Property tip – Creating recessed and lit shelving into the eaves

Lit shelving recessed into hidden roof space to create extra storage

It’s the silly season in Manchester for me and my mentals rentals, nope I was definitely right the first time, mentals right now. The sun always makes people want to move so I’ve had 4 lots out already with the newbies in and another 4 out and 4 in over the next two weeks. How landlords cope with mentals far far away from their bases is beyond me, all that travelling to sort the properties out would drive me mad. In fact, no it’s not beyond me, it’s emminently understandable, ’cause they don’t do what I do which is make them look brand spanking new every time they are re-let *tuts as realises it’s my own fault…*

One of the top floor flats is quite compact and had absolutely no storage. If I were refurb’ing it now I’d completely change it round and stick a dormer on to create a one bed flat instead of a studio, but it’s already done up and it doesn’t make financial sense to rip it all out again only 5 years after it was done the first time. You live and learn eh? However there was something I could do when the latest tenant moved out as the carpet was to come up anyway…..

You can see the studio bed area below, with the living area effectively where the camera is positioned. As it’s on the top floor in the roof space, the space behind the bed / heater wall is the eaves of the roof, and the low ceiling / wall joint is a result of the roof purlin which runs the length of the flat.

The studio flat before the recessed shelving was created

All the furniture had to be taken out to replace the carpet so I figured why not have a little look and see if I could create some recessed shelving in the wall behind the bed….. but as usual one little idea turned into something messy and the hole kinda got larger! The thing was, once we made a small hole, I saw that there were pigeons in the eaves space, so I’d to get in, clear them out and fix chicken wire over the eaves to maintain ventilation but keep the birds out. Then I noticed there was no insulation either so that needed doing…. then I decided I wanted recessed shelving in the living area as well as the bed area below, so we’d to use the bed area as access! You can now see the huge chunk of horizontal timber – the purlin – which dictates the height of both the ceiling and the new shelving.

Be a bit drafty sleeping here I reckon...

I got a bit mucky, who says a property landlady has it easy?! No lifting for me but I can still get down and dirty when the need arises, laying loft insulation and cleaning the gaps between the ceiling joists first 😉

I wanted to be a Lady Who Lunches, but something went wrong.

The image below is the timber box which was then built behind the hole above, so you can see how the recessed shelving is supported. There is no great weight, so it’s built off the ceiling joists which are already there, and then plasterboarded from the room side.

View from the eaves of shelving construction

Below is the view of the shelving just before it was skimmed. At this point some inexpensive halogen lights were added as it was easy to get access from the eaves side. Switches were put inside the recessed areas for easy access, especially with regard to the bed area.  As a laminate floor was being laid, we also added extra insulation to the sub-floor for sound-proofing below.

All done! It was a mad rush to get all the flat painted and cleaned pre-3pm yesterday as we’d also put new skirting in throughout which needed priming, filling and painting, but we made it with minutes to spare and the new tenant loved it.

Not a brilliant photo but I'd 15 mins to get one before the tenant turned up!

No rest for the wicked though, after a snatched 30 mins of Murray, it was then on the the next one til 9pm on a Friday night. What did I DO in a previous life??!!

One thought on “Property tip – Creating recessed and lit shelving into the eaves

  1. Thanks for the update – very interesting reading about the property market in the UK. Here in Israel the situation is pretty crazy…prices have rocketed about 25% over the past year for various reason, and they are still climbing…

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