Homes – The New Normal

Homes – The New Normal

For the past 80 days, most of us have spent more time at home than ever before.  Our ‘Home Sweet Home’ has been acting less like a hotel and more like a makeshift workplace, school, pub, gym and most of all a safe place to retreat to, from the virus.

Coronavirus has encouraged us to rethink the kind of life we want to live post-pandemic and the role our homes will play in this.  The future design of practical living has changed and we now know what works and what doesn’t in our home layout.

Have the light and airy open-plan living spaces you once craved been a major cause of stress during this period, due to the lack of privacy and unforgiving acoustics? 

And, has the major shift with so many of us working from home encouraged you to realise that your spare bedroom is no longer a suitable ‘WFH’ solution?

Has it become clear that your dining room is perfect for dinner parties, but highly impractical for home-schooling?

Our gyms have been closed for months and with the sale of home exercise equipment reaching stratospheric heights, it seems that home gyms have become almost as crucial as a home office!

The Kitchen has always been the most essential room in any home, but with the closure of restaurants and pubs they have become even more important as they are used as a central hub for work, schooling, cooking and also a place just to ‘hang out’.

We will all be striving to make our homes cleaner and healthier, with fewer indoor visitors and less room for cross-contamination. Our future housing designs will be responding to what people perceive as priority features in their homes and the new realities of home education, working from home as well as a healthier lifestyle. 

Sir Winston Churchill once said, ‘Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it’

Indeed, many of us are now understand the surprising advantages of historic homes and their separate rooms that nowadays would differentiate places at home for work and for living.

We also now may prefer the exercise in our own homes or in public outdoor spaces as opposed to visiting the local gym.

Who knows…. we may even see the return of the ‘outside toilet’!  Once deemed as a sign of hardship, but could now be seen as luxury addition, designated just for visitors to your home post COVID-19.

If it is time for you to think about a better functioning home with clearly thought out spaces, smart solutions, family-friendly acoustics and beautiful outdoor living spaces, let us help you make your home one that can withstand the future of change.

Stay safe, stay healthy.

Some Valid Reasons For Turning Your Loft Into Additional Living Space & How An Architect Can Help

Do you have a growing family that needs extra living space? Are you following the trend of working from home on a semi or full-time basis?

If the answer to either (or both!) of these questions is ‘Yes’ then a loft conversion makes perfect sense.

There are many reasons why this is the case. Below we highlight:

  • Some of the major benefits of converting your loft.
  • Consider potential planning permission requirements.
  • Explain why including a respected architectural firm in your project really does make sense.

Multiple use – What’s your choice:

The value of creating additional space in your home cannot be underestimated. Your unused loft or attic is the perfect place to achieve this.

Multiple use choice is yours. Think in terms of:

  • An additional bedroom: Go all the way and include an en-suite bathroom.
  • Home office: Perfect for working from home, studying or research.
  • Hobby room: If a family member(s) has a particular hobby they are keen on, then having a separate room for this activity is an excellent solution.
  • Den for the children: By creating a ‘cool’ space for the kids to relax in and entertain friends you are doing yourself and the children a big favour.
  • Home gym: A healthy lifestyle and fitness routines are something the whole family should be encouraged to embrace. By converting your loft into a home gym and workout room you are providing a highly useful room for all. (A shower room in this instance would also be a good addition).

Is planning permission required:

The general rule here is that if you do not plan to alter the exterior of your home, then planning permission is not required.

This is because under current UK regulations a ‘standard’ loft conversion is classed as permitted development.

However, there are exceptions to this general rule – Some examples being:

  • Converted houses.
  • Flats.
  • Maisonettes.
  • Listed buildings.
  • Property in “Designated Areas” – This includes conservation areas, areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and national parks.

The above is certainly not an exhaustive list. Checks with local authority planning departments MUST be carried out before any loft conversion work begins. Failure to do so could mean you fall foul of regulations and need to undo all conversion work that has been completed.

Do you need the assistance of an architect?

The strict answer here is “No”. However, there are many benefits to be gained from using the services of a respected, fully qualified architectural firm such as M P Architects LLP.

Here’s just 5 of the many reasons as to why using an architect for your loft conversion project will reap rewards:

  • Time saved on understanding exactly what is allowed and what is not relating to any planning permission and permitted development rights in your local area.
  • Expert advice: Not only will you receive expert advice on ‘best use’ of space dependent on your wishes, but a good architect has their finger on the pulse when it comes to the most appropriate materials to be used and modern trends of design.
  • Provision of architectural drawings. Please do not dismiss this highly important point. Skilled architects have a trained eye. They can help transform your needs and requirements into reality.

This is first seen in architectural drawings your chosen architect will provide. These will be based on the type of loft conversion you are looking for. Their highly detailed drawings and design will maximise available space and allow you to clearly visualise the finished conversion.

  • Tried & trusted trade professionals: If you do not have a trusted source in terms of loft conversion work, an architect does! They will have a list of trusted professionals that will see the project completed in a high-quality manner.
  • Overall project management: Having an architect on board and appointing them to project manage your loft conversion will mean less stress for you, timelines on each stage of work are clear, agreed work is adhered to and completed professionally, and those all-important, agreed budgets are met.

The value you add to your home will more than pay for the project

Loft conversions are not only a very sensible use of space, they will also add to the value of your home.

How much obviously depends on type of use, work carried out and quality of the conversion. By enlisting the assistance of M P Architects LLP, you will be maximizing potential in many more ways than one.