Our friends Ardesia Design share some tips with us on their best practices when designing a home for a client. A member of the BIID, Ardesia is a London-based interior design company led by Swiss interior designer Laurence Rouveure. The studio focuses on turning properties into homes through professional interior design and refurbishment services across Central London and Internationally.
1. Design Inside and Outside
Most relevant to houses, lower ground floor flats and any build where the exterior is affected – always consider the interior’s relationship to the outside. It’s great to add large, modern windows that let in light and look great from the inside – but how does it affect the exterior appearance?
Walking around London is a great exercise in considering the exterior appearance as often period properties are ruined by the addition of too many mismatched skylights, different styles of window frames and a patchwork of different extensions, roof terraces, and other modifications. No wonder borough councils are so strict!
This is not the only reason for considering the outside – it’s important to consider factors such as orientation, sun direction and views from the windows when choosing the layout of the interior – it’s not always easy to add windows retrospectively so utilise those rooms with windows the best you can.
2. Consider Room Relationships
Some rooms have a natural relationship with each other in terms of circulation, and ignoring this can lead to an impractical design that doesn’t work. For example, it’s clear that bedrooms should have private entrances through a hallway (you’d be surprised how many times I have seen bedrooms that you have to enter through kitchens or even through other bedrooms).
Using hallways improves circulation and minimises the amount of space needed purely for traveling from room to room. When designing open plan, it’s useful to design a small lobby, hallway or even a corner of a room as an entrance into the house, as a ‘buffer’ before entering the main living space.
3. Work With the Space You Have
Often there is the urge from the client to over-design or crowd the space you are working with. Many clients we talk to in the Briefing stage want 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms both with showers and bathtubs, an open plan living room / kitchen with a separate family room, guest bedrooms and of course plenty of storage in every room (the list is endless) and only have 80sqm to work with.
Whist it’s usually possible to ‘fit everything in’, we often advise our clients to perhaps forget the guest bedroom in favour of a more comfortably sized second bedroom with more storage, or to partition living spaces to create more private spaces rather than decreasing bedrooms size in favour of a separate family room, for example. A house with many bedrooms is not as good as a house with comfortably sized, balanced living spaces.
4. Zone Open Plan Space
An open plan layout can be the most efficient way to utilise space. Daylight can travel through the entirety of the space without being obscured by partition walls.
Well designed open plan space should be ‘Zoned’ – each function within the open space, such as living room, dining room and kitchen, should be clearly organised as a separate entity. A sitting area could be arranged around a fireplace or television, a dining area might be defined by a long pendant light and different ceiling or floor height and so on. Each zone should speak to each other, so the dining space and kitchen space should be adjacent and the floor material and general interior scheme should be unified throughout.