Sunday, June 16, 2013

Then and Now: Loft

The loft was the nicest room in the house when we viewed the house. We've been told it was probably 'converted' in the 1950's, and was covered in wood paneling. Niall and I both kind of loved it.  We think the previous owner had used it as his workshop (repairing adding machines), but it hadn't been used for years.

We weren't sure what to do with the loft to start with (and hadn't budgeted for the renovation) but as time went on we realized that we did want to use the room and having the bulk of the work done before we moved in would save a lot of hassle and mess down the line.  There's ladder access (for now) and we're using the room as a study and guest room.

There used to be a little window.  And there were so, so many interesting things up in the loft.  We honestly considered leaving the room as it was, but the big problem was insulation.  There wasn't any, and all the heat in the house would go up to the loft and out the roof.  To insulate we had to rip out what was there.  And since we were already ripping out, we thought we might as well put it back how we wanted it.

Though the loft has been in use for years, the Council didn't have any record of it.  We got Building Control permission to 'convert' and put in a large Velux window.  The structural engineer outlined how we could strengthen the floor joists.   (Basically double up what was already there.)

The room was kindly tightly boxed in.  It was so difficult to photograph (lack of light, time, and quite a few things)...but here's a shot of the opposite side of the room.

But once the wall came down, we found there was a lot of room in the loft.  The structural engineer said we could raise the horizontal supports up about 300 mm (to give us more head height) but the vertical supports (oxters) couldn't be moved much.   We insulated and then built the new wall behind the oxters, in an attempt to use more of the space.

The oxters made it difficult to put in wall to wall carpet, so we had bamboo laid behind the oxters.  Have I mentioned that Niall has a lot of books?  (At least in my opinion.  Also, I've packed and unpacked them a lot in the past six years.  Hopefully this is the last time for a LONG while.)

There were all these crazy adding machines from the 1960's and 1970's left in the attic when we bought the house.  We put them all on ebay.  Some sold, some didn't.  I tried other sites to see if anyone wanted them, and what wasn't taken went to the dump.

The joiners did their magic, we got a radiator and electricity run upstairs and installed a new loft ladder. We sanded back the joists, got the room plastered and painted.  And somehow managed to get a desk and sofa bed up through the very small loft hatch.

I'm pretty bored of writing about the loft, maybe you're bored of reading.  So here are just a bunch of pictures.

I will mention we got a blackout blind.  And it really works.

(The light switch at the top of the ladder.)

1 comment:

Tammy said...

You've done such a good job documenting your home that I feel like I've already come to visit!