Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Garden Plans

Tuesday, 8 July 2008
Grrrrrr to the English weather as I'm so keen to get out and work on the garden and it's been tipping it down for days.

We have been looking into the possibility of a garage conversion. Our house is nice and big but only has three bedrooms so if we have another child we'll lose the spare room. We could do a loft conversion but we'd lose the smallest room to provide access to the room upstairs so all we'd gain would be a bigger third room and less storage space.

We could also consider extending out to the side but given this work would take around 100k we could spend the same money building a huge house in Greece and moving over there (not to mention we don't have 100k to spare).

So DH has been looking into garage conversions as, if it's a room for your own use, you don't need planning permission and it's a much cheaper, less hassle option as all the work would carry on outside our living space.

I probably mentioned back when we were buying the house that our Garage is 51 feet long (that's 15.5 metres for the non-Imperial readers). The back end of it is a not-very-well-built extention to the original structure and the whole thing is freestanding (so not connected to the house at al).

We had a man out yesterday evening to give us some idea of what we can do and how much it will cost and we're still looking at a large sum of money (around 25k) to do it right. Basically the back extention to the garage is not stable (the walls are cracked in a way that indicates the foundations are not good enough) and to convert the whole thing would mean pulling that part down and rebuilding it so we made the decision that we'd pull it down and not rebuild, just restore the garage to it's original length which is around 35 feet so plenty big enough.

I'm so pleased - since we moved in I've wanted to get rid of the end part - it's wooden rather than the concrete of the rest, it's manky, badly built and frankly, an eyesore. Plus it's far too much garage for us - I'm going to gain around 15 feet of extra garden space when it goes which is fantastic.

We're getting a quote from the guy for the conversion of the front part of the garage into two rooms and an ensuite toilet/shower room. There would be one small 'workshop' room for DH to have his tools etc in and then the rest of the space would be our hobby room come guest room. With the extra space outside we'd get a nice garden shed to take all of the garden tools etc and we'd have more veggie patch room too.

The conversion company do a finance option where you don't pay for a year and then you pay off over four years but I'm a little reluctant to consider that option in the current financial environment. I want to talk the plans over with my BIL who is extremely experienced in building/converting/extending current houses and who will have a lot of good advice for us.

It's at times like this that I regret not living much closer to my family as, if we were with them, my BIL could be our Project Manager and Foreman and DH could learn from him and we'd get it done much, much cheaper. Unfortunately DH doesn't have the skills to go this one on his own so I need to see if my BIL would consider living with us for a few weeks to get the project done.

All in all it's very exciting. We'd move the 'office' out there and DH's guitars etc as well as my books and stash to make a real cosy space for us to use. We'd gain a nicer living space too as currently part of our lounge has the desk and computer, my stash and DH's guitars so if all of that was outside the lounge would be much less cluttered.

We'd also be able to give guests a bit of privacy as well as having a room Lia could use later for sleepovers, etc.

It's easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm for all of this but we will sit back and make proper plans. We've talked on and off for years about moving to Greece at some point and it may be that our funds could be better diverted into property over there. TBH, if we go through the 'professionals building it for us route' I will want to save for a while before going ahead (we won't be able to afford it outright) and if we go through the 'build it ourselves with assistance from friends and family' route it'll take time because it will have to be done in stages as we can afford it and have the time so neither option will be an instant one (unless we win the lottery in which case we'll be moving anyway so it won't matter LOL)



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