Creating a room from scratch is exciting. Interior Designer Jamie Hempsall demonstrates how an extension is the ideal chance to develop your perfect living space.

This extension was created for a manor house that dates back to 1500 and demonstrates how you can overcome issues with your home, by creating an area specific to your needs.

The client had lived in the property for twenty years, but as their children had all now left they were originally considering whether to move.

One of the principal issues with the house was that small windows did not afford the best views of the extensive gardens. This had been a compromise the owners were prepared to make whilst the rest of the house suited their needs, but now needed addressing.

We were engaged alongside a firm of architects to develop a solution. The first consideration was the positioning of the extension. The team wanted to create a room that could be used throughout the day so it was decided to locate the new room off the kitchen, which was a pivotal area in the house.

The space to created a “day suite” – a combined kitchen, casual dining and living room that allowed the householder to spend their entire day in a peaceful and naturally lit area.

To address the issue of garden views, the room had two full walls of well-insulated windows, stretching as far to the floor as possible. The resulting natural light compensated for the smaller windows elsewhere in the home and promoted a feeling of harmony.

The window treatments for this area needed to be flexible, providing privacy when required, but not overcrowding the space so it still felt open. As the room was not overlooked there was no need for blackout, so we used ivory linen-effect pinch pleat voiles to create simple sun-shade. Both the voile tracks and roof blinds were electronically operated to ensure the room and views could be simple transformed.

The house benefitted from high ceilings, but the extension gave the opportunity to create a double-height space to add theatre. Large feature chandeliers were used to emphasise the grandeur of the space, making it perfect for entertaining more formally. The modern chandelier design held echoes of antiquity to provide reference to the original areas of the property.

A series of high-level spots allowed the natural bright lighting levels to be maintained if required and table lamps on a 5-amp lamp circuit were included to facilitate the creation of a more intimate space in the evening. The pottery lamps also had a feeling of heritage to provide links with other decoration in the home.

It is important to provide reference to your original building without necessarily recreating period features and to this end natural jura limestone flooring was used in this garden room. The limestone had heavy natural veining to add a feeling of solidity. The floor was then taken through the kitchen and the adjoining dining room in a continuous pattern. Linking the floor in this way created a natural sight path between the areas and a cohesive link between old and new.

Warm, but neutral “Paris Grey” emulsion from Zoffany was teamed with their “Architect’s White” as a calming backdrop that picked up on accents within the flooring.

We wanted to avoid the area feeling too sterile, which is a danger when using neutral tones and natural finishes. So we introduced drama and texture in the furnishings.

The bespoke burnt orange sofas used foam-feather wrap cushions to provide exceptional comfort without the need to constantly fluff to keep them looking smart as ease of maintenance is also key to a successful day room.

The apparently heavy armchairs in textured velvet have a concealed swivel base, allowing occupants to easily turn the chairs to survey the garden and then return to the intimacy of the salon. The velvet was also used in the bespoke ottoman, to provide a link between the furniture. The ottoman also featured an integrated granite top to allow it to be used both as a seat and a useful coffee table.

Under-floor heating was used throughout this space to ensure clean sight lines and the perfect temperature to enjoy the room all year round.

A Comfortable Way To Dine

Everyday dining should be as comfortable as more formal occasions, so we favour seats that embrace the diner and allow for a long dining duration. The bespoke chairs we included in this design are curved to provide great back support and have plenty of padding in the seat. Using two-texture upholstery is a great way of adding interest to a chair. In this instance we combined Osborne & Little’s great faux leather Sellier and with their Aldwych textured vinyl in metallic colours to add a dash of daytime dining glamour.   The table is by Julian Chichester.


Jamie Hempsall, BIID, SBID is a multi-award winning interior designer