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Less is more

Sometimes fewer good rooms, say Colin and Justin, are better for your home than a higher number of lesser rooms.  Even where real estate values are concerned…

The science of property development is frustratingly fickle: many improvers reckon that, to attract optimum value, homes should be arranged with as many rooms as possible. Others believe that quality – and not quantity – attracts profit at sales time.  We’re generally in the latter camp.  And besides, as we oft’ report, your home’s greatest ‘return’ should be measured on a daily basis.  It’s not always about dollar quotient.

Rules vary, of course: abodes within school catchments may attract a higher price with elevated bedroom count, whereas fewer bedrooms – and perhaps a better kitchen – might be the holy grail in an enclave favoured by retirees.

Balance considered, we set about maxing up the lifestyle factor for the inhabitants of today’s project – soon to be empty nesters – who longed for space in which to spread out.

When viewing their home for the first time it was patently obvious – to us, certainly – that two upstairs zones would be better connected to make way for one commodious space.  Our clients agreed, but only after discussing the matter with their 18 year-old son (occupant of the bedroom next to theirs) who was about fly the coup.

For the record, we’re always tactful as we remind parents their kids probably aren’t coming back, post university, as independent lives, partners and children of their own beckon.


First up, we hired an engineer to discuss code and assess the feasibility of combining two rooms through a double pier aperture. The diagnosis, thankfully, was perfect; the wall in question was neither structural nor load bearing and, as such, came down easily.


When connecting two spaces its best to run the same flooring between both zones.  Visual connectivity is a tried and tested means by which to reduce the ‘clutter’ of threshold bars or different depths of floor finish.  Plus, if buying a larger quantity of one product, your supplier may be amenable to discount.  If you don’t ask, you don’t get, right?

Wall drama

The room being large enough to accommodate a bold pattern, we went to town.  As always though, in our projects certainly, considered design pivots around balance; the light background makes the room feel large and clean whilst the floral motif provides lashings of colour.

We custom-sprayed a budget pine bed to match the lightest blue in our wallpaper, thereby whizzing a new look around a store bought staple.  The duck egg shade punctuates the light backdrop and frames up the crisp white bedding.
Invisible Walls

Rather than leave the alcove piers (created whilst connecting both bedrooms) plain, we clad them both sides with templated mirror to suffuse our project with further modernity.  The reflective coup de grace makes the divide ‘invisible’ whilst bouncing light through a north-facing elevation that needs all the brightening help it can get.


The elegant Bergere chair’s wood and upholstery mix whispers ‘continental’.  It’s also worth noting that Bergères are easy to reupholster further down the line, so they offer economic future proofing into the bargain.  Starting with bare frames from a second hand store, we upholstered using fabric that matches the wallpaper.  If you’re less adventurous, opt for a single colour and use this as your upholstery detail to achieve a somewhat calmer result.

Painted Wardrobes

Prior to installing custom closets, we sprayed them in a shade pulled from the wallpaper’s tonal composition.  As well as looking slick, the plain doors complement the mirror – and the plain drapery – effectively balancing the pattern and affording it breathing space.  Either dispatch your job to the pros (try an auto body shop for a cost-effective solution) or rent a spray gun from your local hire store and do the job, light coat by light coat, properly.

All in all, quite the transformation, huh?  Maintaining original footprint isn’t always the best way forward, especially as familial balance changes and children mature.  If you struggle with the prospect of becoming an empty nester, consider this: could the dream of a Sex In The City-style walk-in closet be the impetus required to instill in your issue the advantages of further education?  Just think of the extra space … the joy you’ll feel when your kid graduates … and that – potentially – optimized real estate value.  Triple strike?  Result!




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