A photo of a grey slate tiled roof with two velux windows near the top, with scaffolding up against one of the sides of the house.

Home improvements very much in vogue.

Planning applications have increased by 46% over the last year (for so-called householder applications) compared to the same period in 2013. As these figures suggest, extending your home is once again a national pastime. So what’s motivating people to extend or improve their homes? In most cases a need or desire will be driving the process, such as needing another bedroom or a larger kitchen, but in many instances it is the desire for what has been coined ‘integrated living’.

Strange as it may seem, the way in which people use space would appear to be almost fashion led, and we are definitely going through a phase where people want to open up their living space to create a kitchen, family/lounge space all as one. People now see the kitchen as the hub of the home which should have direct links to other social spaces. Living rooms have become smaller and cosier, a place to retire to later in the evening. Upstairs, the pressure is on to create larger bedrooms with a large dressing space for the master bedroom. Interestingly, for the first time we have seen some clients prepared to lose a room in order to create this effect, but more often extending the house is the preference.

It would appear that the difficulty in finding a suitable larger house to move into is as much a problem as that of affordability. Although in many instances clients tell us that the cost of extending is much less than moving, once all the costs are taken into account. It’s possible that householders are generally becoming more demanding, whilst house builders have not yet caught up in terms of design. If this is true, and I think it is, then extending and altering your house to fit your family’s requirements is more likely to give you what you want, rather than moving. Of course you’ll need to think about how desirable the house is to others when you come to sell it on, and this is where professional help can really assist.

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