08 Nov Adding value when extending your Victorian home in North London
If you’ve been thinking about extending your Victorian house, chances are you’ve gone to all the usual websites and come up with hundreds of photos of your dream home complete with bi-fold doors, Velux windows and recessed mood lighting, but is this the best way to add value? Let’s find out…
The first thing to keep in mind is that your Victorian home is already packed full of unique charm. Now you know this as you live there, after all. But there have been certain decades in the not too distant past when it was the ‘done thing’ to rip out the old and characterful and replace it with whatever was the ‘in thing’ at the time. Thousands upon thousands of Victorian houses were refurbished and when character became fashionable once more, property owners had to spend again to replace the ceiling roses, coving and ornate rails and fireplaces that had been removed. It’s important to keep a balance between the needs of today and the character of yesteryear that’s not just stylish now, but also desirable and valuable to potential buyers should you decide to sell one day.
With that established, it’s time to get practical. Is your home structurally sound enough to support the work you’re thinking of? How is your heating holding up? Or the plumbing? And has that damp spread any further? It’s worth getting a full professional assessment done before you start measuring up for any further work – not only will it give you a realistic idea of what’s possible, it could well save you a lot of money in the long run.
The good thing is, because of their layout, most Victorian homes are actually bursting with potential. Toilets were often considered to be an outside room when these properties were built, so there’s opportunity to add a small WC downstairs, or a bathroom to the upstairs area through rearranging the space or adding an en suite – luckily many Victorian properties have generous room proportions so it’s often possible to ‘borrow’ from rooms to create the wet room, bath or shower room you need. As downstairs bathrooms are out of fashion these days it will impact on the value of your property. A great new bathroom upstairs will certainly help.
Known to be the most social room in many homes, the average Victorian kitchen would be a tight squeeze for any party and there’s little to no chance of being able to add an island or breakfast bar. With the kitchen often located at the rear of the property and Victorian properties famous for their side returns, you have a great opportunity for an extension to make your Victorian kitchen into a more modern, open-plan room for socialising in. This would be brilliant for you to live in and just what the modern buyer is looking for when you decide to sell your home.
Adding lots of natural light can add to the sense of space, so kitchen extensions, living rooms, even dining rooms or studies can benefit greatly from the addition of bi-fold doors, Velux windows and whatever additional glazing planning permission would allow for (if it’s needed at all). A well-designed, light home will be a happier place to live in and will show off the Victorian charm of your home, making it far more desirable than those dark and dingy Victorian homes the average buyer will have seen in their search.
Extensions and loft conversions
Some Victorian homes have lovely big gardens just crying out to be expanded into. So, aside from the side return extension we’ve already mentioned, if you have the space, you could create a haven of ‘new meets old’ by building onto the rear of your property to expand the openness and space of your home. Should this just not be possible, you could always go upwards and see whether a loft conversion is feasible. Either option could be easier than you’d imagine, especially if they come under ‘permitted development’ and no planning permission is required. As well as the extra space an extension or loft conversion provides, it can add tens of thousands of pounds to the value of your home.