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Sam MacAlister

Designer Profile – Sam MacAlister – Lofts/ Attics

We often have a need for more space in our homes and don’t have the room or finances to make major additions to the exterior of the building.

This is one of the areas that the interior designer comes into their own. Within many homes there is a great deal of under-utilised space in the roof cavity.

To use this space we need to understand the space needed for the activities envisaged. For example….. If we intend to use the area as an additional storage space then not much needs to be done except gain reasonable access and strengthen the ceiling framing to create a floor.

That’s reasonably simple as all that’s required is to measure the house’s roof space or use the existing plans to determine the parameters in which to work, then have an engineer design a framing system to support a floor for storage over the ceiling runners and battens.

Sam MacAlister

Sam MacAlister

 

Loft attic space model

Loft attic space model

However if we decide that the space is needed for another bedroom or two and perhaps an additional bathroom then there are many more factors to consider to create a loft.

Firstly the space has to be habitable that includes room to stand and circulate, place the beds and storage, place the bathroom fittings and allow for the services such as plumbing drainage and electricity. It also has to have fresh air and an exterior view and natural daylight. (Remembering this is a home and not a prison). The space also has to be accessible in a natural and comfortable manner. Now local building and planning codes cover most of these items but of course it is up to the designer to make it aesthetically pleasing, flowing and functional.

So in light of all of that we have an illustrated example of a loft conversion that is being planned in London by a talented young architect and interior designer Sam Macalister. Sam has recently started to specialize in this sort of work.

The following photographs, sketches, computer graphics and drawings depict how Sam illustrates and demonstrates this to his clients and contractors.

Firstly Sam has measured the space so that he can sketch to scale his design within the existing parameters of the space he has to work with. This is shown by the rough sketch plan showing access, the two bedrooms and the bathroom.

Note the use of a cavity slider door between bedroom 2 and bathroom to create an ensuite effect. An opening skylight over the stair is indicated to ensure that access to the space is light and airy rather than through a concealed and dark stair. This will help keep the space used rather than having to go up there as it will be inviting with its use of natural light rather than the forboding feel of artificial light to a stairwell.

Planning restrictions have stopped the use of additional gable so a simple and modern shed dormer is added complementing the older style by being unobtrusive and not trying to compete with the classic architecture.

Exterior sketch A shows the bedroom 2 and the bathroom and sketch B the balcony and bedroom 1.

Sketch plan of the loft attic space.
Sketch plan of the loft attic space

Exterior sketch of loft attic space.

Exterior sketch of loft attic space

It becomes obvious when measuring the space that there isn’t enough usable headroom so he has added a shed dormer to each side of the sloping roof giving a walkable and working space each side of the gable.

To illustrate this to the owners Sam has sketched the existing building with the additions in place.

Exterior sketch of loft attic space.

Exterior sketch of loft attic space

To further illustrate this and develop the interior addition in keeping with the existing building he has added a computer render to a photograph using a program such as Adobe Photoshop.

Photo 1 shows the back of the house with the bedroom 2 overlooking the ground floor terrace.

The white face of the addition complementing the existing white white plaster face of the building successfully blending old with new.

Photo 2 shows the front of the house with the addition of bedroom 1.

Note how it is quite unobtrusive and stays within the recession planes and planning codes.

Sam has further demonstrated graphically in 3 D how the space will work to the owner.

Back of the house with bedroom 2

Photo 1 – Back of the house with bedroom 2

Front of house with the addition of bedroom 1

Photo – 2 Front of house with the addition of bedroom 1

Graphic 1 shows a computer sectional model of the house with the addition and how access is gained through the stairs. This gives an accurate visual of the angle of the stair required and the head spaces gained by the shed dormer.

Graphic 2 shows the addition with skylights or roof lights in place in lieu of the balcony.

Graphic 1

Graphic 1

Graphic 2

Graphic 2

Graphic 3

Graphic 3

Graphic 4

Graphic 4

Graphics 3 and 4 depict the interior spaces and natural light without fittings or furniture.

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Finally Sam has started developing the working drawings showing how the addition is to finally take place to the local authorities, the builder, and of course the owner.

The original concept has remained however the balcony has been replaced with skylights and the windows have changed to the rear of the building to bedroom 2 and bathroom.

We thank Sam for his enlightening contribution and look forward to hearing more from this talented young designer.

Sam is based in London, UK. For Sam’s contact details, please enquiry to us using the enquiry form on the website and we will forward them to you.

Inspired to create some more space in your home? Building lofts or attics is a cost effective way to make additional rooms and a great way of adding value to your home. It is often easier than going through the long process of selling and trying to find a new home, then moving house. This way you have a few months inconvienence while they build the space, and that is it!

We hope this article has shown you how you can make more room in your attic or loft space and the architectural process of how it works. – Good luck!

Floor Plan

Floor Plan

Cross Section

Cross Section

Elevations

Elevations

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About the Author – Lee Brown

Lee Brown is the co founder of interiordezine.com, she has worked in the Interior Design Industry for over 23 years, specializing in commercial, hospitality, high end architectural homes and retail design. Over the past 13 years Lee and Chris Brown have been collating their wealth of design knowledge to provide free interior decorating education to the world. Make sure you register for your free ecourse today. Free Interior Decorating eCourse
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