Metro - 15 November 2012
By Jo Eccles
With London space (which is measured in price per square footage) at such a premium, clever homeowners and developers are turning their attention to smaller spaces, and the wonders you can do with them. In my job, I see good and bad designs, and it’s always so refreshing to walk into a space that has been innovatively thought out and works perfectly.
A lot of our buying clients will often specify minimum square footage requirements when they give us their brief, but we always tell them not to focus too heavily on the measurements, as some properties can be very deceptive and feel bigger than others – even when they’re not.
There are many small tricks of the trade which needn’t cost too much, and can make a vast difference to the space. For example, metric space, i.e. ceiling height, is often overlooked. A great trick if you have high ceilings is to raise the door frame to make it higher, and if you can, also widen it, as this creates a big feeling of space. Next time you visit a property with high ceilings, look at the door frames and you’ll see how few people do this. Also, it’s worth bearing in mind that a lot of older properties have false ceilings in them to accommodate ceiling lighting, and these ceilings can often be raised with new lighting technology.
Mirrors can also be an extremely effective way of creating a sense of space. A mirror at the end of a hallway, or even at the end of a patio garden, can make spaces seem much bigger than they are. They also reflect light, which again achieves a sense of space.
Clever joinery makes a huge difference. For example, I viewed a house where all the doors, when opened, didn’t rest against the wall and jut out slightly, instead, they opened into the room and recessed into the wall so you didn’t have the feeling of the door encroaching into the doorway space. It was such a minor detail, but it’s often these small differences that can enhance the overall feel. If this is out of your budget, then sliding doors can also have a similar effect.
Another clever space saving initiative I’ve seen was a large breakfast bar where the top surface slid across to reveal a hob underneath, allowing the space to double up as a kitchen area and dining area.
So, when you’re out house hunting, don’t necessarily focus on the maximum space you can get for your budget. Sometimes, you can make just as good an investment buying a smaller property, and spending some of your budget on clever space saving ideas instead.