Planning an extension [AD]

Being stuck in the house during lockdown provides plenty of opportunity to think about home improvements. For us, it has been something we’ve been discussing for a few years. Over the past few months, we’ve been decorating the bedrooms bit by bit. First Lia’s, because the girls had decided they no longer wanted to share. Next had to be Libby’s, because Lia’s room had turned out so beautifully that we wanted Libby to have an equally nice environment. That’s still a work in progress, but we’ve started thinking about the next steps.

Moving or extending

About 15 years ago, I had plans approved to extend my house. I was told I had to give up the extension in order to get planning permission for a building plot on the other side of the house. So, the extension never happened. In the intervening years, we always thought we’d probably move house, most recently we wanted to go closer to the girls’ school. Over the past couple of months though, we’ve changed our minds.

The house we are in is detached and is within walking distance of a good high school. If we moved to the village where the girls are in school, they’d have to get a bus to school. I’d prefer it if they had the independence to walk, run or cycle. For Libby in particular, this is now creeping up on us. She only has three years left at her current school when they go back and it would be at least 18 months before we moved. So all in all, it would be fairly pointless.

Making the house bigger and more accessible

The size of our house is fine as it is, but if we’re staying, we want it to be better than fine. It would be nice to really love it. There are also a few issues with the house as it is that we can quite easily solve. I don’t want to take up the whole garden with the extension, having recently got the garden as we want it. But we can easily add a large kitchen diner downstairs and an ensuite master bedroom upstairs. We’d also like to add a porch and a downstairs toilet to make the house more accessible.

When my grandad was alive, he often came over for Christmas lunch. As he got older though, he couldn’t make it upstairs to the toilet so would never stay long. If we put in a downstairs toilet as part of the extension, that along with a Riser Recliner Chair from somewhere like Fenetic Wellbeing would make the house a lot easier to navigate for anyone with mobility problems. With my parents getting older, I would hate for them to be unable to come over to the house in the future if there is something we can do to make sure they can.

In terms of furnishings, I have always been a fan of old furniture. I’ll be happy to buy a new sofa, but I’d love to furnish the kitchen with reclaimed items. I have started to follow quite a few accounts on Instagram that refurbish old furniture. I also like to see household items made from reclaimed wood. I think in a large kitchen diner, a reclaimed wood island and a traditional dining table and chairs will look great. It will also match the rest of the house, I have no intention of getting rid of our old furniture and piano, they’re like part of the family.

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