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Phil Pascoe

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Interior designers? I always remember the woman bursting into tears after Laurence Llewelyn - Bowen had been let loose on her house.:ROFLMAO:

I remember a local club who employed interior designers for a revamp - it looked brilliant ............. but they hadn't left any spaces in the bars for rubbish bins and bottle bins.
I worked somewhere where everything was designed to look nice, and consequently was invariably impractical at best, unuseable at worst. If I were starting from scratch with anything I would decide what I wanted and needed then present it to a designer/architect and tell him to make it look as good as is possible.
 

DrPhill

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I have access to an "Interiors Architect", for when we get involved in any major design projects, the benefit we find is that they look at things with a clear mind.....
Thanks HOJ, Lots of information to digest there. We need to think through our requirements a bit more before we make any plans. This was all started by 'we need to get this fixed' which led to 'but while that is being done it would make sense to get that done'. Then 'if we are doing that maybe we should do....'. I am sure that you all know how it goes. A simple repair turns into a major (perhaps ill thought out) project.
 

DrPhill

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If I were starting from scratch with anything I would decide what I wanted and needed then present it to a designer/architect and tell him to make it look as good as is possible.
Thanks. We need to do the thinking bit first. What do we really want? Not allow one job to trigger the next because it seems to make sense.

That all said we have a reasonable area in a corner of our house if we combine kitchen, stairs, hall cupboard, back passageway. Tempting to see what we could make of that.
 

D_W

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... looks at your house and suggests what alterations to make. A bit like Kirsty Allsopp. I am sure that our house probably has potential for improvement
I tried making a 3d model and planning moving the stairs, but I may be missing other possibilities.
I call that one of my wife's friends (who comes over and does that whether suggestions are wanted or not - she did work professionally as an interior designer).

I've learned over time, too, that professional designers with unusual tastes can make suggestions for ugly designs. I call it "professionally ugly", so it's good to see some of their finished work before you rely on any one person's advice.

A friend's mother hired a designer who told her that her fireplace brickwork (which was a light sandy color and two stories tall in an open room) looked "scary and like it was falling toward everyone because it's not painted. Paint it!"). His mother painted the said brick work and now it looks ugly, but it's not that easy to remove paint!! This was brand new cleanly done brick work, too. It's a big joke now to go through (but not when his mom's there) and say "phew, I finally feel safe now that it doesn't look like the brickwork is going to fall on top of me. I'm sure glad they covered it with that ugly paint!".
 

DrPhill

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I've learned over time, too, that professional designers with unusual tastes can make suggestions for ugly designs.
I remember when we were house hunting. Some properties were described as 'architect designed' (as opposed to what? designed by a school teacher?). They were the least suitable of the houses that we looked at. Some were butt-ugly, some were poorly laid out. We ended up discarding anything with the label......
 

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I have been playing with sketchup - getting some ideas. Does anyone know if a staircase in a kitchen is allowed? I could imagine it falling foul of safety rules.
 

D_W

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I remember when we were house hunting. Some properties were described as 'architect designed' (as opposed to what? designed by a school teacher?). They were the least suitable of the houses that we looked at. Some were butt-ugly, some were poorly laid out. We ended up discarding anything with the label......
The same is true in the states. There are plenty of standard designs that fall a bit short, but the architect designs tended to be specialty showy bits that were impractical, and then they're usually listed higher per square foot inversely proportional to their usefulness.

Falling water is a good example at the extremes in the US. The ceilings are low in the bedrooms because FLW thought that it made them more comfortable. think scraping your head low, and the house is in a constant state of disrepair despite the other constant state of consuming money for maintenance.

As per his thoughtfulness (which probably translated into how much trouble he didn't think was a big deal on anyone else's part), he would reportedly have flowers sent to customers and then send a subsequent invoice for them.

Otherwise, the architect designed houses around here that are a bit more practical tend to have custom parts/finishes that won't be easily repairable in the future, and they also tend to be very dated within a couple of decades. There are two colonial houses in my neighborhood that are all brick. One was built in 1823 and one was built in 1973. I'm sure the insides of the latter are more practical, but in general style, they are scarcely different (the add-ons to the older house have been done in matching style). There's one section of the neighborhood that was put together in a period here that we refer to as contemporary (i'm not educated on the term). The houses all look like 1970 with large impractical glass surfaces (not insulated glass, just single pane glass), steel stairwells and things like a giant open area inside the front door with a huge star shaped lamp (that is intentionally placed in front of the glass to be showy). At that point, someone decided that modern meant no basement and no usable attic, I guess we were all going to become professionals with no hobbies, so those houses have no utility/storage space built into them other than a small utility room for HVAC. The basements are finished entirely as living space to make up for wasting open space in the upstairs.
 

heimlaga

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I agree with the above though the phenomena is generally said to have hit less bad in rural Finland than elsewhere. It seems like rural areas where it is distictly untrendy to live have a sort of built in partial protection against both coronavirus and architecturevirus.

Myself I have a Batchelor's degree in structural engineering which means that I have also studied enough architecture to be able to plan a not too advanced house without architect when needed. To me it seems like architects are scarcely able to think outside the cardboard box where they keep their old schoolbooks.When they are brave enough think outside the box tend to do it in ways that is more about turning artistic dreams usually directly inspired by another architect into reality than creating a functional building.
There are a few good architects though but they have become that good only because of their own willingness to learn practical thinking and their own character which is strong enough to swim against the current.
Engineers on the other hand tend to think that every customer is alike and every household alike so one size of one solution fits all. Most also have problems to undertand the load bearing structure of elderly buildings and who the standard solutions may have to be changed a bit to fit between load bearing walls or under joists.

Many of the most sucsessful modernisations or new builds that I have seen have locally have been planned in good cooperation between a practical minded and aesthetically aware customer who has ensured that things came out functional for the needs of his/her particular household while looking good to his/her taste, and a structural engineer who knew the technical limitations and was willing to discuss back and forth and suggest ideas that combined the essentials of the customer's wishes with uncomplicated technical solution while living up to building code.

And....first and foremost.
Never ever trust a builder.
 
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Bodone

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Do you have a friendly local builder? We’ve a family member who runs a small firm we bounce ideas off.
 

Phil Pascoe

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... To me it seems like architects are scarcely able to think outside the cardboard box where they keep their old schoolbooks.
My mother had a job done by an architect and she asked me to pop over while he was there. It was a dilapidated porch that had to be redesigned and rebuilt. Why are you even thinking about a porch? I asked. You don't like porches and the kitchen is too small - incorporate the area the porch takes into a kitchen extention. Oh, that's a good idea, he said. It's a shame the soil pipe and drain pipes are where they are, they're ugly, she said. We can't move them, he said, that's where the sewer is. No, I said, but you can move the door and kill two birds with one stone. Put the door on the other side, which leaves all the pipework in a blind corner so it can have climbing plants grown up it to hide it - it also shifts a west facing door (in West Cornwall) to the leeward.

I dread to think how much he billed her for that advice. She wouldn't show me the bill.

And....first and foremost.
Never ever trust a builder.
Never trust a builder you don't know well.
FTFY :)
 

heimlaga

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Correct.
Never trust a builder you don't know well...... and never trust him outside his field of expertise. I have seen some terrible destruction caused in a log building by a builder whom I know is very good at modern stick framed houses. Apparently he didn't know himself well enough to know his limitations.
 

rafezetter

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I agree with the above though the phenomena is generally said to have hit less bad in rural Finland than elsewhere. It seems like rural areas where it is distictly untrendy to live have a sort of built in partial protection against both coronavirus and architecturevirus.

Myself I have a Batchelor's degree in structural engineering which means that I have also studied enough architecture to be able to plan a not too advanced house without architect when needed. To me it seems like architects are scarcely able to think outside the cardboard box where they keep their old schoolbooks.When they are brave enough think outside the box tend to do it in ways that is more about turning artistic dreams usually directly inspired by another architect into reality than creating a functional building.
There are a few good architects though but they have become that good only because of their own willingness to learn practical thinking and their own character which is strong enough to swim against the current.
Engineers on the other hand tend to think that every customer is alike and every household alike so one size of one solution fits all. Most also have problems to undertand the load bearing structure of elderly buildings and who the standard solutions may have to be changed a bit to fit between load bearing walls or under joists.

Many of the most sucsessful modernisations or new builds that I have seen have locally have been planned in good cooperation between a practical minded and aesthetically aware customer who has ensured that things came out functional for the needs of his/her particular household while looking good to his/her taste, and a structural engineer who knew the technical limitations and was willing to discuss back and forth and suggest ideas that combined the essentials of the customer's wishes with uncomplicated technical solution while living up to building code.

And....first and foremost.
Never ever trust a builder.
Funny you should mention about "architects dreams" I saw an episode of George Clarkes "ugly house to lovely home" and 2 architects had a good design of adding 3 extentions to a home, each slightly smaller than the previous - "russian doll" they called it - and the design LOOKED great, problem was the actual BUILDING of it - which turned out to be a serious nightmare even for a company used to using the shutter system for pouring thin concrete walls - which in turn ended up turnign a 7 month project into..... 3 YEARS and a ridiculous overspend - which made me think the same thing; that the architects were spending other peoples money for an "artistic vision" of thier own.

"professionally ugly" - lol or "pro-fugly" which works on several levels :)

I think what the OP needs is called a "Sarah Beeny" who by chance has a show on at the moment about exactly this - swapping the interior design of a house to made it more logical and useful for the current owners - some of the shows have been really good, throwing out ideas I'd not have thought of although some of the shows had clients with an unfeasably small budget.

Research research research - and then more reasearch, before you even call a person to get a quote - think of all the ways the space might be used, and at different times of year, like Xmas with lots of family around etc, and make notes of all the ideas and thoughts, the "MUST HAVES" and the "would like's", don't start second guessing yourself at the beginning just throw them ALL down, then create a "mood board / folder" of all the pictures of things and ideas you like (great place is PINTEREST for pretty much every sort of interior you can think of), inc even mundane things like fittings, taps, what type of overhead lights - drop style or flush LED's or wall sconces, switch sockets white or metallic or even funkier, colour examples for walls and fabrics, what sort of decorations, where are you going to put pictures and shelving etc - all of it, because any "interior architect" worth a damn will want to know all of that information before they even pick up a pencil to start designing.

Also - don't get hung up on "design conventions" - yes you CAN have "modern urban" next to "country cottage" in the same building if it's done properly and sympathetically.

Go nuts - all ideas when it comes to design however mad are not inherently "bad" - and bit by bit you'll start to see a clearer picture of your personal tastes, and what boundaries you might consider expanding like colour / textures / fabrics and materials such as polished concrete, to name a current trend, which has lots of advantages BTW and can be visually stunning and not at all "1950's high rise".

Once you've got all that then you can start whittling stuff down regarding costs, swap this for that, stretch a bit here for that "must have" and remove a "would like" to balance the budget etc etc.

But most of all you need to KNOW WHAT YOU WANT, because 30+years of watching pretty much every program associated with building and interior design (I've been watching "This Old House" ever since the Bob Villa days and an entire shelf of books on the subject) in the UK and USA (and Australia and NZ) changing your mind when the work is being done can get REAL expensive.

HTH!
 

thetyreman

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most builders are ex prisoners and criminals, just something to bear in mind, I've had some very bad experiences with builders, there's very little trust or faith I have in them.
 

stuartpaul

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most builders are ex prisoners and criminals, just something to bear in mind,..........
Now that's a stupid comment if ever I heard one. Tarring every builder with the same brush because of your bad experiences really isn't necessary is it?
 

thetyreman

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Now that's a stupid comment if ever I heard one. Tarring every builder with the same brush because of your bad experiences really isn't necessary is it?
it's true though, around here most of them really are ex prisoners and criminals.
 
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Jake

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Myself I have a Batchelor's degree in structural engineering which means that I have also studied enough architecture to be able to plan a not too advanced house without architect when needed. To me it seems like architects are scarcely able to think outside the cardboard box where they keep their old schoolbooks.
The UK disease is design by surveyor but I am sure that design by engineer is every bit as good. Most actually really good things come from people who are genuinely good at all stages of a process applying their hard-earned experience in the areas they are expert at. It's called team work and respecting each other's learned experience. We all have lanes.
 

Phil Pascoe

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Most actually really good things come from people who are genuinely good at all stages of a process applying their hard-earned experience in the areas they are expert at ...
Which maybe is why things tended to work better decades ago when many surveyors, Q.S.s, engineers, architects etc. had worked their way through trades and "night schools" on the way up.
My father employed young site managers etc. with degrees in the late '60s (it was widely presumed to be the way forward) - within two years they were all gone and the jobs had reverted to being done by experienced chippies and masons, people who had actually done the work before for many years.
 

rafezetter

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most builders are ex prisoners and criminals, just something to bear in mind, I've had some very bad experiences with builders, there's very little trust or faith I have in them.
I think you meant to say "most of the builders I've PERSONALLY had dealings with have turned out to be ex prisoners and criminals" Which means maybe YOU need to do a bit more "due diligence" regarding assessing people who work on your property.

I'd also mention that the building trade generally hires based on actual skill and is often the only place a person who's got a criminal record can work to turn thier life around - and yours is exactly the attitude that keeps them in a life of crime because they can't get "honest" work.
 

jimmy_s

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Its the same with all Architects/ Engineers/ Builders/ Interior designers, there are good and bad. I'm a HVAC engineer and work with some very good architects and have also worked with some god awful onese also applies to to structural engineers and interior designers. The difference between good and bad structural engineering is amazing. There is a structural engineer that designed a toilet block for a local council. Ive never seen a simple 2 pan type brick toilet effort with so much piling and ground beams etc. I told the guys at the council that I know where I'm heading if theres an impending nucular strike.

You just need to find a decent architect or architectrual consultant or technician as they cant call themselves architects unless they have their part 3 exam done and dusted from memory. A good technician would easily advise you. To keep your costs down try and find a small firm with low overheads etc and you will also have more chance of an experienced person looking at your job as opposed to it getting thrown to a graduate or similar.
 
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