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  • Writer's pictureJulie Bliss

Turning under-utilised space into an annexe with earning potential

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

A few years ago, during the first, long COVID lockdown, I needed to accommodate one of my grown-up daughters for a while (a common scenario for many parents of 20-somethings at the time!).

I decided that my then ground floor bedroom with study area and utility/bathroom would actually make a fabulous little annexe, which could be completely independent when required and very rentable once we all returned to normality.

This became my lockdown project, along with turning my wilderness garden into a highly functional, practical and easy maintenance cottage garden.

With some practical thinking, the removal of some partitioning, creation of direct access to the garden, a lot of insulation (see my blog post about insulating annexes, garage conversions and outbuildings!), bathroom refurb and flooring, I transformed this rather uninspiring collection of smaller spaces into a lovely open studio space, perfect for a single person or couple, and highly rentable for AirBNB or longer lets.

This totally self-contained space (although it still retains a lockable door to the main house) has excellent storage, fully functioning kitchenette, lovely bathroom with washing machine and its own little terrace outside looking out to the orchard - a great sunbathing spot if the sun ever decides to reappear for any length of time!

Tips and considerations

  • Consider insulation - a BIG consideration if you're converting any lean-to, outbuilding, garage etc - see my blog on this subject.

  • Consider heating - see above. Insulation is key first and foremost to make sure that any heating you then put in isn't completely wasted... Use heating that can be isolated from the rest of the house when the annexe isn't in use, or radiators etc that can be turned off or down low.

  • Plumbing & Electricity - you will most likely need to upgrade your plumbing and separate out this area on a different circuit(s) in order to be able to incorporate a kitchenette and additional load. Make sure you use a certified plumber and electrician and that any works comply with building regs.

  • Try to keep finishes as simple as possible to help minimise clutter and allow more space for tenants to add their own touches.

  • Try somthing different: For the kitchen splashback, I applied several layers of deep pink high gloss paint, allowing a good focal point for the room, whilst being super practical and relatively cheap to 'supply and fit’! I think it beats the glass splashbacks hands down. It's been in use for nearly three years and is still as good as new.

Overall, the annexe has been a great success for both short and longer term lets. I love it and so do my guests. What do you think?

If you have a space you think could be transformed to give you some earning potential, let me know.

NB: Please consider planning requirements for any annexe - read my blog post.

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