Co-Founders of super prime construction company, London Projects, Nick Stuttard and Steve Howat, share their exclusive insight into the key trends and features that are in highest demand across the world of super prime renovation and new build projects today.
Fitness at home
At-home fitness facilities are definitely a very important aspect of a home renovation or refurbishment for many of our clients today and something we have seen grow dramatically in popularity over recent years.
We are finding that owners now really want to create a ‘social fitness space’ in their home – where they can invite friends and train, do yoga or pilates together.
For example, we recently worked on the extensive refurbishment of two seven-storey townhouses on Albert Bridge Road and included state-of-the-art yoga studios in each property which can accommodate groups who are training together.
In another property on Tregunter Road in Chelsea, we worked closely with the client on the design and fit-out of their at-home gym. The design cleverly includes a backlit barrisol ceiling, so that despite being lower ground floor level, the room has the feeling of a bright, naturally lit space. The client loves training outdoors so wanted to try to recreate an outside environment inside, as much as possible.
Ensuring that natural light reaches darker spaces of the home is a key priority for many of our clients.
Rooflights, glazed boxes or roof lanterns are all in high demand and the installation of these features can be very complex, requiring expert skill. Clients generally don’t want to see joints in the glass, meaning that the glazing panels are delivered as large, extremely heavy units which typically need to be craned into a site – this also involves closing off parts of the road. Challenges such as these can often be overlooked, but our Project Managers are highly experienced in managing situations which impact other residents – they work closely with the local councils to ensure good communication and minimum disruption.
An interesting trend we are seeing is the demand from clients for glass panels with a low iron content, this gives the glass an ultra-high clarity and removes any bluish or greenish tint and allows for the maximum level of natural light to come through.
Lightwells over basement swimming pools are extremely popular at the moment – they provide not only natural light to the pool area but also make an interesting glass feature in the garden.
Curved staircases are being requested much more regularly by our clients – they create a lot of visual interest and can become a focal point of a space. However, they do also present a number of interesting challenges both in terms of design and installation.
We recently incorporated a bespoke curved staircase in one of our projects in Surrey. On this specific project, the challenge we faced was that the curved staircase sat in front of a curved, full height feature wall that included recessed feature lighting and an intricate golden leaf art installation. Ensuring the curved handrail, balustrade and stair treads all dovetailed meant all the individual designs had to be co-ordinated to the millimetre. The complex installation of each of these elements also restricted movement around the site, so programming and scheduling of each of the craftsmen was vital.
Human centric lighting
Our clients today have never been more conscious of the impact of artificial light on their health and wellbeing. At London Projects, we strive to be at the forefront of AV technology and are now working a lot with Human Centric Lighting. This is lighting devoted to enhancing vision, performance and wellbeing in the home or workplace by controlling the level of blue light we experience throughout the day.
Through the use of carefully selected “tuneable” LED luminaires and an appropriate lighting control solution, the colour temperature of emitted light can be automatically adjusted through the course of a day, dawn until dusk. In keeping with our natural circadian rhythm, this aids our sleep/wake cycle (clients can be woken as part of a Human Centric wake alarm through the gentle introduction of natural light levels to the bedroom) and helps increase our productivity.
Human Centric lighting solutions have been incredibly successful in the workplace to help improve the wellbeing and productivity of the staff. It makes perfect sense that this technology is now finding its way into the home, so that families can also enjoy the benefits.
A discrete, roof-mounted weather station can be used to analyse natural light levels – this information is then fed back to an intelligent lighting system which optimises the mix of artificial and natural light. As we progress into the evening, the colour temperature of the property’s lighting can be automated in a gentle manner to become naturally warmer, providing the perfect light levels for relaxation.