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Edition 05

Transform your attics

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Get that extra gorgeous room in your home by planning to take advantage of the loft, a quite often forgotten space writes Franklin MWIRIGI. 

ATTICS REMAIN ONE OF THE MOST SPACIOUS BUT WASTED SPACES IN HOMES. They can be transformed to become lively rooms for storage or altogether converted into perhaps a guest bedroom, a den, an office, or an art studio.

In transforming an attic into an extended living space, the first thing you may have to think about is access and ventilation. If you need to use a drop-down ladder or spiral stairs, you will want to consider new stairs. And if you have small windows or only a vent in the attic, you will want to consider getting some good windows or even some big storm windows.

One or many rooms

Your attic may be huge, in which case you have the option of creating more than one room. One room, of course, is simpler to redesign, but you may also have a desire for many functional rooms.

Assuming you decide on a single room and you have clear ideas on how to improve access and ventilation, you should consider the electrical features of your attic. Discover where all the electrical outlets are and whether or not they work.

Outlets at every six feet will allow you to set up a television, a phone, a computer, and any other electrical amenity you may need. By adding a 20 Amp breaker in your electrical panel, you can connect all the other lines in your house to the new room.

Walls, floor and ceiling

With the wiring in place insulate all the walls, as well as the ceiling. In choosing the walls, the most common choice is gypsum partitioning with insulation.  Your choice will impact the look and the functionality of the room. With gypsum it can be designed and painted in any colour you like to give the room the desired ambiance.

The first thing you have to do is make sure the floor is level enough to accommodate a carpet or a linoleum floor. If it isn’t, you’ll need to replace the floor. The advantage of carpeting is that it is comfortable to walk on. Should the room be designated as a game room, then linoleum floors will do the job. The advantage of linoleum is that it is easy to clean should there be a spill.

Putting in a nice ceiling will be the finishing touch to your renovated space. Besides deciding on the building material for the ceiling also spend some time considering which lighting fixtures will work well for the ambiance of the room. If you chose wall paste or decorative paint for the walls, you can also use it on the ceiling.

Evaluating for conversion

Attic Conversion is a wonderful way of taking advantage of an often underutilised space that many homeowners are lucky to own. So for that all important first look, let’s get out the ladder, open the hatch and see if your attic is ripe for conversion.

A quick solution and an innovative way to move safely around your attic space is to have some timber pieces that can be placed over the exposed floor joists to give you wider, safer walking space.

These are aspects that you may need to factor before buying a home or building a house with some quality loft with installed FAKRO windows that will add flavour to the liveable space.

Accessibility counts

For easy access to your attic, consider fixing a spiral staircase. For one, it’s a great piece of art. Rules and regulations for access and converting attic into usable spaces; more especially if the area is to be used as a bedroom are strict. It is procedural for one to get an attic conversion permit from the council authorities.

You will also have to take into consideration the installation of a fire escape facility. Often a pivot attic window from FAKRO will do. It fits in with the rest of the attic windows and serves as an exit.

All of these are important to the successful outcome of your attic conversion, not only for your attic conversion permit acceptance but also for the quality of life in the newly created attic space – There is a lot to think about in the all important details but careful planning will result to an ideal attic conversion which you can enjoy and which will successfully increase the value of your home.

Franklin is a Technical Interior Designer at Classic Mouldings