My uncle once floated the idea of a residential lift in our house to access our loft conversion. This was 5 years ago and I dismissed it as unfeasible. Since then I have come to wonder if a home elevator is a an option worth considering. Since buying our house a loft extension, over what has already been done (along with the kitchen/diner extension) have been dreamed of and planned. This was to be the year in fact. We have recently had plans for both extensions drawn up and approved. Everything for the downstairs kitchen/diner extension was well underway. Until social distancing became a thing. Nonetheless we are hopeful this is just a temporary pin in our plans and our building works will get underway again.
I have written before about our current loft conversion, you can read it here, and the ‘space saver’ stairs that are currently installed for access. The loft space itself is huge, it is the square footage of a lot to the upstairs of our house. If it were not for the current access it would make for a great master bedroom.
The room was the teen’s bedroom however she doesn’t use it anymore being 18 and preferring to stay at friends houses or her mothers. I am not sure noisy 5 year olds go well with sociable, late sleeping 18 year olds. We attempted homeschooling from there at the start of the school closures but we all soon got bored of climbing the steep narrow stairs. Essentially it has become a bit of an extra space for our young children to play in and take their friends or at least they used to when they were allowed to see their friends. It is great they can hide up there, have some privacy and space to do with as they please and make all the noise they want, the karaoke machine currently lives there and that’s where I intend for it to stay. They love it but it could be put to so much better use. It feels slightly like a wasted space at the moment. Also because of the current level of access we cannot call our house a 5 bedroom house as the space saver steps don’t meet current regulations for a bedroom. So adding a legitimate 5th bedroom with ensuite would be a great asset to the house.
So back to the extension plans. Our architect’s current plans involve a second stair case being built over our current set of stairs and eating into the single room ever so slightly. Once on the third floor we would have a small landing area with a small ensuite to the right and a door to the master bedroom on the left.
However there is another option worth exploring, as my uncle pointed out many years ago, that of a home lift. I believe we have the space for it and it would certainly make for luxurious addition to our existing home.
Why consider a residential lift?
For us it would actually be a huge space saver because there are some great home elevators that actually take up a very small space, some are even less than a square meter. It would mean avoiding encroaching on the spare single bedroom. So it could remain the good functional size that it is.
It may also turn out to be more cost effective. If you research domestic lift prices you may be a little surprised. I was. Home elevator costs were not what I expected and when I compare the prices to that of knocking down walls, building walls and stairs plus labour etc actually they’re not too far apart. Perhaps surprisingly it may well transpire that installing a residential lift is the more cost effective option.
Now a home elevator is not the traditional elevator that comes to mind. In today’s modern world there are some incredible sleek and stylish designs out there that could really compliment your interiors. Some companies allow you to pick the colours and materials to suit your home and your style. That said for so many lifts offer more than aesthetic luxury and as they allow you to access any floor in your house with the touch of a button. It can make life a lot easier for those with mobility issues. Installating a lift removes the stress and worry of tackling the stairs for those who find them challenging.
Or perhaps if you don’t have that level of need yet there may come a time when you do. It could be seen as future proofing your house for a time when you might need it. Not to mention the fact that this future proofing may well apply to the value of your house also.
Residential lifts, on a practical note
I had assumed that a residential lift would be clunky, loud and cumbersome but my research has convinced me otherwise. Practically they are supposedly easy to install. A lot of residential lifts come in ready made modules which helps keep down costs and installation times. It also means they are likely to fit through a lot of doorways and under most ceilings. They are easy to piece together, if they need to be, and installation can often be just a days work.
From my research I have also uncovered the facts around the noise element of home lifts. A concern is that they would be loud, which is the last thing you want if you need to use it during the night. I have found that there are residential lifts available that don’t use hydraulics or vacuum systems meaning they can be virtually soundless when they operate.
All in all I can really see the appeal in a residential lift. At the moment it is not common place and that can often be one of the biggest inhibitors in taking the plunge with something like this. But change has to start somewhere. I can certainly see the appeal in opting for a home lift to suit our needs and think it is worth bringing to the table when planning our loft conversion.
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