SOLUTION 2: Two living areas
With this option, extend to create the kitchen/diner as in Solution 1 but in addition, take down the wall between the two reception rooms to create one large living space that is distinctly separate from the back room. “This is a good option for families who like to entertain in comfort – provide plenty of seating and you can adjourn to the sitting room after dinner, away from the workings of the kitchen.” says Emma Green of Emma Green Design.
Battersea, SW11: This house needed a ground floor kitchen extension as well as redecorating the reception rooms. Interior designer Emma explains, “We created a sumptuous feel here with a variety of textures and colours, so soft greys were enhanced with pops of colour in accessories, leather armchairs were piped with velvet and it became the perfect retreat from the kitchen, both for entertaining and as a quiet place to work or study with the addition of desk, shelves and storage.” The kitchen carried through the colour pops and warm tones while incorporating space for cooking and dining as well as a reading area for the children, storage for toys and a comfy seating area.”
Design features: A comfy banquette seat in washable lime green linen, recessed shelves at either side for books, flush drawers underneath for kids’ toys and touch-release full-height cupboards for more storage. The insides of the cupboards are also painted in blackboard paint for their children to get creative.
Kitchen style: Off-white units with curved edges by Schuller.
Distinctive materials: Different flooring for each zone was used: taupe large scale porcelain tiles in the kitchen; original Victorian tiles were kept in the hallway, while the original Victorian wood flooring in the reception rooms was refurbished and stained a soft grey/taupe to blend with the rest of the scheme and add warmth; linen and velvet upholstery; a feature wall in the dining area with vinyl wallpaper to add a sense of luxe while being wipeable and child-friendly.
“THINK VERY CAREFULLY ABOUT JUST HOW OPEN-PLAN YOU WANT YOUR SPACE ”
TOP DESIGN TIP…
Interior designer Thea Ingram, of Stanza ID, says, “Opening up a double reception room doesn’t have to mean one long space, often difficult to furnish with one half left unused. Use two large rugs to create two zones around which furniture can be positioned. Don’t be afraid of using furniture to partition the room – use a small sofa facing the window of the front sitting room and behind it a low bookcase that faces into the second space.”
SOLUTION 3: One open-plan living area
The most open-plan possible; one large room with cooking, dining and seating areas for the family to hang out together.
Viki Lander, Interior Designer and Creative Director at Ensoul Interior Architecture, says, “With this design you can keep an eye on the kids, have more family time, or be enjoying different things while all in the same room.”
Wandsworth Common, SW18: “We wanted bold but elegant use of colour and texture to really personalise our home,” says the owner. “With so much parkland surrounding us, we wanted to bring the outside in and blur the boundary between the two. The vibrant green chairs look amazing set against the grass, and the orange TV unit looks particularly stunning when autumn comes and the leaves on the trees start to turn.”
Ground floor extension to create an open-plan living space, with the garage converted into an office. The rear extension delivered additional floor space for a comfortably-sized sitting room that opens into the garden. Maximum glazing brought in as much light as possible and uninterrupted views of a 100ft long garden. “The space plan and interior design brief was to achieve a beautiful yet highly practical, open-plan space for a family with a young child,” says Viki Lander. “The best feature of the house is its location; we wanted to create views of the garden and parkland which you can see wherever you are on the ground floor. Different zones have been created for an office, kitchen, dining and sitting room, which are clearly defined with clever use of furniture, and the office has glass sliding doors which can be shut for privacy or left open to the rest of the floor. It’s brilliant for both normal day-to-day living and entertaining, with a fantastic flow between the spaces.”
Design features: Large glass roof light with glass supporting fins, frameless bi-fold doors, freshwater aquarium, glass-encased staircase down to a newly created under-garden basement, bespoke fitted office, gallery of photographs and decorative items to personalise the space, bespoke TV unit and 3m long ebony dining table in the kitchen island, beautiful lighting design and special light fittings.
Kitchen style: Sage gloss lacquer units with matching end panels, island with long deep drawers. Kitchen cabinetry by TM Italia, appliances by Miele.
Distinctive materials: Distressed oak floor that is “great for kids as marks just add to the distressed look!” says Viki. Caesarstone quartz worktops; bespoke ebony veneered desks, shelves, dining table and back panel behind TV, all sourced together to get a consistent colour and grain; bespoke gloss lacquer orange TV unit with storage; glass roof light and bi-fold doors.
SOLUTION 4: Incorporating the garden
Consider the garden as an extra room or an extension to the house. Connecting even the smallest of gardens into your interior will improve the quality of family life by offering another living space without too much effort or expense.
Adam Hargreaves, Director at dRAW Architecture, says, “Running the same flooring from the extension to the patio gives the illusion of it being one space, as does the use of colour, be it painted render to match internal walls, a continuation of brick or similarly-toned wood, or even accent colours in accessories.”
Wandsworth, SW18: The brief was “To completely refurbish this terraced property,” explains Adam Hargreaves. “Although the ground floor had already been extended, the rear part of the property was rebuilt and the internal spaces re-imagined for a versatile flow of areas that open up towards the garden.”
Design features: Kitchen island with sink and breakfast bar, slate flooring from seating area out to patio, wooden fencing running horizontally to match internal brick wall in orientation, colour and height, brick raised bed to match exposed wall indoors.
Kitchen style: Walnut veneer doors set with marble worktop and end panels, designed and supplied by Mark Plant Kitchen Design.
Distinctive materials: Exposed brick, wood flooring and units, marble worktops, slate flooring, metal windows and door frames.
SOLUTION 5: Digging down
Consider a basement conversion. If your local council – and your neighbours – are supportive, then you can add all the things you might not want on your ground floor, such as a utility, boiler cupboard, playroom, gym, shower room, cinema, wine cellar, or office.
Rosie Caley, Design Director at the Oxford & London Building Company, says, “Many clients enjoy creating a complementary modern architectural space underneath the typical period features of their Victorian house. The most popular facilities in basement conversions are gym rooms and saunas, while swimming pools are becoming increasingly popular.”
Wandsworth, SW18: A completely contemporary and stylish basement with a modern and sleek design that makes the most of the space. “The end result is a spectacular cutting-edge basement, flooded with light: inviting, bright and spacious,” says Rosie Caley. “This was a fantastic project as the brief allowed us to create a far more original space than the standard basement layout; the frameless glass really makes it stand out.”
The basement design was executed by OLBC’s team, from planning consent for the excavation and floor plans to finishing touches including wallpapers and a mother of pearl tile detail in the hallway. “Our clients required a full footprint basement under their house for additional accommodation for their growing family,” says Rosie. “Their basement comprises a large media room, playroom, utility with secondary kitchen, guest bedroom and separate shower room.”
Design features: Full-height frameless glass wall panels allow light to pass through the basement, and a stunning hallway gives the whole floorplan a strong sense of architectural purpose. The glass panels give a glimpse of rooms beyond, mother of pearl tile detail in hallway, textured wallpapers used on walls in media room and bedroom, walk-in heated and extracted airing cupboard in the utility.
Distinctive materials: Wooden flooring, textile wallpaper to match the linen sofa, glass door/wall.
BE NICE TO YOUR BUILDER!
Cowboy builder stories can make for riveting tales over a dinner table and the proliferation of renovation disaster TV shows may be compulsive viewing, but in reality the vast majority of building contractors are decent, diligent folk with a conscience. Builders have pride in their projects – don’t assume the industry is full of crooks and villains!
A home owner embarking on a major renovation project will need a decent dose of patience, especially if intending to live on site. There will be plenty of dust and noise. The schedule may not go entirely to plan. The client or the architect may change their mind along the way. Any omissions or blunders (although extremely rare) can always be rectified. It is a journey – usually exciting, always worthwhile.
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