fireplace audley street mayfair london

How to Design a Listed Building

Most listed buildings have some kind of architectural importance. Historic England decides whether or not a building meets the criteria to be classed as listed. In the UK, there are currently over 500,000 listed buildings.

Most architects love the idea of working on listed buildings. But while these projects are often more interesting, they do need to be handled more sensitively. The key to achieving a successful result is investing plenty of time in the design process and understanding the building itself.

What should we know about the building before we start taking on this huge challenge, and where do we start? Here are some general rules you should follow if you want to make the most out of designing your listed property:

Assess the Building Before Designing

living room with period features

Before designing a listed building, you need to assess the original structure. You need to think about the key features of the property and find out whether it has already been extended in the past. You will also need to think about producing a plan that highlights the different ages of the house. Most conservation officers will want you to avoid knocking down historic walls, but you may be able to make a few small changes if you have a good reason.

fireplace audley street mayfair london

It’s important to pay close attention to the features of a listed building. These features will need to be incorporated into your design. Retaining existing features such as windows and fireplaces is important unless you have good reason to replace them e.g. they’re unsafe. If the current features of the property don’t fit with your design idea, then it might be an idea to cover them up instead of removing them.

Expose Period Features

The original features in most listed buildings are hidden behind previous renovations or wallpaper. If you're planning on re-designing a property, then it’s a good idea to expose these features before you finalise your design. This may need you to have to remove internal fittings. The best design ideas accentuate the period features of a property. You can accentuate the period features of a property by using lights.

Maximise Space

The majority of listed buildings in the UK are small in size. If you’re looking to increase the amount of space in your listed property, then why not consider opening up the previously hidden roof voids. Doing this will not only make your property feel more spacious but it will also add character too.

The Interior Layout

If you want to make the most out of your property, remove internal walls to extend smaller darker rooms into bigger open-plan spaces. While doing this, consider whether it’s worth changing the layout of the property. Remember, living and kitchen spaces are used more regularly than other rooms, so these spaces should benefit from the best views.

Anyone can successfully design a listed building as long as they embrace and understand the building’s character. Just think, when the building work is complete, not only will you have a beautiful home to be proud of, but you’ll also ensure its historic contribution and longevity for years to come.

living room living wall

Keeping Living Walls in the Home

Lots of people want to add a bit of colour and personality to their homes. One way you can do this is by adding a living wall. Over the last few years, the popularity of living walls has increased tremendously. This DIY project is a brilliant addition to your home and is super simple to create. If you want to know more about living walls and how to take care of one, then keep reading below:

Preparation is Key When Building Your Living Wall

Before building your living wall you need to decide where it will be located in your home. You will also need to work out whether you want it to be large or small. Once you’ve done this you can start searching for the best plants. You will need to find out information about the plants you choose e.g. how to care for them properly, how much space they require, and whether or not they like sunlight. This will help you to take care of your living wall.

living room living wall


Choose Healthy Plants For Your Living Wall

If you want your living wall to look amazing, make sure you purchase healthy plants. When choosing your plants, it’s a good idea to check to make sure that they are in good condition and have been well looked after.

Remember to Water Your Plants

It’s important to remember to water your plants as soon as you get them. If you’re not going to use them straight away, store them in a safe area at the right temperature. Remember, not all plants have the same care requirements, so it’s important to do some research into the best ways to care for a particular plant.

Top Tips for Keeping a Plant Wall

Here are some of our top tips for keeping a plant wall in the home:

  • Living plant walls should be watered every 2-3 days depending on the climate. Remember, plants need more water in summer. Dry compost indicates the plants need water; wet compost means they are fine.
  • Attach a waterproof membrane to the wall – this will help prevent damp issues on the wall
  • Plant care – if you purchase flowering plants, you’ll need to remember to remove dead blooms. This will help encourage new flowers later in the season. If you're thinking of adding some foliage plants to your flower wall, then you'll need to remember to snip off dead leaves and tidy them up when needed. If you want to include annual plants in your flower wall, then it’s a good idea to give them some liquid feed every few weeks in summer.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen living walls becoming one of the hottest trends around, and this is unlikely to change in the near future. But how do you go about keeping living walls at home? If you’re interested in keeping a living wall in your home, then follow some of our advice above. Don’t forget, you can create an attractive focal point using artificial flowers too!


marble bathroom

How to Use Natural Materials in the Home

A number of things can affect how we feel – our diet, sleep, and exercise – but did you know that the environment can also have an impact? It’s true, the amount of sunlight we get, the colour of our walls, and the materials we use in our homes can make a massive difference to how we feel.

It’s therefore important to know that introducing natural materials into your homes can have a positive impact on your well-being and your health. In fact, research has shown that using natural materials in your home can actually make you healthier.

In the past, using natural materials in the home evoked images of dreary colour tones and sackcloth. However, this has now changed. Nowadays, natural materials are more popular than ever. While many of us like the idea of using natural materials in our homes, it's often hard to know where to start. So, in order to help you, we’ve made a list of some of the ways you can include natural materials in your home:

Look for the Unusual When Redesigning Your Home

When it comes to redesigning your home, it pays to be innovative. Instead of purchasing ready-made items, why not look for something a little bit different? For example, you could use a piece of driftwood or an old railway sleeper as a mantelpiece above a fire. Not only does this look great and save money, but it’s also more environmentally friendly too.

shalini misra marble bathroom

Use Natural Stone To Add Texture

If you're wanting to add some natural materials into your kitchen or bathroom, why not consider using marble? This material is perfect for giving you the texture, tone, and patterns that man-made alternatives cannot match. Marble is a brilliant choice of material for a kitchen, as it can withstand high heats and is easily cleaned, but it’s important to be aware of its drawbacks, too.

open fireplace

 Create a Firewood Display

One way to add natural materials to your home if you have a log-burning stove or open fire is to create a firewood display where you can store all of your unused firewood. Having this on display will introduce natural tones and textures to the environment and make it feel cosier.

Use Recycles or Reclaimed Materials

Upcycling, recycling, and using reclaimed materials always looks good in a home. You could turn old doors into shelving, or you could use old scaffolding planks to make some storage units.

Contrast Natural Materials with Metallic Objects

Contrasting your natural materials with metallic objects will help to make your home look and feel amazing. Metallic objects help to add warmth to a home. Over the last few years, we’ve noticed a huge increase in the number of people adding copper accessories and items to their homes. However, unless they are complemented by natural materials, these items may make a room feel dark and dismal.

No matter what type of property you own, you’ll be able to find a way to successfully include natural materials in your home. For example, if you own a luxurious modern apartment, then travertine tiles might be a good choice for you, but if you own an old cottage, then a cobbled wall fireplace would look amazing. If you're wanting to use natural materials in your home, then why not try out some of our ideas above?

tom dixon pendant light above dining table

Lockdown Luxuries: Adding Comfort to Your Home

Over the past few months, many of us have found ourselves working from home or spending more time at home because of the coronavirus. While staying at home isn’t ideal, there are some things we can do to make the experience more enjoyable. One way we can do this is by making our homes a more inviting and comfortable space.

The minute we walk into a space we can tell whether or not it feels comfortable, warm, and inviting. And by warm, we don’t mean turning up the heating. It’s the personal touches such as the lighting and the way your furniture is arranged that can make your home feel more relaxing. There are a few simple things you can do to make any space feel more comfortable. Here are some of our top tips to help you add comfort to your home:

Improve the Lighting in Your Home

The type of lighting you have in your home can have a huge impact on how comfortable it is. Why not install an innovative pendant or a luxury chandelier from Tom Dixon in your home? These items will make any space feel more luxurious and comfortable. There are some amazing options available to suit any space or room.

tom dixon pendant light above dining table

Credit: Tom Dixon

Use Luxury Candles in Your Home

No space is complete without a candle. Candles help to make us feel relaxed and comfortable in our homes. If you’re looking for a bit of luxury, consider purchasing a handmade natural wax scented candle. The candles from Lauren Dickinson Clarke, for example, are the perfect choice as they’re full of personality and are crafted using the best possible ingredients. These candles come in a range of designs and smells to suit your taste, including the Moody Muse Collection and the Performer Scented Candle.


lauren dickinson clarke candle

Credit: Lauren Dickinson Clarke

Use Handcrafted Furniture

In an age of instant gratification and constant upgrades, people often don’t consider investing in handcrafted furniture, but there’s nothing more luxurious than a home full of furniture made by hand. This type of furniture is an investment and unlike flat-pack furniture, it’s built to last. Handcrafted furniture will look amazing in your home for many years to come.

Giobagnara is a luxury brand that is well known for its elegance and distinctive creations. Their pieces are available in a range of colours. This means that no matter what colour scheme you have in your home, you’ll be able to find the perfect item for you.


Credit: Giobagnara

Add Textiles - Luxury Throws & Cushions

Lots of us are trying to make our homes feel more relaxed and comfortable at the minute. After all, we’re having to spend much more time in them than we used to. One way you can do this is by adding luxury throws and cushions to a room. You can find these items in a range of textures and designs to suit your needs.

We all need a little bit of luxury in our lives. Thanks to coronavirus, the last few months have been tough for us all, and that’s unlikely to change in the near future. This is why we need to make our time at home more comfortable and enjoyable. Making your home feel more comfortable doesn’t have to be difficult.

Sometimes it’s the simple things that can make a home feel more relaxing. For example, displaying some fresh flowers, the smell of freshly baked cookies, and adding some pillows or throws to the furniture. Why not try out some of our ideas above to make your home feel more luxurious and comfortable?