Recently Studio Buschow has worked on several family homes located in Surrey whose owners wanted to make improvements. It is rare that a house fits a family perfectly – and if it does now then it won’t in a few years. Typical issues to address include not enough bedrooms, not enough family spaces or not large enough to deal with growing children (and their friends), upgrading the kitchen/dining area or poor connections between inside and outside.
Although each house is unique our approach for each was the same. First we developed a detailed brief of how each family actually lives – and how they expect to live over the next few years. This is followed by a review of the fabric of the house itself i.e., what did the original architect/builder actually build BEFORE more recent changes were undertaken. This is usually also useful background to discuss demolitions and additions with the planners.
From this point it is quite straight-forward to assess the spatial opportunities, to clarify people flows in and around the house, and to decide which spaces should be better connected for communality and those better divided to provide privacy.
Finally, being in Surrey, most of these houses have glorious gardens yet are the inside and outside spaces are poorly connected. By making adjustments to openings and re-organising the spaces within we are able to allow gardens to extend family spaces and become the heart of social activities.
To date some of these have been completed, some are under-construction and some may never start on site. Such is life of an architect.