The first time my boyfriend and me had decided to work on a new project in the house, I knew that this would be an expensive and time consume venture. He had proposed that it was high time we clean the loft (filled with old junk from his childhood) and convert it into a designated cinema room. This would come complete with 6:1 surround sound system, an HD digital projector and a custom-made screen. The challenge was not that we work on building it from scratch, but building it without any prior experience.
A word of warning before considering to work on your own house, if it is money you are trying to save and you do lack the skills needed then it is probably worth researching your facts before you actually go ahead and begin your work. One thing we found very difficult was getting to know our construction equipment from our electrical supplies. Where were we going to find cheap MDF wood and how were we going to plan this out?
We began by clearing out the loft - bearing in mind we began straight after work on a Friday night and finished clearing on a Sunday afternoon (just in time for our roast). I was quite taken aback by how much junk we had accumulated over the years in one small room. Like many lofts, there were old paper plates, clothing, suitcases, old documents even unusable electrical supplies (fuses, plugs, multi-metres, chewed on wires). It was a jungle of pure junk, which we had thankfully boxed up and sorted into useful antiques to disposable rubbish.
The next thing we did having cleared the whole loft was measure the room itself. It turned out that the loft was bigger than I had expected, and found that it would be ideal for a cinema room. We made a plan of what the layout of the loft would be. The best place we could think of for inspiration was to research other loft conversions online, reading up on forums and finding useful information on ordering supplies. In addition, we read up on what to begin with first and building techniques.
The advantage we had was that quite a few of our friends were in the building trade, so some of them were able to acquire some good quality MDF wood at a discount price. However, for those who do not have any contacts will know that some of the better known materials suppliers offer good price ranges and deliver at a reasonably low fee. Knowing what materials you need and the quantity, is a difficult decision to make. More often than none, you will over stock, but you can always sell of the remaining wood.
Just as we began sawing and drilling, we realised that we had not considered the cost of electrical supplies. This is the most important part of the building process. As it was a cinema room we were building, we needed to know how we were going to replace everything with a new wiring system. We took the step in reading up expert advice, looking up various techniques and even approaching people with experience. In the end the time you spend on researching will be extremely valuable for when actually start to get stuck in.
After six whole months of solid sawing, sanding, painting, gluing, moving the water tank, more sanding and even fitting in the plaster boards, fitting in the new velux window, laying down the carpets and making sure the lighting system as well as all the other electrical systems were completed the end product was astounding. The hard work we had put in day and night, taking our time researching and not rushing the process gave us that extra sense of satisfaction.