I absolutely love working on interior reconfigurarion projects. I truly enjoy exploring a homes full potential and I am not afraid to completely reimagine a layout! I embrace the challenge of working within the existing confines of a space, be it a room, or a whole home, and putting my creative hat on and questioning every detail of a rooms use and how it can be improved. As both a Chartered Architect and Interior Designer combined I have an eye that spans the two disciplines, and as such I really critique an existing set-up before proposing changes. I do the same with my clients briefs; listening closely to the desired outcomes, but not being afraid to challenge the idea that there might be another approach or solution. I have compiled a list of four of my favourite tips that I love to implement in my design work, which hopefully gives you some inspiration for your own home renovation.
My favourite multifunctional bathroom reconfiguration hack
When reconfiguring a bathroom layout, I’m always trying to find ways to make the space as multifunctional as possible, and a shower wall is often the perfect tool. By forming a nook out of the shower, this wall becomes a divider to break up the space, and can then be used as a feature wall to position a sink or two, or a bathtub, up against it. By forming this new stud wall (if appropriate circulation space allows) the options are endless for how practical this wall can be - waterfall taps can come out of it, or storage shelves can be integrated into it. Finally, by tiling the wall, this then creates a waterproof splash back - perfect for the shower on the other side, as unlike a glass shower screen, this doesn’t leave limescale marks if you are often too rushed in your routine to wipe or squeegee it down. Endeavouring to create a space-saving, low-maintenance yet high aesthetic appproach is a huge goal for me as a designer.
Working with existing character in the room
From chimneys to alcoves, I’m always thinking about how I can ‘work with quirks’ and enhance existing features. Often clients say that they hate a feature and want to see it removed - I will first challenge their motives behind this and try and spearhead salvage before demolition; especially if this a more cost effective route. Often, I am able to find a way to make a client fall in love with awkward spaces - by finding a new use or by bringing out a revived charm and appeal.
Often reconfiguration works present opportunities to create nooks and I am a huge believer in creating nooks wherever possible; and the aesthetic and spatial opportunities are endless which is probably why these fantastic spaces are just so popular. These über-functional spaces maximise practicality and are best positioned where the space would otherwise be redundant or difficult to do anything else worthwhile or meaningful with. I think some of the best nooks have storage integrated into the seating with shelving space for books. I love a good ‘book nook’; great for study/home office set-ups, and even ‘cook-book-nooks’ for kitchens. Fold out or up bench storage is often a winner with my clients (and works a charm integrated into bay or oriole window seating for dressing areas or cloak rooms, which then can further be used as laundry compartments to co-ordinate and tidy-away dirty laundry). It’s important to me to truly understand the way that my clients live, whether a busy family household or just a couple and their cat; the space needs to be functional for everyday living and every client has their individual preferences and needs. Nook concepts have so far been embraced by all of my clients to date, for their multifunctional and truly practical qualities.
Whether this is down to the fact that I am female, embrace my highly efficient half-German heritage, or just have a very organised personality type; I don’t know, but simply being an interior architect doesn’t always mean that you automatically qualify in the fine art of being able to instinctively know a storage opportunity. Some aspects of design just can’t be learnt in the 7 years minimum time that you spend training to become an architect; some parts have to be instinctual or learnt through the experience that is life (and on a personal level, also being a bit of a self-confessed hoarder, but with a desire to have an organised aesthetic helps). Years of needing to make the space in my own home for stockpiling products, or for bulk-buying and decanting into pretty display jars has provided me with some first-hand learnt pro-tips for storage ideas that I love to try and integrate through outside of the box thinking for my clients - who often love the little details that I sometimes surprise them with into my designs. It allows us all to think about how the home is used on a deeper level; going beyond a floor plan and really thinking- what’s inside that cupboard? How will that drawer be used? Do we switch the way we operate currently and try a new way of thinking through this fresh start? How do we use our home currently; what do we love and want to take forwards with us? Thinking about organisational home systems this way brings out the best in a floor plan and I like to allow my clients the time they need in between iterations to truly visualise the idea of life within this proposal; and to pick it apart and really make the most out of the design process. By proposing a book shelf here, or stating that that cupboard will be a bin cupboard there, circulation and storage intertwine to truly bring the imagination to life, and makes the feedback and collaboration between architect and client that extra bit more considered.
So here we have it; these are just four of my top design tips which are great for considering for home remodelling projects. Renovations provide great opportunities for really thinking about your existing home and your current way of living and how the two can become one in your dream home design. Depending on your budget, reconfiguration works are a great opportunity to start again and to adapt a space to be a reflection of you and your needs. The design process is a genuine joy for me, and I am delighted to be a part of so many projects, as both a mentor and collaborator, with each and every of my amazing clients. If you are looking for professional guidance for your project and for someone to truly understand you and your home, consider instructing a creative interior architect such as myself here at British Home Design.
Have a wonderful Easter,