THE BRIEF: KNOCK THROUGH AND EXTEND
THE KITCHEN AND EXTENSION
This room really is the heartbeat of our home and delivers exactly what we intended it to. And more. Fabulous for parties where everyone really is, found in the kitchen, propping up our island (on wheels so it can be moved about and we won’t ever have to leave it behind if we decide to move on) and perfect for the children and their toys too. We have a cork board and blackboard area (just painted the wall with blackboard paint) in the kitchen which has quite literally, kept us sane. Especially since our son started school, the admin!
We were keen to have an open living/ kitchen area so we knocked through and extended, all within permitted development (no planning permission required apart from notes to neighbours). We adore music, so have wired Sonos speakers throughout the house too. My husband says they ‘talk to each other’. I’m yet to be convinced, but they’re brilliant.
Whist this work was being done, we moved back into our old house and lived with my mum for a bit. It was the best decision we made. We had a 1 week old baby and a 2 year old. The idea of living on-sight amongst such chaos was something we were desperate to avoid. Our mental health had to come first and although many people are able to put up with it, we knew we wouldn’t be able to.
ADULT SITTING ROOM
The job in here was just cosmetics; from light to dark, with pops of colour to create a warm, and relaxing space which the children would be welcome in (occasionally and only when clean!) but would then double up as an adult space in the evening for bottles of wines and coffee table books. I always adore the incredibly smart and sophisticated look of two matching armchairs, a library wall and little else, but for now, the largest sofas the room could adopt, teamed with my great-grandpa’s arm chair was what we wished for.
We recently installed this glorious wood burner directly onto the external wall and it’s heavenly. We do have the original fireplace, but had to have the chimney breast removed from the loft when we had it converted (more on that room later) and inserting a burner into the existing fireplace (on an internal wall) was not an option, due to fire regs.
Our most recent project, along with our loft conversion was to knock the wall down between the existing family room and the small bedroom. Our vision was luxe, spa-like feels and again, a space to suit us all. The copper bath idea which I’d had on my lust-list for years was about to get erased and we opted for this massive, half-boiled-egg-like stone bath instead. Excellent for tiny ones to slide down, and even better for us to stretch out in with a glass of red. I kid you not, the whole family can fit in here, It’s bloody brilliant! We had a stud wall built with LED-lit recesses, to enclose a walk in shower which feels incredibly luxurious and it’s great for storage too. An import element of bathroom design.
My other top tip for bathroom design has to be the lighting. Layer it up; ceiling, floor, wall and stick certain lights on different circuits to make it function to requirements.
I wanted the children to have an input into the design of their rooms, or at least, make them feel as though it was like that. I’m not into ‘themes’
and I wanted the rooms to be future-proof (no babyish paint colours). I presented 3 different Wild Hearts Wonder papers to my son, a huge fan of wild cats and animals, so as soon as I saw the print, I knew he’d adore it, he just had to pick his favourite colour. Apologies the wall-mounted animal heads have not quite found their resting place yet, for now, they’re happy here.
And for my daughter, a similar process, although at only 2, I may have encouraged her to point to this one in particular.
Finally ending at the top of the house, our recent loft conversion was quite frankly, something of a back-of-a-fag-packet design which our brilliant builder Matt Williamson from Pink Hippo Property Services, my husband and I produced as a team. It was always going to be an organic process; a rather typical design process for my own home as I have so little time to concentrate on it.
The space up here for us is magic. A room for us to reconnect and de-stress in. No television, just the very fabulous view of roof tops and Worcester Cathedral which at night, is lit so beautifully. The two huge windows gives an illusion of a glass roof. Go as big as you can afford to on roof windows.
Traditional into modern. As the stairs don't continue on from one another, I felt we could go for ore of a modern look, leading to the loft. Purely of light the glass creates.