Design and insperation

Design and insperation

How to modernise your kitchen on a budget

The kitchen is one of the most popular rooms in the house, so if you’re looking to renovate your home it would be the perfect place to start. Here are some tips on how to modernise your home on a budget.  

Change the colour scheme –  

One of the quickest, cheapest, and easiest ways to upgrade your kitchen. Some of the most popular paint colours to fit the modern vibe are usually cool and inviting. Shades such as whites, creams, and cool colours usually make the space feel bigger and cleaner. If you are going for the modern look, try to avoid bright colours because it will make the room look too busy.   

Best Modern White Kitchen Design Ideas,modern white kitchens,best  backsplash for white ki… | Small white kitchens, Modern white kitchen  design, White kitchen design

Get some new kitchen cabinets –  

To make a modern kitchen space, cabinets are usually one of the first things to be replaced. This is because the majority of the time they are outdated, and are quick to sustain wear-and-tear or stains because they are used every day. For a modern home, you should think about getting cupboards that are sleek, glossy, and handleless. Although this might not be the cheapest option, it would definitely transform your kitchen.  

Solid Wood & Solid Oak Kitchen Cabinets from Solid Oak Kitchen Cabinets

Install under-cabinet lighting –  

Once you have chosen the perfect cabinets for your kitchen, you may want to consider installing them under cabinet lighting. These lights are perfect for illuminating the space under the cabinets which is very practical when it comes to preparing food. While also being stylish and adding a modern touch to the room.  

Sensio launches Quadra Pro cabinet light - Professional Electrician

Adding new flooring –  

The right kitchen flooring can change the aesthetic of the whole room. You would want to go for a floor that is easily cleaned, is slip-resistant, and is comfortable to walk around on, but also has that high-end look. Depending on the style you might want to go for tiles, stone, or wood flooring. These materials will last longer as well as boost the value of your home. 

8 Flooring ideas | flooring, floor tile design, house flooring

Add decorative elements –  

Your kitchen is a great place to add decorations that bring elements of homeliness and a sense of your lifestyle into the room. For many homeowners’ installing shelves and putting plants and kitchenware on them are their go too decorations. Plants brighten up the room and add some freshness to the space.  

A Guide to Modern Kitchen Storage: Kitchen Cabinets and Shelving

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Design and insperation

Great ways to remodel your basement

Basements tend to have a bad reputation, due to movies and stories. However, if there are built finished, they actually offer a load of extra living space for many purposes and activities. So, if you are lucky enough to live in a house that has a basement, here are a few great ways to use it.  

Adding a reading corner/ nook –  

If you’re a family that loves to read and lose yourself in a book, then creating a designated area in your home would be perfect. The space under the stairs has great potential for a cosy reading nook. By transforming the once dark, dusty cupboard, you can create a comfortable hideaway perfect for relaxing. And if you do decide to place this area under the stairs you will still have the whole basement for other purposes.  

Mary Tomassetti (mctcheer315) - Profile | Pinterest

Basement home cinema –  

Putting a cinema in the basement would work perfectly because of the lack of natural light. It is also the perfect space if you have children, watching movies as a family can create a great bonding and as they get older it would be a fun environment to spend time with friends in.  

27 Cool Basement Home Theater, Ready To Entertain - Reverb SF

Adding a bar to the basement –  

If entertaining is your thing or if you just like to party, adding a bar to your basement is a game-changer. Having a designated area where people can come over and enjoy themselves is great, especially if you don’t want guests all over the house.  

What Makes a Great Basement Wet Bar?

Rooms for guests –  

If you have a large family or love to have people over, having a space for the guests to sleep is a must and the basement is the perfect area. Adding another room will also raise the value of the property if you decide you want to sell. If the area is small adding barn doors are a great choice because they take up minimal space and provide architectural interest.

30+ Best Basement Bedroom Designs: Learn To Brighten Up The Dull Spaces -  Terry Cralle


Basement living room –  

Making a living room in the basement is one of the simpler options you could go for. Some interior design tips when it comes to styling a basement are to use light flooring and a modern chandelier because it keeps the space from feeling too dark.  

Basement Family Room Before and After

Laundry room –  

If you have a small kitchen, including a utility in your basement might help you with space. By creating the room brand new you could make it into the space of your dreams.  

Modern Laundry Room Ideas for Small Spaces [ Updated 2020 ]

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Design and insperation

Working From Home? Create The Perfect Office Space

Many find when they start working from home, they don’t end up getting much done. This is mostly because you associate being at home with relaxing and unwinding, so it makes you not want to work. So, if you are exclusively working from home, it may be beneficial to create an office space in your home.  

You might have some concerns due to the lack of space you have in your house. However, your office space doesn’t have to be a whole room or a huge space. Here are a few tips which will help you create and nice working environment for you.  

Choose the right space –  

Deciding where to place your home office is a very important factor in how much work you will get done. If you set up your office in your lounge area where people come and relax, you will become unfocused. You may want to find a little wall area in your home and place a desk in that space. Hallways are a great option. Although if you do have the room to create a large office space you should decorate it and make the space your own.  

Decide on a colour scheme –  

Home offices work best when the person working in them is enjoying their space. So, you should fill that space with colours that you associate with warmth and happiness. Although, it is advised to go with brighter colours to motivate and lighten your mood and to make you more productive.  

Consider buying an adjustable desk – 

There is so much research that shows sitting for long periods is bad for your health. This is why it might be a good idea to invest in a standing desk. A standing desk is a tall desk where you work standing up, however, most of these desks are adjustable so you can also sit down. Many people like these desks because they improve productivity, focus, and heart health.  

Add some plants –  

A few green plants won’t only add a dash of colour to your office space but also increase your happiness and stress. In fact, a study has shown a couple of plants can increase productivity by as much as 15%.  

Wire management –  

Managing your wires can go a long way towards improving the functionality and aesthetic of your office. You can use zip ties or Velcro wraps to keep your wires together and organised. When you are organised and it will be easier to locate your laptop or phone charger or any cord you are looking for.  

Get natural light –  

One of the first rules to building a nice home office is to get plenty of natural light. Another study has found that 40% of workplaces with natural light experience 3% – 40% improvements in productivity. As well as, natural light just feels better, so you should try positioning your desk in a well-lit room.  

Investing in Your Home Office - Top Tips for Success While Working from Home  - Travel Professional NEWS®

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Design and insperation

Eco-Friendly Ways To Improve And Create An Eco-House

Building an eco-house has never been easier than what they are now. They have become the new focus for many new builds, wanting to help the environment.  

What is an eco-house? 

An eco-house is a type of home that tries to lessen its impact if the environment. This affects everything, including the materials chosen to build it. Also, the water and energy usage are set up to be as efficient as possible. 

Are eco-homes good to live in? 

One of the biggest benefits of choosing to build with eco materials is that they are free from harmful chemicals, finishes, and potential environmental pollutants. This makes them safer to build and a healthier home environment.  

Do you need planning permission for an eco-house? 

Getting planning permission for an eco-project will be similar to planning permission on a traditional build. Whether you get accepted will depend on the location and the overall look and design of your project.   

If you are planning to build an eco-house here are some things you should include:  

  • Double or triple glazed windows  
  • Large windows that increase daylight – larger windows means that more sun light will light up the house. This will help you save energy.  
  • High levels of insulation – increasing the amount of thermal insulation is the main component of preventing energy loss.  
  • High levels of airtightness 
  • Heating and/or hot water provision from a renewable source (solar panels, heat pump) 
  • Renewable energy systems, such a solar PV and solar thermal – placing solar panels towards the sun means that you will be getting free heat and electricity gained from the sun 
  • Build with sustainable materials  

How much does it cost to build an eco-house? 

Eco-houses and their various features can be more expensive than traditional homes. However, you should keep in mind that you are making an investment in the environment. In Scottland, it cost around £325,000 to build an eco-house in the Unst, but because of the extra costs, it would come to around £195,000 – £200,000 on the mainland. 

Why are eco-friendly homes important? 

Green homes are environmentally friendly because they make use of renewable and plentiful clean energy sources. They also help reduce your carbon footprint; this would help slow climate change. They reduce air and water pollution and helps maintain clean water resources.  

Alternative Sources of Energy and Eco Homes - Environments in Danger
Design and insperation, Interior Design

Important Information About Adding A Wet Room Into Your Home

A wet room can definitely add a wow factor to your home by giving it a stylish, modern look. While also being accessible to everyone especially if you struggle with mobility.  

What is a wet room?  

Wet rooms are a space that is entirely open plan. The floor is altered to allow water to flow away through a drain on the floor. They can also feature a shower screen to reduce spray in the bathroom.  

How to install a wet room floor –  

  • Firstly, prepare sub-floor, install extra noggins. 
  • Install waste support within joist space, fit flat floor area. 
  • Fit supplied wet floor waste into waste support and connect pipework.  
  • Fit the shower tray in accordance with application instructions and make good around the edge if necessary.  
  • Install aqua proof tape, corners, and sleeves in line with full application guidelines.  
  • Fully waterproof room with aqua proof system, clamp shower outlet sleeve into position with membrane clamping ring.  
  • Tile from waste outwards treating the tile set frame as your first tile.  
  • Place the tile set into the frame.  

Advantages –   

Easier to clean – the Maintenace and cleaning is made easy due to the minimal appliances and fewer things to clean around.  

Accessible for children and people with mobility problems – being accessible is one of the biggest benefits. For anyone who may have trouble getting in and out of the bath or shower, wet rooms can be liberating. You can simply just walk in and out, as the floors are level and water and slip-resistant.  

Increases the value of your home – having a wet room as a second bathroom is a feature that many homeowners look for. “Adding a new bathroom to your home will add an extra 2.88% to the value of it, a wet room is likely to add even more”. Quoted by Phil Spencer

Works in small bathrooms – if you’re struggling with space then adding a wet room can create a great illusion. And because everything is waterproof wet rooms can give you more space.  

Disadvantages –  

Wet rooms can get damp and steamy – dampness can be a problem especially if your bathroom is small. However, this can be easily fixed with good ventilation and an extractor fan.  

Not practical for everyone – not everyone wants a wet room in their house, they may prefer a traditional bathroom. So, it could become more expensive for the homeowner if they were to get it removed  

Costs of a wet room –  

The average-sized wet room will cost around £16,100, including the materials and the labor. They cost about 20-30% more than a typical bathroom installation. The job will usually take around 4-7 days.  

Top 20 | Wet Rooms – CECILIA MOYER : Lifestyle Blogger

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Design and insperation

The world’s Youngest And Successful Woman Architect

20/20 Vision: Courtney Brett, 25, owner and architect, Casburn Brett  Architecture, Daphne -
Courtney Brett, Worlds Youngest Architect

Who is Courtney Brett?  

Courtney Brett, who at 24 became the youngest licensed architect in the history of the American Institute of architects. Brett made headlines because then began college at 14, she transferred to auburn University’s architecture program at 16. And at 20, started working for Skidmore, Owning’s & Merrill (SOM) in New York. By the age of 21, Courtney was working on Qatar Petroleum, and it was shaping to be the largest construction in the world. 

Early life – 

By the time Courtney was 10, she knew she wanted to be an architect. On long car trips, she would entertain herself by sketching floor plans. Her family moved around a lot due to her father being an air force officer. Brett says “I had lived in and gone to school in so many different types of buildings; I was drawing plans and elevations trying to figure out how they worked”.  

Due to her SAT results which were obviously quite good, Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia recruited her for their early-college program at the age of 14. However, she left after two years because they didn’t provide an architecture program. She then started Auburn University at the age of 16, to pursue her dream of architecture.  

Brett has said that her age or other people’s age has never intimidated her. It turns out that in this field of work young women will always stand out. So, going to college at 14 is a great way to learn to hold your own as the youngest person in the room.  

Working life as a architect –  

Courtney’s first job was at SOM, the legendary firm behind projects like the freedom tower. Brett said she was lucky to find a female role model in her immediate team manager. She noticed how differently people interacted with men and women in the industry. Especially Courtney because she was the youngest. Brett experienced men micromanaging everything she did, so it came to the point she had to say something.  

Brett then started her own firm called Casburn Brett Architecture, on the Gulf Coast of Alabama. She appreciated the freedom she found in doing so, even though there are many challenges. However, after having her company for a couple of years Courtney has said her clients have been overwhelmingly positive. 

Projects – 

She first started working on designing homes in west Alabama, with Auburn’s well-reputed Rural Studio.

A couple of years on Brett made the leap and became the firm owner of Casburn Brett Architects. A month after starting her practice Brett scored her first major commission, a master plan for nine acres on the coast of orange beach. This called for a boardwalk, event space, playgrounds, shopping, and restaurants. However, the project went into limbo because a portion of the seawall awaited repair. 

 Courtney didn’t like seeing the site empty so she designed a temporary food stand in four shipping containers so that it was portable when her plan could be executed.  

Her firm helped convince a discounted chain shop to build in two master-planned towns. With a highly regulated building style, instead of locating the stores on farmland outside the town limits.  

AIA Wunderkind Courtney Brett Bridges Architectural Worlds - Curbed

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Design and insperation

The Richest Architect In The World: Norman Foster

Norman Foster drops Madrid foundation project after planning snub
Norman Foster

A short summary –  

The richest architect in the world Norman Foster was born on the 1st of June 1935 and then took on the profession of a British architect and designer. He is now a key figure in British modernist architecture. His architectural practice Foster + Partners was founded in 1967. It then soon became the largest in the UK, and it maintains offices internationally. 

Childhood – 

Norman was the only child of Robert and Lilian Foster. The family moved to an area in Manchester England, where they lived in poverty. His parents were diligent and hard workers. His father was a machine painter at an electrical engineering company. This influenced Norman to take up engineering, design, and architecture. And his mother worked in a local bakery. His parents were always working and Norman often had friends and family look after him which led to a restricted relationship with his parents. 

Education to be an architect-  

Foster attended Burnage grammar school for boys. He was bullied and considered himself quiet and awkward. When he turned 16 and passed a trainee scheme exam which led to his first job. He became an office junior and clerk.  After that, he then had to complete his national service. In which he chose the air force because aircraft had been a long-time hobby.    

Upon returning to Manchester, he became an assistant to a contract manager in a local architect. (John E Beardshaw and partners). The staff advised that if he wished to become an architect, he should prepare a portfolio of drawings using the equipment from Beardshaw’s practice. Norman’s work was so impressive he joined the drawings department.  

In 1956, Norman began to study at the school of architecture and city planning part of the University of Manchester. He was eligible for a Maintenace grant so he took part-time jobs to fund his study. His talent and hard work were noticed in 1959 when he won a RIBA silver medal. He won this for what he described as a measured drawing of a windmill. After graduating in 1961, Foster won the henry fellowship to yale school of architecture in Connecticut. Where he met his future business partner Richard Rogers and earned his master’s degree.  

Career as an architect –  

Norman returned to England in 1963 to establish his own architectural practice, with rogers and 3 other people. One of their first projects was the cockpit, a minimalist glass bubble installed in Cornwall. The feature of this project then became a returning theme in Foster’s future projects. After the four separated Norman and one other from the group Wendy founded a new practice. Foster Associates. Norman collaborated with American architect Richard Buckminster Fuller on several projects. Such as the Samuel Beckett Theatre at St Peters College, Oxford. 

Foster associates concentrated on industrial buildings. Until a family-run insurance company wanted to restore a sense of community to the workplace. In response, foster designed space with modular, open-plan office floors, long before open-plan became popular. He also included a roof garden, a 25-meter swimming pool, and a gymnasium to enhance the quality of life for the employees.

Some of his biggest work –  

Foster received a commission for the construction of a new terminal building at London’s Stansted airport. The building is a landmark of high-tech architecture. It was awarded the European Union Prize for contemporary architecture.  

He also gained a reputation for designing offices. Norman designed the HSBC Main Building in Hong Kong, at the time it was the most expensive building ever constructed.  

Foster + Partners submitted a plan for a 385-meter-tall skyscraper, the London Millennium tower. However, the height was excessive for London’s skyline. So instead, Norman proposed 30 St Mary Axe, popularly known as “the Gherkin”.  

Norman Foster Cancels Plan to Move Foundation to Madrid | Artnet News

His style evolved into more sharp-edged modernity. And he then designed the tallest bridge in the world, the Millau Viaduct in Southern France.  

Norman Foster: 'I have no power as an architect, none whatsoever' | Norman  Foster | The Guardian

Retirement –  

In January 2007, it was reported that Foster has called in to find buyers for Foster + Partners. Foster doesn’t intend to retire but sell his 80-90% holding in the company valued at £300 million to £500 million.  

Norman currently sits on the board of trustees at architectural charity article 25. Foster believes attracting young talent is essential. And is proud that the average age of people working for Foster + Partners is 32 just like he was in 1967.  

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Design and insperation, Extensions

The complete guide to annexes and a granny annexe

What is an annexe?   

A self-contained unit is more commonly called an annexe or a granny flat. It is generally a building or a part of a building that is used as separate living accommodation. And they may share common services and an entrance with the main house.  

A garden annexe can transform a family’s life. Because by giving the person living in the building closeness to their loved ones. Whilst still maintaining the privacy of having their own space. With a granny annexe, you can avoid costly care homes or the guilt and worry experienced when an unwell or elderly relative lives alone. 

A garden annexe isn’t a permanent residence and doesn’t usually require planning permission. A granny flat is intended to be someone’s home. If the building is being used for habitation with all of the main services. Such as a kitchen or kitchenette, bathroom and bedroom, this would need either householder applications or the caravan act. Therefore, requires permission from the local authority, though this can be via a normal planning application.  

How much does it cost to build an annexe?  

Typically, the average cost to build an annexe is around £20,000. However, the price can vary depending on the size and the quality of the project. Most annexes have between 48 – 75 square meters of living space. Many people like the idea of an annexe because some estimates reckon that they can add as much as 20-30% to the value of the property.  

How long do they take to build?  

Annexes you build on-site typically take 7-14 weeks depending on the size and the specification, but you also need to allow extra time for manufacturing. And build off-site annexes usually take 10 weeks to manufacture, then 4 days or less to deliver on-site.   

Many people also like to have annexes because they are allowed to rent them out. When you rent your property, it would fall under the category of a lodger rather than an assured shorthold tenancy. And also, because annexes will be exempt from paying council tax. Only if it is separately banded for council tax but forms part of another property and a dependant relative is living in it as their main or only home.  

large Granny Annexe is a luxurious self contained home | Architecture, House,  House design
An annexe/ granny annexe.

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Zaha Hadid
Design and insperation

Zaha Hadid – Top Woman Architect

Zaha Hadid, full name Dame Zaha Hadid born in Baghdad, Iraq on October 31, 1950. She was the best Iraqi born British architect known for her radical designs. Furthermore, she is the first lady architect to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. She died 31, March 2016, Miami, Florida, U.S.


Zaha Hadid was born in Baghdad, Iraq during the period where the government was investing in modernized city’s architecture. During her childhood, she had seen many great architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier designing such iconic buildings. Her father Muhammad al-Hajj Husayn Hadid was a politician and industrialists and her mother Wajiha al-Sabunji was an architect.

Zaha Hadid said once that looking at her parent’s background, she always knew that she will be a professional. Her elder brothers want her to become the first Iraqi astronaut. She wanted that too but at the age of 11, she began to realize that she wants to become an architect. Her parents encouraged her to become an architect by letting her do the interiors of their home.

Her parents travelled a lot; hence she got the chance to get a multi-cultural international education. She got her formal education from boarding schools in Switzerland and England, and informal with her family. She said that wherever she goes with her father, he let her visit every museum and building in the area. Maybe that is what inspired her to become the best architect in England.

Zaha Hadid’s Early Life and Career

First Hadid got her education at the American University in Beirut, Lebanon. After completing her bachelor’s in mathematics, she moved to London in 1972 to learn Architecture. She chose Architectural Association as it is one of the progressive Architectural institutes back in the 1970s. There Zaha Hadid met with other architects Rem Koolhas and Zenghelis. These guys were those whom she had collaboration at the office of Metropolitan Architecture. Later, she establishes her Firm named Zaha Hadid Architects In 1979.

The first time Zaha Hadid got the international recognition with Entry for the Peak. It was a recreational and leisure centre in Hong Kong. Her most of the designs in the 1980s and 90s were not realized including Kurfürstendamm in Berlin (1986).

Zaha Hadid First Project

One of her first mega projects was the Vitra Fire Station. Hadid worked on the project from 1989-93 in Germany. Her design was so unique contains a series of sharply angled planes. You can resemble the design with a bird in flight. She has also done some housing project for IBA Housing in Berlin. Furthermore, she worked on the Mind Zone exhibition space in 1999 in Greenwich, London. After doing such projects, Hadid found an interest in creating interconnecting spaces.

She first gets the attention of the people as the best architect of built works in 2000. She was the first woman architect to design an American museum of 85000 square foot in 2003. The design consists of a series of voids and cubes.

Death of Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid died in 2016 from a heart attack while she was getting treatment for bronchitis. She dedicated her whole life to her work and hence she did not have her own family. She said, “If [architecture] doesn’t kill you, then you’re no good … you have to go at it full time. You can’t afford to dip in and out.” The Guardian described her as the “Queen of the curve”.