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Are you adding an extension to your home or have you just moved into a new place and feel that it needs entirely reconfiguring? It’s time for a remodelling project!
This is one of my favourite parts of my job – making space work – I can spend hours just staring, and imagining different scenarios; how rooms could and should be used, where I’d appreciate light, where storage is necessary, and how to control noise, smells, congestion and draughts.
Sadly, there’s no model to follow as all houses are different, as are their users. I say ‘sadly’ but in truth, I find this ‘puzzle’ incredibly satisfying to solve. Let’s see if I can help you but by all means, get in touch with your specific plans and we can talk through any frustrations you may be facing in trying to ‘squeeze everything in’.
It’s really important that visitors know how to enter your house (or any building in fact). It’s very disorienting for a new visitor to not know which door to use. Make this clear with the use of paths, garden layout and for nighttime, lights.
Ideally, you’re not walking straight into a room but have a space to offload coats and boots before entering the living space. Make sure this hall, porch or corridor has some storage – for clothing but also post and keys and is lit to ‘welcome’. Also, ensure it has a clear route to the room you’re likely to be entertaining in – most often the kitchen, rather than walking guests through a living space.
In this house, the original cottage had already been extended and the two up/two down design was now compromised by having to walk people through one of those rooms to get to the back where the large extension lay. We decided to turn it into a hall room and guide guests under the stairs to the kitchen and avoid the living room. It may not have been what we’d design in the first place, but without moving the staircase, it makes sense and is a fun ‘journey’.
Our Pro Tip – Consider how best to use the space under the stairs – more storage or an eye-catching space for a lit sculpture?
Positioning your stairs is a vital decision in home remodelling as it dictates how both floors are oriented. Frequently I see stairs centrally placed with double-height areas, allowing for magnificent chandeliers. Glorious… except the upstairs then has huge amounts of wasted space for gallery landings and they are very difficult to reconfigure.
Our Pro Tip – Keep transitional spaces (porches/hall/landings/stairwells) efficient, not too big, not too narrow, lit, ideally with some source of natural light, and using materials that are robust to cater for dirty dogs and unwieldy suitcases.
We’ve written a fabulous blog on remodelling your kitchen and ways to get this important room right, please read the blog here.
The Kitchen is where we spend an inordinate amount of our home time, so getting it right is key. An additional thought – consider putting the utility room upstairs which will stop you having to schlepp clothes downstairs to wash and dry them, only to have to return them to the drawers and wardrobes upstairs. This works unless you hang your washing out in the garden, in which case you get fab eco credits!
Let’s start with looking at how many bathrooms your home needs. Ensuites are a real luxury and lots of developers will now automatically put in a bathroom with each bedroom. I’m keen to explore whether that is strictly necessary.
How many bathrooms are strictly necessary? Do you want the ultimate luxury of all guests having their own bathroom? Do you still need an additional family bathroom too? Is one bathroom upstairs and a showeroom downstairs sufficient? Weigh up your lifestyle alongside cleaning requirements, plumbing likelihoods and eco concerns.
As I said, there’s not a set pattern to follow when embarking on a home remodelling project (unless you buy one of those standardised plans). So it’s best to talk it through with someone who will ask you lots of questions about how you live and how to make the most of your space.
While our normal region for work is Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire in the UK, we are able to help with layout work far wider and have worked as far as Japan via Skype. So if you’re in need of a friendly but professional opinion please get in touch. Need inspiration on home remodelling? Check out our portfolio here.
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