Day 7 - Living Room Refurbishment

Every building project will have some kind of hick up or “issue”. Your attitude to deal with this will determine the success of your project. You can’t believe how many times I have heard real architects say that they could have achieved a better result, if it wasn’t for this or that or my favourite one “the council”. I believe that there is opportunity in everything. My design lecturer’s used to say “don’t get hung up on an idea, if it isn’t right don’t force it”, although a long side of that they said to “fiercely get an idea and run with it”. Can you see the middle ground here?

It is important to keep the bigger picture in mind. Keep your idea strong and don’t waiver from it, because every time a little hiccup comes along it could steer your whole room in a new direction. This could be a wonderful mistake or it could mean you end up with a mismatch of things that kind of might go together if you are lucky. The example I give here is quite small to be honest. Most projects come up against a lot crazier things than this. Can you see the driving force here were constraints:

  1.  The main idea – keeping the appearance of the ceilings being high (even though its a new build property, we wanted the proportions to feel more classic and formal, especially because this is an entertaining room and a place we would invite guests).
  2. Disaster! Ruined walls above the height of the desired skirting.
  3. Our budget – We could of plastered the walls (obviously the preferred option), but this would have cost us an additional £300-500, which would have blown our budget.
  4. We could of raised the skirting even higher to give the appearance of an even more traditional feel, although again this type of skirting would have been much more costly and would have been out of keeping considering we wanted a classic but “modern” interior finish rather than a classic “traditional” look. I also felt that adding detail up the wall on the sides would have added too much decoration, rather than if the wall colour was the same as the shadow which would have added interest and pattern.
  5. The walls had already been pretty much painted and the radiators already installed. You don’t want to be pulling things off the walls for minor things like skirting (not in a house like this anyway!)

This is usually the place in a build, renovation or decoration project that I would describe the Design Dilemma. This is when you need to be creative but also stay clear to your desired intention. Don’t forget that this issue you are coming up against could be the most amazing gift (or it could just be another little hiccup).