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I love summer. One of the things I most look forward to is getting up before anyone else, sneaking down to my beautiful kitchen, opening the windows to let the summer breeze in, and enjoying a cup of my favourite tea, made just the way I like it. It’s moments like these I’m glad I was such a perfectionist when it came to creating my perfect kitchen. So I could enjoy these quiet summer mornings, me, my coffee and the sunshine.
It’s not a tidy, showroom room – how can you relax and be yourself if you’re worried about sand blowing in and scratching your perfect floor, or muddy, grass-stained feet marking the walls? For me, creating the perfect space isn’t about literal perfection. It’s about creating a room that always makes you go ‘ahh, I’m home’ when you walk into it. Then, it doesn’t matter if it’s tidy or messy, it’s home.
When it’s warm outside, we want our homes to be almost an extension of the outdoors, as we open blinds and drapes to draw in more light, and bring the outdoors indoors courtesy of flowers, plants and light, bright colours. Subconsciously, we’re pulling down the walls, bringing us closer to nature.
As the weather gets colder, the walls go back up as we yearn for a feeling of warmth, cosiness, safety against the elements. And you know, that’s one of the reasons why I love winter. In the same way I enjoy my bright, beautiful kitchen on an early summer’s morning, I also love sneaking downstairs in my socks and robe, and enjoying a steaming cup of coffee, safe in my warm, cosy kitchen, while the wind and rain does its stuff outside.
The point I’m trying to make is that for those of us who live in a climate that’s anything but predictable (rainy August; sizzling October; snow in April…), it’s important to create a home for all seasons, whether you live in a Connecticut-Style clapboard home near the sea; a chunky stone cottage in the country or a semi-detached terraced house slap bang in the middle of town.
The tendency is to design and decorate according the time you move in to the property, which is all very well and good if you live in a country where the climate is predictable, but not so much when you live in the UK, where it’s anything but.
So when you’re looking at your hallway, you need to think; OK, it looks lovely and bright now that it’s August, but come November, where will I put the all our waterproofs, the dog’s lead and all our muddy boots? Similarly, as you’re admiring your cosy kitchen in the depths of winter, can you imagine it at the height of summer, too? Will those small windows feel stifling rather than comforting? Will the heavy wooden furniture overwhelm it, when you open the windows wide?
At Your Space Living, we think about all of this when we’re working with you to put together the perfect rooms. The idea is to create living, breathing designs that can adapt to the seasons the same as you do. And it should always be seamless, and always be effortless, and always feel right.
It sounds impossible, but honestly, it’s not - you just need a little expert know-how, and have the time and patience to get it right.
It’s about more than changing the colours of the walls; it’s about making sure that the windows are in the right place, for example.
I’m actually pretty obsessed with windows, as often their importance is under-appreciated. They play such a critical role in all aspects of home design. Appearance, of course – next to the shape of a house, windows are the most significant factor influencing how the place looks to the outside world. Then there’s what we call ‘site embrace’ – windows capture views and make the connection between the indoors and the natural world beyond. And then of course there’s the comfort factor –they let in light and air and protect against extremes of weather.
The power of windows is often most evident when the size, type, or location is miscalculated (like a pair of shoes three sizes too small). Then rooms are either glaringly bright, depressingly dim, or stultifyingly stale. But if planned right, windows can be the key to enjoying your home's ambience, inside and out.
Windows aside, we also need to think about the unique shape of your room, the width of your halls – do we need to widen, narrow, tweak? If we do, will it work with the building and improve it? If the answer is yes, great. If it’s ‘no’, then we just find another way. It’s actually the fun part, coming up against ‘dead ends’ and finding another route that often turns out to be better!
I promise you, even if you think you have an ‘impossible room’ (a term coined by a recent client, who has now changed her mind about the room I hasten to add), we can make it work. First, we’ll meet, look at the room and you tell me what your dream room would look like. This is the time where you get to let your imagination run wild.
Next, taking into account your lifestyle, budget, personal style, we’ll start designing, even creating 3D images to help bring your vision to life. Then we move on to the ‘design and installation’ stage, where we talk details – materials, textures, appliances, features, and of course windows!
Sometimes you end up with exactly what you had in mind. Sometimes, you end up with the exact opposite. Either way, the end result will be perfect for you. The goal is always to create a space that look and feel as wonderful on a bleak, winter’s morning as it does on the balmiest of August evenings.
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