11 th
Mar ’15

Investing in the Long Term

When it comes to dressing a house, to make the most of your spaces you need to be sensible about where to spend the money. Invest wisely in the prominent, feature pieces that can make a space special, whilst being more restrained with items that will go relatively unnoticed or hidden.

You should always be careful and think long-term when considering home automation and audio-visual installations within your interior design scheme. It can be extremely frustrating if you have invested a lot on interior gadgetry that in 10 years’ time becomes more or less obsolete. Sometimes, things designed to simplify life actually complicates matters.

Take lighting as example, lighting control systems can, when used sensibly, be useful tools that can help display a room to its full potential. However, they can also make it extremely difficult to just turn a light on or off, and in many situations a traditional switch or dimmer is a far better option. With a long-term view, looking back 10 years or so, designer lighting became fashionable and many people placed downlighters across their ceilings. Although sometimes limiting the character of a room, the results were fine, however, technology moves on so quickly. If you wanted to update the fittings for modern equivalents, which are now half the size, the entire ceiling will need re-plastering.

A better option could be opting for a blend of wall and floor lamps, wall sconces and pendants to light a room. You can make the result look contemporary and interesting, with great range to light the space differently for certain events or tasks, but if your taste changes and a new look is desired, it’s just a question of adding, taking away or updating individual fittings.

Lighting in the kitchen is actually an interesting case in point as many resort to downlighters but there’s really no need. Pendant lights over the island and lighting under the wall units does the job perfectly well and you still have a simple, uncluttered ceiling.

The kitchen units themselves are another area where you can often spend more money than you need to. It is often best to keep things very simple in terms of the cabinetry and personalise it with your free-standing furniture, paintings and accessories. This needn’t result in a boring kitchen as simple panelling with tongue and groove or a shaker style is the most sensible backdrop onto which you can add colour and creativity.

With painted timber you can easily change the colour, a dark grey slate or black granite work surface will appeal to everyone and from there you can take the look modern or traditional through the choice of wall colour, lighting and curtain fabric. A local joiner will have all the skills needed to make you a high quality kitchen that is completely bespoke to your needs and to the space. You will then have a truly personal and individual kitchen that no one else will have.

Finally, when looking at furniture, don’t disregard inherited pieces or those found in antique shops and sale rooms. A room made up of a mixture of modern and historic pieces will have a great deal of character and provide more interest than one that is a relative monotone of the same period. Furthermore, much like buying a new car, when you purchase new furniture it will halve in value as soon as you walk out the door. A sales room or antique shop purchase is more of an investment that should at least hold it’s value, plus you can take it home instantly.

It is entirely understandable that people would want to buy new when it comes to sofas. The overarching principal of longevity still applies though: if you go for a traditional shape, a Chesterfield or a Regency, for example, and have it made by a capable craftsman there’s no reason why it won’t still look beautiful in 50 years’ time.
02 nd
Feb ’15
The re-emergence of service rooms
The English country house is a fascinating example of an ongoing work in progress which now spans...