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Insights Into Interior Design Designing In Style. Part Iii Traditional – Georgian

Global Interior Design Consultancy Company in London, UK for interior design services.
Interior design has always been impacted by fashion trends – both historically and in the modern day. In this article series, “Designing in Style,” I explore the meaning of style for interior designers. I draw on my experience working alongside many of London’s best-known interior design teams.

This third article in my series continues my discussion of traditional/period design, with a focus on the Georgian style.

In terms of dates, the Georgian period is generally considered to have extended from 1714 until 1830. It has since inspired one of the most popular traditional interior design schemes.

London design was considered world-class in Georgian times – UK craftspeople were highly skilled and uniquely specialised. The wealthiest classes insisted on the highest quality, with exacting standards in terms of dimensions and proportions.

A few designers were particularly famous during the Georgian era. Their names, ideas and concepts live on today in the many homes and residences that feature Georgian-inspired interior designs.

William Kent lived from 1684 until 1748 and was an architect/interior designer who is best known for his tables and chairs which featured extravagant gilt decorations and strong connections to Greek and Roman insignia. Today these traditional designs continue to be used by many London Interior Design Consultancies that specialise in the Georgian style.

Thomas Chippendale is a name famous to many discerning Londoners. This cabinet-maker lived from 1718 until 1779 and designed furniture that was less ostentatious than that of William Kent, consistent with British (and London) tastes at the time, and yet exceedingly graceful and refined. Interior designers today will adopt either Chippendale’s original designs or re-envisionments/replicas of his originals.

Finally, Robert Adam was an architect and interior designer who dominated the 1770s with his vivacious use of Roman and Greek motifs, including urns, tripods, and mythological iconography.

Today, London interior design consultancies tend to be cautious with Georgian designs, recognising that this style can look pretentious if too pronounced. Larger, more spacious London mansions with tall ceilings are best suited to the Georgian style of interior design.

The next article in my series “Designing in Style” moves away from historic traditions and focuses in on a timeless interior design classic – the rural countryside.
Global Interior Design Consultancy Company in London, UK for interior design services.

Choosing A Kitchen Worktop

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home, being a functional space where culinary masterpieces are created and having another use as a social space for entertaining or interaction.

Choosing the right kitchen to reflect your cooking requirements and the style of your property is vital, as the kitchen is a room where you are likely to spend a lot of time in and can add considerable value to your property.

As well as choosing paint colours, units, sinks and accessories, perhaps the most pressing ingredient to consider when designing your new kitchen is worktops. Depending on your cooking and entertaining balance, it is better to choose a worktop that can fulfil your requirements, whilst looking stylish in your kitchen.

Stone kitchen worktops are perhaps the hardest wearing of all work surfaces and as such are favoured by avid cooking fans. Popular stone includes granite, marble, slate and quartz. Such materials can give a high shine, expensive look to any well-designed kitchen. In addition to an opulent feel, stone worktops are durable, hard wearing and water resistant – the most well known of these being granite worktops. Hampshire residents to Leicestershire inhabitants can easily obtain stone worktops as they are widely available across the UK from bespoke suppliers to DIY stores.

For an industrial look, in a modern apartment or architect designed property, stainless steel work surfaces can provide a professional and bright theme – think stark white combined with a metallic and glass finish. Water resistant and incredibly durable, stainless steel worktops are favoured by professional chefs – do be sure to use a chopping board however, as they can be easily scratched.

Those who enjoy a more rustic country kitsch theme, will perhaps appreciate the natural beauty of wood worktops. With its anti bacterial properties and large range of colours and types of wood, such worktops are popular in large family kitchens. To prevent drying out, it is prudent to proof work surfaces annually – protecting against damage from spills.

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How Cooling Systems Can Improve Your Energy Efficiency

The business case for energy efficiency is a powerful one. At the end of 2010, the Carbon Trust reported that the average return on investment of energy-efficiency projects carried out in commercial premises is 48%. Increasingly, it is becoming clear that to invest in sustainability is to save money.

But while the UK government is supporting carbon reduction by introducing grants and green initiatives, these have done little more than skew people’s perception of what represents an energy saving. With heavy focus applied to insulation and heating, cooling strategies have been left rather more out in the cold.

The hot topic

The government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was announced in March 2011 to drastically alter the way heat is generated and used in buildings and homes. Britain’s largest energy users are required by the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme to start lowering carbon emissions so will naturally be enticed by such offers. But incentives like the RHI fail to acknowledge that when a commercial building is designed, the crowds of people and electrical appliances that then occupy it are not taken into account.

Human bodies and devices such as computers, printers, coffee makers, toasters and refrigerators generate an exceptional amount of heat and cause room temperatures to dramatically increase. So, instead of heating, most commercial buildings need to bring temperatures down in order to maintain a comfortable environment and maintain staff productivity.

Office cooling, namely air conditioning, represents a huge energy burden, and can increase a building’s emissions by 100%, according to Carbon Trust research. So, to use it on a daily basis yet take a grant to invest in heating and insulation is a notion most people would surely see as perverse.

The reality of air conditioning is that, despite its widespread use, the energy it consumes often goes to waste. Realistically, without tackling this problem it is unlikely than any commercial building will be able to create a truly energy-efficient environment, no matter how much government grant money it is awarded.

Here comes the sun

As we all know, when the sun comes out in the UK, it is met with something resembling blind panic. Whether in the heights of summer or the depths of winter, sunshine causes heat to build up through unprotected glass windows. These windows then get thrown open to create a through draft, or in colder months, blinds will be snapped shut to block out the sun’s glare, meaning that lights have to be switched on. Either way, this behaviour ends up negating the effect of air conditioning, causing wildly fluctuating internal temperatures and eating up a large, unnecessary supply of heat and energy.

Such widespread and basic energy wastage should not be allowed to continue. Maintaining stable internal temperatures requires more than efficient heating and insulation; businesses need a cooling solution that minimises air conditioning, allows natural light to enter the building and helps to block out heat, rather than trap it within the building. One of the most simple and most cost-effective solutions that can deliver all of these benefits is one you may not have heard of: solar-control window film.

By rejecting up to 82% of solar energy, window film can reduce internal temperatures by up to ten degrees. This stops air conditioning units from being maxed out during sunny spells, meaning that internal temperatures are kept stable and extreme peaks in energy usage are reduced.

Cooling systems can therefore be run more efficiently and inexpensively, reducing a building’s cooling load by 30%, or roughly 5% of the energy bill. If window film were taken into consideration during the design stages of a new building, savings would be greater still as businesses would reduce cooling requirements from the outset; using smaller, cheaper air conditioning units that are easier to install and maintain. In plain English, this could mean thousands of pounds in savings to many UK firms.

Love in a cold climate

With budgets being squeezed and such significant carbon reductions to be made, the heat is on for UK businesses to find meaningful ways to lower emissions. It is the responsibility of our government to steer them in the right direction. Improved insulation and heating is, without doubt, an effective means of preventing energy waste, but without considering the likely effects of over-heating, businesses are in danger of missing the bigger picture.

While most UK businesses will currently look to insulation as their first port of call for energy savings, more vocal support for solutions such as window film by government schemes and incentives, would show these companies that such measures are just the tip of the iceberg.

Flexidry Enhancing Energy Efficiency For Modernahus, The New Green Housing Solution For The Uk

ModernaHus, the new generation of energy efficient green homes for the UK, will have 9500sm of its underfloor heating screeded with FlexiDry F1/7 day dry floor screed.

ModernaHus is being introduced in the UK after long trials by Scandinavian builders, Skanska. This innovative green home solution has already been adapted by several countries across Europe, and has been in the test phase in the UK for several years.

After two years of trials and considerable adaptation to suit the UK market and environment, the ModernaHus UK project is now underway and is scheduled for completion by October 2011.

The first phase of the ModernaHus UK project will comprise of 108 one to four bedroom residential units, in a rejuvenated site in Coldharbor Lane, Brixton. A good majority of the construction elements will be manufactured offsite and delivered to the site, ready for installation. This prefabricated building system has been found to be successful in bringing down the effective construction time while ensuring site safety as well as quality and finish of the products.

For energy efficiency, ModernaHus combines a well insulated building envelope, under floor heating, ground source heat pumps, solar panels and a central biomass boiler. The ModernaHus homes which will be 30% more efficient than normal homes, has obtained the Code for Sustainable Homes, Level 4.

With energy efficiency figuring as the priority for modern buildings, FlexiDry fast drying floor screeds is one of the screeds that is very much in demand by most major builders. When underfloor heating system can enhance energy efficiency, the use of the right screed is found to compound its effectiveness by acting as a thermal mass to dissipate the heat. FlexiDry floor screeds act as very good thermal conductors of heat and cut down the thermal losses and reduce the amount of heat required at the source. With an efficiency of 20-30% more than the normal anhydrite screeds, and drying times as less as 3 days to 21 days, FlexiDry is currently the chosen name for most of the major projects like ModernaHus.

Investing In Derelict Property

The property development market in the UK provides numerous alternatives for property investors. One of the most popular is buying a derelict property with the objective of renovating it and then selling it for profit. As long as you buy at the right price and effectively manage your development expenses, fixing up old and rundown properties will almost always make an excellent investment.

Why choose a derelict property?

A derelict property refers to one that has been abandoned for a long time and is in such a bad condition that it needs to be demolished. Derelict properties are usually in an uninhabited state and need to go through extensive repairs or have to be restored to a liveable (and therefore mortgage able) state. As of 2008, there are more than a million derelict properties in the UK.

Derelict properties are seen as good investments because they can be acquired cheaply, although they need to be renovated and developed first before they can be occupied. Regardless of their dilapidated conditions, most of these properties have walls and foundations that are still intact thus entailing the use of less cement and cheaper building expenses.

How to find a derelict property

While searching for a rundown property is generally considered difficult unless you spot one in passing, there are many creative ways of locating them. One is at auction where many properties put up for sale are often in need of restoration. Major auction houses typically offer a catalogue listing the properties scheduled for sale.

You can also find derelict properties through the registers made by different conservation groups such as the English Heritage, the governments legal advisory body on the historic environment. The association produces a register of different buildings at risk. Also, you can also look up websites that offer to help find such properties. Most of them provide details of empty homes in different locations. Estate agents as always are worth talking to as well.

The value of a derelict property

To determine the value of a rundown property, you should have a complete building survey conducted by an experienced surveyor. Before you make the purchase, be sure to check planning possibilities carefully. If the property has a planning permission for change of use, it can command a higher price.

Financing a derelict property

Obtaining a mortgage to finance the renovation of a derelict property can be complicated but there are financial institutions that will lend on such properties. The Ecology Building Society and Norwich & Peterborough will lend on derelict properties through their green, self-build or renovation mortgages. Most of these lenders will release the funds in drip-feed method in stages so that if you default on your repayments and the property has to be sold, the lender can recover its money.

It is sometime possible to get a grant from your local council to help with renovation expenses but these are usually only available to landlords who plan to make the refurbished property available for housing association tenants. There are also councils that provide small grants to those with renovation plans or energy efficiency work.

Renovating old and rundown properties still remains a sound investment for many property investors. However experts advise that developers put a high priority on repairs done to an excellent standard using appropriate materials. This way the value of the property increases considerably.

Are You Cut Out For Interior Design

Interior design is needed in all areas of life. Interior designers help to create interior spaces in all kinds of buildings, from museums to private homes and colleges to shops. It is no surprise then that this career is much sought after by many different people.

If you want to forge a career in interior design you should first of all find out what it takes to study interior design. You can study this area in many different ways. Many people go to college and study a recognised course in the topic. Others find home study courses that will allow them to reach the same destination in a different way, instead of going to one of the many interior design colleges that are situated all over the UK. If you go down this route you should always make sure you look for an accredited course. This will ensure that you will get a recognised qualification at the end of the study periods.

When you study interior design you will learn all the skills you will need to know in order to become a successful interior designer. Contrary to what some people believe, there is far more to this kind of designing than you might think. For example it is not enough to find the most attractive solution for a particular interior space. Your solution also has to be safe and able to cope with the various demands that will be placed on it. No two interior design projects are ever the same. Clearly the needs of a restaurant will be very different to the needs of someone who wants their home to be completely redesigned inside.

Studying the appropriate courses at interior design colleges will give you a good head start in the industry. Once you have completed your college course you can strike out into the industry to begin your career in earnest. The good thing about interior design is that you do not have to find a position working for anyone else if you do not wish to go down this route. Instead you can set up your own business working for clients directly. Many people like to do this because they can control every aspect of the business and decide which area they would most enjoy working in. For instance some people prefer to work for big clients in business, whereas others like to help individuals get the best from their homes.

As you can see the world of interior design offers many benefits to those who are willing to take advantage of them. The more you know and learn about what this career involves, the easier it will be for you to work out whether you would enjoy it or not. Who knows, you could flourish!

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