Start with the end in mind.
Have a clear picture in your mind as to who will live/work in the space.. understand what they need/want… and then plan how to meet those expectations
A FLOOR PLAN provides you with a birds eye view of a building. It is a diagram drawn to scale for a room, a house or a building created by an architect or interior designer. It affords you the opportunity to visualise spaces, rooms, furniture and measurements and dimensions indicating how items would work in these areas in reality.
As I am starting a new project, the renovation of an apartment in South Kensington, I thought I would share the importance of pre planning with you. It can be a little overwhelming when you consider all the choices and decisions you have to make – including not only an altered floor plan but also kitchen design, bathroom layout, wall finishes, sanitary ware and so the list grows.. but lets leave that for a later post.
First off, the apartment that I am working on is a wonderfully sized three bedroom flat that is pretty outdated and in dire need of a refurb. That said – the obvious thought is to look at the floor plan and decide what can be changed, rearranged or demolished to make this space work better.
As I am somewhat new to this – and let me be quite frank and honest, maybe a little too confident for my own good, I set out to alter the floor plan myself. Whilst I found a solution, I was still not convinced it was THE solution. Enter a little advice from my mom who has taught me a great deal through this process…
You don’t need a professional to reconfigure a plan for you! Get creative!
Always start with a blank canvas. It is very difficult to see what can we improve upon when you have the current layout in front of you. My advice, or better my moms, is to photocopy or print out another plan and tippex the layout of the areas in question, leaving the walls which are definitely staying.
Once the rooms are empty is is very easy to see the space though fresh eyes.
Measure. Make sure you have the correct measurements, so you may want to measure twice. What to measure:
- Outside walls or footprint of your space, any doorways or entries, and windows.
- The walls from side to side and from the floor to the ceiling.
- Where the electrical outlets, switches, and other controls are located.
- Permanent fixtures: any and all architectural features, including fireplaces, brackets, shelves, benches, and any other built-in features.
- Surrounding space and outside or overall dimensions of these items, and then locate each on your plan.
- Objects that will be inside the space.
Look at the walls. Thick walls are support walls, everything else can technically go. A blank canvas makes it easy to see which walls can stay and which can be removed – in my case – the kitchen wall adds no value to a small flat, opening the space up will make it feel bigger and create social value.
Sometimes its even good to have three copies – one with all possible walls removed and one with current walls remaining so you can see the space you have to play with.
Now list the requirement. Make a thorough list of the needs and wants of those who will occupy the space.
Once you have defined the spaces/rooms – cut out the furniture layout elements so that you can freely move them around and see if they can fit in different places. This is the best way to reconfigure the kitchen, living room beds etc etc, knowing that the proportions are correct.
Another wise tip I have recently learnt is before you go to crazy with bathroom or kitchen repositioning – make sure you know where the plumbing is – you don’t want to make this is an unnecessarily expensive exercise.
Tip: As you can see from our first layout – we have reconfigured the space upstairs to now accommodate three en-suite bathrooms which we feel has added major value. The unnecessary excess space in the bedroom could be utilised and thats exactly what we did. In london, as we all know, space is not a luxury we are accustomed to – so we need to be clever.
Secondly – you will notice that we have added in walls upstairs to make these en-suite rooms work – don’t be afraid to add walls in to create spaces which add value either.
Carefully plan where you need electrical plug points and lights. (Reading lights, down lighters, accent lighting and chandeliers.) This is commonly overlooked when it comes to attention to detail and there is nothing more annoying than having no nearby plugs for cellphone chargers, hair dryers and reading lamps.
Evolving yourself in this process is really exciting! Have fun!