A year into and now out of lockdown and we are all still clambering for as much space as we can lay our hands on. So whether its converting a garage or run down outbuildings, adding a cabin for the garden, or just rethinking/revamping unloved spaces, there’s plenty to consider when carrying out this sort of extended living space.

We were asked to help a family with one such project. To reinvent a hitherto unloved cabin space, adding washing & simple kitchen facilities to ensure guests can be self sufficient – the perfect recipe for successful entertaining in my book!

With an agreed layout, our time was then spent on achieving the best possible furniture arrangements to ensure comfortable easy seating and dining within an open plan living area. All of this planning is crucial work to be done at the outset, in order to inform lighting and electrical layouts. You really cannot plan the latter without the former. We always try to incorporate  as much flexibility as we can – additional sockets for a change of layout, ambient light, task light where needed, feature lighting, all dimmable of course.

Our choice of texture and pattern on the walls in turn informs lighting choices – it’s always good to light something rather than anything! So surface mounted wall washers were just the fitting for gently washing a tree print feature wallpaper that subtly echoes the elegant silver birches in the garden beyond. Elsewhere,  a practical, textural wood effect paper in soft greige, offers the perfect backdrop to the other furniture and furnishings.

We created texture overhead, not wanting to miss out on an opportunity, with upcycled scaffolding boards. We love to repurpose where possible – and here, the scuffs and paint marks tell a story of their own, and add both acoustically and texturally to the overall ambience.

Underfoot, distressed looking plank style porcelain tiles are warm to the touch with underfloor heating, yet supremely practical for indoor/outdoor living. A textural Moroccan Berber rug offers pattern and softness where needed and helps define the sitting area. Textural heavier weight voile curtains capture a feeling of space whilst offering light control, privacy and warmth.

Seating comes in the form of a perfectly sized sofa with chaise end, positioned to enjoy the garden aspect. French styled covers are enhanced with a collection of velvet, embroidered and printed scatter cushions. Snuggle up fireside in the cabin’s must have furnishing – a hanging rattan egg chair, cosied and comforted with a bespoke seat cushion, fashioned from a Berber rug.

Sofa side is a slim side table with integral tablet charger, negating unsightly trailing cables, keeping things simple yet well designed.

A compact shower room is small but oh so perfectly formed. Access into the room saves on space with a sliding panelled door. The colour scheme continues with a wall of sculptural 3D tiles reminiscent of a Barbara Hepworth sculpture. The shower is walk-in on the level (future proofed), with a frameless glass screen, whilst bathroom fittings are ‘in the black’ to suit the dark tiled floor and contemporary cabin flavour. Lighting in here washes the textural walls, wall lights serve a recessed mirror fronted cabinet, niche shower lighting and the discreet sensor night light. There’s something to suit every mood and need in here!

So don’t pass up on an opportunity to transform an ugly garage, unpromising outbuilding or simply to start afresh. Small can always be perfectly formed and will enhance and enrich the rest of your home.

Ashton House
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