Interior Designers
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An example of Interior Design for New Build Homes


Creating a family home in Oxfordshire


Our clients were building a new 4000sq ft family home in a village in Oxfordshire.  They wanted to get an interior designer on board at an early stage in the project to make sure the interior plans really work and subsequently to help with the decoration.  This was the right decision as we always advocate involving an interior designer as early as possible in a new-build because they consider how you will actually use the space and how it is best configured to suit your needs and your lifestyle.  


Looking for an interior designer who was 'down-to-earth', they also wanted someone with good ideas who, in addition to helping with the overall space planning and layouts, could also suggest things like which antiques fairs to go to etc.  They were going to be fairly hands-on themselves as they had rented a house down the road.


The front of the house was very traditional Cotswold stone. The rear a contemporary, open-plan space in a T shape. The large rear kitchen-dining-living space would also have vaulted ceilings It was important to get the layout and space planning in the contemporary back space right including zoning to ensure that different functions were allowed and the right choice of colours and soft furnishings to create a space that felt cosy and comfortable despite its size, ceiling height and large glass frontage. 


Another aspect of the project our designer helped with was bespoke joinery.  With three children, efficient storage was crucial both upstairs and downstairs.   Bespoke joinery means you get a unique, tailor-made space but also creates a smart, clean-lined finish which fitted in well with our clients’ aesthetic.  Downstairs,  bespoke joinery housed the television and media units and upstairs dressing rooms were fitted out to maximise the use of space. In the master dressing room, banquette seating in a contemporary print was designed with storage drawers below and a bespoke dressing table in the dormer window, working around the sloping ceilings.


In terms of style, the brief they gave us was "something chic, with character and elegance but easy for a young family." They already had ideas such as polished concrete surfaces in the kitchen and a wood burner - so mixing urban and rustic. There would be under-floor heating and they didn't want any down-lighters (except in the kitchen) - so layered lighting mixing task, ambient and mood lighting was important to get right.  Lighting design is something that is best worked out once the space planning and furniture layouts have been decided so that you know what you are doing, where.  So in order for the builders to be able to wire everything correctly, these tasks needed to be tackled straight away.


A desire to incorporate some of the furniture they already had, such as two Chesterfield sofas upholstered in velvet, was easily accommodated.  A good interior designer will always be able to work with what you've already got.  Often the first step is to take an inventory of your existing pieces which you may wish to re-use, including all measurements with photos, and then gradually work them into the new furniture schemes.  


In terms of their budget, our clients were not sure as the building work had only just gone out to tender.  It is often difficult to establish a budget for the interior design side of a building project at an early stage but our guidelines here will help you.   Which is why it is valuable to work with an interior designer from the start of the project. They will help you establish an overall design concept which will highlight the main design features, style goals and the look and feel you are going for. Then they can act as design 'watch dog', scrutinising costings to make sure they are realistic for what you want to achieve and suggest ways to cost engineer without compromising on your aesthetic. 


The resulting home is a delightful mixture of classic and contemporary with heaps of personality thrown in.  The light-filled, colourful and spacious kitchen-family has a contemporary edge, with units by Bulthaup, bespoke joinery and dashes of colour gave the space a smart but relaxed feel.   In the main part of the house, a classic look was created (such as in the more formal drawing room which has a smart, muted colour scheme) and in the master bedroom where dark linen wallpaper and muted velvets give the feel of a boutique hotel but the smallest room in the house – the downstairs cloakroom was given a fun and characterful feel with deep indigo tiling and a funky wallpaper border for our keen cyclist client.