Cash in the attic

Adding a floor to a Victorian townhouse has considerably increased its value, says Cheryl Markosky

Buying a wreck and bringing it back to life is a step too far for many of us. Although the idea of effectively building our own home is tempting, the time, money and energy required can be beyond our ken. Lawyers Daisy Tatton-Brown, 31, and Oliver Bourne, 34, were lucky to discover an end-of-terrace house in Rush Hill Road, Clapham, that needed sprucing up without having to carry out the Full Monty of makeovers. Bought three years ago through Cluttons Clapham office, Tatton-Brown says the house was liveable in, but not decked out to her taste. “It had cream carpets and was looking a bit tired,” she explains.

It was good news that the previous owner had sorted out the side return to extend the kitchen area. Also, kitchen units he’d installed were to the couple’s taste, saving a great deal of cost and stress. But the really big selling point from Cluttons was that a whole new storey could be added to the fourbedroom home. Tatton-Brown said they were going to have to fix the leaky roof at a cost of £5000, “so we decided to just add another floor, which would solve the leak problem and give us more space for not a great deal more money.”

Employing PlusRooms, a firm specialising in extensions and loft conversions, a mansard conversion has resulted in a generous cinema room and adjacent bathroom on the new top level. “My husband’s keen on TV and music, so we use the media room a lot and get friends over to watch films. Alternatively, it could be used as a fifth bedroom,” points out Tatton-Brown.

As well as extending upwards, the couple, who now have a month-old daughter named Rose, have replaced the outdated cream carpeting with smart grey wool coverings, with wooden flooring on the ground floor. Familiar with the area, half-French Tatton-Brown wanted to remain here so Rose could attend Ecole de Wix on Clapham Common Northside. She thinks they’re in exactly the right spot – not too far from the school and right next to the Common.

Eventually, the couple will sort out the main bathroom and replace carpet with tiles in the second bathroom. “I don’t like the style but it works fine so there’s no point in doing it up yet,” notes Tatton-Brown. “It’s been fun picking out furniture and new paint colours, and my mother-in-law’s helped with plants for the garden,” she adds.

Stephanie Mant from Cluttons says her advice to anyone taking on a project is to follow Tatton-Brown’s example: “Don’t personalize the house too much, opening it up to more people when it comes time to sell.”

“The extra floor has added value to the house, and adding a bathroom gives the top level extra flexibility.”

Stephanie Mant, Cluttons