Lets be honest..
We all love a good Home Improvement show on TV. Whether its Grand Designs, Amazing Spaces, Property Ladder, Homes under the Hammer… you name it, we lap it up!
But how useful are these shows to us in the real world? How much of it is just gloss and shine for the cameras and what can we actually learn from them for use in our own projects?
Its time we found out..
This article is the first in a series where we will dive deep into your favourite shows, pick the bones out of what they have to say, and throw away the fluff. We will show you what is useful and what is not and most importantly we will show you how to apply this knowledge to your own terraced house.
The House That £100K Built
The first show we have chosen to look at is ‘The House That £100k Built’ on the BBC. Here we are looking at the third episode in the series, where a young couple have added a creative and affordably priced extension to their home.
This program addresses an all too familiar scenario: A dark, cramped kitchen housed in a worse-for-ware lean-to, tacked onto the back of a much older house. We’ve all been there… the kitchen is no longer suitable for practical family needs and the nature of our busy modern lives.
The owners want a space that the family can share, where they can engage in several activities without separating off into different rooms. The obvious solution is to extend the property.
I was particularly impressed with how the owners of this house managed to build such a low-cost, contemporary extension for just £20k (more on this later) that has transformed the kitchen space quite dramatically.
They have achieved this by using cheap and cheerful materials in new and relatively unexpected ways – while investing money on the things that matter, namely the windows.
For me this is the most important lesson to learn from this episode: the ability to prioritise your spending. This is about being able to save money on some things so that you can spend it elsewhere.
It is always worth spending a bit more on the ‘bones’ of a building, the fixed items that will be difficult or costly to change later, such as windows, insulation etc. I would also invest a little in the things that you touch and that have moving parts such as door handles and light switches.
This can make a big difference to overall feel of the design and spending a little more usually means these things last a bit longer too.
More transient items like soft furnishing, furniture (did you notice the brick and plank window seat?) and light fittings can easily be upgraded later.
Cheap As Chips
This episode also demonstrates that, just because a project has a low budget, it doesn’t have to be a cheapo, bog-standard builders style design.
Using different materials in a creative way like this will set your project apart from the average brick wall, PVC window & plasterboard specials we always see. It will add character and personality to the project and, importantly, make it feel a lot more expensive than it really is.
One word of caution on using bare materials, such as concrete and plywood shown here, is that they will still need to be sealed. While these materials are cheap, durable and low maintenance, bare concrete creates dust and unfinished plywood can stain in response to steam and other kitchen vapours without the proper coatings being applied.
It is not to say they are not viable options, but rather to understand that the project in this video is not yet finished.
Some Thoughts On Design
The most striking element of this extension is the contrast with existing house. I really like how they have chosen to separate the new addition visually, rather than trying to mimic the historic style of the main building.
Doing this not only allows you to create something very contemporary, but also serves to highlight the historic nature of the existing building in contrast. It is important to avoid watering down the style and character of your home by adding a just not-quite-right, copy cat addition.
This extension also maximises access to natural daylight, creating an atmosphere of brightness and well-being, whilst providing strategic views out. Connecting inside and outside spaces visually and physically, as well as considering the volume of a space will allow you to do a lot with a relatively modestly floor area.
It is all about the sense of space – something we will come back to again in this series of articles – how big a space feels beyond simply its physical dimensions.
Consider The True Cost
OK so this project only cost the owners £20k…well thats how much cash they spent, but what did it really COST them?
My major criticism of these kinds of shows, and a trap that most first-time home renovators fall into, is that they do not take into account the hours spent toiling on it themselves.
People simply don’t factor in the cost of their own time – time that could have been spent earning money elsewhere to pay somebody else, somebody arguably more skilled, to complete the work to a much higher standard.
This is called the opportunity cost and is something that should be budgeted for when considering home renovations.
Obviously, it depends on how much you earn but if a job takes you twice as long as it would a qualified tradesmen, not to mention the new tools you will need to buy to be able to do it, then perhaps it is not as realistic a saving as you think.
On that note, I will sign off for this episode. Until next time when I will be looking at going up into the loft, and how to keep your head out of the clouds.
Also how did you find the information in this blog post? What do you think? What ideas do you have for your own house? Add them to the comments section below and let’s talk about them!
The Ultimate Terraced House Extension Information Pack
In the meantime if you would like to know how to layout a kitchen extension or full on ground floor extension AND make sure that the building work goes as planned then you need to check out a our Terraced House Extension Information Pack.
This information pack has been developed over the last 16 years in designing & managing peoples extension projects.
Here are some of the things that are covered:
- Step-by-step, easy to follow instructions that show you how to add an extension to your terraced house so you can make your house a lot bigger
- Several extension layouts so you can pick and choose what to do with your home
- How to create an AMAZING KITCHEN in your extension
- Where to get some other work done to your home that will add a lot to the value of your property
- How to make sure and check that you are getting QUALITY WORKMANSHIP in your extension
- How to put together a world class bathroom in your home
And this is just a sample!
This info will give you confidence when you deal with builders so you’re not taken for a fool or even worse ripped off.
So to find out more all you have to do is click the link below: