Valentines day seems like a distant memory however the love is not lost with Lewis Visuals
As the champagne flutes are washed and put away after Valentine’s day, this is a perfect time to take a good long look at your home and see how well it works with your lifestyle. Is it a short term affair, or is it a keeper?
If moving really isn’t an option, here are my top tips for helping you to get that spark back and make the most of your home:
1 Get the Wow factor
An impressive exterior face sets the precedent for the rest of your home, so you should go for the wow factor with your entrance. A two storey, full height, galleried landing, with big windows that flood the entrance with light, will really create an impact.
When you buy a home it is usually an emotional decision that is made the second you walk through the door. An attractive, impressive entrance will help you to fall back in love with your home. On a practical level, it also improves the curb factor and increases the saleability and value of your property when you finally decide that it’s time to move on.
The high cost of properties means that both partners are more likely to be working full time to pay the mortgage and so time spent at home together is much more precious. An open plan ground floor works much better for creating a space for couples and families to enjoy together, without feeling that they’re crowding each other out.
Look at how you move around your home. Has your home got a rabbit warren of corridors that cut down on the natural light, space and interaction of the family? Have you got an old utility room or W.C that faces South and gets all the best natural light, while areas where the family spend most of their quality time together, are gloomy?
An open plan interior provides a more relaxed communal living environment, which offers more flexibility as your family grows and changes over the years. By removing corridors, the sense of space and light can be maximised, making your home feel larger, more airy and more tranquil.
When you remove walls, you have to think about structural elements that must be retained. At Lewis Visuals, we tend to clad supporting structures, such as pillars, in organic material such as oak, so that they enhance the overall appearance of your home. Removing walls also reduces hiding places: it’s important to retain a cupboard wall in your kitchen so that crockery and pots and pans can be stowed away and to maintain privacy, so that your home remains your haven. Equally, shoes, coats, bags, sports equipment and toys need to have a dedicated storage space, so that the ground floor space doesn’t become cluttered.
Open plan design generally focuses on the ground floor. As you are only changing a single storey, the architecture is covered by permitted development rules. If your home is semi-detached, you can extend out between 3m to 6 metres from the house, without requiring planning permission. If you live in a detached house, that distance increases from 4m to 8 metres, without requiring planning permission. It may be that you don’t require that amount of space to achieve your ideal interior design and you can use this to counter offer if you do encounter any planning issues with local planning policies.
Feed the love
I strongly believe that great design can bring out the best in your existing home and create a shared space that is a pleasure to be in.
The kitchen is often the heart of the home and cooking has become very fashionable, with couples mucking in together. Incorporating features, such as a breakfast bar, that allows couples to sit closer together and minimising chores by having a bigger dishwasher also increases a couple’s quality time together.
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Light up your life
Smart lighting will allow you to set different ambiences, so that you can change the mood of the room from functional and bright during the working week, to softer more intimate lighting at the weekends, when you are cooking, talking and enjoying meals with your loved ones.
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If music be the food of love
Consider having a sound system installed so that you can introduce music to this shared space to really enhance the romance.
Bring me sunshine
We always take into account natural lighting and orientation of the building when creating a design that really enhances the existing features of a home.
If you don’t have a South facing wall on your property, we recommend incorporating a roof light to allow natural sunlight in from above, because this is 150% stronger.
We give our clients a questionnaire to find out how they use the house at different times of day and then we make suggestions on how to use the orientation of the house to make the best use of light. For example, we might create a breakfast area by an East facing window, so that the family can eat together in the morning sunlight and a work area next to a West facing window where children can do artwork and homework after school. Snugs are perfect for North facing walls and can be greatly enhanced by including a log burner, which provides an attractive central feature, with stored logs introducing a lovely organic flavour as well as providing the fuel to heat the room.
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, then make it a feature, with large windows, or French doors and consider continuing the flooring material from the kitchen/lounge to the patio so that you bring the outside in and it works as part of the overall space.
Reach a happy compromise
At Lewis Visuals, we work hard to create architectural designs that express homeowners’ styles. When taking a brief from couples, we have to listen carefully to both halves, to ensure that the final design incorporates elements of each person’s taste.
While we understand that our clients want to spend as much time together in the evenings and at weekends, we are also aware that sometimes they need time alone in order to work, study, or just to have some sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Where space permits, we try to create a flexible area that might be used for storing toys out of sight when the children are small, but that also provides an adult space for reading, relaxing and enjoying a glass of wine in the evening.
We’ve resolved plenty of tiffs over whether more space should be devoted to the kitchen or to the ‘man cave’ and helped numerous couples to achieve the right balance. Ultimately, we have to help couples come to a happy compromise that works with the available space and budget. Our key goal is to create an environment that enhances the time that you spend at home with your loved ones and that adapts with you and your family as your needs change over time.
Do you have top tips of you own, or questions on how you can fall back in love with your home? Email them to us here at Lewis Visuals. firstname.lastname@example.org