Eltham – Episode 2 – Series 1
October 23, 2018
This week our first ever episode from 2017 of ITV’s Love Your Home and Garden is being re-run. Alongside, Alan Titchmarsh, Katie Rushworth and Kunle Barker, we transform the homes and gardens of deserving people across the country.
For this project, we were in Eltham, South London and the home of Manisha and Rajiv Seesurrun. Their Ayran was born in 2007 and almost immediately, his health became a huge concern. Ayran was starved of oxygen at birth and has been left with severe cerebral palsy as a result. He requires 24 hour care, so Manisha has given up her job and her dreams of becoming a designer to care for him full time, while Rajeev works long hours to support the family.
We were struck by the warren of rooms in the house and the lack of space for Aryan’s medical equipment. It was clear that manoeuvring Aryan’s wheelchair through the house was extremely difficult and it effectively rendered mother and son prisoners in their front room. Rajeev had built a glass conservatory at the back of the house, but instead of creating light and views it separated the house from the garden and was used for storage.
Maneesha loves to cook but without out being to get Aryan into the kitchen was unable to use the kitchen. Ayran loves nature and often felt frustrated that he was unable to go outside and enjoy the garden.
Clearly a big challenge, how to resolve it?
Bye bye conservatory
The biggest impact on this house was one of the first things we asked Kunle to do, and that was to demolish the conservatory. Understandably, removing floor space can be a hard decision to make, but once that conservatory was gone and we replaced it with a large steel opening onto the garden, the living spaces were transformed. We installed a three-panel sliding door system into the new opening, that could be opened from both sides for flexibility.
We also knocked through the side wall that was separating the kitchen from the dining room to create an open plan space. We made the space wider by extending out to the side and moving the kitchen over, this created a new long vista to the garden from the front door and ensured plenty of space for manoeuvring Aryan’s wheelchair around the dining table.
The pink kitchen!
This was the bit that Alan didn’t see coming, we decided to paint the entire kitchen pink, walls, floors, ceiling, worktop, cupboards. Because the kitchen was now pushed over to the side it gave us a great opportunity to make it something really distinctive from the rest of the open plan space. By placing a new glass door onto the garden and a new roof window that aligned with the kitchen cupboards below, we were bringing in enough daylight to be bold with our colour choice, bold colours work great with lots of light.
We designed the kitchen with one big island facing the open-plan living and with plenty of space for being able to move a wheelchair around. Against the neighbours wall we placed a full run of kitchen units that ran seamlessly into a new secret utility space tucked behind the stairs and accessed by a discreet sliding door. The challenge sometimes with open-plan is that you can hear your washing machine while the telly is on, the utility and sliding door helped segregate the areas. We painted the utility a deep moody blue to contrast with the kitchen.
Now Maneesha and Rajeev have a kitchen they can use and share with Ayran, whilst also enjoying their beautiful new garden.
It was clear the old house didn’t have enough storage so we used the entire length of wall on the opposite side of the kitchen for cupboards and shelves. Not only was that a practical use of space but it was also an opportunity to create a really distinctive wall with a bold blue to contrast with the kitchen. We lined up the storage so it ran in line with the end of the new glazing, to create an infinity effect from inside to outside.
The terraced Garden
Outside was a challenge as the garden was so much lower than the main house. We lifted the garden up with a new terrace to match the level of the dining room floor and placed a lift so that Ayran could access the main garden. A real challenge with raised decks is they can look a bit imposing from the garden, so we designed a stepped terrace with three levels of planting to break up the height change and create a cosy outdoor dining area, not overlooked by neighbours.
Design Tips for Your Home
- Keep bits of wall – You don’t have to open up the entire back of your house. Sometimes it’s nice to leave part of the rear wall in place and use it for a feature,It also saves a bit of money on structure! like we did on Photographers House and converted the short wall into a library. http://b-vds.co.uk/projects/photographers-house/
- Place roof window against kitchen cabinets – It’s a great way of using your cabinets to reflect and bounce light into your kitchen. What a way to show off the pink! It doesn’t cost you any extra, it just requires careful setting out. We used the same trick on this project http://b-vds.co.uk/projects/two-tone-house/.
- Connect inside to outside with joinery – It is technically challenging and expensive to make your windows go right up to your neighbours wall. A lot easier way to achieve the infinity look is to build wall joinery out so that it appears the inside wall is extending to the outside. We did that with the blue shelves on Manisha and Rajeev’s house.
- Locate ‘servant’ spaces away from natural light – Natural light is gold dust, so the best areas of the house should benefit from it. We determined the utility space to be secondary to the kitchen and dining area so we tucked it down the side of the house with a door directly onto the kitchen.