- The Before / After scenario is always going to be a winner if Before is a freezing empty shell of loft space, containing cold water tanks, boxes of old vinyl, bits of timber holding the roof up and a cheap fluorescent tube.
- Putting a bathroom in the roofspace was rather more than just buying taps n'shit. We needed to build a room before it could be a bathroom. It's important that the roof stays up whilst you are bathing. It's important that the bath stays on the same floor if you sleep directly below it. Windows are a welcome bonus.
- The hard way to get this right is to employ structural engineers and do measurements and calcs and drawings and crap. The easiest way is to notice that your neighbours have done much the same conversion, structurally at least, and pinch their plans. Then tell your builder to read them in the mirror.
- Our existing boiler (on the ground floor) was a horrid Potterton thing and the hot water tank (on the first floor) was too small to support two showers, two baths and moronettes who think the time to leave the shower is signalled by the water becoming cold. So step one involved putting a new Worcester boiler at the other end of the loft space, installing a Megaflow pressurised tank next to it, carrying the gas supply up the side of the house to the attic and venting the boiler through the roof. This was a good time to check out our friends AirBnB facilities, 12 houses down the road.
- SketchUp is a superb way to model spaces like this, to make sure everything fits. It's also a very good way to convey to Polish builders / plumbers / electricians your exact design intent. A picture speaks a thousand words and, more importantly, is polylingual.
- Polish builders / plumbers / electricians are massively hardworking and multi-skilled. At least, mine were. Also, they brought me bottles of flavoured vodka.
- The homework desk emerged as a good idea as I played around with Sketchup and trialled ideas as to how we might best use the space at the other end of the loft. The girls wanted chunky and white. Chunky and white is hard and expensive. Polish builders can do amazing things with the old floorboards.
- The inset shelves - and the LEDs in the inset shelves - were never in my original design, they just formed as we realised what might be possible, informed by the input of Bart, the LED fanatic Polski sparks. Top chap.
These next two are both taken from the doorway to the original loft-area
Half way there: Panoramic, left to right