This week I visited a client to discuss the proposed plan on their new home in Burwood. The home was sold by a 90 year old woman who was downsizing. My client wants to extend the home. I met my client to discuss how she could reduce the cost of the project as building costs have increased. The architect added an extension to the front and the back. So my ideas were based around why less is more when it comes to space.
More space is not always better
In my experience I have met many prospective clients who think more space is the solution to their functional problems. Another room to work from. A room for the kids toys. A room for guests. A theatre room etc etc.
But often more space is not the solution. Especially when you think about how a space is actually used. For example, if you have guests once a year do you really need a separate room that doesn’t get used for the majority of the time.
In the example of my client in Burwood, they actually had a room at the back of the garage that with minimal work and cost would be an ideal home office. Based on their actual requirement of working from home only two days per week.
Working within the existing residential footprint
When I look at a floor plan with the view of adding ‘more’ space I always try to work within the existing foot print of the house and try to repurpose rooms based on my clients goals.
For example with my client in Burwood, the house had a deck in the front of the house. The proposed plan had a kitchen adjacent to this deck and another space allocated for dining. However, I suggested the deck be repurposed into a dining room.
This idea makes use of a space, that is the deck, which would generally only get used in the summer or when my client had guests. And it avoids doubling up on a space for dining.
Thinking outside the box
It is a cliché but working with an interior designer enables clients to think outside the box with regards to what’s possible with the property they have. Adding a room front or back or adding an extra floor may not always be the only option to achieve your functional goals.
When I undertake a brief I always ask what is the space used for? By whom? And what times of the day. Often there is a realisation that one space can be used for different functions at different times of the day.
I refer to my time in London a lot when I think of space. In London and other European cities people are accustomed to living is small spaces such as bedsits and studios. This makes sense given how much time they actually spend in the space, which for some is usually a few hours in the morning and evening.
Which is why understanding the true usage of a space is important in achieving your functional goal and why less is more in some circumstances.