The more self-built homes I see – and it’s particularly true on the bigger one-off property – the more I wonder quite what I’m going to see next when it comes to the use of ground floor space.

You see, as people begin to build homes with four or more bedrooms, and square meterage begins to go into the 250m2+ category, I sense that house designers are left a little bit flummoxed. They have a vast floor area upstairs to accommodate all those bedrooms (and they’re not poky bedrooms, either – indeed most have en suites and even dressing rooms) which, naturally, has to be matched downstairs too.

So what does the designer do when a client’s first requirement is for five large bedrooms? What do they do with the downstairs space when all that is required is, simply, a kitchen, a living room and perhaps a snug/library/study?

I’m not sure I’ve seen a clever solution. What tends to happen is that the larger house ends up with just more of the same. Two – very large – living rooms. A large kitchen with more living space. Another room that is clearly a living room but might be termed a ‘drawing room’ or ‘playroom’.

It’s all getting a bit silly. The ‘hot’ recent trend is apparently for two kitchens. Because one really isn’t enough, is it? This bizarre trend has been borne out of the move towards open plan dining/kitchen spaces, because people have realised that they couldn’t possibly bear the thought of having the saucepans and other detritus of cooking on show for all to see whilst dining so close by. So people are actually building in hidden away ‘real’ kitchens where the work goes on, and having a posher, less-used, kitchen for ‘show’ in the living space.

PS. We are all mad.

  • Crunga

    i would not dare self-build my own house. better get the architect’s design and a good foreman to do the job, while i supervice behind the scenes. that way, the upstairs/downstairs issue is minimised..

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