Add some castors These multi-purpose benches-cum-storage-boxes score highly on the practicality scale, as the castors allow them to be wheeled around the space. Pulling them out gives access to the lush plants behind, making weeding and general green-fingered maintenance much easier. Or they can be reconfigured as a bench and table, pushed together or moved to the other side of the patio to add flexibility to the garden design.
TV / Mirror disguise A carpenter deepened the shelves at fireplace level and add doors. This took away the spot where a television had previously sat. Eventually, the TV was placed above the fireplace disguised behind a special mirror that becomes transparent when the TV’s on. Mirror television, Overmantels. Bookshelves painted in Stiffkey Blue, Farrow & Ball. Chandelier, Tigermoth Lighting.
Make it multi-purpose This clever window storage, beautifully designed by Sigmar, performs several functions. The central section features storage disguised beneath bench seating, while on the right there’s open shelving and on the left, a wardrobe. Having the open shelving visible from the seat but not the bed is a nice touch, as the view from the pillow will be an uncluttered look out of the window.
The hinged section folds out to form an additional casual dining space for guests, with the central leg rotating to hold it in place. The tabletop is a material called maple edge grain, which is bought in small sheets from plywood manufacturers and is made by laying long strips of solid wood together to create a patterned surface. It’s quite solid, so often recommended for a table, It’s 2mm thick, so can be sanded down and re-oiled when needed.
The vanity unit also has several USB ports, the last of the homeowner’s must-haves. “My client wanted lots of places where she could charge devices without her kids getting to them. We went totally overboard with the USBs – they are in just about every outlet – but that’s the way she wanted it,” Richard says. The wires for the drawer outlets are secured by mechanical arms designed to work with the opening and closing of the drawers. This is a safety feature that prevents fraying.
The sofa and armchair are curvaceous and inviting, contributing to the room’s cosy atmosphere. The verticals are sharp, so it’s nice to contrast softer elements. The room’s fabrics are tactile, with velvet upholstery and linen cushions. A wall-hung unit provides essential storage for the living space, but leaves the floor area clear. It also conceals the equipment and wiring for the TV that hangs on the wall above. The television appears to be a piece of art when it’s switched off. Ottawa sofa, BoConcept. Spazio wall unit; Bicoca table lamp, both Catalog. Frame TV, Samsung.
The height of the ‘bedroom’ has been kept to a “just enough room to sit up” minimum of 1.2m, which has left enough space underneath to fit in wardrobes. There are five cupboards in total, three of which hold clothes. They pull out on telescopic rails designed to hold computer servers, so they can handle plenty of weight. A door (not seen) allows access under the stairs to a space behind the sliding cabinets, which the homeowners see as a kind of ‘cellar’: they even store a bike in there.
Stack to max floor space Pull-out and fold-down beds make great use of space, but for something more permanent, check out this ingenious design. The couple who live in this small flat wanted it to remain as open as possible. The solution was this multi-purpose box, which incorporates a bed, wardrobes and even a ‘cellar’. The MDF-covered wood structure is around 2.5m x 1.6m x 2m, with a 50cm-wide staircase. The bed can be accessed via a small door at the top of the staircase. The doors at the front can be opened up for an airy feel or left closed, so the magazine shelves can be used for bedside bits and bobs.
By collapsing the table and pulling out the mattress beneath it, the owner has an instant bedroom, complete with bedside table. Brilliantly, she can also use the bed as a sofa by only pulling it out halfway. The slatted board that serves as a support for the dining table (which can seat six), provides a headboard when the bed is in use, as well as a back for the sofa.
On the other side of the office area is another set of units, again with cupboards at the bottom and a wall of plywood at the top. Birch plywood has good strength and its light appearance allows you to add your own colours. Here, the external wood is stained a natural shade and the internal areas are varnished.