I am sure there are more, but these are my 5 crucial steps to a successful attic conversion. It’s been a year now since our loft conversion was completed, and it’s been the best home improvement we’ve ever made. It wasn’t a straight forward procedure; in fact at times I felt I was going mad with the stresses and strains! BUT, it’s like giving birth and you soon forget the pain once you experience the reward.
If you’re about to start on your attic conversion journey, or have an idea you might like to do this at some point in the future, I’ve put together a handy checklist that covers ALL the aspects you need to consider during the process. You can get hold of that HERE.
5 Crucial Steps to a Successful Attic Conversion:-
Step 1 – Great Plans:
I didn’t realise when we first started out, how important the plans were going to be. That was naive I guess, but I thought they were there to allow us to get an idea of what the space could look like, and so the architect could submit them to building regs. Of course, later I realised how crucial the detail was to the builder and his team, and often we’d need to call the architect to clarify points and make decisions that weren’t covered by the plans.
So make sure your plans are solid. Make sure all the detail is covered, and be doubly sure that everything you want a builder to do, is covered in the plans. Later our builders skipped jobs we thought were necessary and obvious because they weren’t detailed in the plans, and this is the information they’d used to prepare their quote. Worth noting.
Step 2 – The Best Architect:
Choose an architect that creates projects that fit your style. Go and look at their portfolio of jobs if you can. Find out what kinds of attic conversions or extensions they create. We were lucky in that our neighbours recommended ours, having recently had an extension built, and we new others in the area that had used him for attic designs too.
If you find the best architect for you, the next job is to trust in their vision. Whilst it’s your home and you’ll know what kind of conversion you want, sometimes they can visualise the end result better, understand how to get the most out of the space, and generally have a lot more experience than you, so let them do their job.
Step 3 – Builder Bond
The building team are going to be in your home for a while, probably many months so it’s important to build a rapport. Keep the communication going, feed them treats and make their job as easy as possible. If you’re supplying products for the job, as we did, make sure you have plenty of lead time for delivery so you don’t hold them. But don’t be afraid to say when things aren’t right or you want something done to a better standard. If you’ve got that good relationship going from the beginning, it’s much easier to do this further down the line.
Step 4 – Alternative Storage
You’re going to need a good storage facility for the duration of the attic conversion. After all, you’re emptying your attic space of years worth of treasures, much of which you’ll want to keep and return to your home when the job is finished. We actually had our stuff in storage for a year. Admittedly we prepared a few months beforehand, but our attic space was jam packed and needed a lot of sorting. Then once the job was finished, it took us another month or two to completely empty the unit, taking some things to charity and filling the new mini loft storage with the things we wanted o keep.
Step 5 – The Right Atmosphere
A crucial step to a successful attic conversion is creating the right kind of space once the job is done. The space we have is now the best in the house I think because it’s designed specifically for us. It works exactly as we need it to, with the right amount of furniture, storage, useful features and free, uncluttered space. But it’s successful because of our needs. Make your attic conversion successful by creating a space that’s personal to you, whether it’s another bedroom, office room, spare room or den. Make it your own.
Want to see how ours turned out? Here’s a little tour!
If you liked these ideas and want to see the checklist I’ve put together to help anyone about to embark on an attic conversion project you can download it here.
It’s jam packed full of tips and advice for every step of your conversion from design, to planning to pre-build and beyond.
It’s a year on now and the attic still looks as good as new I think. We’ve had a few issues from the build, mainly around plumbing and then getting it signed off with building regs but essentially it’s a great result. The pain is always worth it!
Happy to answer any questions anyone has around converting an attic space, particularly in the UK.
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Plan Your Attic or Loft Conversion
Download the complete, step by step checklist for converting your loft or attic room into a stylish, practical and useful space. Includes sections on finding an architect, drawing up plans, sourcing builders and the building and designing phases.