Home design for the modern family
PUBLISHED: 12:45 10 October 2016 | UPDATED: 12:45 10 October 2016
Jon Pilling, the design director at Abode Interiors, explains how he went about designing the Mulberry show home at St Luke’s Park development in Runwell, with his inspiration coming from the themes of modern family life
When I started this project, the brief was to create a ‘real’ family home with a space that people can relate to and easily imagine themselves living in. It was important for it not to feel like a show home, so to achieve this and create a coherent design, every room needed to accurately reflect those who would be using it.
We had to focus on the type of person who’d be likely to buy a house in St Luke’s Park, their family, their tastes and how they live. Creating the style of interiors that would appeal to such a buyer, we took inspiration from the local area, visiting the site and the surrounding spaces.
Runwell is an upmarket, tranquil and rural location, which still has easy access to neighbouring towns and transport connections, while the house itself is a traditional, large family home. Inspired by this, we chose to use navy, as an accent colour against calming neutral greys and ivories. Navy is a very relevant colour at the moment, however by keeping this to the accessories, it can easily be changed in the future.
The kitchen is the heart of any family home, where everyone naturally congregates. The open-plan kitchen/dining/family room is impressively large, with a huge amount of natural light from the double doors leading to the garden, full-height windows and skylights. Just like windows, mirrors add depth and light to a room. This multipurpose room needed to be a practical space, and by choosing the furniture and layout carefully, we created separate areas which would encourage and enable the whole family to spend quality time together.
The inclusion of a breakfast bar creates a casual seating area which is ideal for quick meals or after-school homework sessions, while still socialising with the rest of the family. The 10-seater dining table is made from solid English oak, once again echoing the exterior parkland landscape.
The bench-style seating lends the table an informal quality, perfect for fun family meals, as well as making sure there is plenty of room for guests of any age. The table is dressed with navy accessories and by using the same colours and similar themes throughout the house, the room designs are tied together to ensure the interior flows harmoniously.
We created a relaxed family area at the far end by adding a television and comfortable corner sofa, while the feature wall at this end has a shaker-style wall panel, which creates a sense of cohesiveness throughout the whole length of the room by complementing the kitchen cabinets.
The living room is the formal entertaining space for adults, so it needed to be sophisticated, but also comfortable and inviting. A calming, grown-up atmosphere was achieved firstly through the use of symmetry, which is aesthetically pleasing both consciously and subconsciously, and creates a room that instantly feels relaxing and luxurious. The generously-sized room already benefited from symmetrical architectural features, such as the central fireplace with windows on either side, which we accentuated with mirroring furniture.
Texture is so important in interior design, and the subtly textured and patterned wallpaper makes the spacious room feel warm and intimate. Natural materials are another great way of adding texture and help ground a room. The pale oak shelving units and coffee table reflect St Luke’s Park’s countryside setting, without overpowering the room.
The bespoke sofas offer a refreshed take on a traditional shape, with graceful, swept arm details, creating a contemporary yet classically elegant feel. This is reiterated throughout the room, with items such as the curtain pole, which combines oak and chrome to give a modern but established look. Other chrome accessories, including the ceiling lights, lamps and curtain holdbacks, add a touch of understated glamour and contrast with the oak furniture and soft furnishings, such as the rug and scatter cushions.
For the master and guest bedrooms, we employed the same principle of balance and symmetry to create soothing, distinctly adult spaces. The master bedroom should be an oasis of calm for parents to retreat to at the end of a busy day. The use of plush fabrics in neutral tones, such as the bespoke, super deep headboard and arm chairs, makes this an elegant, understated room while the patterned rug draws your attention to the focal point of the bed in the room.
The guest room needed to be the most opulent room in the house, leaving a lasting impression on visitors. The dramatic, dark blue feature wall, statement headboard and luxurious faux fur throw work together to create a sultry ambience. We imagined that this would be where the owners would want to display their more eclectic pieces of furniture and accessories, such as the oriental trunks that they had picked up on their trips abroad.
The little girl’s room is a delicate, shaker-style space with wall panelling which is both pretty and functional. The hooks provide her with somewhere to hang decorative items, which she can easily change or find new pieces to add, giving her a sense of pride and ownership of the room. The soft, neutral tones are feminine without being excessively girly, so this room should suit her as she gets older and her tastes change.
The whole of the top floor is given over to the teenage boy, with a bedroom and separate den or study room, creating somewhere private that he can escape to. The room is undeniably masculine, with the slightly industrial lighting, desk and storage units, plus the brown leather sofa.
Jon Pilling has been designing show homes for 14 years with work ranging from two-bedroom apartments to large country houses. Currently, he is predominantly involved in upmarket family homes with his hallmark being smart, elegant interiors with bespoke solutions and use of high end European furniture.
About the Property
Known as The Mulberry, this property is part of St Luke’s Park development, an impressive regeneration of the entire grounds of the former Runwell Hospital site near Chelmsford.
St Luke’s Park will consist of up to 575 homes including one and two-bedroom apartments and two, three, four and five-bedroom houses, to suit a variety of buyers.
Located within 200 acres of landscaped grounds, St Luke’s Park will feature tranquil woodland walkways, a sensory garden, a carefully refurbished Grade II listed chapel, proposed new primary school and a range of community facilities that will suit the needs of residents.
Prices at the development currently range from £315,000 to £799,995.
For more information please visit www.countryside-properties.co.uk or call the sales team on 01268 207 136.