Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Designing a room from scratch

I'm taking my head out of the sand, just long enough to write this post and plea for help.

When we bought our current house, we'd always agreed that we would convert the garage into living space. With a loft conversion, and an extension of a side garage with bedrooms over, the house always felt 'top heavy'.  Plus we've never used the garage to keep the car in anyway.

The plan was to knock through the existing dining room into the garage and create a huge open-plan 'L-shaped' family room, thus leaving the front room as a 'grown up sitting room,' so I can sit like a Victorian ma'am in my front parlour, sipping tea and doing a spot of embroidery so we can sit on the sofa without negotiating mounds of toys, and watch a TV free from smeary, chocolatey hand prints of an evening.

That was 18 months ago.

We've got as far as submitting planning permission.  It's all been approved and signed off.  We've got architects drawings.

But that's where it stops.  The next stage is to draw up some more detailed plans so we can get a scope of works written, and tender for builders.

Who knew there was so much minutia to consider?  I was hoping I might just have to pick out a new sofa and soft furnishings.  Maybe a few cushions.

After spending a full 10 hours last Friday making a Roman blind with a friend, whilst I was pleased with the outcome, I think for the 4 windows we'll be having I'll be looking to a Blinds Supermarket.  I can't bear the thought of so much sewing.

But even there, there's options and choices.  I mean, do we go for pleated blinds, roller blinds, wooden slatted ones...?

And there's the windows themselves.  Do we have two windows at the back to mirror the upstairs, or do we have doors onto the patio?  French doors or sliding?  Or bi-fold??  Arrggghhh.

We haven't even started on the flooring options.  Or heating - radiators or underfloor heating? A fire or not? Where will the lights go, and the plug sockets?  Where are we putting the TV?  Should we have a built in system?

Seriously, I need help.  Have any of you planned an extension before?  Where do I start?  Do I need mood boards and suppliers names?  I'm guessing a vague idea in my head won't cut it here?

I think I might have a go with one of those online 3D planners.  Have you tried them or got any you'd recommend?

I can't believe I actually thought this project would be exciting.  I am overwhelmed by it all before it's even started.

Disclosure: Sponsored post.


  1. Just the thought of all that frankly scares me .... well yes, that was helpful wasn't it?

    Hope you find someone who can help, let me know when you want help with the fun stuff ;)

    1. Yeah, that's exactly how I feel! Oh, and the fun stuff's mine all mine haha. x

  2. I've never done an extension, only knocking down of existing walls, so I'm not sure I'm much help. If I were you I'd sit down at work out what I need the room to do. Think of electricity, TV and lighting, things that the builder, will beed to know. I think mood boards etc are a little bit further down the line. However I would probably start to collect ideas from now, so you've got a clear idea for when the extension is finished. For me that would be the fun bit! We'd like to change our conservatory, to a real larger room, so I'll be asking for your advise!!

    1. Maybe I could do mood boards and glossy mags to try and arouse some enthusiasm? Plug sockets and light switches just bore me! x

  3. Eeeek thats exciting! I love planning projects like that, we have just had a big P shaped conservatory done to give us a playroom and I love picking out all the little bits!

    Few piccies here if you want a nosey..

    Although I do know what you mean it does feel stressful at times. Making decisions on things like where to put lights and switches and sockets seems crazy when you don't really know how the room will be!

    One of the things we now regret is not having underfloor heating, but ours is a conservatory so a lot colder in winter than a 'proper' extension would be I imagine.

    We went the whole geek route and drew the room to scale on card and cut out (to scale) all furniture I liked to see what fit the room and we worked from there. It feels to early to look at furniture but I found knowing what key bits I wanted in there and what I wanted to do with the room really helped to then make other decisions like which floor would work best (we went for laminate and v glad after finger paint spillages already!) and where to place sockets and things.

    Make sure you think a lot about everything like about where you enter the room for light switches. You can enter ours from kitchen or living room and we just had switch by the kitchen door, which is really annoying now as we often enter from living room and have to walk in the dark to find the lights!

    Not sure if thats much help but I love these things so always up for a chat! L x

  4. Jeez sorry hun thats a right essay! L x

  5. It is really important to create a plan when you start decorating or renovating your house. And this type of strategy are commonly do by the experts and professional contractors.