Interiors expert, Margot Paton of Glasgow based Chelsea Mclaine uses her creative flair to answer your design dilemmas.

Aim for a natural flow between kitchen and living space when opting for open plan.

We’ve opened up two rooms to create a supersized open-plan kitchen/dining and living area. It’s a daunting space to consider layout and we’re worried about the pitfalls. Any good tips?

It’s important to ensure that while the two areas feel separate there’s also a natural flow between them. Linking the spaces – perhaps by aesthetic means such as complementing wallcoverings, flooring or tiles can deliver a positive feeling and appearance of continuity. See photo of a client project that illustrates this well.

Aim to use a mix of task and ambient lighting in both areas so lighting can be adjusted for various activities such as cooking, eating or relaxing. If possible, arrange seating away from the kitchen area to make the living area look and feel more relaxing. Tick the functionality box in the kitchen with great storage to ensure contents have appropriate storage places. That’s essential to keep your kitchen spaces and surfaces orderly, minimising stress and guaranteeing relaxation.

By using aesthetically pleasing accessories in the kitchen – such as Alessi products – you can achieve both form and function, ensuring the kitchen area looks stylish and not purely functional.

Be aware of noise levels when selecting your kitchen appliances in a kitchen/living area. It’s not as easy as closing a door to block out unwanted sound emanating especially from the kitchen area. Noise from a working dishwasher or washing machine/drier can be intrusive when you’re trying to watch TV or simply relax. Some refrigerators are noisier than others and integrated ice makers can make sudden noise not conducive to relaxation. Manufacturers rate products with a noise level and it’s always worth considering. Ensure appliances are correctly installed and minimise sound reflective surfaces.

Consider furniture, curtains, rugs or carpet, throws and cushions and even wallcoverings which can soak up noise in an open plan kitchen/living area, particularly where ceilings are high and there’s lots of glazing. Hard floors such as stone, tile and timber, painted walls and leather sofas and chairs can exacerbate noise issues.

My recently widowed grandfather wants a new look for his bedroom but is insistent he now wants a masculine feel to it. We want the space to look stylish too – any tips on how we can achieve his desired look?

Stylish has to be the keyword – and the look hopefully will tick your grandfather’s box. We used this lovely combination of wallpaper and fabric – see photo above – in a client’s bedroom and I reckon it would deliver your goal. The wallcovering is Landseer metallic wallpaper from Zoffany while the drapes are in Reverso by Casamance.

They both work with the midnight blue tones we incorporated in the rest of the bedroom and the combo gives off a luxurious bronze shimmer.

The perfect combo – this Zoffany metallic wallpaper works well with the Casamance fabric curtains.

We’re creating a guest bedroom and have vowed that the storage will be only for the guest – and not an overflow for all our stuff that’s rarely used! Any suggestions?

We’ve been working on an interesting project involving the creation of a guest bedroom for a client. Like you, they don’t want the guest quarters to simply be overspill so that when said guest arrives they’re fighting for hanger space!

We’ve designed and had cabinetry experts create a double-plus wardrobe size space which has two distinctive sections – one with a couple of drawers, shelving and a very useful case rack while the other has hanging space and a section for shoes. A single door width movable full length mirror panel acts as the perfect cover and can slide between one side or the other or simply sit in the middle for guests to check themselves once they’re up and dressed.

We’ve moved into an old house with lots of stairs and spare rooms and we’re toying with the idea of having a laundry housed somewhere. Any advice you can share?

Why not think about the laundry room on the first floor of the property, close to the bedrooms and any dressing rooms you might include? Save carrying loads of laundry up and down the stairs. When thinking about layout and design consider incorporating hanging space directly above the washing/dryer machines. Means you can instantly hand up clothes without moving too far!

Think about storage too – for detergents, starch and your ironing equipment. If the space has tall ceilings, then opt for an old-fashioned pulley. Great especially during the winter months.


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