An Example Interior Design Project By John Evans Design
Last week we published our interview with John Evans, the owner of John Evans Interior Architecture + Design Ltd. In this interview we found out the benefits of appointing a specialist for your self-build or renovation project. Today we would like to show you how the theory looks in practice. We asked John to prepare a case study project that he was involved in. The story presents the metamorphosis of John’s kitchen, supplemented by photos documenting each stage, so you can get a glimpse of the whole process of interior design and how it can enrich your project.
BY JOHN EVANS
I thought I would write about a refurb on a house that is very personal to me, my own home where I was both the client and the designer.
When we bought the house it had been neglected for some years and though it was structurally sound, the house had a very tired look to it inside and out.
We only lived a mile away from the property and I must have driven past it for years without noticing it. There are many mature trees on the site and they had been allowed to take over and obscure the house from view. To us it was perfect, it was like an oasis in the midst of the city, it had the feeling of a country house.
Built in 1939 the house had enormous potential.
First we set about taking a measured survey of the property together with the garden which we then drew up using auto cad which gave us a very accurate base to work on, I always recommend starting any project by having accurate plan and elevations, it is so much easier to put your ideas on paper to scale knowing that they will fit.
We had decided that we would work on the property and complete as much of the work as possible before we moved in, this allowed us to be more radical in approaching the work to be carried out as we didn’t have to live in it.
With the benefit of the initial survey drawings we were able to spend time planning the whole house.
On the ground floor we had decided that part of the property that needed the most attention was the kitchen. It was a series of small rooms with a corridor to the back door which took you out into a dilapidated courtyard and door which led to the main garden. We decided to take out all of the walls to create one big space and increase the size further by extending the area with French windows, which we had identified through our planning process would be a nice place to have a dining table.
We had to modify these plans slightly and leave part of one wall standing. This was apparent once we had appointed a structural engineer to advise us. We had a very large chimney stack above the kitchen area. We could have taken it down but we felt that we should retain it as it is important to the integrity of the house. The wall became a backdrop for the hob unit and purpose made extractor and works well as a break between the cooking and dining area. Sometimes decisions are forced upon you which can work out well, in these situations it is best not to panic but to work around them.
Now that we had planned the kitchen and knew where we wanted the essential items using the working triangle, which is a system of planning a kitchen that takes into account how you work within the space. Basically if you put yourself in the middle of the working space you should be able to access all of the major components that make up the kitchen such as sink, hobs, ovens and fridge without having to walk around units, this makes working in the kitchen so much easier and safer.
Both my wife and I are keen cooks and I wanted the kitchen to have the feel and functionality of a professional kitchen without sacrificing style and quality, we wanted a kitchen where we could chat to friends and family whilst preparing a meal. I am pleased to say that we achieved this as the kitchen really is the hub of our home.
Professional kitchens are mostly constructed in stainless steel so I decided I would emulate this look, but soften it in parts with the use of fumed oak and granite. I had a romantic idea that stainless steel units should be made in Sheffield and I had for many years used a company based in Sheffield that make bespoke cooker hoods, so I persuaded them to make up my designs for the units. This enabled me to design all the units to exactly the form and function I wanted.
I had decided that I would have two monolithic units constructed with outer covers of fumed oak edged in angled steel, (to avoid damage) containing on the one side two pull out larder units and storage with pull out drawers. I also included in this unit a recess for flowers (not something you see in a professional kitchen but essential I felt in our kitchen). The other unit contained American style fridge freezer and two ovens plus drawers and overhead storage.
The central island was designed to carry a large hob unit with storage drawer and pull out pan storage racks below. On the other side of this island is a granite topped breakfast bar which is used constantly for conversations whilst cooking and sharing a glass of wine.
On the wall looking out onto the courtyard there is a long run of units with sinks and commercial wash up tap and uniform stainless steel doors, behind these doors are dishwasher, drawers and cupboards these run into a small space with wine racks and an area for coffee making. The door at the end of this run leads to the dining room making it perfect for serving food.
I know that most people choose their kitchen from the range of a specialist designer and manufacturer but as designers we are very often commissioned to design individual kitchens and for me it was very important that I designed as much of the house as possible.
After we had planned the kitchen including the layout we were able to plan the lighting and the positions for the electric sockets and spurs, as in all layout plans once we had fixed where everything was going all of the other essential services follow on.
We are lucky and have high ceilings in our Kitchen so we were able to position the lighting to give perfect overall lighting and atmosphere, if your kitchen ceiling is lower be careful that the lighting onto the work services is not behind you as this will cast a shadow, the best place is over the units. We always use LED lighting in all our current schemes with a colour temperature of 3000K.
We used limestone tiles on the floor and white emulsion to the walls not brilliant white as this will give a cold look to a room, always quote British standard 00E55, which is a plain white or choose a white from the Farrow and Ball range.