Adding an extra level within an existing space attractive – creating a split-level room – is the improvement that gives you the best return on your investment. Adding a mezzanine floor may not be the most obvious home improvement choice, but it could be the most cost-effective way of increasing both floor space and value, a new study shows.
A mezzanine means a floor between floors — an extra level inserted within an existing space to create a split-level room.
Today’s research by home remodeling company Harrington Grey compared the cost of 10 popular home improvement projects and the average value they add to a property, to calculate the typical return on investment.
Researchers found that a 248sq ft mezzanine would cost about £9,500 to install, but could add 10 per cent to the value of a home. For a typical London house worth £700,000, this works out as a return on the original investment of 640 per cent. “A mezzanine also gives you a very attractive airy, open effect,” adds Duncan MacLeod, managing director of Harrington Grey.
The next best improvement, according to the report, is to demolish interior walls to create an open-plan space. The £2,500 cost of the work could hoist the value of a home by two per cent, giving a return of 520 per cent.
Loft extensions, basement digs and side return extensions each add the most value to a property: 20 per cent according to the study. But the higher cost of these improvements — £37,000 for a loft; £45,000 for upgrading an existing basement into a usable room, and £60,000 for a side return kitchen extension — means a lower return on investment.
FCOULD YOU DO THE SPLITS?
To insert a mezzanine level into an existing room you need a minimum ceiling height of 13ft-14ft. So, while brilliant in a barn conversion or a loft apartment, such a project isn’t always possible in a regular flat or house.
Sadie Snelson, director of Sadie Snelson Architects, created a dramatic and beautiful mezzanine level for a warehouse apartment in Clapton, east London.
The owner wanted extra floor space without losing the impact of the double-height living room, which had 16ft ceilings. The solution was to leave part of the space open but build a timber and plasterboard mezzanine supported on existing steel columns and by wires hooked to the ceiling above the kitchen.
The room is used as a living room and occasional guest room, because one shortcoming of mezzanines is that they are open. Perfect for a study or living room, less than ideal for a bedroom.
Snelson’s mezzanine is pure industrial chic, but the concept can work in historic homes, too. Hogarth Architects removed a false ceiling from a Grade II-listed flat in South Kensington, and inserted a timber mezzanine above the kitchen, which overlooks the now double-height living space.
PLATFORM FOR CHANGE
If you don’t have the benefit of towering ceilings, then a mezzanine bedroom, with a sleeping platform above and main room below, could still be an option.
Platforms are usually built from timber and/or metal and must be strong enough to bear the weight of a divan and a person or two. A balustrade will be needed to make this sleeping arrangement safe.
A sleeping platform, says MacLeod, requires a more modest ceiling height of about 10ft. “It is not going to add the same value as adding floor space, but if you need more space it is a really good way of finding it.”
A really low-cost alternative is IKEA’s white-stained StorÅ bed frame, priced £229. This 5ft-wide bed is raised 5ft 8in off the floor and has ladder steps, giving room for a sofa or desk below — an ideal space-saver for a studio flat or in a guest room.