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If you’re looking to improve the look and feel of your home but don’t want to extend there are lots of things that you could consider.

Paint the house
A fresh lick of paint gives your property a clean, crisp look. Whether its painting the fascias or fences to redecorating the walls inside and out. Paint is relatively cheap these days but can have a massive impact on how your property looks and feels. You need to select the right colours for the right rooms. Try using paint to make a feature of an unloved alcove of shelf. If nothing else, your house should at least look better than your neighbours. Check out these elegant period colours by Farrow and Ball truly amazing.

Hang mirrors in the hall
The first thing visitor’s see is your hallway, often narrow and cramped. Optimize the space by installing mirrors either side that magically transforms the space to feel bigger.

Kitchen tiles
Transform a kitchen in an instant with new splash back tiles or a worktop. Experiment with alternative materials like coloured glass or metals or bold ceramic tiles for a contemporary look. Mix this with a simple worktop, like laminate or wood which is generally the cheapest. A custom worktop would range from £800 upward dependent on the material, with huge range of tiles from as little as £4.60 per m2.

Install sleek lighting
Add atmosphere to rooms with contemporary lighting. A clinical kitchen with warm-white seamless fluorescents, a new type of lighting that gives an unbroken strip of light. Or upgrade your lighting with HIVE technology for a high tech system approach.

Knock down the walls
You can add space to your property by simply removing a wall that allows the space to feel bigger with more natural daylight. Just remember to check first if the wall is a structural element of the building before knocking it down.

Residential Architectural Designers Coventry & Warwickshire

If you are thinking of a more drastic way to improve your home such as an added bedroom, house extension or even a loft conversion, then speak to LiteBox Architecture. As specialists in residential architecture in Coventry, Warwickshire & London we have helped to transform the lives of many families by helping them to achieve their dream home.

 

Visit our Instagram & Facebook pages to see some of our designs come to life.

Project: Loft Conversion to existing Mid Terrace 3 Bedroom House

We were contacted by the client asking if we could help after a bad experience with another architectural designer. The previous architectural designer didn’t provide the service that was promised, and they were left disheartened, out of pocket and desperate to start work on their loft conversion.

The project’s brief involved converting the existing roof space to a flat roof dormer loft, providing an additional bedroom and en-suite for their eldest son. We met with the client and discussed their proposed plans. Although the client’s budget was practical, they hadn’t allowed for any extra finishes that we would recommend being added. We wanted to restore the client’s faith and move their project forward quickly. Initially, we looked at the previous architect’s plans, but these were confusing. We explained the best way forward would be to start the process again. Initially, the clients were understandably reluctant. However, the client agreed, and we set a plan in motion.

During the first week, we surveyed the property taking all the necessary dimensions of external elevations, internal floor plans and we took a look at the existing space. Later that week we prepared sketches and details of the proposed room layout and proposed location of the staircase from the landing area.

Quickly we moved forward and began to prepare detailed floor plans and elevations showing how the external and internal areas would look. Within the plans, we had borrowed space from the original box room to enable the installation of the new winding staircase. Building regulations require 2-metre headroom for the stairs and landing area within the loft, so it is sometimes tricky to locate the stairs so they strike in the highest point of the ridgeline of the roof. The staircase will lead to a large bedroom area with a flat roof dormer with Velux roof lights to the vaulted roof section and a window to the en-suite shower room.

Within 7 days we submitted our building control application along with structural engineer’s calculations for the steel beams that will provide the skeleton framework for the conversion. A loft conversion does not require planning consent as long as the works proposed meets certain planning criteria.

After just 7 days we had the great news, that our building control application had been approved and that our plans met the building regulations. It was now time for the client to select a suitable builder to carry out the works, we recommended Oaklands Mill. Keith and the team have extensive experience and quality workmanship, converting lofts and general building works.

Within just 3 weeks the customer had approved plans.

In part 2 of this blog, we will share how the project progressed.

Are you looking to make the most out of your loft space? We can help and we offer a FREE 30-minute consultation. If you would like to discuss your project, call us on 02476 629192 or email us at info@liteboxarchitecture.co.uk

Utility Rooms

The humble utility room has slowly increased in size over the last few decades, from the Victorian times of a small wash house to the nineties box rooms with the washing machine and tumble dryer and somewhere to hang the wet washing and the dog bowls. This small space has evolved to create what is now a secondary kitchen in most homes, leaving the kitchen to be a minimalist space more for show than functionality.

As client’s desire and trends lean more towards sleek, minimal kitchens in an open plan environment, with everything on show, so too has the utility evolved to compensate. The utility now houses the main functional items that once used to live in the kitchen area.

So, what are the things to consider when designing these keys spaces?

Location:

Consider carefully what will suit your needs and where the best location for your utility room is?

Where are the external drainage and water supply located, as that may have an impact on location?

Design & Practicality:

Will this space be a laundry room or a utility room?

Does this space need to be adjacent the kitchen or on the first floor?

Does it need to include natural daylight and access to the outside area?

How much room do you need in m2, (this may be dependent on the next question of what will be included)

What should be included:

What things will the room need space for? Washing machine, tumble dryer, cloaks, storage for linen, cleaning products, cupboard space.

Utility rooms are perfect for hiding and housing everything, along with being favoured places for feeding and cosying our beloved pets.

As we move into a new era of the 2020’s these spaces are far from the traditional workrooms of the 80’s and 90’s. They are no longer destined to be junk rooms hidden away but modern multifunctional spaces that are purposeful, practical and uber stylish.

If you are thinking about adding a utility room to your home why not get in touch and book a FREE 30-minute consultation on 02476 629192.

Broken Plan Kitchens:

Open-plan kitchens have revolutionised the way we interact and entertain as a family, but they do have their cons. For example, where do you hide all the dirty pots and pans? So if you’re after a little more privacy, broken-plan might be for you.

The concept is simple, take an open-plan design but add in a freestanding shelf unit or raised breakfast bar to create separation without the need for a full-on wall. This creates the more zoned approach and is an evolution of open-planned living and allows for a more sociable experience for everyone.

Matt cabinet finishes are superseding high-gloss options. They reflect less light to give a more understated look and, on a practical level. Create contrast with rustic wood or stone surfaces and metallic fittings.

Luxury details such as smoked glass, warm metallics and deep colours are key to creating focal points. Heavily grained wood and dark veneers are also making a comeback. Bleached walnut, Oak and elm in graphite grey and black offer an on-trend look that moves away from pale woods

Black:

Black is definitely back both a leading kitchen or simply as a supporting cabinet. The use of contrast is used as a design and style element using deep and muted tones or a mix of cool and warm tones. Playing with contrasting interior and exterior finishes adds a fashionable touch. Painted cabinet colours will be popular with either soft medium blues, but bold blues and khakis are on trend this year. Matte black stainless appliances are happening now!

Terrazzo:

This marmite material was cool in the ‘70s, uncool in the ‘90s, cool in 2018. Yes, Terrazzo is back. The colourful floor tiles add an incredible edge to any room expect lots of more affordable options to appear on the market over the coming months as designers open their arms to the composite stone once again.

If you have a project in mind, give us a call today to have a FREE 30 minute consultation to discuss your kitchen extension idea.

We are now proud to announce that we will be working with the Home Environment Assessment & Response Team (HEART) based in Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council.

The HEART team provides advice and assistance to deliver disabled adaptations and home improvements to keep your home safe, secure and warm.  The team assesses customers needs and housing conditions and provide them with tailored advice and support on a range of issues including:

  • Home aids and adaptations
  • Housing conditions, repairs and safety matters
  • Benefits, grants or loans for essential building works

Our involvement will be to provide architectural knowledge and assistance to both the customers and the occupational therapists (OT’s). From our brief, we will then design, and prepare the architectural plans. We will administer the construction phase of the home extensions to help deliver high-quality disabled adaptations and home improvements. We will be working alongside selected local contractors to carry out these works in both the North and South regions of Warwickshire.

We have a vast experience in working on aids and adaption projects which include adaptions for the elderly, disabled adaptions, improvements for quality of living, ground floor bedrooms, wet rooms and level access areas.

We take great pride in these types of projects, living in an accessible home is something that many of us take for granted.  We know that we can help to improve the quality and accessibility of the lives of those who require aids and adaption to their property.

We look forward to sharing some of the projects we work on over the next few months. You can find out more here…

If you have a project that you would like to discuss please call us on 02476 629192 or email info@liteboxarchitecture.co.uk

For this week’s blog, we thought we talk you through some of the latest home trends for 2018.

 

Extensions:

Homeowners will continue to want to maximise their available space whilst maintaining their ever increasing desire for natural light through large glazed openings.

Orangeries styles will continue to attract strong investment from homeowners and perhaps the Loggia too as people begin to become more familiar with the world’s newest and most sophisticated home extension. A Loggia is an exterior room with one or more sides open.

Glazed Opening:

The continued sales of roof lanterns are set to go through the roof this year (excuse the pun!), embracing an increase in the once despised flat roof. Homeowners want more light in their properties and a roof lantern gives it to them in abundance.

Larger glazed areas with bigger more minimalist glazed openings with sliding doors slowly moving ahead as an alternative option to bi-fold doors. This mixed with more natural looking external finishing materials such as concrete and stone façades. We may see contrasting darker woods such as bleached walnut see the pendulum swinging away from previously washed oaks.

The broader tastes of the population may also see an increase in the number of coloured windows and doors. The classic whites and blacks will never fall out of favour, but the more daring out there are now seeking alternatives to traditional finishes for their new windows and doors.

Internal Styles:

Retro industrial styles are making a comeback, but with a twist! Think industrial style with a touch of more varied colour tones, rich metals, exposed structures, alternative designs……. It’s called Modern Industrial.

Don’t be afraid to add a colourful and modern pinch into your industrial interiors when you are considering your finishing touches.

Interiors Finishes:

Firstly, if you’re considering larger open areas, then warmer shades are the way forward. White can feel cold and stark in larger areas, or simply mix with some warmer shades and accessories.

Oversized floral print wallpaper, it’s all about full-on colour and larger than life prints. This style takes its influence from the colour loving sixties and seventies. The key to this look for 2018 is the style of florals, hand drawn, painted or printed abstract designs in punchy pastels or primary colours.

So 2018 is set to see the colour of our rebellious teens, and Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2018, Violet. Yes, I am talking about that fierce, power-glam purple we all loved so many years ago. The colour we all wanted to paint on the walls but were never brave enough, well now’s the time to step back, be brave and do it right.

Maximalism:

Over the past few years, there’s been a strong focus on a more modern and minimalist interior style. We think for 2018 there will be a shift towards maximalism and 80s-influenced design. We’ll see this style through mixing vibrant colours, striking patterns and contrasting textures within interior spaces. Strong wallpapers and paint colours, as well as bold objects, will be important in achieving this look.

Be brave, 2018 is a perfect time to be expressive and have fun with your extension and interiors.

Give us a call today to have a FREE 30-minute consultation to discuss your home extension ideas.

How long does an extension take?

We estimate on average most builders will take between 10 and 12 weeks to build a home extension, although depending on the size and specification of the project these timings can sometimes take slightly longer.

Depending on the size and complexity of your project, the length of time can vary considerably. A small extension may take only 3 months, a larger extension maybe 6 months. A full new build large house on a complex site could easily take 12-18 months.

Two of biggest things that can regularly add time onto the length of construction are; bad weather and changes to the design. The weather is a difficult one to predict, as building in the UK you can have lots of rain any time of year! It is advisable to avoid starting a build during the winter as cold frosty conditions are not good for building in.

Many clients make changes to the design once the construction has started. This is fine but you must be prepared for additional costs and a delayed completion if work has to be redone.

Another common delay is not having an architectural designer because this can lead to simple errors that result in delays further down the road.

We hope this has answered many of your initial questions and queries that you will experience when considering your proposed project.

Be sure to check our other blog posts in this series Architectural Designer feesPlanning Permission and Extension Fees.

“Had Paul design our extension, the builders were really impressed with the attention to detail and the design practicality. The extension is now complete and has vastly improved our home. Thanks, Paul, really good job! I would definitely recommend.”

Lee Smith
16th December 2017

If you would like to discuss your potential project in more detail please contact us at LiteBox Architecture on 02476 629192 or info@liteboxarchitecture.co.uk

We look forward to hearing from you.

Extension Cost

Projects can be designed and built to meet a specific financial budget. For instance, a domestic project from experience would cost in the region of £1,200 – £1,500 per m2. This reflects recent price increases over the last few years. If you’re developing an extension within London and some parts of the South East, these figures can increase to £1,500 – 2,000 per m2.

In addition to this, you will need to include approximately 10-15% for professional fees (architect, planning application, building regulations, structural engineer)

And let’s not forget to include 20% VAT that will need to be included on top of your total fees.

So how do the fees increase if you decide on a double storey extension? The general rule of thumb you can add 50% extra to the build cost of a single storey extension.

For instance

£30,000 for a single storey extension

Add 50% of the single storey fee for a double storey extension = £15,000

Double storey extension = £45,000

In addition to the fees would be specialist products ie bi-fold doors, roof lights or lanterns, underfloor heating etc.

What About my Kitchen and Bathroom? 

The above costs generally will not allow for your kitchen and bathroom costs or flooring and floor and walls finishes.

We would normally advise allowing between £3000 – £5,000 for a bathroom and £10,000 for a kitchen (again, completely depends on your specification, but this should get you a lower-midrange kitchen with appliances)

Looking for a FREE consultation? We offer 30 minutes at no cost to you. Call us today.

What is planning permission and will I need it?

Generally, most projects require Planning Permission and also Building Regulations approval before works can commence on site. Each project differs in requirements i.e, is your property in a conservation area or is your property Listed? If so Listed Building Consent will be required and in some cases, conservation area consent is required.

Permitted development rights are available however these are dependent on a number of factor such as location, size of the site, size of the proposal, has there been any other development on site

I always recommend Informal pre-application discussions with planning prior to any formal submissions, they greatly help a project in the initial stages of development. Planning are there to help and being aware of a forthcoming project is useful in that respect.

How long does it take to get planning permission?

Usually minor projects have a set timescale of 8 weeks from the date the local planning department have validated the application. For major developments, this can take 13 weeks. However, this also depends on the workload and staffing levels at the local authority.  Over recent years we have noticed various departments for planning requesting extensions of time to make decisions on applications.

What is building control and how long does it take?

The Building Regulations are concerned with the constructional details of buildings and set down minimum standards to safeguard the health and safety of persons in and around buildings; conserve fuel and power and provide facilities for disabled people. They are applied by all local authorities in England and Wales and therefore apply on a national basis. However, since recent changes in the law approved inspectors or private building control companies have taken over a large sector of the market providing a more customer-based efficient service.

Building regulation approval will normally take between 2-4 weeks depending on the type and size of project. Once your plans have been approved by building control they will carry out a series of site visits to check the completion of works at various stages. On completion of the works building control will carry out their final check and issue a final completion certificate providing all the works comply and the necessary certificates have been completed such as Gas Safe and Electrical installation.

If you’re planning a project this Spring / Summer call us today for a FREE 30-minute consultation 02476 629192 or email info@liteboxarchitecture.co.uk

Architectural Designer Fees

Architectural designer fees are calculated in three ways: a percentage basis; a lump-sum basis; or time charged by agreement. Expenses may be included in the agreed fee or charged separately.

Percentage basis

In this method, fees are conveyed as a percentage of the total construction cost. Both client and architectural designer need to establish the services to be provided before fees can be estimated including the approximate construction budget and the nature of the work.

Lump-sum basis

Best used where the scope of the work proposed can be clearly defined from the outset. It is important to define the parameters of Architectural designer services including time, project size and cost where applicable, so that if these are varied more than an agreed amount, the lump sum itself may be varied.

Time-charged basis

This basis is best used where the scope of work cannot be reasonably foreseen or where services cannot be related to the amount of construction. It may be wise to set an upper limit on fees to be incurred, perhaps on a staged basis.

As a very rough guideline, architectural designer fees for a domestic project could be anywhere in the region of 5-15% of the overall project budget, dependant on the factors set out above. The following figures are taken from independent annual fee survey, showing average fees relative to the whole project budget and include all of the project stages listed above:

  • £25K – 10.7%
  • £50K – 9.9%
  • £75K – 9.5%
  • £150K – 8.7%
  • £500K – 7.3%
  • £1M – 6.5%

If you’re planning a project this Spring / Summer call us today for a FREE 30-minute consultation 02476 629192 or email info@liteboxarchitecture.co.uk

Coventry Office

LiteBox Architecture
Unit 7, Colliers Way
Spring Hill Industrial Estate,
Coventry, CV7 8HN

T: 02476 629192
E: info@liteboxarchitecture.co.uk

Solihull Office

LiteBox Architecture
Suite 3, 99 York Road
Hall Green,
Birmingham, B28 8LH

T: 02476 629192
E: info@liteboxarchitecture.co.uk

London Office

LiteBox Architecture

T: 02476 629192
E: info@liteboxarchitecture.co.uk

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