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How to incorporate a granny annex into a family home

August 29, 2019

We’re currently working with a family on a large project which is due to be finished in the autumn.  We worked on the initial designs for them in the spring, helped them gain quotes from builders and decide on the best people to work with and have been doing some project management over the summer.

 

Their brief was a little different as it involved reconfiguring an existing ground floor to accommodate an accessible bedroom and bathroom for one of their grandmas.  And they wanted us to help them all the way through the process, from layout designs through to mood boards and final finishes, as well as finding trades and project management.

 

Stage 1 – Layout planning

With an original ground floor footprint including a study that could be used as a bedroom and an already partly converted garage housing a utility room, there was enough square footage to accommodate their additional needs.  The key was making the layout and flow work for the whole family whilst also making sure they didn’t lose out on essential utility and office space.

The client’s original idea was to convert the study into a bedroom and convert the final part of the garage into the en-suite bathroom.  We modelled this option including a number of different access points to the annex.  But we weren’t quite sure that the position of the annex in the middle of the ground floor, the narrow doorway from the bedroom to the bathroom and a view onto the driveway was the best use of the space available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, we presented an alternative layout which enabled the annex to feel more separated and have an outlook onto the garden.  We also felt it was more futureproof as a design with wider doorways and more floor space for wheelchair access if required.   This design also allowed for a larger shower area in the en-suite as well as a large office and utility space in the middle of the ground floor space.

 

We were very clear with our clients from the outset that this design would cost more than their initial ideas, but we were able to roughly calculate the difference in cost and presented this to them with the designs, enabling them to make an informed decision about whether to progress with this alternative or not, based on their available budget.

 

Stage 2 – Furniture placement and first fix planning

Although we’d placed most of the furniture into the initial designs, the next step was to spec out all the elements in each room and confirm the dimensions of the key pieces of furniture like bed, shower, desk etc.

This was especially important in the new bedroom and bathroom, given the need for accessibility and potential future needs, but also needing the space to feel homely and cosy.

 At this point in any project we also think about storage needs and try and build this into the design.  With this design we decided to incorporate a double-sided storage space next to the shower.  This would have shelves accessible from the shower for shampoo, shower gel etc.  And the other side would have storage for towels, cleaning products and extra toilet rolls: all those things we often neglect within a design but are absolutely necessary to any functioning home.

Finally, the dual-purpose utility and office space needed to have dedicated zones and create a differentiation between the two areas, whilst enabling the utility to house all the necessary appliances and storage.

Once those things were decided upon, we then pulled together a detailed plan for the electrician and plumber with all the placements of lights, switches, radiators.  Especially important for this project was the height of the switches, ensuring that they were placed at an appropriate height for wheelchair access.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stage 3 – Mood boarding, visualisations and product lists

This family then wanted us to think about the décor, colour schemes and products for each space.  So, we put together some mood boards, visualised the spaces for them from various angles and pulled together detailed shopping lists for each space.

Stage 4 – Sourcing builders/trades and project management

Last but not least, we helped this family to engage the right builder for them and to get the project managed.  We have a list of partners that we call upon depending on the project and we had two specific builders in mind for this specific project. 

 

We needed somebody who could deliver an end to end project from gutting the garage, insulating it and making it habitable all the way through to the joinery, tiling and decoration (not to mention the electrics and plumbing).  This meant that somebody was accountable for the full project and meant that our client didn’t need to spend as much on our project management time as it would all be done through one builder, rather than managing each trade individually.

 

Although we’d placed most of the furniture into the initial designs, the next step was to spec out all the elements in each room and confirm the dimensions of the key pieces of furniture like bed, shower, desk etc.

This was especially important in the new bedroom and bathroom, given the need for accessibility and potential future needs, but also needing the space to feel homely and cosy. 

 

After visits from both builders allowing the client to meet and speak with each of them and getting the quotes in we let the client decide who they wanted to work with.  We will always give our opinion and provide guidance on whether the quotes are reasonable etc. but the end decision is always made by the client.  This is especially important on a project of this size where the client will be the one allowing the team access to their home and seeing them on a daily basis for a number of weeks.

 

The final reveal

Work has been going on since end of July and is close to being ready for the decorators.  Things have gone well on site.  We had an initial meeting on site to talk through everything, but having all the scale drawings with dimensions, first fix plans and final furniture layout has meant that we haven’t had any issues and where there have been questions or queries along the way we’ve been able to address them quickly between us.

 

The project should be finished by end of September, but rather than wait for the final photos we thought we’d share the design process first and then we can share the photos of the final space (as well as some before’s) with you once it’s been finished.

 

We can’t wait to see the final space once completed and are excited about the prospect of this multi-generational family being able to live under one roof at last.

 

If you are thinking about making changes in your home and need some help or inspiration, do get in touch with us here.  And don't forget to follow us via Instagram, Facebook and our upcoming blogs.

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