In today's city lives, with long office hours, being in closed cars in traffic and then in air conditioned closed rooms, a breeze of fresh air can be very relaxing and calming. Space crunch and sky high rentals are making balconies a thing of the past in cities across the country. Its pretty common for high rise apartments to provide really tiny balconies or none at all. Do you feel nostalgic about the earlier times when every house had a balcony? Do you wish you had a balcony to soak in some warm sun and fresh air right in the morning with a cup of hot coffee ? Here are a few simple steps to keep in mind.
The first step is to decide what kind of balconies are feasible in the current house and which one among those do you wish to get. If there is space to get a protruding balcony outside the room then it is a smart choice, since it will not take up the space from the room itself, or else if the room is big enough, taking the outer wall down and covering the required area with sliding glass doors will also create a good looking balcony for your house.
A balcony facing south or east or south-east will bring in good light. An east facing balcony will bring in the first morning light rays, the morning sun rays which are rich in vitamin D. At the same time, what the balcony is opening up to is also very important. A balcony facing a tall building will hardly bring any sunlight, a balcony over a busy street will only bring polluted air and noise. On the other hand, a balcony facing a garden will be refreshing, so it is always best to think what will be outside the balcony before you finalize the location and direction of it.
Many people are firm believers of Vastu which plays an important role in deciding the view and direction of each room. It's not a bad idea to consult or read up yourself to help you make a decision.
If the place is rented, after you have zeroed in on the type and location of the balcony, you need to take permission from the landlord, or the owner. Now this might require some counselling, requesting and some advance research on the cost involved. The owner might have other tenants discomfort in mind therefore it will be helpful and courteous too, if you could discuss this beforehand with the immediate neighbors. They too might have to face some discomfort due to noise and dust during the construction! Once the owner understands the advantages of a balcony, he/she should have no objections.
When the above steps are done, a permit needs to be applied for the demolition and construction. Usually it takes only a couple of weeks before the work can be started. The concerned authorities check the plan of the house to ensure the mandatory open space ratio is retained even after the renovation, and then provide a permit for construction.
Since construction of a balcony will not be done in a day, and for a few days when the work will be in process the room will have no walls, it makes sense to do it at a time when its neither extremely hot, nor when it is cold outside. Try doing it at a time, when the weather is optimally bearable. And since it will cause changes to the room the balcony is being added to, it needs to be planned before any other renovation/redecoration or insulation of the room, else it will be waste of time, money and effort to do it all over again. Think ahead!
Money matters, and therefore while planning the addition of a balcony, discuss in detail with the construction team all the costs involved. There are so many jobs to do, like cost of breaking the wall, cost of loading and throwing the broken wall, cost of smoothing the wall for door/glass fixing, cost of wall and floor tiles, cost of fixing the tiles, cost of the railing, cost of fixing the railing, electrical rework to name a few. These need to be decided on before starting the work, in order to avoid any last minute surprises.
Once you are through with the above 6 steps, the planning part is over. Then you can just wait and watch your little oasis being created. You will be amazed at how relaxing this little open space is. Complement the balcony with some plants and get closer to nature right at home. See this ideabook for more inspiration on decorating your balcony.