‘We extended upwards to add an extra storey to our home’

Daisy and Oliver Bourne have updated their Victorian home building a whole new floor to maximise the space and stunning city views

Words Debbie Jeffrey photographs Darren Chung

When Oliver and Daisy Bourne married, they planned to move from their London flat and find a house more suitable for starting a family. The end Terrace property they eventually chose stands in a secluded cul-de-sac and, having already benefited from a stylish, recently completed kitchen extension, offered further potential to convert the loft – particularly as the roof was leaking and needed replacing anyway.

‘the house had what’s known as a London roof, smoking down to the valley gutter running along the centre of the building,’ explains Oliver. ‘This butterfly shape means you can literally slice off the roof and then build a whole extra floor with a flat roof and no sloping internal walls. We knew it would create a really worthwhile space.’

The house next door has just benefited from exactly this time of loft conversion, so Oliver and Daisy were confident that planning permission would be granted for their own project. Given the location, on the brow of Lavender Hill, there will also hopeful that the new story would benefit from impressive views across London.

‘From the corner of the bath on the third storey you could just about see the London Eye, so we guessed that by going up another level we would overlook Westminster and across to the City,’ says Daisy.

The previous owners had extended the kitchen 2008, using a local company to complete the entire project, with the resulting space being bright and modern with bifold doors, rooflights and a slate tile floor. So impressed with the Bournes with the high quality of workmanship that they decided to use the same builders for the loft conversion, and looked on the Wandsworth Council planning website to find out who are undertaken the extension.

Co-owners of design and build company Plus Rooms, London-based Brothers James and Robbie Benard specialise in kitchen extensions, loft of conversions and whole house renovations, and were able to show the couple photographs of similar projects they’d completed, which gave the Bournes a clear idea of what they could achieve.

Keen to replace the patched-up leaking roof, Oliver and Daisy asked Plus Rooms if they could submit a planning application for the new loft conversion and start work as soon as possible. Their idea was to create a luxurious home cinema and a spacious new bathroom at the top of the house, which could easily become a master bedroom and ensuite in the future.

‘Planning consent was granted with no issues, and a three month build ran like a well oiled machine,’ says Daisy. ‘were started in May 2012, but the weather that year was awful, and it never stopped raining. Fortunately, the builders were able to erected scaffolding and work mainly from the outside, without having to bring everything up through the house.’

Co-owners of design and build company Plus Rooms, London-based Brothers James and Robbie Benard specialise in kitchen extensions, loft of conversions and whole house renovations, and were able to show the couple photographs of similar projects they’d completed, which gave the Bournes a clear idea of what they could achieve.

Keen to replace the patched-up leaking roof, Oliver and Daisy asked Plus Rooms if they could submit a planning application for the new loft conversion and start work as soon as possible. Their idea was to create a luxurious home cinema and a spacious new bathroom at the top of the house, which could easily become a master bedroom and ensuite in the future.

‘Planning consent was granted with no issues, and a three month build ran like a well oiled machine,’ says Daisy. ‘were started in May 2012, but the weather that year was awful, and it never stopped raining. Fortunately, the builders were able to erected scaffolding and work mainly from the outside, without having to bring everything up through the house.’

Scaffolding the front and rear of the end terrace house proved complex, and the original idea of erecting a waterproof cover was abandoned because the height of the building would have required a full sized crane to winch it into place.

The existing roof was dismantled and removed, with tarpaulin forming a temporary shelter over the house. However, one night a couple woke up and heard people climbing up the scaffolding. ‘when we looked out of the window we saw two legs disappearing up a ladder outside,’ says Daisy. ‘it was really worrying because they could have broken into the house through the tarpaulin, and although the police arrived in minutes and even sent a helicopter, they didn’t manage to catch anyone. Luckily, nothing was stolen, and we then had the scaffolding alarmed.’

A highly insulated timber-framed structure was erected at the top of the house, which is now home to a cinema and bathroom. Windows and a rooflight were installed and the exterior has been clad with slate to match the property next door. ‘Robbie send me a photo of review over London one day and it was stunning,’ recalls Oliver.

A new staircase was installed, copied from the existing Victorian design, we painted newel posts and a grey handrail for a perfect match. Above this, a high level window and rooflight ensure that the space is extremely well lit. ‘we didn’t want to the land into the dark or dingy, as it’s at the top of three flights of stairs,’ explains Daisy.

Once the first team of builders had left the site, A finishing team installed cables for the cinema, surround sound and lighting, plastered out the loft conversion and fitting the sanitary ware. Wiring was also incorporated for additional lighting so that the cinema room could easily become a bedroom in the future, with sockets set a double bed’s with apart for bedside lamps.

‘there was a bit of a battle at first about having a home cinema, but everything we’ve done can be reversed,’ says Oliver, who was the driving force behind installing it, with a screen that can be retracted to reveal pictures on the wall beneath. ‘the price of projectors has come right down, and I found one that is HD quality for £350, with an electrically operated screen from Amazon for about £70,’ he continues. ‘we both work long hours so getting home to watch a film and relax is a real treat, and it also means we can have a proper living room on the ground floor isn’t dominated by television.

When the loft conversion was completed, the Bournes turned their attention to the other rooms in the house. Daisy is half French and grew up in the south of France, which influenced the decision to decorate using understated, soft shades of blue and grey. ‘we didn’t want the house to look to grey, 70s different times each room and painted everything ourselves – including some of the furniture she explains.

The couple were married in France and many of their wedding gifts were purchased from a local shop, including small items such as lamps and vases. Larger pieces of furniture, the flooring and sanitary ware were then sourced once they had moved from their small flat into the house.

‘I prefer floorboards and stone floors to carpet, but we did choose wool carpet for the bedrooms and the cinema room for comfort,’ Daisy continues. ‘On the ground floor, we’ve laid white oak floorboards in the double reception room, and every room has been decorated and given a facelift.’

The result is a beautiful and relaxing home, designed with a family in mind. The couple are currently expecting their first baby and putting finishing touches to the nursery, painted in a soft purple-grey.

‘We couldn’t be happier with the house, and converting the loft definitely makes sense,’ says Oliver. ’It would have cost about £20,000 for a new roof anyway, with barely any storage space, So for the extra investment we now have a whole new storey and amazing views across London.’

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