Before & After: Home Renovations in West London

There’s a new type of client in Hammersmith & Fulham, says local builder Jason Briggs.

The house owner having to make alterations because the kids can’t afford to leave home.

“We’ve always been converting lofts for families who need more space for an extra child, but now we have a new type of client who is accommodating children who have not flown the nest,” said the founder and owner of The Kitchen & Loft Company.

Jason also sees examples of property owners who have seen values soar, and are cashing in some of that rise by renovating, while some long-time local homeowners are even buying houses for their children for cash.

After a decade in business in the area, Jason’s main work is still what he terms straightforward loft conversions, with an extra bedroom plus separate, or ensuite, bathroom being created.

A noticeable relaxation of once-rigid planning restrictions, particularly on rear additions, has given the renovation business a real shot in the arm.

As property prices rise, children simply can’t afford to fly the nest. It means that kitchen renovation and loft conversion companies are dealing with a different breed of customer.

 “I’ve been working in the area for 10 years, and we’re busier than ever,” said Jason. “All decent construction firms in the area are very busy.”

Jason recently worked on a house in Tabor Road, Hammersmith, whose owners wanted a whole new kitchen/ dining area.

What started out as a small job on the ground floor quickly got more complicated when they realised there was a damp problem stemming form the church next door that had to be solved.

Once sorted, Jason’s team tackled extending the ground floor space and adding in a modern set of folding doors leading out into the garden, with new skylights letting more light into the previously darkroom.

And Jason says, it’s the art of adding space organically into the area’s Victorian homes that is the tricky part.

“Recently we’ve done loft conversions in Benbow Road, Agate Road and Coulter Road, and we’re about to start a large kitchen renovation in Greenside Road, Shepherds Bush, together with an unusual extension, with balconies, to the ground floor, which was a joint application with their neighbours.”

Jason said that the advantage of loft conversions was that they are instantly profitable. “If you can get planning permission, the profit is in the permission, and every brick adds to the value,” he said.

“But a loft conversion instantly adds value as you’re adding extra square footage. We didn’t used to talk in square footage, but it’s relevant today.”

So what has been the biggest changing trend in local projects in recent months? Jason has no doubt.

“Audio visual,” he said without hesitation. “But we don’t do wires! Everything is hidden, with speakers in ceilings and even sockets hidden.”