Debbie Blott is the founder of The Decorcafe.
t: 07796 952116
London living can become a challenge when you have a young family and the organised home that you had as a couple is covered with toys and the debris of family life. Interior design starts to merge with therapy as couples seek help to bring calm back into their lives!
This was the case when Tracey Saunders was “won” at a school fund-raising auction by a couple living in Barnes. They had a busy home with three lively boys, toys everywhere and no adult space and were seriously considering the possibility of moving to a larger house. There didn’t seem to be space for extra storage which meant that it was hard to put anything away and there were too few bedrooms so that the boys were keeping each other awake at night.
The problem is that the cost of moving takes a significant slice out of the capital available to find a larger a place and you often end up having to move a long way out. Looking around Tracey realised that there was an option to redesign the existing property, investing the cost of moving into making more space, so that the family could stay in Barnes and add to the value of their house.
The house was built in an L-shape, which meant it was possible to fill in the gap at the back, doubling the width of the kitchen within permitted development, meaning that planning permission wasn’t required. The new, much bigger, kitchen allowed for plenty of storage and a larger area for all of the boys to play within sight.
The sliding doors onto the garden made it easy to open up the space further. Artificial grass was installed so that the boys could enjoy the benefits of an easily accessible football pitch which also looked attractive, was easy to maintain and didn’t bring mud into the house when they ran inside.
Having such a large and lovely family room leading out onto the garden, freed up the front room to become a quieter more adult space for relaxing and entertaining. Bespoke bookshelves were built around the new wood-burning stove and TV, creating a tidy, warm and welcoming area to unwind at the end of the day.
The house had already had a loft extension added and so there wasn’t an opportunity to create any more space, but, it was possible to reconfigure the rooms to add a much needed extra bedroom so that the boys had a room each and would find it easier to get to sleep.
The existing scheme had two bedrooms and an office on the first floor and the master bedroom in the loft. There was also a cupboard in the loft that was under-utilised and it was this that made all the difference.
Tracey arranged for the cupboard to be redecorated and converted into an office space, so that it is possible to work from home without being disturbed and can also be shut away, dividing home and work completely. The old office was then converted into the third bedroom for the boys, meaning that they only needed to share when guests came to stay.
Every inch of the space was designed for maximum storage, with bespoke wardrobes throughout, including new “his and hers” wardrobes in the master bedroom and low level cupboards for the children so that they could become independent with their own possessions.
Once the space had been sorted, the house was decorated to suit the property and the family’s own individual style. The entrance hallway combined the best of period detailing with contemporary living with new patterned tiles, and elegant stair runner and carefully considered lighting.