Increasingly, basements are including a home cinema but you’ll need the right kit to recreate that full-on experience. “Architects and designers need to work with specialists from a project’s conception for a super-tech-enabled space,” says Finite Solutions, which has created home cinemas costing up to £250,000.
A wine fridge under your kitchen island is one thing; connoisseurs need something more substantial. Basements are ideal places for the cool, dark space wines need. Giles Pike Architects included a walk-in, glassfronted, air-cooled wine cellar in a project between the commons recently.
There are basements, and there are basements. The next generation cleverly connect the basement with the side or back extension on the ground floor to form a double-height rear elevation.
The arrival of frameless glass doors has been revolutionary. Where there were once brick walls there can now be expanses of glass, creating a seamless flow between house and garden. “Glazing adds a wow factor,” says Helen Wood from the Simply Construction Group.
Now you see it, now you don’t. Conceal your kitchen behind walls of beautiful wooden doors so that it’s integrated with the living space in an open-plan room. “It needs to look more slick and less like a kitchen, with handleless cabinets and integrated appliances,” says Sadia Afghan, Director of Lifestyle Design & Build.
Control all the technology in your home – lighting, heating, blinds, music, TVs, door entry and home cinema – by smart phone, iPad, Apple Watch or in-wall touch panels. “The ideal is to get a hard-wired infrastructure in place as a backbone, then the controls can be wireless,” says Dan Hart, Technical Manager at home-technology specialist Finite Solutions.
A terrace off the master bedroom offers privacy and somewhere to sip those sundowners in summer. Construction is easy if the bedroom is in the loft; alternatively, copy architectural designer John Osborn’s own home and knock down the exterior walls of an adjacent bedroom to create a space open to the sky.
If you’ve gone down, to the side and up, the only place left is your garden. An extra room can have multiple uses – teenage pad, office, extra bedroom, gym – and can cost as little as £6,000 for something off the shelf. Grander, bespoke spaces can set you back between £30,000 and £50,000. Regulations may apply depending on size and planned usage, so although planning permission is rarely needed, do check.
This is a relatively inexpensive way to make a property stand out. Inside, an LED-lit recess around your living room can change the mood from practical to party in an instant. Illuminating the façade will give an instant uplift and set the house apart. Companies such as Lutron have systems to control the light levels in a single room or throughout your home using a hand-held remote, wall-mounted keypad, iPad or iPhone.
Dressing rooms are highly desirable – remember how we drooled over Carrie’s in Sex in the City? They are easy to create in loft conversions under the eaves or by knocking down a wall between a main bedroom and box room.
Loft: potentially adds an average of £160,000 across London, according to James Gold, founder and CEO of Landmark Lofts. Basement: adds 10-15% to your property’s value, says Nick Upsher of Upsher Harrison, “and buyers will love the fact that the hard work is already done.” Bifold/sliding doors: they give a light, modern feel that buyers will pay over the odds for. Crittall-style doors are the next big thing… Side return and extension into the garden: will add 15-20% to your home. “Even just taking out a wall to create more room for a kitchen will increase your property’s value,” says designer Anna Sadej from Kitchen Connections.