Homeowner Jo Dyson has completely redesigned her flat, creating a ‘reverse living’ loft extension, with the bedrooms and bathroom on the first floor and the kitchen and living space on the new top floor.

The new loft space now houses an open plan living room, kitchen and dining area, with bi-fold doors opening onto the south-facing roof terrace. With two large Velux windows, four rooflights, three sash windows and the bifold doors, sun floods in throughout the day.

On the first floor, stud walls between the bathroom and kitchen were removed and a new internal wall built to transform the space into the master bedroom with an ensuite, while there are two further double bedrooms. A small bedroom has also been converted into the main bathroom.

Project Notes

  • Project: Victorian loft extension and remodel
  • Location: London
  • Build time: Four months
  • Flat cost: £355,000 (2013)
  • Build cost: £100,000
  • Value: £700,000

The new loft space now houses an open plan living room, kitchen and dining area, with bi-fold doors opening onto the south-facing roof terrace. With two large Velux windows, four rooflights, three sash windows and the bi-fold doors, sun floods in throughout the day. The dwarf wall surrounding the staircase means natural light filters down to the first floor
below, too

The kitchen, from the Tewkesbury collection at Howdens, is located under the eaves. Most of the storage is accounted for with appliances, while the washing machine is positioned in the understair cupboard. “My biggest design success was managing to persuade the builder to put the 900mm-wide kitchen unit on casters with a movable plinth to enable access to eaves for storage,” says Jo

The south-facing roof terrace enjoys sun for most of the day. On warmer days, when the bi-fold doors (from Creative Doors Direct) are pushed back, it joins the living room to the outside and creates a feeling of an extended relaxing space. The hardwood decking for the terrace is reclaimed from a developer friend who was removing it from a project in Fulham

The extension and remodel turned what was a ‘corridor’ flat into a spacious and bright two-storey home with a glazed roof terrace

Lease Issues

Jo went door to door to find the ideal canvas for her loft extension project — and even after she found the flat, issues with the loft demise stalled progress. The extension and remodel turned what was a ‘corridor’ flat into a spacious and bright two-storey home with a glazed roof terrace and an upside-down layout, which features three double bedrooms on the first floor and an open plan living space on the new roof level.

The leases were ambiguous, with some solicitors thinking that the two adjacent top floor flats had the loft space demised, whereas others interpreted the same lease as saying it was split between all four flats.

“The initial excitement turned into a legal marathon,” Jo says. “I needed to have the loft space clearly demised in my lease in order to convert it — otherwise I would never actually ‘own’ the space I intended to create. A year and a half of neighbourly negotiations ensued, with endless back and forths with the conveyancing solicitors. In the end we must have had about 10 versions of the ‘new’ leases and in the ‘final’ version I had my neighbour’s floor plan in my demise.”

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