Content supplied by British Gypsum

Images supplied by Peter Grogan

Bringing a Victorian semi-detached property into the 21st Century, whilst retaining its character, is a tough task. One which architect, David Leyden, successfully tackled by integrating three of British Gypsum’s Rooms Made For You solutions into the home.

The house plays home to a family of five and as such it required a lot of modification.  However, the brief given by the Stewart family was very clear – they wanted more space to accommodate their family life, but did not want it at the sacrifice of the garden. Therefore, architect, David, was set a real challenge to ensure he could deliver additional living space without extending the property too much – that’s where the Rooms Made For You range by British Gypsum came to the fore.

David Leyden, from Leyden Hassett and Associates, comments: “We were very aware that outdoor space was important to the family so we couldn’t eat into this too much.  Instead we looked at innovative ways to reconfigure the living area, create more space and enhance the function of the entire home. We achieved all of this and only extended the property by 7 sq m thanks to products in the Rooms Made For You range.”

When considering the dry lining of existing walls and upgrading insulation, David suggested Lifestyle Wall. The family agreed due to the level of flexibility it afforded.  Lifestyle Wall will ultimately allow the family to get more out of their living space by enabling them to attach heavy fixtures to the walls easily without the use of any specialist fittings, but it was actually the short term benefits that really appealed to them.

David explains: “When putting up stud walls it can often be problematic when it comes to hanging large items like radiators as homeowners need to make immediate decisions on where these should go.  However, Lifestyle Wall actually simplified this process and meant this could be confirmed much later down the line.  This meant we didn’t have to hassle the client all the time for instant decisions and ensured we could get it right.”

Lifestyle Wall offered the Stewarts flexible design. With both parents leading busy careers as doctors it meant they did not need to pre-plan where fixtures should be hung and they could delay decisions on where fittings should go.

Homeowner, Angela Stewart, comments: “Lifestyle Wall was instantly attractive to both my husband and I as you can screw directly into the wall, which is great because neither of us can drill!  So later on down the line when we want to hang things on the wall, whether it be paintings, mirrors or even just a curtain rail, we will be able to do it quickly, easily and most importantly – with just a screwdriver!”

In addition to reconfiguring the living space the family was also concerned by the level of sound insulation offered by a Victorian property.  They wanted to ensure that noise wouldn’t transfer from one room to another and in particular wanted to create a sound barrier between the au pair’s room and bathroom located on the upper level and the kitchen and dining room, which are located directly below.

What’s more, the family wanted to ensure that any solution was easy to install and wasn’t too intrusive.  Based on the brief at hand, David immediately suggested Silent Floor as it outperforms standard floors, when it comes to noise reduction, by up to 15dB – something which really appealed to the family.

Angela explains: “In a Victorian conversion, noise can be a problem.  We wanted to make sure that this was kept to a minimum, particularly in the kitchen.  When David recommended Silent Floor we jumped at the chance of having it installed.

“We have all been really impressed by the results since moving into the house and would say that Silent Floor has definitely exceeded our expectations when it comes to reducing the noise from above!”

The final suggestion that David made to the family to help them get the most out of their new home was Thistle Magnetic Plaster.

David explains: “Out of all the Rooms Made For You products, this was definitely the most playful from a design point of view.  The others were certainly very functional and whilst this does have a practical element, it also has a very fun side that the whole family can enjoy.”

Thistle Magnetic Plaster allows families to transform their home into an interactive living space, which can easily be updated and changed.  After applying a skim of the plaster walls will attract magnets and can even be painted or wallpapered over without its ability to attract magnets.

Angela and her family chose to use this in a number of rooms in the house including the kitchen, utility room and also in Angela’s daughter’s room.  While Thistle Magnetic Plaster in the kitchen and utility room has been used a means of organisation and somewhere to store recipes, calendars and to-do lists, the daughter’s room has a different function entirely.

In the childrens room, Thistle Magnetic Plaster allowed Angela and her husband to truly unleash their creativity and create a fun and enjoyable living space for their daughter.

Angela adds: “We liked the idea of using magnetic plaster in the bedroom as it is a fun way to decorate our daughter’s room and turn it into a girly room.  My daughter loves the end result and it’s certainly a talking point with her friends.  She likes to invite them over to show them her magic wall.”

All Rooms Made For You products and components are available from your local builders merchants. Your builder or architect will be able to help with guidance and installation.

For further information on the ‘Rooms Made For You’ line-up, to locate your nearest stockist or for inspiration, please visit

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