Did you know that we are the only country in the EU not to have a minimum space standard for the homes we live in?
According to a Riba survey in 2007 we are building the smallest homes in Europe, significantly smaller than 100 years ago and this is not because we are putting any pressure on land. (All other densely populated countries have at least 10sqm more space)
I think that a combination of builders obtaining more money for more housing on less land and a lack of a standard for measuring the amount of space we actually need in our houses has reached a critical point in defining how we live today.
Personally I can’t see why we haven’t taken a leaf out of Germany’s book and build all new housing with cellars. The footprint of the house stays the same but opens up huge areas for all those items we need to store and even gives us access to functional rooms for specific tasks such as washing and recycling.
Still here we are in the 21st century the big Alice in a tiny wonderland trying to squeeze all we need in insufficient space. In fact as Ben Page the chief executive of Ipsos Mori said “The research graphically shows just how poorly planned and cramped much of our housing is today, and the extraordinary lengths people go to, to cope with it”
According to a survey by Cabe in 2009, 57% of occupants’ in new housing said there was not enough space for their furniture.
69% said there was not enough room either for their possessions.
37% said they or their children couldn’t entertain any guests in the home.
Just what is the answer to the UK’s need for more space in the home?
Many of us are looking to try and squeeze the most out of the space we already have.
The hall cupboard under the stairs is now being converted into a cloakroom to add that all important extra toilet into the home. Bathrooms are given a makeover to maximise storage, luxury baths installed or even fully converted to a wet room area.
The roof space has become another important area to convert either into extra bedrooms, office, a playroom or even a second bathroom or wet room. In fact most of our internal space is being used and converted to its best advantage for the family living there.
So how about stepping outside the comfort zone?
Take a good look outside to see if there are any areas that can be improved or even enlisted to becoming a valuable asset and addition to your living space.
First consideration should go to any flat roofed extension attached or joined to the home. The actual flat roof is a good place to start.
Most roofs are flat! Boring and crying out for more attention.
Have you ever thought about converting the roof into a terrace garden, or balcony area? Imagine adding extra space to your garden with a seating area high above ground level! This could be a brilliant focal point for your home, maybe a valuable selling point and certainly a talking point!!
Go mad and think about adding a spa pool onto your roof terrace, making it truly luxurious.
Another point to consider would be to convert your flat roof to a living garden roof. Living gardens are ecologically friendly and have been with us since the beginning of history- think Hanging gardens of Babylon!
Imagine your roof space a living garden, a beautiful sight from your upstairs windows and if you have no garden, your hey presto instant garden!
All the family can enjoy this space, indeed any visitor would be cheered by this new vista
Flat roofs today certainly do not have to be boring!
Try changing your flat roof into a garden space, bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase bringing the outside in!
This must be the new way to add value to a home and make a difference to the way we live today.