is the case, then you’ll find that a home office will make a real difference to your productivity and your wellbeing. It’s important to be able to separate your work life from your home life, even if you work from home, and your own home office is the perfect way to do so. We’d recommend an airy room, with plenty of light, that you can really customise and make your own.