Amanda Cotton - House Lust Blogger

In September 2017 we started our biggest renovation to date; The loft conversion. Prior to the work starting we had thought long and hard whether this was what was best for us vs moving to a bigger house.

Our house was a comfortable two bed, one-bathroom mid terrace house, full of character and charm being built in the Victorian era. But we knew we ideally needed more bedroom space to be able to house my ever-growing clothing collection – I’m a fashion designer, and a spare bedroom for family to come stay/ work from home in.

Our loft extension, completed in February 2018.

Our loft extension, completed in February 2018.

We were on the cusp of starting a family (Our IVF was booked in for July 2017) and we were optimistic it was going to be successful, and that in a matter of months we could be a family of three.

Luckily everything went to plan and by the time the building work started in the September of 2017 I was two months pregnant with Otis.

Victorian Terrace loft extension

When making the decision on whether a build was better than moving, it came down to a few factors.

Firstly, we love where we live. We love our neighbourhood, the quaint Victorian street, our lovely neighbours and we love how close we are to the town centre and to Watford Junction, which is where my husband works, and I need to commute from so we didn’t want to move far.

The second was the financial side. We looked into how much it would cost to move vs stay and extend and the costs weren’t dissimilar.

To move to a 4-bedroom house close by we would have to Spend £20k+ on the stamp duty plus the additional costs of a much bigger mortgage as house prices in Watford vary for a 4-bed property from £500k-£1m depending on area. 

Plus, throw in solicitors fees, moving costs and we’re looking at an additional £30k+ and the stress of moving and trying to sell our house whilst trying to get pregnant.

Alternatively, if we stayed where we are and renovated, we could spend £40k-£60k on the build, add value to our house, and have less stress and still get to stay in a house we already love. So, it seemed like a no brainer.

Let’s not get carried away though, a build of any kind is still very stressful, and we decided to live through ours to save costs which was fine whilst it was only the two of us, but  I’m not sure I’d have the same outlook if Otis had already been born.

The beautiful victorian terraced houses down my street.

The beautiful victorian terraced houses down my street.

Watford high-street.

Watford high-street.

Once the decision was made, drawings were commissioned and submitted to the council, and the loft renovation started in the September 2017.

It took a long dirty 6 months until it was completed, the builders had fully disappeared, and we were left with a beautiful third floor – adding a large master bedroom, an en-suite bathroom and a fully equipped dressing room to keep me happy.

This left our remaining two bedrooms and family bathroom downstairs on the first floor completely untouched for Otis to have a large nursery/playroom and a spare bedroom for Granny to come stay when we needed help.

Beautiful victorian Terrace Houses down my street.

Beautiful victorian Terrace Houses down my street.

So how we financed the work. Because I’ll be honest, we didn’t have a spare £60k sitting around in a bank account if I’m honest.

We did however have £20k from inheritance and it felt right that this was invested into our home, so we just needed to finance the other £40k.

We did lots of research on loans vs Mortgages and we ended up using an online mortgage broker site called Habito which meant if we re mortgaged we could borrow from the equity which our house had already made.


In plain terms this meant that as we bought the house for £222,000 eight years ago, and at the time of re mortgaging in June 2017 the house was valued at £340,000 we could easily borrow £40K more which only put our mortgage re payments up by an extra £100 a month.


But what is Habito you ask?! Habito is a free online mortgage broker making mortgages easier - It’s uses technology to search the whole market - 20,000 products from 90,000 lenders - to match you with the best mortgage for your needs in seconds.  It’s online mortgage brokers then give you qualified advice, with no jargon and handle everything with your chosen lender.  This means you can get mortgage advice on your mobile, from the comfort of your own sofa on a Sunday morning (it’s mortgages experts are online ‘til 9pm Mon-Thurs and from 9-9pm Saturday and Sunday). - It helps first time buyers navigate the confusing world of buying a first home and it helps mortgagers save thousands a year!


As the stats prove that 58% of all UK homeowners could save £3,000 every year by switching their mortgage!


Now the works done, I can honestly say that staying put was the best thing for us and our family.

And a huge positive that has also come out of this is that our house has been recently valued at £560k which is an incredible £278k extra equity once you deduct the cost of the building work.

So, if you love where you live, why live anywhere else if you can just better your current home?


Habito are running a competition to celebrate their 3rd birthday over on their Instagram page for you & a friend to each win £300 to put towards your mortgage or home improvements. Head over to their page @Habitoloveshomes to find out more. The competition ends on the 5th August 2019.

This post is sponsored by Habito. All views and opinions are 100% my own.


It’s week 40 of my pregnancy, and while we await the arrival of our little guy I thought it was about time I showed you around our loft bathroom and the inspiration behind the room. plus, I can't sleep as the little guy is on my bladder so my blog is my saviour right now. (When people tell you to get loads of sleep before the baby arrives I'm unsure if they remember the final few weeks of pregnancy as sleep is non-existent. But I'm digressing.. 

It’s been three months since the builders left and even though someone recently quipped that ‘Builders pain lasts longer than child birth’, I’m praying that there’s some truth in that statement.

When the project was in full swing, I was lucky to get away for a couple of weeks on a work trip in Seoul, South Korea where I came across the shop ‘Style Nanda’… AKA Style Manda due to my love of everything about this store for its mock laundrette, to its LA style pool café and hotel reception, payment desks.

I was particularly inspired by their use of blush pink walls, dark wood work and marble tiles on one of the levels of the store which I ended up sending back to my husband which the caption ‘let’s go pink’ and the rest is history. I also loved the bath full of flowers but thats inspiration for another time..

Bathroom sink unit HACK... 

When researching bathroom sink units I became obsessed with marble/ stone top ones - check out Porter bathrooms for luxury inspiration, but I couldn't find anything under £2,000. I then found one from Bathstore which needed tweaking to be more inline with what I was after. Here's how I achieved the look... 

1. The bathroom sink unit was purchased from Bathstore. It didn't come with a stone top, so I had piece of granite cut to fit which cost approx £60 from a local stone company,  and then I asked the builder to fit it on top with the sink.

2. I  painted the bathroom cupboard in Farrow and Ball off black as I didn't like the charcoal colour. I had to prime it first and then it needed two coats of the estate eggshell. 

3. I changed the handles to be brass ones from Dowsing and Reynolds as I didn't like the silver ones. 

4. I added a brass towel rail which I picked up in New York on a work trip last year and asked if the builder could fit it to the side. 

And encase you wanted to know where anything else is from, I’ve attached all the details below.

The Inspiration... 

Style Nanda, Seoul - South Korea
Style Nanda - Nanda Laundry. Inspirational store in Seoul, South Korea.
Style Nanda, Seoul.
Style Nanda, inspirational store in Seoul, South Korea.
The LA style pool side cafe at Style Nanda, inspirational store in Seoul, South Korea.
Style Nanda, inspirational store in Seoul, South Korea.
Style Nanda, inspirational store in Seoul, South Korea.

The loft bathroom...

Stone top bathroom unit
Farrow and ball pink ground and railings marble  bathroom
Carrera marble tileS,  Acme shower from Aston Matthews and Black metal shower frame from Drench
Farrow and ball pink ground bathroom with black radiator
Farrow and ball pink ground bathroom, aston matthews taps and loaf mirror
Farrow and ball pink ground bathroom and RAK toilet.
Terma black heated towel radiator

During the build...

Loft conversion bathroom

1. Shower Tray 1200 x 900 £188, Bathroom Village

2. Black metal shower screens £1,862.45 for 2 screens , Drench

3. Acme 200mm round shower rose and 358mm shower arm scuffed brass £360, Aston Matthews 

4. Acme 3/4" concealed thermostatic shower valve scuffed brass £707, Aston Matthews

5. Carrera Marble tiles approx £150 per square meter, Decor Tiles

6. Acme 3-hole wall mounted basin mixer 190mm spout scuffed brass, £336, Aston Matthews

7. Geo bath towel £10 , Sainsbury's (now sold out, but other versions are available)

8. Avant-Garde large Knurled Knob £13.99 Dowsing and Reynolds

9. Savoy Gun Metal Grey single door unit (no top) £330, Bathstore

10. Terma Simple meteor black heated towel rail 1440 x 500 £279, Victoria Plumb

11. Stone Pendant £205, Tom Dixon

12. Real Deal brass trimmed 61cm £175, Loaf

13. Tavira 45cm Diameter Circular Countertop Ceramic Basin £49, Click Basin

14. Estate eggshell paint (for the woodwork) colour: Railings from £25, Farrow and Ball

15. Estate Emulsion paint for walls, Colour Pink Ground from £45, Farrow and ball

16. Etch tea light holder brass £40, Tom Dixon

17. Concrete toilet brush £12 (sold out but similar available), Sainsbury's