Interior redesign of a family home

Interior redesign of a family home

Architectural interior redesign of period home in a Kent village. Creating new spaces, opening up the interior and creating a functional family home.
Improving the flow and use of space of a period home in Kent.
September 2023

Considered and sympathetic architect designed internal alterations of a period home in Kent

James Clague Architects were appointed to improve the interior architecture of a family home in Kent. Having been extended multiple times over the years to meet immediate needs, the house which is more than one hundred and sixty years old was left with an unsuitable and impractical layout.

James Clague Architects redesigned the entire floor plan to resize a number of rooms and make them easily accessible through a new central hall. Making internal alterations to the layout of the house allowed us to design a new shower room, snug, and utility room. The home is now a cosy, spacious, and functional place where the owners can enjoy quality family time.

Project Background: The Family Home

Our client grew up in a charming late Georgian/early Victorian home within a thriving village on the outskirts of Canterbury. This house, first seen on survey results in 1872 but certainly predating this, sits gracefully within the beautiful Kent countryside and holds precious childhood memories for our client. Its sentimental value made for an even more special project.

The original home’s footprint was originally quite small, but it has been expanded multiple times over the years. Because the extensions had been added to accommodate pressing needs, the use of space and flow of the house had not been optimised. The WC on the ground floor was located at the very centre of the house, blocking the passage to the other rooms, while the kitchen was rather small and inadequately connected to the rest of the house.

For these reasons, the owners felt moving through the house was often awkward. It was time for a redesign that prioritised the use of space and flow. Thanks to our unparalleled interior architecture skill set, James Clague Architects were the perfect firm to fulfil the brief.

Design Brief: Improving The Interior Architecture Of A Village Home

The owners wanted to increase circulation around the house on both floors and improve the insulation in the existing extensions. They also wanted to enlarge the modest kitchen and create a utility room. Ultimately, they wanted their home to become more practical and comfortable.

Choosing James Clague Architects for an Interior Architecture Project

At James Clague Architects, we have a team who specialise in interior architecture. We excel at adapting the interior layout of a building to improve flow and how a space functions. We have extensive experience in creating well-considered designs to bring a client’s vision to life.

This is why the owners decided to appoint us for this project. We were excited to fulfil the brief for such a beautiful dwelling. Our experienced skill set and knowledge allowed us to redesign the existing floor plan to suit the client’s budget and expectations.

The Design

The period country house had a big footprint, but the generous interior space was not used in a functional way. James Clague Architects worked closely with the owners to design a plan that maximised the space available in the building to allow the family and their guests to move freely around the house and create more functional rooms.

We proposed a new layout and to do so we had to rearrange some of the internal walls to make better use of the existing rooms. We created a generous central spine to the ground floor, allowing for all rooms to be accessible from one area; upstairs we designed a new shower room from underused space on the first floor landing. Some small changes made a big difference.

The Ground Floor: New Interior Architecture

On the ground floor we removed the central WC and created a large open hall to provide access to all rooms, as a result, the hallway has become a lot brighter. Relocating the entrance to the kitchen has allowed for a piano to be placed within the entrance hall, creating a warm and welcoming feel as you enter the home.

We split the existing dining area into three separate rooms: a snug, a WC, and a utility area. This plan makes much better use of space, as it provides for three separate functionalities. These smaller spaces are also much easier to heat in the winter.

The First Floor: Redesigned Floor Plan

On the first floor, we redesigned the layout of the family bathroom to incorporate a bath and a shower. On the same level, we also added a third shower room. This new room is located in the underused space previously belonging to the landing. Closing off this area reduced the amount of light in the remaining landing area, so we added a beautiful roof lantern at the top of the staircase.The result is an even brighter and more attractive landing.

The proportions of the two guest bedrooms to the west elevation were not suited to the size of the house. We redesigned the area between them to make the rooms a similar size. To achieve this, we redesigned the stud wall between the bedrooms to create more space. Both rooms can now fit double beds and side tables.

Finally, the landing was originally divided into three sections, which made parts of it rather enclosed and dark. We removed a series of nibs and down stands to make the area feel as one, with uniform width and height achieved. This has allowed for the natural light from the newly installed roof lantern to flood the once dark and enclosed area.

The Build

As part of the build, we specified rendering the existing painted brick wall to the south-west elevation due to existing water ingress. The wall was beginning to fail, so this needed to be addressed as a priority.

To ensure adequate heating of the house we installed a new heating system with underfloor heating to the kitchen, shower room, and bathroom. We also fitted new sash windows and timber external doors to ensure the heat doesn’t disperse in the winter.

As part of the scheme, we rewired the whole house. This enabled us to move the location of electrical outlets to improve the functionality of all rooms. In the main living area, we designed a 5 amp lighting circuit to make the room feel more cosy.

Finally, we thermally upgraded the boiler room to ensure efficient running of the newly installed heating system. We also refurbished the flat roof over a portion of the first floor. We used an unventilated warm roof ensuring no cold bridges or impact to the existing floor-to-ceiling heights within the rooms below. These rooms are now a lot warmer in the winter and heating them does not cost as much.

The Interior Design

When it comes to the interior design, James Clague Architects specified the type of floor finishes, such as carpet or engineered wood and oversaw the design of the bespoke joinery on the ground and first floors. However, the client, who has excellent taste, chose all the colour schemes and internal finishes.

The result is an exquisite, quintessentially British country house, that is in-keeping with the traditional joinery details, with a contemporary twist. The interior design is timeless and provides a cosy family home feel. This is exactly the result the client was aiming for and we were very pleased we could help our client achieve it.

The Client’s Feedback

The owners are extremely pleased with the redesign and refurbishment of their family home. It’s now practical and spacious, and moving around the house is not awkward or counterintuitive anymore.

Going forward, the owners plan to remove the existing conservatory and add an extension on the back of the house. This new room would open onto the kitchen to create an open dining area. It would give them full access to the kitchen. At James Clague Architects, we look forward to working on this exciting project further.

To find out more about how an interior architect can help with a house redesign, improved internal floor plan and making the most from the home you already have, click here.

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