Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Just One Thing; A LOFT EXTENSION Cor-Ten Steel and Full-Height Windows Turned This Attic Conversion into a Truly Stunning Family Master Suite, Says Ruth Bloomfield

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Just One Thing; A LOFT EXTENSION Cor-Ten Steel and Full-Height Windows Turned This Attic Conversion into a Truly Stunning Family Master Suite, Says Ruth Bloomfield

Article excerpt

THE number of home improvement planning applications is up 60 per cent since 2012, with the loft extension being one of the most popular ways of creating space. Asia Kowalczuk and Duncan Grey took that well-trodden route but with great imaginative flair, transforming their two-bedroom maisonette into a family home in the process.

The couple, who live in Walthamstow with daughter Iona, aged six, turned their attic into a light-drenched master suite.

The project began with the fairly modest wish to create a third bedroom at the Fifties property, which the couple bought seven years ago when Asia, a stylist, was pregnant. However, in 2016 Duncan's father fell seriously ill and they wanted enough extra space for him to stay with them if he wished.

Enlisting the help of neighbour Grant Straghan, director of deDraft architects (dedraft.co.uk), they set out to create something more interesting than a run-of-the-mill attic room. They used increasingly fashionable Cor-Ten steel, a material which until relatively recently was used mainly to clad the hulls of ships. Cor-Ten is also known as weathering steel, thanks to its ability to rapidly form a protective and attractive layer of rust which, in the case of this project, echoes the colour of the local roof tiles. "Grant brought a piece of the metal and put it in his garden and after only two days we could see how much it had changed," says Asia.

Having settled on their design, the couple thought the process of converting their loft into a useable room would be relatively quick and painless. However, the legal preparations took longer than the build itself. Planning permission was granted in six weeks, but negotiations with neighbours in order to make the necessary Party Wall Agreements, and with the freeholder of their building, a housing association, dragged on. Dealing with what Asia describes as the "bureaucratic giant" of the required legal paperwork also cost an eighth of their total budget. …

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