Refurbishment of private residence
SUSTAINABLE INTERIOR DESIGN & PROJECT COORDINATION
Mr & Mrs Wonderful
The clients approached us specifically because they wanted a sustainable home that was very environmentally friendly and supported their wellbeing. They were still living abroad so we acted as their representatives for issues that could not be undertaken remotely or were easier to engage with locally.
The flat is to be eventually their retirement home so the design and its quality was looking at a long life cycle and a design approach that catered for possible physical future needs around mobility and sight.
The clients were experienced in the usual journey of refurbishing a flat but relatively new for emotional wellbeing design aspects. We developed the brief together, defined the project’s scope and took it all the way to key handover and on-going support in early occupation. Our services included all the specifications, team and trade sourcing, budgeting and payments on their behalf and all approval processes.
“We love it.” Mrs Wonderful said when she first visited upon completion.
The objectives in the project brief and Design Look & Feel included:
- Authentic look reflecting Mr & Mrs Wonderful personalities and lifestyle
- Retain the parquet flooring
- Like stone and dark woods
- Natural materials
- Clever re-use
- Open space and freedom
- Deep textures and broad strokes
- Well-made items
- Beautiful art and crafts
- Design to be able to accommodate the integration of existing furniture
- Versatile layouts to support relaxing and working, entertaining and workouts
We undertook all the briefings and design development remotely as the clients still lived and worked abroad. We provided local knowledge on the whole design and supply sourcing, managed all payments and appointments on their behalf and coordinated the project’s delivery.
During the briefing stage we created User Profiles for the clients and other typical visitors to ensure the design was created to harmonize with their needs and comforts, allowing them to experience wellbeing while living in their home.
To do this we defined the project’s Design Characteristics levels as follows:
Elegance: 7 – Design detailing and selections to reflect well thought through objects and connections which produce a feel of elegance, where care has been given and not neglected. The value of 7 allows space for authenticity and tolerance.
Balance: 10 – A high value of 10 in balance reflects the amount of stability reflected in the environment. The more balance there is the quieter the interiors can seem and the more trust they can instill.
Symmetry: 5 – Balance can be achieved through a combination of deep or vivid colours on one side and deep textures on the other. The setting of symmetry at mid-point allows for the variation of the authentic items and elements of vivacity.
Biophilia: 8 – High levels of a biophilic approach mean high use of natural materials, patterns from nature, natural colour combinations, use of daylight and interior’s air quality approach. It is not set at 10 as clients do not wish to have to care for plants, green walls and wish for a/c provision.
Harmony: 7 – Harmony between the design elements themselves and design features. Mid-high levels of harmony are allowing for some variations in style for example to allow the variety of art paintings but setting some harmonization between the design elements to create less noise and more quietness.
Stimulation: 2 – Stimulation is set at low levels as clients wished for a more relaxing environment overall and allow the art to introduce vivacity and energy.
The flat overall was re-planned to make more of the generous circulation space and create a more open and spacious feel in the living spaces. We also created a 2nd bathroom and re-opened the balcony as an external space. The space volumes, proportions and eyeline were carefully designed to create a sense of spaciousness, support relaxation and enhance both connectivity and separation.
All products and materials were highly environmentally friendly and also healthy for installers and occupants. The health of the people manufacturing materials, of the builders and sub-contractors on the site are all vital to safeguard for a sustainable project.
Of particular note about this project’s build and specifications are:
- The use of timber framed partitions and use of Fermacell wallboards as an environmentally friendly and durable wallboard.
- Retained and refurbished the existing timber floor parquet.
- 100% recycled glass worktops AND recyclable without adhesives and with a full EPD.
- Water efficient cisterns, taps and shower heads.
- All timber used was FSC certified.
- All paints, adhesives, seals were water based or very low VOC (excluding the parquet adhesive due to existing bitumen under the parquet pieces).
- Small basin models were selected for water efficiency.
- All door handles, pull knobs and locks were reused from the existing doors.
- Over half of the electrical sockets were reused from existing or other project re-use (known sports brand retail store stripout).
- Bathrooms have an 8mm backing to the clay topcoat to create a self-regulating moisture surface and improve air quality.
- All brassware in the bathrooms and fittings were selected for a long-life cycle, warmth to touch and a smooth operating experience.
- Doorways through the flat and master bedroom are generous to allow assisted mobility.
- Light switches and plug sockets are located for ease in possible future assisted mobility needs.
- Lighting designed to reflect all tasks and personal controlability in spaces.
- All lighting is LED and lamps in wall uplighters and pendants are Philips Hue dimmable and adjustable hue lamps.
- Handmade wall tiles for the bathroom vanities supporting small-scale artisans.
- Picture framing to allow constant relocation and positioning and reducing on-going need to redecorate and provide clients maximum tailoring of artwork.
Emotional wellbeing was supported through various design approaches and features; this included the selection of an adjustable artwork hanging system to allow the clients to tailor the works as they feel over time and do so as frequently as they need, spatial heights were enhanced through the high level coving that allows the eye to travel over the wall and ceiling junction plus the light strip washing up. The planning of the spaces and the openings between them allows the eye to carry through spaces and always travel on, plus care for the viewpoints themselves from each room to others. Creating openings that run across the kitchen and living and dining spaces enhance the sense of space plus great natural lighting and ventilation. The spaces all support large family and friend gatherings that bring lots of joyful and loving experiences.
On site delivery issues
We chose a local builder that wished to support our sustainable approach, but he went out of business half way through the delivery when the Covid 19 situation halted many projects. We had to respond to this situation and find a solution to get teams back onto site once the government gave the all-clear for works to start again. Although sourcing items became a big challenge, as did the timings and team coordination we pushed through to ensure the clients would be able to complete the project as soon as was feasible and without compromising the end result. Many suppliers and sub-contractors pulled through fantastically and showed high levels of service and a team approach.
Project Team & Notable Supplier Details
- Structural Engineer: Barnard Associates
- Approved Inspector: Wilkinson Associates
- Furniture supplier: Client’s own
- Photography Agnese Sanvito
- Kitchen supplied by John Lewis of Hungerford
- Kitchen fittings: sink by Franke and electric goods by Miele
- New balcony window and door system by Velfac
- Misting system by Blue Light Safety
- Window blinds by John Lewis Partnership
- Electric heaters, towel radiator and underfloor heating by Rointe
- Electric fire with misting by Dimplex
- Pocket doors by Eclisse
- Ceiling fans by The Ceiling Fan Company
Wall & Floors
- Clay applicator: Guy Valentine
- Clay supplier: Clayworks
- Wall boards: Fermacell
- Wall insulation by Thermafleece
- Picture rail by STAS
- Wall and floor tiles by Mosa, Baked Earth, London Encaustic and ceramist Hannah Livesey at Floors of Stone
- Feature wall paint by Earthborn and Dulux Emulsion on ceilings and recesses
- Pebble shower finish by Island Stone
- Repair and refinishing of parquet floor by RVH Flooring
- Tile trims by Schluter
- Cork tiles and sheet for wall and floor covering by SPD UK
- Sanitary wholeseller: MP Moran, Wembley branch
- Sanitary suppliers: Roca, Kaldewei & Merlin shower screens
- Brassware: Hansgrohe Axor & Citterio E
- Vanity worktops: Magna glass distributed in the UK by Low Impact Ltd
- Vanity fabricator Ethical Stone Company
- Fans by Vent Axia
- Floor and wall tanking by Wedi
- Wall lights by Atelier Sedap distributed in the UK by Optima
- Ceiling and bathroom mirror lights by Philips Hue smart light fittings and smart lamps
- LED light strips in living space covings, kitchen and bathroom areas by Collingwood through CEF
- External wall light by FLOS
- Picture Lights by National Lighting
- Effective investment thinking with longer than normal life-cycle ROI in the selection and specification of materials and their design detailing.
- Supporting local trades and suppliers.
- Purchasing good and healthy materials that support emotional value.
- Durability of heavy use items such as bathroom and kitchen fittings.
- Built-in value from acoustic and thermal comfort.
- Built-in occupant health support through not removing it via unhealthy or stressful design decisions.
- Up-skilled in sustainability the supply chain and numerous sub-contractors through on-site support and workshops.
- Responsible sourcing through selected suppliers and their supply chains.
- The design is fully supporting physical, mental and emotional health of the clients and visitors.
- Air quality health was highly targeted.
- Emotional support features were developed to harmonise with the clients’ natures and lifestyles.
- Cognitive support and activities were integrated into the planning and positioning of rooms and their details.
- The design supports family and friend’s comfort during visits.
- Neighbour engagement was maintained throughout the works to remove and minimize impacts from site noise and activities.
- New smart meters installed, and Mrs Wonderful procured a renewable energy supplier.
- Efficient energy heating products, cooling space design with a push towards passive air flows and thermal comfort.
- Water efficiency through reduced flow and need – for example using smaller basins to fill.
- Long life-cycle materials and majority of design considered disassembly for the end-of-life stage.
- Used many natural and low-carbon materials such as natural fleece insulation, timber framed walls, high U-value balcony window and door system, clay-based wall finishes and cork among a few.
- High use of natural, recycled and renewable materials with high recyclability and re-use ability.
We love it