Future Proofing – the new buzzword?
Calm, considered and contemplative – these certainly go a long way towards the feelings of wellbeing within our homes, so crucial for us now during lockdown and beyond.
I’m particularly interested in a new buzzword around our industry – Future Proofing. When I think about it, this really does encapsulate what we are doing for our clients day in day out! So although interior design may be about change and the transformative nature of what we do is immense, this has to go hand in hand with a future proofing ethos. Fashion will come and go, change happens, and boy do I love change, but with caveats. Change is constant and inevitable, so don’t fight it, enjoy the ride but focus on the longevity of your decision making.
Looking at the wider picture, how are we needing to use our homes right now? Quite differently I would say to only a year ago. We need to assess and create zones for different activities – sleep, work, eat, play and relaxation. Undoubtedly, everyone in the house will now need a place to work/study – make provision for this and harness areas/rooms hitherto little used or unloved. Every space now needs to justify it’s role.
Kitchen & bathroom refresh
If your house or apartment really does feel like your home for life, then a refresh on kitchens, bathrooms and general arrangements could take in now and many years ahead – ask yourself how might I feel about the practicalities of these spaces in ten years hence?
Incorporate wet room solutions with walk in level showers, using shower tray ‘formers’ that allow for fully tiles solutions. Go large with frameless glass panels and negate the need for any kind of door, sliding or pivoting. These design decisions not only look better but they also create a greater feeling of space in what are usually the smallest spaces in the home. Avoid the shower over bath at all costs – be decisive and chose one or the other – if the bath wins then a neat ‘follow me’ hose that disappears below the surface keeps tops and bath water clean and tidy.
In the Kitchen, simple decisions that revolve around eye level appliances and drawer dishwashers and fridges, make day to day use so much easier without the need to bend down. Raise washing machines and tumble dryers for ease of loading and unloading, good for now as well as future proofing your home.
Invest in quality furniture
For those that move more regularly then never shy away from investing in good quality furniture and furnishings. They quite literally are worth their weight. Hand-sprung sofas will last an eternity (ours have!) and just need recovering or fresh loose covers every few years. Help future proof your upholstery investments with fantastically practical fabrics – technical advances mean that there are bomb proof solutions out there – they look and feel pretty good too! Seek out multi-functional pieces where appropriate and double up on both value and future usage. A console table that’s deep enough for use as a desk with cable management porthole, a coffee table with museum style storage, ottoman storage beds, opening footstools, and so the list goes on.
Bring the outside in with sliding or bi-fold doors. Again, a level access that sees a continuation of a floor finish is both practical and seamless. Plenty of floors come as both inside and outside versions, offering practical non-slip credentials for our damp climate. Sink a generously sized doormat into the entrance floor area and remove the first potential trip hazard in the home!
Future proof with colour, a good choice doesn’t ever really date. Teal, ochre, tobacco, emerald, dusky pink, we find them all rooted in our history, so whilst they may feel like this year’s must have, their associations, however random, with say, jewel tones, cigars or germolene, make them reliable choices. Too often, it is the paint manufacturers’ desperation to sell more paint that fights (often without success) to drive a fashion conscious palette, when all along, we know what works best for our interiors!
Storage and more storage
Finally, fill your home with as much storage as you can – enquire after understairs, over units, underbeds and any dark corner. Any space that could be otherwise described as a wasted space – this is future proofing at it’s very best.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Modern European in a country setting with plenty of invention and attention to detail.
Q: What common design faux pas do lots of people make?
A: Choosing a wall colour in isolation to everything else, getting the scale of their furniture wrong for their interior, making decisions in isolation rather than as part of an overall plan.
Q: What’s the one feature that’s guaranteed to lift a room?
A: Lighting – light for specific tasks, so circuits that light furniture, walls or art rather than a general level of light. Lamps with scale, ideally as pairs, feature pendant and wall lights.