Sunday 23 October 2016

The check list: Carson's essentials

Published 31/01/2016 | 02:30

Carson and Crushell Architects - after the renovation
Carson and Crushell Architects - after the renovation

Family values: Geometry is as important as materials and colour when it comes to relating a new part of a project to an older part. We try to make everything seem as though it's from the same family. In that sense, there can be uniqueness and difference. Every family has an odd one after all.

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Build bridges not walls: Walls are not as important as relationships. A dispute with a neighbour over parapets will seem embarrassing when you need them to mind the kids for five minutes.

Factor in flexibility: In the study, pictured below, we made a very long and deep oak window sill overlooking the rear garden. Mirrors were integrated into the new window sill for reflection. While the particular dimensions of a child sitting doing homework were considered, when they grow and leave the house, we assume it might comfortably become something else such as a platform for growing plants or a day bed in the sun.

Look out for heating cost issues: As this isn't a protected structure, updating the historic sashes with slim double glazing didn't require planning permission and will result in good savings. At present, similar upgrades to sash windows in protected structures are unlikely to receive planning permission.

Island life isn't everything: Compensation for loss of an island might sound like the title of a Brian Friel play, but it's worth keeping an open mind on post-island Ireland. While it's difficult to factor in the unknown or infrequent events alongside the everyday, there is pleasure to be had in not being overly prescriptive about the use of a room or the elements within it. Kitchen islands, while being very useful for putting things in and on, can also limit the other type of functions that deserve to happen in living spaces such as very big family gatherings where extra dining tables are brought in.

Floor show: We rarely use recessed down lighters as they're inherently unflattering to the human face and inefficient as they don't distribute light widely. So floor lamps are quite common in our projects. Also we have been commissioned to design bespoke lighting fixtures, such as the snowdrop lamp and the brass candlestick task lamp for the project.

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