The future of shared domestic spaces

 

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought how we use our homes into sharp focus. As we spend more time than before working, socialising, exercising and resting at home, our shared spaces have taken on new functions. No longer is the kitchen only a place to cook or eat – it may now be where at least one member of the family conducts their daily online meetings. This means that many of us have had to think about how our shared, domestic spaces can accommodate more aspects of our daily lives.

RISE Design Studio casa plywood London

Reinventing the workspace

Working from home has been a journey of discovery for many of us and it looks to be here to stay, at least in the short to medium term. Although time is saved on the non-existent commute, the experiences of remote working in 2020 have been psychologically and socially challenging. Online meetings enable regular contact with colleagues, yet this method of communication has been found to lead to feelings of isolation, anxiety and disconnection from others.

As many of us continue to work from home, it may help to think about how to adapt our domestic working spaces to address some of these issues. Like in the office, sitting in one place all day can cause health issues (bad posture, etc.), and too much clutter can create a ‘fuzzy’ mind when focussing on difficult tasks. A good chair that gives an optimal sitting position is crucial, as is a desk at the correct height, in a well-lit, clear space.

Bringing the outdoors indoors

With the outside world ‘off limits’ or presenting a threat to those most vulnerable, it has become crucial to incorporate more nature into our homes. With a boom in gardening among those with access to a garden or other outdoor space, integrating living plants into our homes has become more popular. Although hygiene is key, our personal living spaces still need to be physically enriching and remind us that the natural world still exists ‘out there’.

Testing architectural and design assumptions

The recent situation has also challenged how we use public spaces. As government requirements mean more ventilation and regular cleaning regimes, those places that are more modern, with transparent architecture and interior design, may have an easier road ahead. This is not dissimilar to the reasons behind the development of modernist hospital architecture in the early 1900s to combat widespread tuberculosis.

It has been predicted that the way in which we design our homes is likely to change. Instead of browsing showrooms, most purchases are now made online. The development of online consultation services and the use of simple digital planning tools is becoming more widespread, and some companies are even bringing materials to people’s homes for them to test, rather than requiring them to come to a showroom.

At the end of the day, spending endless time in our homes may have brought us down to earth somewhat. We have had to focus on what works and what doesn’t, as well as what our priorities and design choices really are. Perhaps we have also discovered some simple pleasures about our home that we hadn’t noticed before. What we learned about our homes during 2020 will be crucial for planning ahead to the ‘new normal’ and how to maximise our enjoyment of time at home in the future.

Five residential architecture tricks to introduce light in your home

 

We have heard it time and again: a house with good light is a good house. But what is just as true is that not all properties come with the amounts of natural light we would like to have. That is why architects, engineers and designers have come up with clever ways of allowing those precious rays of sunlight into the very depths of your home. We would like to present to you five different ways to make your home brighter with natural light: from extensions to small renovations, rearrangements, or additions, read below and find out how you can turn that dark living room into a room full of light.

Rooflights

RISE-BREXIT┬®edmund sumner 042 Rise-douglas┬®Edmund Sumner 0037

This is probably the most straight-forward way of bringing in light, and one of the most effective too! Allowing the light to come in from the top will get you more than sunlight: the ambient light from the sky will get inside the room even when the sun isn’t shining, and during all daylight hours. A skylight is your best bet on the rooms just under the roof – we are talking about that dark attic or loft space that has so much uncovered potential… And there’s more! An additional benefit from installing a skylight is that it will significantly increase the head height in the area since the thickness of the glazing is so much less than that of the roof – you could win up to 300mm in height. Not bad, right? All in all, skylights are a universal win-win.

Glazed extensions

160418_RISE_BurrowsRd_005

If you are familiar with our projects, you will know that this is one of our favourite strategies. Glazed extensions serve a double purpose: you get more internal floor area in the ground floor, making your living room or kitchen much, much ampler, and you let in an incredible amount of light both in the new extension and in the existing portion of the house that will be connected to it. The positive change that a glazed extension makes to a home never fails to amaze… if you’re thinking of making a single change to your home, this may be the one that gives you the most value.

Room reconfigurations

Rise-douglas┬®Edmund Sumner 0017

Room reconfigurations are a small way of making a potentially big difference. If your room is dimly lit, make sure that your furniture faces the light and that there is nothing blocking its path. If there is a room that receives no light at all, think about getting rid of the wall that separates it from the next, better lit, room. This will require some tweaking in terms of use and furniture, but sometimes replacing a wall with a shelf or a soft partition allows you to retain the differentiation between the rooms without having to give up all the natural light in one of them.

Internal windows

180914_RISE_HarvistRd_013 Rise-douglas┬®Edmund Sumner 0015

It may be counterintuitive to have a room with a window into another room, but this strategy can be really helpful for getting some light into the heart of the house. It is particularly helpful for rooms like bathrooms, or utility rooms: a frosted window into a naturally-lit corridor or into an adjacent room will take care of letting some soft natural light in without compromising privacy. What’s more, it will make the room feel bigger too, and you can take advantage of the new opening and use it as a shelf. Simple but effective!

Sun tunnels

photo-1546806453-3089d9396378

This technology is slowly finding its way into the residential world, and it is a very clever solution for those rooms in which you thought it was just not possible to have sunlight. Here’s how: a flue-like tube pops up over the roof, all clad in highly reflected panels that are angled in such a way that the light that reflects on them from the top bounces downwards to hit the next panel, and so on. What you have, in the end, is a game of mirrors that can bring the same sunlight you have at roof level down to seven stories below. This can work for ground floor kitchens, isolated rooms at the centre of the house, and even basements.