The only way is up!

The empty loft space before starting building work
Like most Londoners with a young family, we needed a bigger house. Two babies in quick succession meant that our house was no longer big enough for both of us work from home and still give everyone a bedroom. We needed more space, fast, without the expense or stress of moving house. The only way was up!

But why go green? And wouldn't it cost a fortune? To find out, click on read more...

Being eco-minded, we wanted our new loft conversion to be as environmentally friendly as possible... within reason. We didn't have enough money to use green products if they cost a fortune, they would have to either not cost much more than conventional materials or save enough energy that they'd pay for themselves within years, not decades.

The eco brief received a mixed reception. Mick, the builder who we'd worked with for years and built a firm friendship, pulled a face that said “sounds complicated, and expensive”. But architect Roland's eyes lit up at the idea of a challenge, not another humdrum conversion.

We set Roland and Mick to work on designs and budgets. Meanwhile, we set about arguably the hardest job of all – clearing out the mountains of boxes that had built up in the loft in the 13 years we'd lived here. Pictured is the resulting empty space – fairly big but with beams all over the place, and impossible to visualise what it would be like as a room.