Homes – The New Normal

Homes – The New Normal

For the past 80 days, most of us have spent more time at home than ever before.  Our ‘Home Sweet Home’ has been acting less like a hotel and more like a makeshift workplace, school, pub, gym and most of all a safe place to retreat to, from the virus.

Coronavirus has encouraged us to rethink the kind of life we want to live post-pandemic and the role our homes will play in this.  The future design of practical living has changed and we now know what works and what doesn’t in our home layout.

Have the light and airy open-plan living spaces you once craved been a major cause of stress during this period, due to the lack of privacy and unforgiving acoustics? 

And, has the major shift with so many of us working from home encouraged you to realise that your spare bedroom is no longer a suitable ‘WFH’ solution?

Has it become clear that your dining room is perfect for dinner parties, but highly impractical for home-schooling?

Our gyms have been closed for months and with the sale of home exercise equipment reaching stratospheric heights, it seems that home gyms have become almost as crucial as a home office!

The Kitchen has always been the most essential room in any home, but with the closure of restaurants and pubs they have become even more important as they are used as a central hub for work, schooling, cooking and also a place just to ‘hang out’.

We will all be striving to make our homes cleaner and healthier, with fewer indoor visitors and less room for cross-contamination. Our future housing designs will be responding to what people perceive as priority features in their homes and the new realities of home education, working from home as well as a healthier lifestyle. 

Sir Winston Churchill once said, ‘Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it’

Indeed, many of us are now understand the surprising advantages of historic homes and their separate rooms that nowadays would differentiate places at home for work and for living.

We also now may prefer the exercise in our own homes or in public outdoor spaces as opposed to visiting the local gym.

Who knows…. we may even see the return of the ‘outside toilet’!  Once deemed as a sign of hardship, but could now be seen as luxury addition, designated just for visitors to your home post COVID-19.

If it is time for you to think about a better functioning home with clearly thought out spaces, smart solutions, family-friendly acoustics and beautiful outdoor living spaces, let us help you make your home one that can withstand the future of change.

Stay safe, stay healthy.

Why Do I Need An Architect?

Whatever type of newbuild or home improvement project you are planning there is a serious, early decision to be made.

This relates to whether or not you should use the services of an architect.

With this in mind, here are some important reasons as to why an architect can be of huge value. This is regardless of how small or large your project is.

Fully trained to see the bigger picture:

Architects are highly trained professionals.  To become a registered Architect in the UK, a minimum of 7 years of full time higher education and 2 years of work experience or equivalent is required.  

It is only natural that due to their training and experience they will see things that many of us will miss.  One of the many assets they possess is the ability to see the “bigger picture” of any project.

An architect’s expert eye will help in such things as:

  • Making the best use of the space you have available
  • Ensure the best value for your investment
  • Coming up with unique, individual and interesting designs that suit your individual needs – They can offer a different ‘take’ on your original thoughts and proposed designs. These ideas will often be far more appealing once they are understood
  • Lighting is a crucial aspect of any project, but is one that is very often overlooked! Architects can advise on natural and artificial lighting options that will best suit the type of project and space available. Well-lit areas can make the world of difference in terms of appeal and the finished project.
  • Balance – An architect’s ability to look at the project as a whole from start to finish means the completed project will exude balance and style.
  • Help your project to finish within budget and on time.

Spotting those small issues that can become major bugbears!

Don’t underestimate this benefit. Many do to their cost! Even the smallest building projects involve a lot of planning and design.

To the inexperienced eye, it is very easy to overlook what initially appear to be small issues. Unfortunately, these can turn into major bugbears that will cost to put right.

Just 3 examples of the many that an untrained eye can miss are:

  • What are the planning constraints on your site? 
  • Where is the best, least conspicuous place for any outlet pipes?
  • How to build an extension that looks and works like it has always been part of the existing house?

Planning permission and overseeing the whole project:

Unless you have a great deal of time to spare when it comes to establishing and then running a project to satisfactory completion then an architect will add real value.

If planning permission is required (or you even think it may be!) then an architect can be an invaluable asset.

They are fully experienced in successfully navigating local planning authority laws and will ensure your application is processed in the correct manner.

By appointing an architect as the Contract Admin and Project Manager you are taking a real weight off your shoulders. Benefits of their assistance will be seen in such things as:

  • Recommending the most appropriate builders and qualified tradesmen
  • Managing the work schedule
  • Ensuring the quality of work meets required standards
  • Work carried out meets building control requirements
  • Liaising with local authorities
  • Keep the total project cost within agreed budgets


What to look for when appointing an architect

The architect you appoint should be fully qualified. In this sense, your architect should be members of, and governed by:

  • The ARB – Architects Registration Board – This is a body which has been established by Parliament and acts as the independent UK regulator of architects. If checks need to be made you can access a publicly available database.
  • RIBA – Royal Institute of British Architects – This is an association of architects and comprises of individuals who are licensed to practice architecture in the UK.

For additional peace of mind, it should be noted that all architects are subject to a statutory code of practice. They also have Professional Indemnity Insurance which is in place to protect clients.

Vastly increase your chances of a successful project outcome

The straight fact is that by engaging an architect to assist in your overall project you are taking an important step.

This decision will help to ensure a far more satisfactory project outcome than would otherwise be the case. A final factor that should not be overlooked; your stress factor will also be greatly reduced!