SarahBeenySpringIssue2017 - 221
AT T I C M A K E O V E R ▲
WAS WORTH IT'
JO ALLEN, 31, IS AN INTERIOR DESIGN AFICIONADO AND HER HUSBAND JEM,
39, IS A RENOVATOR, SO SEEMED WELL-PLACED TO CONVERT THEIR ROOF
SPACE INTO A BEDROOM. BUT THERE WERE A FEW BUMPS ALONG THE WAY...
ne day, my husband turned to me and uttered
four little words: 'Let's convert the loft.' He went
on: 'Think of how much extra space we'll have.
It's only one room so won't take very long. And I
promise, it won't be messy...'
I believed him. But while converting the loft space of our
Victorian terrace home in the cathedral city of Lincoln was
many things; it was not easy, clean or quick.
It was hard - in many ways harder than converting the rest
of our entire home, which we managed to do in just seven
months back in 2012-2013.
It was messy, but you can't get away with repointing
brickwork, insulating roof spaces, building floors and
furniture and create no mess.
And it took just over two years. But that was, in part,
due to the fact that we insisted on doing 90% of the work
ourselves, not to mention the unfortunate setbacks we
suffered at the hands of confusing building regulations.
Combine all of that with our initial 'pet-project' approach
to the conversion, which saw us gradually tackle jobs over
a weekend here and there - and it becomes clear why we
weren't really worried about the original time frame.
THE S-BEND STAIRCASE
PROVED A FEARSOME
CHALLENGE TO BUILD
That attitude dramatically changed at the end of summer 2016,
when Jem and I discovered we were expecting a new addition
to our little family in May this year.
It turns out there's nothing like the due date of your first
child to give you renewed focus and a deadline.
As Jem works as a renovator, we rather cockily thought
the loft would be a doddle. How wrong we were.
This is a room that really didn't want to be converted.
Anything that could go wrong did so - it seemed the loft
was hell-bent on making progress as difficult as possible.
For example, when our structural engineer first paid us
a visit, he revealed that all the floorboards we'd laid - and all
the insulation we'd fitted underneath them - had to come out
because we'd been working to old regulations, and this shock
after taking someone's trusted advice, too.
It had been such a promising start. After speaking with
our local authority, we were thrilled to learn that we didn't
need any permissions to put in the four huge rooflights we
had already bought. The first luxury to go into the dark and
dingy attic, these rooflights immediately brought light into
what was going to be the crowning glory of our home.
The Duratech 1,180mm x 1,140mm glazed units not only
opened up the space, but finally allowed us to see exactly
what potential the new loft held - not to mention the
beautiful views of Lincoln's impressive cathedral and castle
that we were going to be able to enjoy.
That was pretty much where the structural engineer
stepped in and, through no fault of his own, shattered
any illusion of progress we'd made.
And so, rip-out number two began. Everything we had
worked on over the past few months had to be removed
and started again. Our first job now was to beef up our >
www.athomemagazine.co.uk MAY 2017 | 221