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.
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.