Well Christmas is upon us, and you are all no doubt panicking about where to put Aunty Sybil as she doesn’t get on with cousin Jack. The grandchildren will be staying over as well, and your dining room can only hold six… yet 14 are coming. Sound vaguely familiar, albeit with a bit of exaggeration on our part?
The good news is: it’s not all a disaster, for the time being. Children are very adept at eating off their laps, so that’s ok. As for the internal family politics, well I’m afraid we can’t help with that – it’s 100% not interior design. Although we often have to mediate when one of our clients likes one thing whilst the partner wants something else entirely, so we are skilled negotiators as well as designers.
The biggest headache highlighted above is the lack of space, or a kitchen that does not work properly for you. So, have you thought about an extension or a new kitchen or both? Extensions don’t have to be just one level; they can be two or more. They can also allow you to expand or add bedrooms and new bathrooms. Under permitted development rights, as long as your property is not listed, a flat, or in a conservation area, then you won’t need planning permission. You are allowed to increase the footprint of your property by 25% on the original footprint. Obviously if your property has already had a little extension done and that is, say, 10% of the original footprint, then you can only add a further 15% under permitted development.
Planning permission. People always worry about it and think it’s a long-winded, complicated process. At London Contemporary, we do approximately 30 applications a year and what is important to note is that as long as your plan complies with the local authority’s planning policies, and you have worked with the authority during the design phase, then it is almost certainly going to be approved. Your neighbour objecting because he doesn’t like you does not carry much weight in the planning process.
So, getting back to your Christmas space problem. The first thing you need to do is understand what your requirements are. This is all about space planning; you’ll be amazed at how badly designed some houses are internally. Space planning involves looking at the flow of the house. Victorian and older style houses were built with lots of internal rooms, whilst today’s modern living requires a more open-plan feel. Even 1970s-80s houses have this same problem. Looking at the plan of the house, your designer can work out which walls to remove to create a better flow.
You don’t need to rush off to an architect for this sort of work. A good interior design studio who has an in-house architectural team would be far more suitable, as they look at things from an interior design perspective and how the space flows, not just building some walls. Most architects will freely admit they don’t have the skills to design a kitchen. At London Contemporary, we are experts at space planning and can often rearrange your existing floor print without necessarily adding an extension.
However, if an extension is needed, we can handle the whole process internally from start to finish, including any planning requirements. We will pick up on things like plug socket locations, lighting, heating requirements, outside-inside flow, as well as the obvious bits like wall structure, roof design and more.
So, whilst Christmas this year may be squashed and stressful, with the right team like London Contemporary, next year could be completely different and you can enjoy showcasing your new home to your family. With any luck, Aunty Sybil will also get on with cousin Jack!