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More Than Just ‘Another Room’

Posted by rafael on February 1, 2013 in Homemaking & Interior Decor

Although it may be seen by most lower middle class cynics (initially myself included) as nothing more than a superfluous ‘bonus’ room for ‘well to do’ families with far too much cash and too much spare time to fritter away, a good home extension can become a central area in your home. In this instance, the conservatory is one form of house extension that has become extremely popular throughout the world (whether you live in Manchester or Madrid) and which has for decades served many different purposes.

The conservatory is the most common, inexpensive form of home extension and can be all things to all people. What might be seen by some as a token home extension that will be left to gather dust along with the gym equipment you promised you’d start using in January and the lounge furniture that’s no longer fit for purpose, can actually be an incredibly useful room which will reflect the personality of its owner. It’s also of course worth taking into account that regardless of how you personally feel about a conservatory, it will add value to your property. These are constructions that are built to last; they require very little maintenance and can completely transform your home.

History

The modern conservatory was first seen (as we know it today) in the 1700’s when it was the fashion to grow fruits at home, the structure as it is known today is not too far removed from those initial designs. Today the term conjures different connotations for different people but in general it evokes a vibe of ornate, Victorian glamour and this is the style that has held fast over conservatory designs for decades with good reason.

Designs

Most decent contractors will offer a bespoke service that will allow you to build to your exact desires, but that’s not to say it isn’t worth looking at designs that are already available. These designs will not only be cheaper than a bespoke design of your own, but are home extensions that have been tried and tested across the UK from Monmouth to Manchester and everywhere in between. The most popular traditional design is the ‘Edwardian’ and as the name suggests it’s characterised by sharp edges and heavily detailed fittings. The ‘gable’ is another popular design, it has a pitched roof and is specifically engineered to attract and reflect the most sunlight, perfect for indoor sunbathers. The ‘Victorian’ variation meanwhile is generally larger, with an angled roof and the ‘lean-to’ variation will offer a flat roof. Which variant to choose it’s really down to the homeowners taste and what is available to them both price wise and logistically in terms of space.

Another Room

Another Room

Functions

The modern conservatory can be used in any number of ways. Many families choose to use them as dining rooms or secondary lounge spaces with the natural light afforded by the room’s windows offering a wonderful energy saving opportunity.  Others might use it as a workplace of sorts or as an office and if the room is large enough it can even serve multiple purposes.

An Aluminium Conservatory

The most important (and some might say controversial) development in the world of home extensions over the past decade has been the use of aluminium. It’s in many ways quite shocking that the development didn’t happen sooner as aluminium is (by its very nature) both inexpensive and incredibly lightweight, making it perfect building material for these home extensions. A good recent example would be an aluminium canopy at a very large pub in Manchester where the expenses saved by building the outdoor smoking area with aluminium instead of wood (which would be a more conventional choice for a pub) allowed the owner to invest in a brand new gaming area.

Guidelines

Of course the logistics of adding any extensions to your home or place of business depends very much on the space available to you and your budget but you shouldn’t need to apply for planning permission, given you follow the guidelines below:-

  • The extension isn’t any higher than the roof of the property.
  • The extension has a maximum height of 4 metres.
  • The extension must only be one story.
  • The extension must not reach beyond the back of the property by any more than 3 metres.

Aki Hashimoto is a blogging homeowner whose neighbour wishes to have a conservatory built. She advised them that if looking for home extensions, Manchester like many other areas, has regulations on the height and size of the extension that you can build.

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