That you do it
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.