Insights

Open Plan Living – Open up and Add Value

When it's done right, open plan design can make a small space look bigger, make a large space brighter and optimise your workflow from kitchen to dining room. But every design is different. And optimising your open plan space needs careful consideration to get the best out of it. Here are a few things to bear in mind.  

Form follows function

Even though the space is open, imagine that each sub-divided section is actually a room unto itself. While the idea is to achieve "flow" from one area to another, each zone – i.e. kitchen, dining room, living room etc. – still needs to function independently. Consider where one space ends and the next begins. First, think about functionality, then build the "interaction" between dining room and kitchen/living room etc. around that.  

Divide and conquer

When dividing the spaces up, you can be clever about storage by using dual purpose room dividers. For example, triple-up the island in the kitchen as a casual dining area with a few stools, storage underneath and a preparation surface. Or, add shelving into the counter that divides the kitchen and dining area. When space is limited, it's important to think in multiple dimensions. A counter or surface can be more than just that. It can also cut down on clutter – particularly in a smaller area. 

Light it up

Open plan design can be great for making the best of the natural light in the space. But the other side of that coin is, when lighter colours are used, it can feel a bit stark and empty. Accenting certain areas with slightly darker or more vibrant colours can offset this, making the space feel warmer and more exciting. 

Part of the furniture

Furniture can serve more than one purpose, too. And the advantage of an open space plan is that, in many cases, you can use larger pieces of furniture to accentuate your design. In many cases, bigger pieces of furniture can help make the space feel less bare. Strategically placed furniture can act as secondary room dividers – like a couch that divides dining area from living room, for example. 

Make a choice that counts

An open plan area is a blank canvas that you can truly make your own through smart design choices. It minimises clutter and adds value to your home. Open plan is generally a more sociable, family-friendly choice that creates a warmer, more inviting atmosphere and can bring out the personality in your space, no matter what your design choices may be. 

1st Choice Builders has completed countless renovation projects over the last 20 years. We are the trusted local experts in open plan kitchen design and create bespoke spaces especially for you.  

Imagine your life in the best space you can be, where you see your design of choice come to life right in front of you. From new builds to once-off renovations; roofing, plumbing, plastering, attic conversions, dream kitchens and more, we are the first choice that will make your building or renovation project as exciting as it can be. 

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From the Top Down – Maximise Living Space with an Attic Conversion

If you feel like you need more space in your home – be it an extra bedroom, a legendary mancave, an office space or a playroom for the kids – an attic conversion is a great way to add an extra dimension, space and value. 

Attics can, of course, feel a bit cramped. And it can be a challenge designing around beams and other utilitarian objects. So, making the right design choices is key to getting the best out of them. Here are a few tips to help make that conversion work for you. 

What's in the way? 

Depending on the style or era your home was designed in, there could be one of many configurations in your attic. The first thing you should look at is, what obstacles there are to the build. Beams, a chimney, a water tank – these can all get in the way of your build and you need to factor them into the design. In some cases, they can even accentuate the design – for example, if you're going for an industrial look.  

What's in store?

Attic space is generally quite limited and horizontal storage is often the answer to working around that. If the attic is being converted into a bedroom, a bed with storage space underneath it can help optimise the space and minimise clutter. If the roof is sloped, build cupboards and storage space around it that match the angle, or simply get low-standing units that fit given the height limitations. Smart storage solutions should be designed around the space before you begin your build. That way, you can rest assured you'll be free of clutter from the start. 

Use what you have

Surfaces – like unplastered brick walls or rustic wooden floors – are commonplace in attic spaces. So, rather than hide them, why not use them? Leaving a brick wall as is can add a touch of design flair to the area if you dress the room with the right accessories and furniture. Wooden floors can be painted or treated to achieve a semi-industrial or city loft effect. Existing windows can be used to maximise natural light, which, of course, can be limited in an attic space. Time and budget can be saved by making the best of existing surfaces and layout. 

Imagine your home the way you like it

All it takes to get the best out of your attic conversion is a bit of imagination and planning. Begin by asking yourself exactly what you would like to get out of the space and work with your planners to bring it to life. 

At 1st Choice Builders, imagination is where all of our projects begin. We ask all of our clients to start by imagining their space just the way they like it, and we take it from there. For the last two decades, we have been bringing imagination to life though attic conversions, new builds, kitchen renovations and design. Get in touch to see your imagination come to life. 

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Building Your Dream Home May be Closer Than You Think

Whether you're building from the ground up or renovating an existing home, building your dream house is an exciting way of saying, "I have arrived". Your home is an expression of your personality and a safe space that will become your personal haven for relaxing, family time and memory making. Here are a few steps to consider as you begin the journey. 

Plan ahead

The ultimate goal is to come out of the building or renovation process with the home you imagined. But there are a few smaller benchmarks that need to be achieved along the way. Setting short-term goals and mapping them out from start to projected finish date creates a workable structure (in more ways than one), that makes the end goal more achievable. Set a date for foundations. Plan to the day (where possible) when you want your plumbing and wiring completed etc.

Be realistic and thrifty

Very few of us have a limitless budget. Before you can even think about beginning, establishing a realistic budget is the first step. Begin with what you can afford in the here and now. From there, you'll be able to decide whether to up your mortgage or cut corners. Perhaps you could go with slightly more affordable bathroom fittings or look for a cheaper contractor. Maybe you don't need the expensive gas stove and hob. It's often the little details that can shape a budget. 

Have contingency plans

It's extremely rare that everything goes according to plan on any building site. You may encounter shortages of a specific material or various other unexpected issues that can slow the process down. Expect the unexpected and have different suppliers lined up to help you cope with these surprises. Even in a dream home, sometimes, little compromises are a necessary evil. 

Do your research

Maybe you wanted that conservatory on a particular side of the house. But what if the space doesn't get any sunlight? It's imperative that you have a full picture of the property before building commences. Look at it from all angles. What materials are best to achieve your goals? Are the contractors you have chosen to use reputable? It takes very little time to look up reviews online. And based on what you are looking to achieve, are there any specific building techniques that might complement the build? 

In an age where access to knowledge is a given, don't allow yourself to come up short because you were not as informed about the details as possible. Imagining the home you always wanted needs to translate into the practical application of building it. 

Find quality contractors

The quality of the building is only as good as the people who build it. At 1st Choice Builders, we have 20 years of experience building dream homes and renovating for a multitude of happy clients. Our work comes with a quality guarantee and you can rest assured that our main aim is to bring your dream home to life. Are you ready to get started? 

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Design and Build for Your Home

At 1st Choice Builders we offer a full design and build service for your project. This means that we undertake both the design process and the build process. Our design service includes an initial site survey, architectural planning and getting your plans approved by a structural engineer. The build process includes assigning a project manager to your build from one of our approved building teams. This reduces the stress you can experience when having to arrange the design separately to organising and finding builders to build your home extension project.

If you have already received your design plans, we can take on the build section of your project. Our experienced building teams are carefully monitored by our Customer Service Manager throughout the build so we deliver your project to the highest quality. Our dedicated Customer Service Manager will be on hand throughout the entire process to answer your questions and sort any issues that may arise during your build.

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