We’ve got the first plans from our architect to comment on. None of the layouts are right, but there are lots of ideas that have made us think about how we want to use the house now and how we might want to use it in twenty years.
In case you don’t know, we moved into an old care home six months ago. We have lots of space, but the layout is strange, particularly because it has been adapted to accommodate a lift. As this is going to be our forever home we are happy to completely change the layout to be a perfect fit for our family. But we’re not completely sure what we want, especially as we are trying to think about three timescales; living with young children, living with teenagers, and living on our own when the children have moved out.
The key questions are downstairs, particularly about the kitchen:
- should the kitchen be at the front or back of the house
- how much space do we need to seat people if we host Christmas
- do we want an island, breakfast bar or just units in the kitchen
- what should go into a utility room apart from washer and drier
- is it a good idea to have a playroom
- is it useful to have a large cloakroom off the hallway so all coats and bags are collected hidden from view
However, there are a couple of suggestions we really like and if we had the cash right now we would be looking for a structural engineer and builder today.
Remove the lift – The lift dominates the house. It is the first thing you see when you walk into the house, it blocks the light from the landing window so the house is dark and some of the rooms are strange shapes because hallways have been created to go around the lift.
Move the staircase – The staircase is currently u-shaped tucked behind the lift. The architect has suggested keeping the shape, but rotating it by 90 degrees and moving it into the centre of the hall, this means we can have a circular landing upstairs; how grand!
I don’t know how much this would cost, but I think £20,000 would be a comfortable sum to start with. To satisfy the bank for our mortgage I started investigating the cost of removing the lift before we exchange contracts so I’ve got an estimate of about £5,000 to remove the workings of the lift. We then need to remove the brick lift shaft which is structural so will require new supports for the roof and the landing. For the staircase, we maybe able to use the existing stairs, but as it will be the first thing you’ll see when you walk into the house, I think it will be nice to have a new attractive staircase built.
Once we finalised plans with the architect we will work out the order to make the changes as it is likely they will take a few years. My gut feel is the kitchen will be the first room we will want to move or extend, because we are not finding it easy feeding the children in the dining room.
If you were starting your house from scratch, what are the key changes you’d make?
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