Our clients in Bedfordshire asked us to look at their modest 3 bedroom bungalow to see if it would benefit from remodelling. Although the bungalow had been previously extended a few times to give more space and to create a beautiful kitchen; they felt the layout still had outstanding issues that needed resolving.
Its main entrance was tucked away up a long path bounded on one side by the bedroom wing. This was awkward and far from an impressive visual introduction to the house. The lounge worked well as a cosy snug, but as a main lounge it was too small. Externally, the house did not connect with the garden and the garden itself being adjacent to a busy road, suffered from noise and a lack of privacy.
The key innovation we brought to the problem was switching the lounge to the bedroom wing and the bedrooms to where the lounge had been. Our plan recreated the bedrooms as a two storey wing to ensure no bedroom capacity was lost.
Bringing the lounge to the front of the site meant that a beautiful and spacious entrance lobby adjacent to the car spaces could be added. Remodelling the layout meant that it worked as a house should in terms of approach and connectivity with the garden and the interconnection of the rooms. The garage was moved and rebuild to act as a screen between the garden and the road. This created a private and beautiful lawn space that the lounge and bedrooms could overlook.
It must be noted that during the construction phase the builder and the client also had their own moments of inspiration. This not only enhanced our general concept but helped create a house and home that is a delight to live in.
The ’work triangle’ is something that clients can often come across when thinking of designing their new kitchen. It seeks to describe the perfect relationship between the sink, cooker, and refrigerator. It has always been said that this triangle should be quite compact to allow the cook to access all crucial parts of the kitchen without the need to walk far when preparing meals. Even though the basic idea still applies, it needs a few updates since our kitchens have become more complex, involving much more equipment; microwave, multiple ovens, and separate hob. Some even include a built-in coffee machine. Despite the dishwasher not having a part in food preparation, many of you will surely admit that often you find yourself looking for the one knife you need, and find it in the dishwasher, used to prepare a meal earlier that day. The conclusion we can often come to when thinking about these aspects is “I need a bigger kitchen”, but that could make it an impractical one in terms of how far you’d have to walk to get a meal prepared. Kitchen preparation space is often sacrificed for the sake of fitting everything into a smaller space, but when you’re cooking fresh meals enough space to prepare it in is paramount.
The layout of a kitchen can be described with one of the following terms; island, galley, bay or L shaped. Galley kitchens are usually only on one side, sometimes two but this makes it much more compact as well as shorter. Islands are very popular in many modern kitchens which is, in my opinion, due to the aesthetics of them rather than their practicality. They can work quite well, but only if you accept that one side will be for guests to look at; for presentation only as if you tried to store things on all sides, you’d get your daily cardio in by constantly running around it for the different utensils etc. L shaped kitchen layouts can work out okay but can sometimes be too spread out. Bay kitchens are, in my view, the best in terms of practicality, they’re also sometimes referred to as peninsula kitchens.
Here at Building Tectonics, when we design a kitchen we always show a kitchen layout, but by no means is that the permanent design; this is just to show that at least one suitable layout can be accommodated. The layout is often adopted by the client, even if it’s not accepted as the final kitchen design, at least we know a sensible kitchen configuration fit into the available space. I’ve been to a few houses where the architect hasn’t paid as much attention to detail and as a result, the cooker has ended up miles away from the rest of the kitchen. If you’re designing a kitchen space please don’t accept a space that doesn’t achieve the basic function of cooking. If the space isn’t working then call in a company like Building Tectonics to advise you on how you could alter or extend the space to get a more functional kitchen.
There were many extensions done to this property over time, before we were commissioned to work on the project. As a result of these many extensions, the house looked as though it were made up of corridors where there were supposed to be rooms, both downstairs and up.
Building Tectonics were asked to do a Feasibility scheme to re-design the interior layout. We came up with the idea of moving the stairs to a more central location, which was radical but solved many problems in one go.
It gave the client an entrance hallway, something which they say wasn’t a problem when the house was a two up two down cottage, but was lacking in the house as it developed. This was a real bonus since it was not even on their ‘wish list’.
By repositioning the stairs, there was space to allow the rooms to be connected, together with the removal of a redundant chimney breast and various other structural alterations, giving the clients a house which is more practical with rooms which are accessible from the new hall and landing.
By making the stairs more central, we brought more light to the center of the house, which was fairly dark before the alterations, which made the landing seem gloomy in comparison to the rest of the house.
Convenience, light, salebility and beauty all in one hit. Building Tectonics were also engaged to look at other aspects of the house after this alteration.
This early 20th century house had been extended and altered many times before, and each alteration seemed to have concentrated on a particular requirement or area, often to the detriment of the house as a whole. What was required was a holistic approach to improve the overall layout, whilst providing some additional accommodation and enhancing “kerb appeal”. The house had some attractive features created by architects already and it was important not to lose sight of these in our proposals. It is fair to say that our initial proposals encouraged our clients to raise their expectations and together we came up with the adopted scheme. By carefully crafting the design, whilst keeping a careful eye on the practical and the budget constraints, the project was carried through to completion with a minimum of fuss.
The end result has produced a most beautiful house, retaining its charm, improving its poise and creating the additional space our clients required. Often it is the requirement of a client for more space that triggers our involvement but, we can achieve so much more with a house than just adding space given the right ‘tools’ so to speak.