Extending your Home - Tips, Considerations and Advice from Team Tinto

Extending your home can be a two-fold investment; it can potentially add value to your property, but more importantly, it can enhance and transform your lifestyle, improving your day-to-day life and wellbeing.

In this blog post, the Tinto team explores some of the important elements that you should consider, and answers a number of the most commonly asked questions around home extension. Hopefully this will help you on your journey to investing in your property!

The aspirational living trend

“A lot of the enquiries that we get are around that aspirational style of living; it’s not just about the practical extension anymore, it’s about the desirable lifestyle that comes with having more space.

“In recent years we’ve seen the progression of things like Instagram and Pinterest, showing people possibilities for their homes and giving them imagery to aspire to. This has driven more people to choose to alter their existing home to fit their aspirations and lifestyle, whereas previously they might have made the decision to move.

“People are now a lot more confident in tackling a home extension project than perhaps they were a few years ago, and that’s been aided by things like social media giving us more images of what others have done and what can be possible.

“We think the aspirational and practical drivers of undertaking an extension go hand in hand. The aesthetic and the aspirational way of living is what clients come to us with; they say “I want to live like that”. It’s then the skill of the architect to really make the extension work to the clients’ needs and aspirations, collaboratively removing any client ideas that don’t add the desired lifestyle benefits. It’s about saying that this can not only look great but it can work for you as well”.

Why are you considering the project?

“Understanding exactly why you are looking to extend and improve your living space is important, because your extension goes beyond the physical manifestation of what the build will look like. When we look at why you want to extend your home, we begin to learn about the emotions attached to what is working, what isn’t working and what could be improved.

There are probably three main reasons why people look to get an extension.

1. Modernising a traditional property

    “One is that people have bought an older property with a view of doing something to modernise it, realise the value and create that aspirational living environment. Perhaps they’ve bought a west-end townhouse and want to create an open-plan kitchen, put in the bathrooms that they need and live a certain lifestyle in an older property that’s been modified.

    “For example, we completed a project on a traditional semi-detached home in the west end of Aberdeen, where the client was looking to modernise the building and create more space, while ensuring that the extension sat well in relation to the existing building. In this case, we created an open-plan space, made use of reclaimed granite from the removal works on-site, and featured modern materials such as metal cladding.”

    2. A need for increased space

      “The second driver we see for building an extension is the growing family, where form follows function in the requirements. As the family grows, they may need an extra living area or bedroom, they might need an open-plan dining space, all of which an extension can help facilitate.

      “We had a project in Rubislaw where the client was looking to create a modern and spacious extension that would provide a bigger kitchen space and family room to meet their growing need for extra space.”

      3. A desirable lifestyle

        “The third key reason for adding an extension is the lifestyle aspect. Maybe the children are a wee bit older, or left home, and your priorities and purpose for your living space changes as your lifestyle evolves. We’ve got a great project on Abergeldie Road, where the clients are both self employed, their children are at university now, and they just want to create a space to entertain. They want a space where they can invite their friends round, they can have dinner parties for 6-10 people, drink wine, socialise, sit out and have a barbecue in the garden etc. That post-children lifestyle comes into it as well.

        “We think what underpins all of these drivers is the desire for modern living. Humans are sociable creatures and being shut in separate rooms is counterintuitive. Psychologically, the open-plan context is successful for family life and spending time together as a unit; people are looking for spaces that facilitate that and allow them to live comfortably.”

        What is going to add the most value?

        “With regards to value, you should really consider what is valuable to you. Is it extra living space, is it better access to your garden, is it a space to work or entertain, or more room for the children to play? These all have a value depending on what you really want and need from your home, and are as equally important when considering what your investment in an extension should look like.

        “There are two ways of looking at the value an extension can bring: monetary and lifestyle/wellbeing. In monetary terms, bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens always add the most value in a home extension or renovation; an additional bedroom and improvements on things that are traditionally expensive to improve, will generate a monetary value at the end of the project.

        “From a lifestyle perspective though, it is very much the aspirational large family living space that can be truly life-changing! Until you live in that way in your space, it’s very hard to imagine the difference it can make to your life, and the sacrifice that you made prior to that. Post works, so many of our customers say they can’t believe they lived the way they did before; so creating an open plan living space can add significant value in terms of how you live your life in your home… transformational!”

        Over what period should I invest?

        “This will really be determined by what you hope to achieve, and more importantly, how long you are going to stay in the property. If you are planning on creating a forever home then you should look to take a longer-term view on getting the absolute best design and solution to allow this to happen. It is important to consider what it is worth to you to be able to stay where you are and enjoy a better way of living.

        “On the other hand, if this is a short term improvement and you are looking to sell your home in the future, then the actual cost needs to be weighed up against what you will get back more quickly. It is important not to be too ambitious with specification and accept that moving now or creating a modest upgrade with an extension may be all you need to do at the moment.”

        How much monetary value can you add to the house when you add an extension?

        “It’s very difficult to put a price on it. You won’t get every pound back that you spend on an extension because, although it isn’t as expensive as moving to a larger house, building an extension certainly isn’t cheap. Yes, you’ll add some monetary value, but an extension really has to be a medium to long-term investment in the future, because you won’t add pound for pound what you spend. Your mindset needs to be that it’s a lifestyle investment and you’re going to get more than a monetary return from an extension.”

        The lifestyle investment

        “The lifestyle investment is really important to us and the type of customer we love to work with. It’s about looking to create a unique and improved lifestyle from the project, rather than looking at it solely in terms of monetary value.

        “With the lifestyle investment, it’s important to understand that although the monetary return may accrue over a much longer period, the immediate improved quality of life from the new space is something worth investing in.

        “For people looking to invest in their lifestyle with a home extension, the value of the property to them is how they will be able to live when it is completed, and all of the memories they can create by living in an improved fashion, as opposed to monetary value.

        “Everyone is different, so it’s about understanding who you are, how you live, how you want to live and then shaping the space around that. The lifestyle investment that we seek to create in our projects is always about putting you and your desired way of living first!

        “Our job at Tinto is to help you understand your why and use these emotions to drive more practical decisions when it comes to investing in your property. If you have enjoyed reading this and would like to learn more please get in touch: www.tinto.co.uk.”