Get Your Home In Shape For 2018

Beautiful private indoor swimming pools, personal fitness suites and bespoke home gyms are all a possibility when you’re converting, extending or building your home from scratch, as long as you plan them in. 

Flexible workout times, privacy, peace and quiet… Exercising in your own space can be hugely rewarding and pay dividends in terms of your long-term health. Here’s some inspiration from our Wimbledon architects’ portfolio to kick-start your home health and fitness plans for 2018.

Outdoor Pools by Wimbledon Architects Holden Harper

Private outdoor pool with small pool house and changing facilities in Wimbledon Village

OUTDOOR POOLS

Where planning permission for additional structures is an issue, an outdoor pool with a modest poolhouse can provide the private swimming space you crave without the need for extensive construction. This pool is sheltered from view by clever landscaping, and overlooked by a sweet brick- and-timber changing block, sympathetically designed in keeping with the period of the main Wimbledon property refurbishment.

INDOOR POOLS

Unlike outdoor pools, planning permission is usually required for an indoor pool. A custom-build pool annexe allows you to maximise your ground space (according to budget). Good insulation is essential, to allow plenty of natural light in without losing heat. Classical pool styles might incorporate columns or arches; modern swimming spaces favour floor-to-ceiling glazing, crisp white finishes and minimal decoration.

Indoor Pool by Wimbledon Architects Holden Harper

Indoor pool conversion with arched double doors in Wimbledon

Indoor Pool by Wimbledon Architects Holden Harper, London Swimming Pools and Genty Interiors

Details make a difference: pool install by London Swimming Pools; polished plaster wall finish by Genty Interiors

Indoor Pool by Wimbledon Architects Holden Harper, London Swimming Pools and Genty Interiors

Inset mood lighting to create atmosphere; pool install by London Swimming Pools

PERSONAL FITNESS SUITES

During the renovation and extensive refurbishments needed to return Grade II-listed Chester House to its former function as a residential family home, Holden Harper was tasked with adding a contemporary health centre, including a swimming pool, Jacuzzi and private gym.

Private Health Suite by Wimbledon Architects Holden Harper and Guncast Swimming Pools

Indoor spa pool and fully glazed private gym at Chester House. Pool install by Guncast Swimming Pools

A gallery-style gym space with views looking back down over the Jacuzzi to the indoor swimming pool and landscape beyond provides a peaceful sense of focus and aids motivation. Capturing and maximising as much of the available natural light as possible is key to creating inspiring workout spaces.

Private Health Suite by Wimbledon Architects Holden Harper and Guncast Swimming Pools

Bespoke ‘starlight’ ceiling and polished ceramic surfaces. Pool install by Guncast Swimming Pools

The pool is a crisp, contemporary spa-style pool in a light-flooded space, accessed by minimal modern polished-ceramic steps linking the interior with the landscape beyond.

Private Pool Entrance Sequence by Wimbledon Architects Holden Harper

The construction of the external stairs reflects the internal steps leading to the pool

Each swimming pool and home gym project pictured was designed and built by Holden Harper architects and engineers. For more information or to start your own project, contact us.

Create the Perfect Home-Entertaining Space

With party season in full swing, we look at some of the ways you can improve your entertaining spaces at home, from opening up your kitchen with an extension to creating extra space in your living areas.

As architects, we’re often tasked with transforming a house into a home that’s perfect for big family get-togethers and entertaining at scale – a key factor in the smooth running of a large household, especially at Christmas time, when enjoying one another’s company in comfort is especially important.

See our gallery below for inspiration:

Holden Harper's Kensington townhouse conversion

This sunlit basement extension to a Kensington townhouse incorporates a dining and family entertaining space that opens up to the kitchen – perfect for intimate dinner parties. The marble-topped table and sheepskin-draped Wishbone chairs play with texture to create a cosy ambiance, and a glazed ground-floor balcony keeps the space feeling open and welcoming.

For this family home in Wimbledon, our brief was to design a functional, comfortable and practical space that maximised floor space and opened the house up to the outside. The solution was a large open-plan kitchen, dining and family room that extends the space out to the greenery of the garden through floor-to-ceiling sliding windows, facilitating all-year-round entertaining. A breakfast bar provides the perfect spot for serving drinks, too.

Modern open-plan extension in Wimbledon

Light is so important to wellbeing: one of our most-often requested tasks is to bring more natural light into homes. This single-storey kitchen and dining extension in Wimbledon Village allows sunlight to enter and illuminate the space through a skylight and frameless windows. These minimally styled apertures act as picture windows, allowing the garden to form a living backdrop. A strong contemporary look that draws on Modernist influences.

In this seven-bedroom new-build family home in Wimbledon Village, we created a separate first-floor living room, ideally suited to formal at-home entertaining.

Listed building renovation by Holden Harper architects

Entertaining in grand style! One of Holden Harper’s specialities is the renovation and remodelling of period properties – this Grade II-listed house demanded the restoration of the building’s original proportions and finesse. The fireplace, mouldings and column-flanked entrance to this formal reception room revive its grandeur; the grand piano glimpsed in the music room sets the stage for a sophisticated cocktail party. 

All the above home-renovation projects were undertaken by Holden Harper architects. To discuss your plans for a home conversion, extension or rebuild in Wimbledon, get in touch.

Bespoke Wine Cellars: Entertaining in Style

Always wanted your own wine cellar? Now’s the time to design the right cellar storage for your favourite wines to care properly for your investments. Architect Richard Holden provides a how-to guide below.

With the season of entertaining upon us, we’re reminded of some recent requests to install wine cellars for clients – and the fantastic end results. If you’re interested in a bespoke wine cellar for your collection of vintages – whether they’re in it for the long-term or just pausing in preparation for that special dinner party or big event you’re hosting – here’s some inspiration and a few practical considerations.

Beyond the design considerations, at the most practical level it all comes down to temperature control.

  • To keep your wine in its best condition, it needs to be stored in a cool, dark room.
  • For optimum conditions, you need to ensure there are no heating pipes running through the space, or heat-producing lights to alter the base temperature.
  • The cellar or space should be sealed off from the rest of house to create a constant temperature of 12–14°C.

Oaklawn Lodge: This project included room for a tasting table and custom-designed metal racking to fit an octagonal cellar.

  • You may have a preference, but what material you choose can be anything that will properly store the wine. Traditionally, stone crates or metal racks are used. At home, my own cellar crates are created from paving slabs set between brick walls.
  • Wood cabinetry with low-temperature lighting creates polished, contemporary housing: a consideration if you are storing your wine in high-visibility areas of your home (such as in an under-stair nook or open kitchen).
  • Hire a professional joiner such as RTA Joinery – members of the British Woodworking Federation – for a high-quality finish in line with current regulations.

64 Murray Rd: Wine chiller/fridge under the stairs. Joinery completed by RTA.

So whether you’d like a compact chiller to compliment your home or a spacious cellar for a vast and varied collection, contact us for more information about designing a bespoke wine cellar as part of your home renovation project.

From the Hearth: Focus on Fireplaces

There’s nothing quite like a real fire crackling away to spread warmth and light throughout a room. A beautiful fireplace provides a natural focal point for a cosy living room or entertaining space, as well as way to underscore your property’s period architectural details – ultimately adding value as well as aesthetic pleasure.

Richard Holden’s own home features a historic fireplace that once warmed the room in which Dwight Eisenhower planned the D-Day landings, and was recovered from a house on Inner Park Road, dated 1944.

Eisenhower fireplace dining room designed by Holden Harper

Reclaimed mid-century fireplace in architect Richard Holden’s Wimbledon home

We’re often asked to incorporate fireplaces into new-build projects, or to reinstate an original fireplace with a suitable surround for our period restorations in Wimbledon Village. There are many considerations and practicalities for which the services of an experienced architect are needed, but here are three pointers for anyone considering creating a fireplace in their home.

Fireplace Tips: Chester House & Copse Hill

Keep a sense of proportion

Bigger is not always better: to create a harmonious and balanced look, keep the proportions of your fireplace appropriate. An oversized hearth can make a bold statement in an entrance hall, but will overwhelm a domestic drawing room. Look to pick up stylistic references from other period details in your home and reflect these in the surround, which could be made of wood, marble, stone or cast iron.

 

Fireplace Ideas: Staircase Home Hallway

Size matters

If you do decide to go large, remember that the bigger the opening of your hearth, the bigger the flue – and therefore the chimney breast – will need to be. Without careful planning and clever design, a protruding chimney breast can take up valuable floor space. And of course, any structural changes will need to comply with building regulations.

 

Bespoke Fireplace: Living Room Wooden

Feed the flames

A real fire needs combustion air, so you’ll need a way for air from outside to ingress the firebox to keep the fire burning. If the flue is too cold, or too small, the fire won’t draw properly and will choke or smoke. A bespoke fireplace with a custom-engineered chimney is the best way to avoid complications.

 

Holden Harper Fireplace Tips Ideas White Living Room Fireplace Ideas

Holden Harper designed and installed all the bespoke fireplaces featured above. For advice on reinstating or installing fireplaces – or any other home renovations – please get in touch.

Open House London 2017: inside an architect’s home

Holden Harper’s Director Richard Holden and his wife SJ Holden recently opened up their home as part of the Open House London architecture festival – the 14th time they’ve participated in the annual event, now celebrating its 25th year.

Open House London Richard Holden Harper 2017Inside a Wimbledon architect's home for Open House London

In under four hours, Richard welcomed more than 270 people through the doors of his 1950s family home and garden, including members of the public and invited guests. Here they found inspiration from the architect and artist partnership that’s resulted in a balanced and tranquil space, flooded with natural light and filled with a lifetime’s collection of art and sculpture.

Open House London | Wimbledon architect's home

Open House London | Wimbledon interior design inspiration

Richard entertained guests with an informative talk and a personal guided tour of his conversion, sharing ‘before and after’ photos (see below), detailing his design processes and discussing his influences, including the dramatic lighting effects of Baroque churches, the work of Sir John Soane, and interconnecting spaces that pay homage to Adolf Loos’ ‘Roundplan’ concept.

Open House London | Wimbledon architect's 1950s home

Open House London | Wimbledon architect's 1950s home

 

Garden inspiration in Wimbledon | Open House London

The day was a great success, with plenty of visitors despite the absence of last year’s glorious sunshine. There was lots of praise and positive feedback for the space Richard and his wife have created.

A ‘very special home’ – Karine Torr, Darling magazine

Wimbledon garden inspiration | Open House London

‘Beautiful, calm, serene’ – Helene Arrentz, interior designer
Wimbledon architectural inspiration | Open House London
Wimbledon architectural inspiration | Open House London

 

About Open House London

Open House London began in 1992 to promote and open up the capital’s lesser-visited buildings and architecture to the general public. It now showcases more than 800 public and private spaces open for free, with professional architects, homeowners and volunteers on hand to offer tours and answer questions.

Open House is now an international programme that runs in 20 other cities around the world, including New York, Dublin, Tel Aviv, Melbourne, Barcelona, Chicago and Slovenia. The popularity of Open House Weekend has led to a year-round programme of events spanning building, photography and boat tours. Visit the Open House website for more details.