Changing Rooms

by | Apr 2023 | Journal

The Red Sheds

Lockdown changed everything and, whilst that is now thankfully behind us, it has challenged the way we live. When we were not allowed to leave our homes, open plan living became rather far more awkward; we suddenly needed our properties to work harder than ever before – homes foremost, but also classrooms, offices, gyms and entertainment spaces – a tall order for one room!

Traditionally, homes were designed around a central hall with rooms (each with their own defined purpose) leading from it. Rather than being ‘the heart of the home’ the kitchen was back of house and definitely not a social space. Frank Lloyd Wright and other designers began to push the concept of open plan living and it was in the post war years that a less formal structure for the home emerged and, eventually, by the 1990s, sociable kitchens became central to the home and true open plan living became highly prized and one of the main reasons many took on major remodelling projects. Families came together in these new spaces, children playing or doing their home work could be watched over whilst parents multi-tasked and the TV could be watched as dinner was being prepared. Guests could be chatted to and a glass of wine shared as the cook was no longer confined to a space cut off from the socialising. This in turn meant that kitchen design developed and became less about function (though that clearly remained key) and more about aesthetic appeal.

Whilst open plan living is still a lifestyle that suits many of us, the reality of lockdown has perhaps made us rethink our homes once again.

Whilst it certainly has many advantages (it is more sociable, it tends to be lighter and brighter, it feels flexible, spacious and multifunctional), such spaces come with challenges too (they are more expensive to build with greater expanses to span, they are more challenging to heat, they can be noisy and if you aren’t particularly organised, they can quickly become cluttered and untidy).

It may seem counter-intuitive to some, but the idea of separated spaces is returning in popularity. As ever, if you can have it all (a large open plan living room and additional rooms with purpose) so much the better.

Here at Castellum we are finding that our clients are choosing a variety of ‘trophy’ rooms – spaces designed with true purpose in mind.

Media rooms and cinemas where people can be free of other distractions are popular. Some want home gyms, treatment rooms, yoga studios and the like, whilst others want bars or wine cellars to socialise in. Offices and libraries are highly prized, as are hobby rooms, golf simulators or music rooms. As is the norm, it boils down to budget and personal preference and the deeper the pockets, the more options become available.