Future Proofing In Interior Design – Part I

People often ask me what happens when I have to decorate a house in a style I don’t like, and how do I manage not to force my own style on people. The simple answer to both is that I actually enjoy working with different styles. And although I sometimes need to include things in my designs that I perhaps wouldn’t put in my own home, I’ve never designed something I didn’t like. To me it’s all about the transformation and making customers happy, and sometimes that can be more about functionality than aesthetic.

Future proofing in interior design

Future proofing is about anticipating the future and making changes that will minimise the negative impact of future events. You see the best examples of future proofing in interior design in the program DIY SOS, where they redesign homes to allow disabled individuals and families to continue living there. I do future proofing on a much smaller scale for retired customers. They don’t usually have mobility issues when I meet them, but know that time will come and would rather be prepared than start ripping out their bathrooms and kitchens when they’re 70.

Future proofing in interior design. Interior design advice Cumbria
My favourite guest interior designer on DIY SOS – Gabrielle Blackman

Future Proofing Kitchens & Bathrooms

There are four easy ways to future proof a kitchen for the mobility issues that can come as we get older:

  1. Install eye level fridges and ovens
  2. Replace cupboards with drawers and/or pull out shelves and racks
  3. Improve storage to reduce clutter (less clutter less cleaning)
  4. Remove nooks and crannies that trap dust and dirt

Much of the same applies to bathrooms, the main addition being to replace baths with walk in showers. Sometimes we also add comfort level toilets, which are slightly higher so you don’t have to bend your knees quite as much.

Grab bars are the kind of thing you can add later when mobility has become an issue, which is lucky as I’m yet to find one that isn’t really ugly.

So are you ready to see how we future proofed this house? I’ve a lot of pics to show you but don’t want you to get bored so I’ve divided this house tour into 3 parts, a sort of interior design trilogy, but where the plot gets better rather than worse… (I hope). We’re starting in the kitchen…..

Part I – The Kitchen Transformation

Future proofing in interior design. Before and after photographs

Ignoring the dated look, storage and accessibility were the real issues in this kitchen.

Future proofing in interior design. Kitchen transformation

Future proofing in interior design. Kitchen design Cumbria

We removed the breakfast bar (they already had a dining table right next to the kitchen door), and blocked up the entrance to the under stairs cupboard and put a new door on the other side. This meant we could put floor to ceiling units on this wall including an eye level fridge and oven and a huge pull out larder unit. The ivory colour keeps it light and stops you from feeling boxed in

Future proofing in interior design. Kitchen designed by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd Cumbria

We picked slab style handleless doors that would be easy to wipe down.

Future proofing in interior design. Kitchen design. Interior Design Cumbria

We moved the hob to where the oven was to give them a clear length of counter space.

Future proofing in interior design. Handleless kitchen designed by Amelia Wilson

We ran the cupboards up to the ceiling to increase storage and remove the dirt trap.

Future proofing in interior design. Interior designer Cumbria

We replaced the hard to clean cork floor tiles with these beautiful Victorian tiles that run through to the utility room and cloakroom, and added shoe racks and coat hooks in the utility room, which also has extra cupboard space that I forgot to photograph……

Future proofing in interior design. Victorian house. Victorian floor tiles

This is a Victorian terrace so although the kitchen is modern the floor and wall tiles keep that traditional look. To stop the tiles feeling cold in the winter we installed a plinth heater underneath the larder unit so that the warm air would heat the room and the floor tiles. There is a second one in the utility room. It also meant we didn’t need to use up valuable wall space with radiators.

Future proofing in interior design. Victorian floor and wall tiles

You might think those gold walls are a bit bright but trust me they’re not as bold as the tangerine orange the man of the house requested (thankfully I was able to dissuade him).

Future proofing in interior design. Interior designer Cumbria

I actually love the contrast with the blue/grey metro tiles and both tie in with the floor tile colours.

So what do you think? Can’t wait to show you the rest of the house…..

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