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To be nominated for an award is what every architect dreams of, but to be shortlisted is every architect’s dream come true. Casa Forma’s Kensington Gardens project that was named by design et al in 2015, has been named as one of the frontrunners for the coveted Living Space – UK Award. By taking on a total refurbishment of the property inclusive of some reconfigurations in the structure, what was once a 3800 sq. ft. family home and property has become a celebration of style and a major accomplishment for the architects and interior designers at Casa Forma.
A Focal Point in the Heart of Kensington
What was once a ‘family property’ has become what is known as a lateral apartment which consists of a living area that is now quite large, four bedroom suites, a private den/study and an impressive art media chamber that is state of the art in design as well as functionality. Also included in their design is a Jacuzzi, steam room and even a dry sauna. The refurbishment turned a once ordinary abode into a high end luxury apartment and an award winning one at that!
A Look at the Underlying Scheme
When it comes to design, it is imperative that there is a scheme that brings everything together in a cohesive whole. In other words, each element blends nicely into the next so that in the end you have a well-functioning whole that not only works but looks just as good as it functions. This is the task of any architect. Function alone isn’t enough because disjointed elements can cause chaos in the look you are going after and design without function is futile. No one wants living space that doesn’t ‘work’ for them and so the two need to merge to complete the job.
In this project, Casa Forma sought to complement the modern shell with what is a predominant feature of the design group, an Art Deco appeal. The materials used were high end cladding and joinery for walls with furniture that featured natural stones and Japanese wood. To complete the picture, bespoke hand crafted chiselled mirrors with a finishing touch of hand painted gold leaf rounded out a look of beauty and luxury, a timeless perfection.
A Priceless View
The apartment is situated in such a way as to provide a breathtaking view of exquisitely landscaped gardens and a panoramic view of London. The client for whom the project was undertaken wanted to have a bar crafted so that it would highlight the family’s delicate ornaments of crystal. Since space was limited, the dining room table was designed to double as the bar which then became a divider between the living and dining areas. A remarkable accomplishment that not only brought all elements together from a design standpoint but with exceptional functionality.
With specially requested natural Japanese woods and design and functional features required by the clients, Casa Forma blended together the vision of the client with the extreme talent of their designers to complete a notable accomplishment well-deserving of its 2015 recognition on the design et al shortlist in the Living Space – UK Award. An honour well deserved.
The West Wind whispered. "Come this way. There's a sight to see in the magic woods today." We followed where the West Wind blew. Then in the Orangery woods we saw you! The enchanted woods are full of fairies. Magical little createures, nothing scarey! The trees alive and the fairies cheer. Alif, Ayat and Aria cannot wait to see you there!
Sustainability does not need to be a compromise. You can have luxurious, high-end design without sacrificing your desire to create a sustainable home. Modern interiors are now more than capable of balancing green sustainability with luxury and many designers are happy to work with sustainable materials such as reclaimed wood, bamboo, hemp, and wool.
The aim of sustainable living is to design an interior that is environmentally friendly. Green design focusses on using materials that have been recycled or that come from renewable sources. Instead of acres of polished concrete, designers create beautiful, aesthetically pleasing interiors using materials such as reclaimed oak flooring, but materials are not always easy to come by.
A Lack of Sustainable Materials
A research paper published by the International Journal of Sustainable Built Environment in 2015 found that choices in sustainable materials were still limited, despite the high demand for green and Fair Trade products. Researchers discovered that the provenance of materials and products is not always clear, which creates a barrier for designers who are reluctant to spend excessive amounts of time searching for sustainable materials. Some clients are also resistant to the extra cost involved in sourcing suitable materials.
Despite this, with the right designer and a suitable budget, it’s possible to create luxurious interiors using sustainable materials. You don’t necessarily need deep pockets to achieve the right look and you certainly don’t need to sacrifice your green ethos to create a sense of luxury, as this beautiful design illustrates.
Using Recycled Materials in Interior Design
Recycled materials fit the bill perfectly. Recycled timber is a good example, but you could also use recycled brick slips to build an authentic-looking inglenook fireplace, repurpose marble for a bathroom, or use old copper piping to create industrial-chic lighting for a kitchen or dining room. There is no limit to what you can achieve.
It’s not difficult to find recycled materials and furniture. Salvage yards specialise in recycled timber, wrought iron, copper, and other materials, so these should be your first port of call. Tropical hardwoods and natural stone are by definition luxury materials. When used in the right setting, a gorgeous piece of teak can be turned into an unusual coffee table or a piece of marble transformed into a countertop for a bathroom. Make use of recycled ceramic tiles to create an interesting mosaic floor. Old furniture is ripe for recycling and often inexpensive. Use chalk paint to refinish an old pine dresser and give it a whole new lease of life.
Create a Sense of Luxury in the Bedroom
Recycled items used in conjunction with sustainable materials such as wool, hemp, and silk, are all perfect for a luxury interior. Silk and cotton work well in the bedroom. Use hand-painted silk as a wall.
The use of light is central to interior design. Light makes a room feel spacious, warm and open. During daytime poor light creates poor moods and makes a home feel stuffy and dreary. During the evenings soothing warm light makes a home feel warm and comfortable. To create a beautiful room you have to pay attention to the light and the types of lighting that make the most impact. Here we explore the use of light to create ambience in your home.
Natural sunlight is the most important kind. Crucially it promotes the production of vitamin D and improves your mood through the releases of endorphins. When we start the interior design process we look at natural light first. You might think this is as simple as saying – let’s put in a bigger window but there’s more to it.
Firstly window placement is pivotal as you want to maximise the amount of daylight you receive – waking up to sunlight is a wonderful mood booster and gentle afternoon sun is relaxing. If possible we like to add windows to capture as much light as possible. Floor to ceiling windows are the pinnacle of decadence in this respect but a lot can still be achieved with sky lights and normal windows.
Where the building doesn’t permit enough natural light we need to supplement this with artificial lights, colour and mirrors.
In traditional home design there is a central light supplemented with lamps and other side lights. Thanks to modern technologies though we now have access to a plethora of excellent lighting choices.
Spotlights are the ideal choice to bring focus to particular areas of a room and accent lighting lets you illuminate objects and art to create focal points. But to make a room “feel” lighter you’ll need to have higher intensity lighting.
Mood lighting is where interior design gets serious as you want to have adjustable lighting that is ideally hidden from view. Backlighting in cupboards and on shelves and recessed LED spotlights can be used to great effect to create a warm feeling in any room. Adjustable lights at floor and ceiling level create a wonderful ambience - particularly when combined with mirrors.
White and light colours are the easiest “trick” to improving the light and space of a room. They reflect light to a degree which increases the feeling of space in an area. They make a room feel open to the natural world. If you don’t find white walls appealing you can add lighter colours to your furnishings with use of drapes, throws and vibrant art and furniture – all of which will create the illusion of light.
Where natural light is subpar mirrors make for an excellent way to increase light. As you can see in many of our interior designs liberal use of mirrors on walls and shelves increases the visual space of an interior design. The reflected light makes each room feel bigger and lighter.
One interesting way to quickly adjust the ambience of a room is to use different colour light. White light most closely resembles daylight but in the evenings you may want to integrate softer coloured lights – for example blue neons or red light to create a softer feel to a room or to create a modern image. LED strip lighting is a good example of this as it boasts many different colour configurations – allowing you to quickly adapt any room.
Designs trends come and go. Avocado bathrooms, inflatable furniture, stencil borders and pine cladding were all popular once upon a time. Thankfully, these hideous trends are now relegated to a time taste forgot and we can quietly move on.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with working with the latest design trends, but unless you have the time and budget to redesign your home every few months, it is far better to create a timeless interior décor scheme. Timeless means it won’t go out of fashion. Instead, your home will stay tasteful and stylish for an indefinite period of time, which is more than can be said for textured ceilings and shag-pile carpet in the bathroom. To help you get started, here are ten steps to creating a timeless design theme for your home or commercial interior.
1. What’s Your Design Objective?
Think carefully about what you want to achieve. Consider your budget and whether you need to hire a professional interior designer. Research ideas and start collecting fabric samples, design ideas, and prices for materials. Creating a timeless theme is not a weekend project.
2. Neutral Colours
Bold, bright colours are trendy, but they invariably go out of fashion. Burnt orange, brown and purple looked great in the 70s, but would you really want that colour scheme in your home now? Stick to neutral colours. They are classy and timeless. If you feel the need to add colour, use accessories and small accent pieces.
3. Natural Materials
Natural materials such as oak, granite, stone, wool, and silk are timeless and classy. Whilst plastic and steel come and go in the interior design world, natural materials are inherently enduring, beautiful, and above all, functional.
4. A Sense of Luxury
Timeless is often synonymous with luxury, which was definitely the case in the One Hyde Park project. Here the aim was to create a sense of elegant sophistication whilst remaining practical and functional. To achieve this, use quality materials and luxurious accessories with a classic feel. This type of look will never go out of fashion.
5. Mix and Match
The easiest way to design a theme that won’t date is to mix and match different elements. Mix items of furniture from a bygone era with neutral colours, clever modern storage solutions, some modern art, and a few carefully chosen accent pieces. If your room doesn’t fit one style, it is effectively ageless.
6. Create a Focal Point
Use a stunning piece of art or a carefully selected item of vintage furniture to create a focal point for the room. Whatever you choose, make sure it is a reflection of your personality, as this will serve to create a timeless look.
7. Declutter the Space
Clutter is always bad news. Ornaments and collectibles usually reflect the current trends and era. Remove anything that ties your décor down to a specific period in time and replace it with neutral pieces, classic books, and original art.
8. Antique Charm
Modern furniture and collectibles come in and out of fashion within a few years. Scandinavian style is currently on-trend, but in 20 years' time your Billy bookcase will have become a tasteless relic. For a timeless and stylish look, use vintage and antique pieces made from quality materials such as oak.
9. Timeless Classics
Consider investing in a few designer items. Signature pieces of furniture are expensive, but they never go out of fashion, just like the design of this Kensington Private Residence.
10. Work with the Space
Contemporary or period: the important thing is to work with your space, but try to avoid sticking to one period or you will lose the sense of timelessness.
Timeless is not always easy to achieve, but if you get it right, you won’t have to redecorate for a long time.
The CEO of any company, large or small, holds a position of great importance. They make decisions, manage budgets, and devise strategies. Their office therefore needs to reflect their role in the organisation, so a small, poky space devoid of personality is not going to fit the bill. To help you design a suitably luxurious office interior for your CEO, take note of the following tips
In the corporate world, a CEO’s office is rarely just an ‘office. It will most likely have to function as a meeting room, workspace, mission control, and even board room if it’s a small business. For this reason, it is essential that the space adequately caters for every eventuality.
Provide Functional and Attractive Furniture
Furniture needs to be functional, but luxurious and of course attractive. Most CEOs are not going to be happy with a generic desk and cheap office chair. Office furniture should reflect the personality of the CEO, so if he or she is a traditional type, a solid rosewood or teak desk might be a good choice, whereas a younger CEO will probably prefer a sleek minimalist design.
The desk needs to be large enough to accommodate computers, monitors, a printer, desk lamp, and anything else your CEO needs to function efficiently, without feeling cluttered. Desk storage is useful, but you will need to add extra storage space such as fitted shelving and cupboards for files, books, etc. The aim is to provide enough storage to keep miscellaneous items out of sight. Cluttered offices are the enemy of productivity. Concealed filing cabinets and seamless cabinets are modern and attractive. Don’t be afraid to mix and match materials, so if the desk is teak, choose a different material for the cabinetry.
Maximise Natural Light
Make the most of any natural light you have in the office. Most CEO’s have a premium office, so they can enjoy the best views. If this is the case, floor to ceiling windows are an asset that should not be concealed behind drapes. However, you still need to control light or the room will be too hot or cold. Install electronic window blinds or use a UV reflective window coating. Position the desk so your CEO has his back to the window and faces the entrance door, so he can greet guests as they walk in.
Modern or traditional: it’s a personal choice. Once you have chosen the furniture, decide upon a decorative scheme. Muted colours work best for office spaces, as they help to quell stress and promote calm and serenity. Taupe, pale teal and soft blue-grey are all a good choice, although bold accent colours on rugs and soft furnishings also work well.
Add vibrancy to a luxurious office space with original artwork and sculptures. Art is always a talking point, as well as an excellent way to express the personality of your CEO.
Take great care when designing an office space for a CEO and be wary of adding unnecessary furniture or gadgets that detract from the overall design.
When our eyes travel over any space we immediately catalogue specific focal points. We do this naturally as our eyes are drawn quickly to the most prominent features of a space or to the most unusual point in an area.
When it comes to interior design we can trick our brains to make certain areas of a room the focal point. Think of the focal point like a centre of activity in a room, designed to draw the eyes and create an effect for the room.
Making A Statement and Creating an Effect
The focal point for a room should reflect what the room is and also what mood it wants to create. A living room wants to be a place you feel comfortable and relaxed, a dining room is somewhere to entertain and a bedroom is a retreat from the world. When thinking of your focal point you want to make a statement that encompasses the room and your own sense of identity. This could be a piece of art that speaks to you or an antique piece of furniture.
Building a Focal Point
There are lots of specific items and designs that can be used as focal points and choosing something is largely down to personal taste. Size plays a crucial role in drawing the eye but so does colour and shape. There are a number of ideas to explore such as;
Fireplaces – A fireplace is the traditional focal point for living rooms as it creates a sense of warmth, even when unlit. Built in modern faux fireplaces can look incredible in the right setting whilst traditional brick or inglenook fireplaces create a traditional focal point.
Furniture – Large furniture draws the eye particularly bureaus, curio cabinets and sofas or chairs. Placing them in the centre of a wall means that they split the wall into three – which triggers visual centres in the brain.
Art – art works particularly well above a mantelpiece, over a bed or in a prominent position above furniture. A single large painting can speak volumes about a person and a place. Position your art at eye level or slightly above eye level for the best effect.
Antiques – in much the same way as art, an antique in a prominent position will draw the eye
Mirrors – Mirrors act as an unusual focal point as they open up a room. The eye will be drawn to a large mirror and then will soak in the feel of the entire room.
Textures – a focal point doesn’t have to be a single item it can be a single wall or area of the room. One off-colour wall or textured brick work wall will instantly create a focal point for a room. Wallpaper or textured plaster can work equally well here.
Architecture – unusual shapes capture the eye and you can build around unusual brickwork or shapes in a room to create a focal point architecturally rather than through objects. This is particularly useful where stairs or other intrusions into a room change the shape.
Designing around the focal point
Once you have a focal point it’s important to build outwards from it. All objects accompanying the focal point should be smaller and less eye catching so that the main focus always remains. We like to compliment focal points either minimally, with a select few pieces, or with one or two moderately large pieces that blend to create one seamless focal design image.
Bedrooms should be a place of rest and solitude, after all this is where you will generally unwind from the day and surprisingly spend one third of you're life sleeping.
Applying basic feng shui principles to ones bedroom is critical. Simple steps like placement of the bed which should always face the entrance of your room and having your bed up against a solid wall creates strong positive energy.
A focal point in any room is important too especially in you're bedroom, you're eye will naturally look for this otherwise there can be a sense of confusion and distortion in the space.
Headboards are a great way to create a focal point and over recent years have become a design feature that most designers are keen to be creative with. A bespoke headboard is ofcourse the best solution, clients request something uniquely made for them which will reflect their personality and the scheme of the bedroom. A range of materials can be used from intricate hand cut paterned leather panels to mixture of glass, woods and metal.
Another important aspect of ones bedroom is of course lighting. Generally in a bedroom you should consider no more than three different focal points for lights which can range from ceiling, wall and bedside lights, all of which can bring ambience in a room aswell as being functional and practical.
With the above in mind bedroom designs should be kept cleanlined and uncluttered whilst introducing a mixture of warm sumptuous materials and textures.