Designing Quality Spaces For The New Normal

8th March 2021

With nowhere else to go, the home has become a critically important part of our lives. Home-life now includes work, schooling, leisure, exercise, and shopping all – though there is uncertainty about what things will look like following the post-pandemic shift, we have all seen that our homes aren’t set up for hosting all those extra activities.

Before the pandemic hit, the average person spent 4.5 waking hours at home, the new normal has caused this to triple. This has had a massive impact on all of us, 70% of respondents to a recent RIBA homeowner survey said that their home had directly impacted their mental health during the lockdowns.

At Detailed Planning, we have always known about the dramatic difference a well-planned home can make to everyday life. With so many people questioning how they can make changes to their home and improve their quality of life going forward, we have outlined a few key things to consider that will make your home well suited to the new normal.

Working from home

As offices closed across the country, workers swapped meeting rooms for zoom calls and had to figure out how to remain productive and balanced while working from home. Without any real physical separation between ‘workplace’ and home, many found themselves feeling tied down to work.

To counteract this, one of the main priorities is to create a dedicated area for work. Instead of trying to perch in a cramped kitchen, it is worthwhile considering whether an extension could offer the added space you need. For example, a two-storey extension could allow for a dedicated study on the upper floor – with an extended kitchen-dining space on the ground floor, perhaps with a seating nook for quick virtual catch-ups while you’re grabbing a morning coffee.

If your garden is big enough, adding in a garden office and relandscaping could create a morning commute that weaves through meadow grass and planters, instead of HGVs and choking exhaust fumes.

Having loud noises coming from other parts of your house, or even from neighbours can be extremely embarrassing during virtual meetings – soundproofing key areas can be a simple and effective way of reducing noise and helping you get some clear headspace.

Should you be unsure of creating a dedicated space for working from home, there is help out there, especially when it comes to working from home expenses and benefits, it may help you with the cost. Depending on the budget, you could even consider a home extension.

Designing for young children

Children are highly sensitive to their environment; it affects their learning and development. Having spent more time at home too, it’s important to think about how homes can be adapted to suit their needs as well.

A blended approach to learning will likely continue, which means children will need a good workspace of their own. Whether these learning spaces are within bedrooms or supervised within the main living areas, there are many ways to make a learning space engaging.

Workstations can be secreted away into utility spaces, but still offer a personalised space for your child. These foldable desks with built-in storage can be folded away discretely, blending in with the palette of your living space.

While learning is important, it is worth considering how space for play and recreation can be added into your child’s indoor experience. Extending can help to create an indoor room dedicated to indoor play, or where space is more limited – a reading nook can be a useful multi-functional addition. With lots of storage, these are highly practical but also create space for some active play or settling down with a good book.

Blending outdoors and indoors & Boosting Natural Light

We all have an instinctual response to nature, it can help us to feel more energized, but equally, having a view on to an outdoors scene can help us to keep calm in stressful situations. These feelings that we have are backed up by scientific research into the benefits of biophilic design.

Connecting indoor spaces with nature, boosting natural light, and adding in soft natural materials has been proven to have mental and physical health benefits. Perhaps more surprisingly, studies suggest that biophilic design can increase productivity and spark creativity. At Detailed Planning, we love introducing elements that help homeowners to reap the benefits of nature.

For rear extensions, we recommend using glazed openings with the slimmest frames possible – this makes sure the view remains unobstructed. If you are adding in a side-return extension, a strip of frameless glazing will introduce light throughout the day as the sun moves through the sky, bathing your living spaces in natural light and enhancing every surface with the play of shadows. Cleverly positioning openings can help ensure the home benefits from natural ventilation, improving the air quality by regularly removing stale air.

The ‘JOY’ Factor

No matter what changes you are considering making to rework your living environment so that it is the perfect base for the new normal, ensure you choose an architect who is willing to listen to your real needs and respond creatively. Your home should give you a little bit of delight every day, in short, your home needs the ‘JOY’ factor. If spaces are arranged to suit the way you live, materials are well-chosen and details are well balanced, then your home will continue to be an enjoyable space, no matter what happens.

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jemsmith1
jemsmith1
10:44 23 Dec 20
We have used Detailed Planning a couple of times now for planning issues related to our nursery business and they have... always been efficient and communicative and got the result we needed.read more
Francesca Malone
Francesca Malone
19:02 28 Oct 20
We have used Detailed Planning to help design and obtain planning for our single story extension converting our one... bedroom flat to a two bed. We have found them to be extremely helpful, communicating the process and how things work throughout. We were particularly happy with their ability to negotiate our extension depth with the planning office, resulting in 3.5 metres instead of the permitted 3m, which was crucial for our space to work. We look forward to working with them for the rest of the project.read more
Sharon Marsh
Sharon Marsh
15:51 21 Oct 20
We used Detailed planning for a loft conversion and side extension. Very helpful guidance with respect to what would be... allowed by the Planning department. Very efficient service. Would highly recommendread more
Christian Constantinides
Christian Constantinides
19:07 10 Oct 20
I used Detailed Planning for a new build home in the London Borough of Enfield. They managed initial feasibility and... concept design, the planning application process, building regulation drawings and support throughout the build. All in all the entire service was fantastic and I would certainly use Detailed Planning for future projects.read more
Claire M
Claire M
12:52 15 Jun 20
I hired Detailed Planning for the design of my loft extension along with the corresponding planning permission... application. Absolutely brilliant service.They know exactly what they're doing. They were open to my design changes whilst keeping a sharp eye on local council requirements. I'm so pleased - planning permission was granted sooner than expected with no changes. Thanks so much!read more
Komal Lulle
Komal Lulle
08:35 28 May 20
Excellent team and superb service. They are best a there job and they provide guidance, support, work and plan... according to your requirement. And do not hesitate in making changes until you are satisfied. Truly recommend themread more
Emma cheevers
Emma cheevers
15:00 20 May 20
Paul and his team were absolutely excellent to work with. I couldn't recommend them more. So professional, quick and... always ready with advice. Really enjoyed the experienceread more
Mel D
Mel D
21:03 13 May 20
Paul & Emily are fantastic, they have done everything from start to finish for our planning permission and technical... drawings and the quality of their work is very high (I guess it is in the name - detailed!) They have been patient with all our design changes, provided lots of advice, walked us through the process of who to engage with, when etc. and were always responsive and helpful when we have questions both via email and phone. This is our first major project and we are doing a loft conversion and remodelling the entire house so to have this support has been invaluable and well worth the money. We actually found them on trust a trader and obtained a few other quotes, DP was the most reasonable price wise, had the right qualifications, good reviews and a big plus was their well evidenced portfolio of work & experience in the area. It was a no brainier and they really have delivered beyond our expectations, most things have also been done via emails and zoom calls so the flexibility was there which really worked for us, would recommend them to anyone!read more
Gopinath V
Gopinath V
16:14 24 Jan 20
Detailed Planning were recommended to me by a friend. Right from their initial visit and all the way through to the... finished plans, they were very good and we could not have asked for better service. Paul and Emily were always very good in their work they answered every query we had and solved every issue that we encountered during the planning They work extremely well with their recommended engineer, surveyor and building control company to deliver a very good package. Thank you Paul, Emily for your excellent work, We can't wait for our extension to be completed.read more
Ornela Haxhia
Ornela Haxhia
11:48 09 Jan 20
We found Paul and Emily very professional, insightful and helpful during the planning approval stages of a rear... extension to our property. They provided us with regular timely updates. We highly recommend. We have already passed on their details to friends who are looking to make changes to their property in the summar.read more
Nicky Freedman
Nicky Freedman
19:51 23 Dec 19
Nothing a problem for the team at Detailed Planning, helpful, always at the end of phone, attentive and reliable and a... fast efficient service. Would definitely recommend and use again.read more
Stephanie Coward
Stephanie Coward
11:09 18 Dec 19
The service provided by Detailed Planning was exceptional, with fast response times and excellent communication... throughout the project. We would definitely recommend Detailed Planning and look forward to working with Paul and the team again in the future.read more
Oliver Jenkinson
Oliver Jenkinson
19:30 21 Nov 19
Pro active and efficient and got the job done.
Vinay Rughani
Vinay Rughani
18:55 20 Jun 19
Detailed Planning were recommended to me by a friend. We found their prices very reasonable so instructed them to draw... up plans for our extension. Right from their initial visit and all the way through to the finished plans we could not have asked for better service. Paul and Emily were always very easy to get hold of, which I'm told is not the case for all architects. They answered every query we had and solved every issue that we encountered during the planning and party wall agreements with minimal fuss and in good time. They even sorted our build over agreement for our manhole to be moved. They work extremely well with their recommended engineer, surveyor and building control company to deliver a very good package. Thank you Paul, Emily and everyone at Detailed Planning. We can't wait for our extension to be completed.read more
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