Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Do you need More Space?

Since I started casually Tweeting on the progress of my very far from extraordinary loft conversion, I've been surprised at the volume of inquiries and interest from loft-focused strangers. This is not a property blog. It's supposed to be about books and writing: but the mention of having builders in the house seems to tap into a vein of angst that runs deep through the (mostly London) population. Perhaps the costs involved in moving house are now so high that almost everyone who owns one is wondering how to make the best of their property footprint, rather than forking over loads of money in stamp duty and assorted fees.
Anyway, what people seem to want to know is this: which outfit have I used for my conversion, and are they any good? Do they deliver what they promise? Have I felt myself to be in good hands? Or has the whole process been bewildering, stressful and disappointing? There is certainly a legion of eager providers/contractors, armed with glossy brochures; the difficulty is knowing which ones to trust.
I've pretty much dodged these polite inquiries so far, on the grounds that my job is not finished (actually it's quite long way from being finished, although the work on site has pretty much dwindled to one bloke and a box of nails); but I promise I will report soon.The company I've used advertises a lot in the London area. If you live in SW anything, you've probably seen their goldfish-sporting Fiats darting from job to job. They're called MoreSpace (or occasionally I Need More Space; or, confusingly, Loft Rooms). I've kept a detailed record of the whole encounter, which I can say right now, on working day 47 of the build, has been an education.
None of this is quite the stuff of novels. But that's not to say there haven't been moments of drama. Whether that drama is closest to comedy, tragedy or the courtroom variety will soon be made plain.