Although we moved in over eight years ago, until last September, we had done very little to our home. Other than a lick of paint here and there, a few frames hung and a revamp of the children’s bedroom, nothing else had changed since our moving day. There are a few reasons for that, mainly lack of DIY skills or funds to turn our house into our dream home.
After years of agonising over it and lots of quotes, we finally made the jump and decided to turn our two-bedroom semi-detached house into a four-bedroom family home with lots more space for us and our four little ones.
So we have had a loft conversion… I know, I know, there are dozens of reasons why you might want to turn your tiny house into a large family home. A list of those would simply be stating the obvious. What I had not anticipated so much before we embarked on our own loft conversion was quite how many inconveniences and drawbacks there would be.
In no particular order, here are 10 good reasons not to go through with a loft conversion.
- You will be broke.
“Well, doh,” I hear you think out loud (how dare you?). Think about your budget, then consider the price you have been given. Add a good 25% on top of that. Once the project has started, you will have to magic out money for moving water tanks, pay for a pump, upgrade other things in the house that used to work perfectly well but have started playing up. We had no shower for over a month (NO shower for a month!), a rainy conservatory, water damage, new cracks on the walls…
- You will argue.
Megaflo, Cabrio Velux balcony, Ancona radiators… I had never heard of these things before, let alone argued about them. This loft conversion has certainly tested our patience, our relationship, our budget.
- You will have no privacy.
Think massive draughty hole over your bedroom, en-suite bathroom with no door and stairs from the loft (gaping hole) to the house inside the aforementioned room… One morning, as I was having a bath in the not so private bathroom, one of the builders turned up on site. Never have I got out of the bath and got dressed that quickly!
If I am not mistaken, over the past 6 months, there have been no less than 33 men working in my house. 33!
- It will take over your life.
You will be boring. Your only conversation topic will be the loft conversion. What shade of white you should choose for the walls, the price of tiles, the type of flooring to go for and so on and so forth. Then you will regret your decisions. 9 times out of 10. Then you will be happy you made those decisions, then doubt again.
- You will have stuff everywhere.
You thought you knew what mess was… no, you had no idea. You do not even remember where half of the stuff littering every corner of the house comes from. You will declutter. You will have to be ruthless.
Wait until the roof gets ripped off, walls get torn down (without prior warning so you have not covered one thing), others walls built. When you think you are safe, then electricians will turn your kids’ bedroom ceiling into Gruyere cheese. Thick, sticky dust will cover everything. It will get inside drawers, on all your clothes, on your plates, inside the glasses in the kitchen cabinet. Your garden will be nothing more than a dumping ground for months.
That, my friends, is a bathroom. When the building inspectors came round, they took one quick glance and asked me whether it was a kitchen…
- You will have no loft!
You know that space where you casually dump suitcases, Christmas decorations, Halloween stuff, old toys, your books from uni, old photo albums, things you never use or look at but cannot face giving away. That space is gone. Gone! You have no loft. You have to find all these things a new home. I know it sounds stupid, but that had not crossed my mind.
- You will have to make decisions, lots of them.
Megaflo or pump? Fire doors of sprinkler thingies? Carpet or wooden floor? Hanging lights or spotlights? Balcony or no balcony?
- It will take forever.
“6 to 8 weeks,” they said. How I laugh! 5 months after it started I stopped counting the weeks…
- The rest of your house will need a makeover
Until you had those shiny new, perfect rooms on the top floor, you did not notice the smelly carpet, ugly curtains that were there when you moved in, cracks on the walls, bathroom in serious need of a coat (or 5) of paint. My latest niggle is windows. Granted, they are double glazed, but whoever fitted them, surely, must have noticed the draft that was blowing off every single one of them! We redecorated our old bedroom and turned it into a brilliant space that I use as my office. It also doubles up as a guest bedroom. It is my favourite room in the house, with its pretty wallpaper and yellow curtains, but it has that eyesore of a window that I wish I could swap for a new one.
- Your neighbours will hate you.
They will hate you because of the noise, the mess, the plaster dust, the fact you can see into their bedrooms from your huge floor-to-ceiling Velux, but they will also want a tour, sneak in a little, “I’ll have to pop in for a cup of tea and a sneak peek” when they cross you in the street.