Spacial Awareness


(Suzanne Fitzgerald) #1

I'm thinking I wasn't blessed with this. I have 2 and a half floors of a house that I want to make into 4 the same size around 120m2 each giving roughly 500m2 of house (which is big right?) but when I try to visualise each floor in my head it feels small.

I've told my hubby I think we need an extension as part of the renovation to make the ground floor bigger (as that will be our main living area onto the garden) and he's in 2 minds about whether we need it or not.

My problem is this, I want an open plan kitchen, dining, sitting area on the ground floor with WC & various storage rooms. We also need a garage (which necessitates a new build anyway). Can we fit this in 120m2 and still have room to swing the cat?

We also have the minor problem that when we do the renovation we will have sold our house and will have nowhere to live, so the grand plan was to live in the extension thereby saving rent. (I can imagine you are thinking we're mad wanting to live on a building site with 2 under 3's but it will get worse).

Dilemmas we currently have going through our minds, will it cost more to do the build/renovation in 2 stages (extension first, renovation second), do we really need the extension or is it just my lack of spatial awareness that means I imagine we need more space? Can we still apply for green energy credits if we have not yet sold our current home but start work on the future main home? This is a biggie as we want to install a ground source heat pump which would provide our heating & solar panels for water so we need the credits.

It's already taxing my little underworked brain too much & I think we definitely need to take step forwards...roll on July when I can physically see my 120m2 again...for now I have this picture to work from:


Can you see why it's tricky to imagine living inn this space?


Perhaps I'd better stick to planning the kitchen (which I've already been told by Mr Fitz won't be going in Day 1 or 2!


Anyone got any tricks for planning how to use a big empty space? And being able to imagine yourself in it? Much appreciated!




(Helen Aurelius-Haddock) #2

For my ten centime’s worth, I would ensure that however you plan your space out, ensure you have at least one “snug” sized room that you can retreat into during the colder months. British neighbours down the road have a BIG double height lounge complete with mezzanine, plus central heating, but decided to create a small lounge with a wood burner as well, They find it very useful when it’s really cold.
Visiting other houses with agents may give you a spatial idea of room size and total surface area as well.


(Suzanne Fitzgerald) #3

Thanks everyone, some good points there. I am concerned on the cleaning front Tracy, I’ve already said any bedrooms not being used (there’ll be a couple hopefully for our friends/family to stay in when they visit) will just be locked. I’m also keen on putting provision in for en-suite bathrooms for when the kids are older but not actually fitting them, we currently have 3 wc’s in our house & that’s enough to be cleaning.

I know we will have lots of bedroom space which is our biggest limitation at the moment & no-one can visit us without paying for a b*b or sleeping in the lounge being rudely awoken by our ginger furry friend chomping biscuits at 5am or the girls shouting cbeebies at 6am!

We’re used to living over a number of floors, our house in the UK was over 4 as is our current house although we don’t access the bottom floor from the house currently. This does mean however you lose a fair bit of space in stair cases & hallways.

Our current house is 170m2 excluding the ground floor garage & caves (which are very useful storage spaces) but we seem to have stuff everywhere and my kitchen is just totally overflowing everywhere as there just isn’t enough storage for appliances & home-made jam etc!

The kids toys seem to take over the living room and the only room that has survived is the dining room although the high chairs are mounting up taking up a lot of space too.

We have a lovely summer kitchen which leads onto our terrace, fantastic for entertaining but not great with 2 tots as it was designed as a holiday home not family home.

So I think what we’ve ended up doing is taking all the things we’d change about our current home and trying to fit them into the new home & creating sufficient space. I think 2 floors are much easier to use than 4 but the style of our house is tall & deep not wide so we have to make the most of it and I’m sure if it was wide & 2 floors we could manage with a lot less space.

We are looking to the future though and whilst we only have 2 tots now there will be more I’m sure :slight_smile:


(Rebekah Brady) #4

I’ve been pondering your quandry about having/ending up with enough space. Personally, having a lot of living space is vv important. We moved from a '30’s terrace in London with three boys, so having more space was high up the list- also with boys- a bathroom for ME. Anyway, I’ve been house hunting recently (though not for us) and have seen a FAB four storey house, in need of loads of work, but working out at 80m2 per floor (so smaller than your poss end product). It is fab, but if I’m honest (and my boys are 16/14/6) too big- and too many floors- IMO better over 2 or 3. We have at the mo about 150m2 and our improvement of attached outbuilding will add a kids/footie tv room and a bedroom/dressing/ensuite for us. In the short term the kitchen/diner space will be great with little ones and lonelier with teens (although a along way off) ditto the fourth floor, as the little ones will, in the short term be close to hand. Looking at some big spaces/house has got to be a good call and as your children are young you do want to think about the house evolving with you and everything being in the right place/floor. Your project sounds great, rest assured you should be able to fit everything in easily!


(Catharine Higginson) #5

Great idea Tracy and a good suggestion about visiting different sized houses too.

And yes, I’m with Tracy on the cleaning front! We once had a 450 sq m Maison de Maitre and it would take me a day and a half to hoover it…:frowning:

Ours is 180 m sq - which is fine for us, huge kitchen / diner / huge lounge and 5 large bedrooms - or will be when finished…


(Tracy Thurling) #6

Hi Suzanne,
How about if other people tell you how big their places are? EG we have a house which we have split into 2 apartments of 90m2.
In each apartment we have 2 bedrooms the same size - our bedroom is ok but not spacious for 2 people but our daughters bedroom is huge for one child. We have a large kitchen, an OK lounge and a wasted space in the corridor that runs from front to back.
So, if you have 120m2 for each floor, you can fit our entire apartment plus 33% more into your lounge diner and utility room!
If we had used the 180m2 for our house we would have a really big house - too big when you are a full time working mum I’d never find the time to keep it all clean!!!


(Jane Canty) #7

lol Suzanne


(Suzanne Fitzgerald) #8

We bought the Grand Designs software in the end, its great as I can plan my ideal room layouts but they still look small,so I build on extensions & the like!)

You can even put furniture in like Double beds so you can see how much space you have around it, but I still think it looks small whatever I do. I can’t visualise the reality, I know what I want it to ‘feel’ like and look like but at the moment all I see is a big damp smelly space.


(Catharine Higginson) #9

You can also get some pretty good software to help with layout- James H has used it - so ask him. I know exactly what you mean - I am also rubbish at visualising anything until it is almost finished!


(Jane Canty) #10

Ah lol now that sounds a bit easier to understand. Yep, I think you really need to sit down with the architect and then things will become clearer ie visualisation of actual space. I think you’ll have abig house Suzanne. Good luck with it and let us know how you’re getting on. Exciting…although lots of mess. Might be a good idea to hire a caravan especially with little ones.
For now you could get yourself some squared paper, 1 page per floor and draw out your rooms/space on the page…might help?


(Suzanne Fitzgerald) #11

Hi Jane

So you can see from my ramblings I’m confused.com!
The house is currently 3 stories (but the ground floor is only half excavated currently) and we plan to convert the loft (grenier) into bedroom space (creating 4th floor). So we’re not changing the roof other than putting some velux type windows in.

We’re engaging an architect to help us out as I think we need some serious discussions about size! I’m just rubbish at visualising space, I know the number sounds big but I imagine it will shrink a lot when you put conduit, insulation, staircases etc in.

I think part of the problem is layout, when you have a big space & you need to put rooms in they look small but in actual fact they are probably big. I always think this when I watch Grand Designs, the rooms look small on the software graphic but end up being quite spacious.

If we do end up not needing the extension then I’d better rent a caravan or something, now that should give me some perspective on space!


(Jane Canty) #12

Suzanne, you’ve totally confused me lol
So, you’ve got 2 floors at the moment…and you want to make those two floors into 4 floors… as in 4 floors one on top of the other or 4 rooms 120m2 each? Will you get permission for 4 FLOORS, that’s going to be awfully high no?
500m2… that’s BIG our house is 200m2 and now that the kids are all grown up and have flown the coop it’s too big for us.
If you’re going to have 4 floors of 120m2 each, you can fit an awfull lot of rooms in there. I don’t see why you need an axtension. I think you need someone to help you with the designing/planning of how to use this already giant space lol