Yorkshire Post Life & Style Section – 1st June 2016
Conservatories can be a cost effective extension in which to enjoy the pleasures of your garden. Interior Designer Jamie Hempsall looks at creating the perfect environment.
The British home-owner is passionate about many aspects of their dwellings, but we do have a particular penchant for conservatories. No doubt partly because our changeable climate means they are one of the only ways we can actually experience our gardens yearlong – albeit from the comfort of an armchair.
They can be a relatively cost effective way to extend a home and, if carefully planned, is likely to create a return on investment. According to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RCIS) they can add between four and five per cent to the value of your home; dependent upon choosing a design sympathetic to the age and style of your home and in keeping with its environment.
The benefit of living in natural light (even the meagre version that we sometimes get in the UK) is shown to help lift spirits throughout the year. This makes a conservatory ideal for use as an everyday, rather than an occasional use, living space, so consider their construction and external aesthetic design carefully.
Garden Rooms are a gateway between inside and outside, so your interior needs to nod to the garden, but at the same time transition from the décor in the rest of your home.
Flooring sets the tone and perceived temperature of your conservatory. Hard surfaces are best as they cope well with the strains of temperature change and sunlight. Marble or stone provide a superb upscale finish, but you can also achieve an impactful look with quality vinyl floorings (such as Karndean or Amtico). Specialist vinyl-floor fitters can create sophisticated designs to suit modern or heritage designs, but ensure your fitter is using an adhesive suitable for a high heat environment.
Ensure that you include plenty of electrical points in your conservatory for flexible lighting from table lamps to maximise use throughout the year and add wall lights on dimmers to provide controllable ambience. A central ceiling hook that can carry considerable weight, with electrical provision, will allow you to include a feature chandelier (important if using your conservatory as a dining room) or a powerful fan.
Window dressings should be kept extremely simple to allow the maximum view. Sailcloth is a sympathetic finish for ceiling blinds, while wooden venetian blinds can provide extra privacy without hiding the view.
When choosing a colour for window treatments either continue the idea of a garden portal by matching them to a shade visible externally throughout the year or blend into the background by toning to your wall or floor finish.
One of the nicest products for furnishing a conservatory in use as a dayroom is traditional Lloyd Loom, manufactured from woven twisted paper and wire. It is extremely durable as evidenced by the on-going market in vintage pieces. Vincent Sheppard and Lloyd Loom Manufacturing offer ranges of traditional and contemporary designs that cope well to changes in temperature and humidity.
Avoid dark colours in your upholstery, particularly red, as these can fade quickly in direct sunlight, but do not be afraid to opt for soft finishes. Consider incorporating fabrics designed specifically for outdoor, which are more fade resistant. The new Sea Breeze Collection from Osborne & Little, Malfa from Colefax & Fowler and Romo Zinc Plage all show “outdoor” does not mean signify bland or uninteresting.
After all that, you can just settle back in a comfy chair and admire the view whatever the weather!
Jamie Hempsall Ltd is a multi-award winning interior design consultancy. You can see more of their work at www.jamiehempsall.com or follow them on twitter at @JamieHempsall.
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