Industrial Inspired Open Plan Living

Many people who visit our home will walk into our main living space (which comprises our lounge, dining area and kitchen) and refer to it initially as an apartment. I’m not sure if it’s the open plan living, the fact its situated on the first floor or if it’s the impression the building gives from the outside but our townhouse definitely gives of New York Industrial apartment vibes and as far as I’m concerned that can only be a good thing!

The Gatehouse sits on an award winning architect designed plot and all of the dwellings under the big build were inspired by the original hospital that once occupied the site. Some of the original hospital buildings remain on the development, converted to residential homes, including the maternity ward where my husband and I were both born!

When I was designing this space I must’ve lost entire days to Pinterest. The Gatehouse is a really special property and I wanted to do it justice.  I wanted to run with this industrial vibe without being too cliché or ‘themey.’
But of course there was another ulterior motive to consider; cost.
Tight budgets and industrial design are the perfect marriage especially where furniture is concerned. It would be extremely easy to spend in excess of £1000 on a dining table and set of chairs alone. One day I will stroll into Heal’s and blow some serious cash on furniture that I will probably not allow anyone to so much as breathe near but for now my reality is a far cry from lavish fixtures and furnishings.

So I’ve got a two worded solution for ya coming right up; Scaffold. Boards.  They are so easy to come by if you look in the right places- you can buy them new from merchants such as Jewsons but I’d also recommend calling around local timber yards. Reclaimed boards can add tonnes of character to a scheme and if you’re cunning and charming enough you may even be able to pick them up for free by calling around your local scaffolding firms.
My dining table was constructed from 4,  8 foot boards braced together on the underside with 2 lengths of 4x2 and finished off with hair pin legs I found in none other than B&Q. And that’s it!
I used the same method to make my coffee table but using the shorter legs and boards.
I won’t point out the obvious advantages to these frugal makes but I will state that one of my favourite things about them both apart from the fact they look fabulous is that my kids can go to town on them with pens, paint, food and all the other yukky things they seem to so generously deposit around the house! They clean up beautifully with bleach and hot water and for the really stubborn marks I can just whip out the sandpaper!
Come to think of it this living space was probably where my love of repurposing materials was born. In addition to the scaffold boards the room features reclaimed floorboards, pallets, wooden crates and a pair doors from the original hospital.
When we moved in to the Gatehouse the previous homeowners had left behind some of their existing furniture including the Ikea, high gloss veneered media centre.
This posed bit of a predicament because, as much as it isn’t really the sort of thing we'd go out and buy- it fits really well in the space and the storage it provides is much needed. So I had to get my thinking cap on and figure out a way to revamp it.
The original unit came with glass shelves and a glass backing and so I decided to bring in the reclaimed elements to bring some continuity with the rest of the space. I clad the back board of the unit with pallet wood and fitted 3 hanging hammered cooper light shades from the overhanging top units and I am so pleased with how it all came together- the unit doesn’t look at all out of place now and the transformation cost me the price of the shades (£16 each from B&Q) and an electrician to fit them.
While we’re on the theme of storage I’d like to take a moment to suggest that when you’re looking for solutions its sometimes useful to think outside the box (I swear I did not intend that pun but I’m rolling with it)
As our family grew we found we found that our micro kitchen was beginning to burst at the seams and cupboards that were being used for food were now needed for baby bottles, sterilising equipment…the list goes on.
We’d originally planned to build a larder to the side of our kitchen but one fine day on an Ikea excursion (if you don’t think that Ikea is a day out then I’m not sure how you’ve stumbled across my blog) I came across the IVAR locker style metal cabinets and had one of those beautiful eureka moments; they’d make a perfect larder without look like a larder!  Our kitchen is fully functional once more and all Zen is restored.
When it came to dressing this space I just knew all of my belongings were going to be right at home. I absolutely love antiques or anything old and interesting that has a tale to tell. I always find antiques are great conversation starters and they look brilliant against the raw natural materials utilised in this room.

I've always maintained that a room is never fully complete as they grow and develop with the families who occupy them and this living space is very true to that sentiment- it’s always niggling at me to do more.
I have lots of mini projects (and some big) up my sleeve for this room. So stay tuned!

Anything else you want to know about this design proccess? Head over to my CONTACT section where you can post a question and I’ll get back you as soon as I can!