That you do it

London Evening Standard (West End Final B) - ES Homes and Property - - Our Home -

hospi­tal, the scaf­fold­ing was still up,” Matthew says, “but when we ar­rived home it was gone, and the builders had done their job. They were great.”

The loft room, plus a tiny of­fice on the stair turn, add 250sq ft, in which the big skylit loft bed­room is per­fect for chil­dren.

Next, the cou­ple saved up to trans­form the ground floor. They knew this would be very thought­ful and slower, and this time they stayed in the house while the build went on. Clev­erly, the builders put up the ex­ten­sion be­fore knock­ing through to the old part. “They made us a sort of bed­sit in the front sit­ting room, with a camp­ing stove and ev­ery­thing.”

Even so, there was no glass. “You can’t or­der win­dows till you’ve made the open­ing, and the door and win­dows took 12 weeks to make,” Matthew ex­plains. Am­ber adds, drily: “It was win­ter, so we were heat­ing the gar­den.”

Such de­lays meant that the whole job took eight months. But since it was their own home, Matthew could try in­no­va­tive ideas, par­tic­u­larly the su­per-slim roof struc­ture. His con­trac­tor, orig­i­nally a welder, en­joyed cre­at­ing the mild steel lat­tice that sup­ports in­su­lated dou­ble ply­wood topped with wa­ter­proof fi­bre­glass.

Other in­ter­est­ing details in­clude dec­o­ra­tive ex­ter­nal brick­work, and the Above: cop­per rain chain. Lit­tle re­fined touches, from coloured flexes to cute black-and-white switch plates to neat ply­wood round a set of dim­mers, add up, while the new area’s glazed cor­ners al­low glimpses right through the house. “A long view through a home in­creases the sense of space,” Matthew says.

Am­ber and Matthew’s fab­u­lous new fam­ily room looks like a set for a cook­ery pro­gramme, and both par­ents es­pe­cially en­joy com­ing down­stairs in the morn­ing to have break­fast in it with the chil­dren. You can’t put a price on times like that.

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