How To Create More Space In Your Current Home

It is a common problem, particularly when a couple become a family. That dream home that you found is suddenly not big enough. As your family grows, you find that you need more bedrooms, more living space, a bigger kitchen because the space you have is no longer big enough to accommodate your needs. The answer seems to be to move to a bigger house, but you may not wish to do that, you may love your current home and like the area that you live in. In these cases the answer may be to extend your home.

Here are some of the ways that you could keep your dream home and make it work for you.

Accessory Dwelling Units

Accessory dwelling units are a brilliant way to create extra space in your home.An adu could be anything from transforming your garage into a new room, fixing the currently unused basement for living rather than just for storage, or actually creating a new dwelling in your garden space – maybe a granny flat for elderly parents to live on site and still have their own living space, but in the confines of your land and property.

If you are in the United States and are thinking of adding to your current building, you need to ensure your property can take the additional weight in the event of an earthquake or tremor. In these cases you can still add on, but would need to look at soft story seismic retrofitting to ensure any addition to your property was structurally safe.

A Loft Conversion

A loft conversion is a great idea if you are looking to create extra bedrooms and/or another bathroom. You are using a dead space in your roof and making it earn its keep. Loft conversions can be super spacious and also luxurious, and they can be bright and airy with the addition of Velux windows and blinds. A loft bedroom could be a fabulous space for a child’s bedroom, or a haven for a master bedroom, complete with an ensuite bathroom.

A mezzanine

If you don’t want a full loft conversion, you could create a large master bedroom in the form of a mezzanine. This is an intermediate floor that extends over a room, with the downstairs open to the double height ceiling. This is a brilliant idea if you are currently short of storage space in your bedroom as you then have a two tier bedroom, leaving a space for your bed, and lots more space for storage.

This is a great way to add a wow factor to your home.

An Extension

Moving downstairs, an extension to create extra rooms, or to expand current rooms like kitchen and living areas is a popular way to extend your space. Dependent on space, you could expand onto the back or the side of your home, maybe creating that family kitchen that you have always wanted, or adding another living room to make a space for the children to watch tv and play. Another popular use for an extension is to create a utilities room to house the washing machine/tumble dryer etc, thus freeing up space in your current kitchen.

A Conservatory

Conservatories do seem to have a sort of love/hate reputation, but I personally love them. A conservatory is a great choice if you have a beautiful garden and want to make the garden an extension of your home. Conservatories also make lovely dining rooms, again with the bonus of overlooking the garden. But a conservatory doesn’t have to be a large space, or limited to a large house. We have a conservatory on the side of our Victorian terrace that we use as a utilities room and this has been very useful.

Have you extended your home?

Making the Most of your Garden this Summer

Although the great British Summer is notoriously unpredictable when it comes to the weather, the warm, sunny spells we had last Summer, and also this April do give us a chance to make the most of our garden or outdoor space, whilst we can.  Due to being neglected during the winter months and the lack of sunshine we are often faced with, even in British summertime, many people are unsure how to make the most of their gardens when it begins to warm up. The thought of cutting bushes, potting plants and mowing lawns can be pretty daunting to some and many of us don’t have the money to go all out on the garden furniture, the built in BBQ’s and the hot tubs, but there are definitely simpler ways of enjoying the outdoors during a rare bit of British heat.

Dining Alfresco

No matter how big or small your garden is, when the sun is shining there is nothing better than taking your dinner to eat outside, with a nice cold drink. Whether you set out the table with a range of salads, cold meats and bread, or simply just cook your dinner inside and bring it out, there is something about dining alfresco that soothes the soul. If you haven’t already, it is definitely well worth investing in some garden furniture. It doesn’t have to break the bank, it can even be a simple little wooden or plastic set for two, but sitting out and eating at night, or enjoying a nice brew in the fresh morning sun is definitely a great way to utilise your outdoor space.

BBQ it up

Following on from my last point, eating outside in the warm weather is a dream, and cooking in it is also a great change. You might already have a fancy BBQ where you can cook all kinds of fancy and yummy meats and fish, but even if you just buy a small, disposal one and cook a few sausages, it still counts! Everyone loves a hot dog so bbq on a budget can be a simple task and a great excuse to get the family and friends together. ‘Build your own buns’ are a great, purse-friendly way to feed the five thousand. Cook a load of sausages on the BBQ, give everyone a hot dog bun and set out different ‘stations’ for the toppings (onions, mustard, ketchup, beef chilli etc). Fill a bucket with some ice and beers and voila! Everyone is happy – except maybe the veggies but there is always Quorn for that!

Get the Essentials

One of the great things about hot, summer days is sitting out late into the night and it still feeling warm (ish). However, if you want to make a habit of this (or do it as often as possible) there are some essentials that you will need to invest in. First of all, some outdoor lighting, from fitted lights with sensors to solar powered lamps, your lighting options depend on your budget and the size of your garden – so get researching! Secondly, small, mini fire pits are a great way to keep everyone outside once the sun goes down. You can buy them from major supermarkets for next to nothing and sitting around a campfire either toasting marshmallows or playing a few games is a welcome change from the TV indoors! Thirdly, bug spray – because they always try to spoil the fun.

Enjoy Some Fish

One way you could definitely improve the look of your garden is by adding a Koi pond. Koi are beautiful fish and a Koi pond is actually one way of owning pets that actually adds value to your home. But as well as this point, for those who have struggled with their mental health during lockdown, watching Koi and listening to the gentle movement of the water is actually a brilliant way to relax and de-stress.

This is not just an old wives tale, but one that doctors are now also alluding too.

Some doctors have begun to voice their opinions about the benefits of having a personal Koi pond. They have gained these opinions by witnessing improvements in such medical conditions as high blood pressure, anxiety disorders, and some heart conditions in patients known to have their own personal Koi pond. Stress can exasperate these conditions and doctors are always looking for ways they can recommend to their patients for reducing the amount of stress in their lives for better health. Doctors have even found that many stroke and heart attack sufferers recover sooner when they have an area they can access frequently for relaxation, such as with a Koi pond. – (from http://www.elertgadget.com/palert/the_benefits_of_koi_ponds_1120.htm)

If you decide to opt for a Koi pond, look to somewhere like Absolute Koi so you can sort all your Koi needs in one place.

Grow some Goodness!

You don’t need a huge space to grow a little of your own fruit and veggies this summer. A lot of us have been meaning to try this for ages but never get round to it – so now is your chance! Find a raised patch of soil and get planting some summer seeds. Nothing more rewarding than enjoying a salad with tomatoes you’ve grown yourself or a crumble with freshly picked raspberries and blackberries! You’ll be a domestic goddess in no time.

Outdoor Games

If you have grass in your garden, there is nothing better than a few good old fashioned games with family and friends to while away the hours. The games you can play even with just a single ball are endless and I’m sure everyone will enjoy unlocking their inner child for a good game of Piggy in the Middle – especially after a few drinks! A cricket set or a Rounder’s bat also cos very little from budget stores and can provide hours of (competitive) fun. If you’re more civilised or simply a little restricted on space, a pack of cards outside is the perfect entertainment!

Styling a Contemporary Kitchen

Creating a chic and contemporary kitchen is a simple and effective way to set a sophisticated tone for your home. There is so much choice when it comes to modern kitchen cabinetry, so how do you create the perfect clutter-free room for relaxing and entertaining?

Contemporary worktops

Modern cabinetry is all about uncomplicated colours. Bright white worktops are too ‘clinical’ for some people, but for others, they’re a simple and effective way to create an ultra-modern kitchen for family and guests to enjoy! But colour is certainly having a moment, consistent colours and patterns of the latest composites are perfect for contemporary kitchens, and choice for these have taken off over the past few years to include everything from brilliant white to zingy orange. One way to get colour into your kitchen units is by opting for a  hand-painted kitchen, this is a type of finish that primes cabinets and doors before painting them by hand in the desired style. These are great because you can choose from a wide variety of style including traditional, contemporary, weathered, sleek and cottage.

Kitchen cabinets and their door fronts can be hand-painted if they are made from MDF, bare, waxed, or lacquered wood as well as acrylic, melamine and foil-wrapped laminate.

Perfect order

We all dream of having a well-organised kitchen. So thankfully, modern kitchen designs revolve around the ‘uncluttered look’ that helps us stay calm and cool as we cook. For most of us, the main problem in keeping our kitchens pristine is our work surfaces. While we all might want that statement — and often used — KitchenAid mixer on show, that doesn’t necessarily work with all the other kitchen paraphernalia we collect over time. Hiding clutter in open-plan kitchens is essential. So, plan plenty of storage areas such as deep pan drawers and tambour units to keep small appliances, crockery and china out of sight. Floor-to-ceiling cupboards with no handles can hide a multitude of sins. So, if you have space, they’re a good investment. But remember, for your kitchen to work efficiently, you need easy access to appliances. Place pan drawers by ovens, larders close to prep areas, and china close to the dishwasher.

Crisp-clear lines

How do you get that sleek, aerodynamic look that creates a stand-out, modern kitchen? The best way is with handle-free cabinets. The in-frame construction of kitchen cabinet doors with no handles is both modern and extremely durable, which gives this design feature an edge on others. In smaller kitchen spaces, the absence of handles helps to make a room feel bigger, while in a kitchen with lots of cabinetry, it prevents an overload of steel handles. If you don’t want to commit to all handle-less doors, then you can integrate a run of classic cabinets a contemporary edge by dressing them with sleek bar handles. For an all over modern effect, add modern built-in appliances and top with cool composite worktops. Or, mix and match your kitchen style by incorporating flat-fronted wall cabinets. 1 Stop Cabinets has a beautiful designer series range of kitchen cabinets that you can consider.

Kitchen utensils

Creating a modern kitchen is simple once you get the basics right. But if it’s all about minimalism and clean lines, what do you do about your cooking appliances? Today, there are plenty of contemporary-looking utensils and gadgets for you to choose from that give a complementary look to your modern kitchen. For example; if you have your heart set on a range cooker, choose one of the more modern steel models from Smeg, Mercury or Rangemaster. Integrate as many kitchen appliances as you want, and if possible, place items such as washing machines and tumble dryers in utility rooms. Ensure your fridge and freezer are stored behind closed doors, then keep sightlines clear by installing below-cabinet, in-ceiling or pop-up extractors. Investing in built-in cooking appliances with a sleek, glass zoned induction hob is another good move for a contemporary kitchen. Give the ideal finishing touch with a few modern-day luxuries — such as a boiling water tap, pop-up power points and cool lighting!

Advice for a contemporary kitchen:

  • Vary your levels

A tall breakfast bar next to a lower-lying island is great for providing a relaxed but modern-looking place to eat in your contemporary kitchen. You can create several levels on a peninsula with a raised area to hide the washing-up from dinner guests, or even get a stool that sits just below your breakfast bar to add an extra level to your kitchen and maximise the seating area available.

  • Simple and effective surfaces

A quick way to keep your design modern is to opt for glass or composite for your splashback which you can get from Simply Plastics. Laying large-format floor tiles and securing them with a matching grout gives the much-loved modern look, too.

  • Customise your worktops

Install very thin worktops that help your units look more like furniture. Wrap a composite work surface in a contrasting colour, or place material around the cabinetry on your kitchen islands and at the end of runs.

  • Brighten up your modern kitchen

If you played it safe until now, get creative with your choice of kitchen lighting. Plinth lights almost make base units look like they are floating above the floor, while installing cool LED strips to the interior of wall cabinets and shelves work to highlight favourite kitchen accessories in a contemporary fashion.

Going for a sleek and contemporary kitchen style with neat worktops and modern appliances not only makes your house look amazing, but it also keeps your room free of clutter giving you much more room to cook, relax and entertain!