Style and sustainability: state-of-the-art home showcases the benefits of biophilia and timber in interior design
Private Residence is a sustainable interior design and renovation project located in Ealing, London. Designed by Grigoriou Interiors, the 1920s mansion apartment serves as a stunning example of not only the aesthetic benefits, but the flexibility, conservation abilities, and wellbeing benefits that can be achieved through sustainable and biophilic design.
Grigoriou Interiors were chosen as interior designers for the project, due to their expertise in sustainability and health and wellbeing in the built environment. The owners wanted their home to be renovated using some of the best natural materials available and wanted to ensure it supported their wellbeing and was as environmentally friendly as possible.
The designers set out to achieve an authentic look that reflected the personalities and lifestyle of the owners and re-used materials where possible. It was important that the timber parquet flooring was retained and that the design incorporated stone, dark woods, and other natural materials. The design also needed to create open space and freedom of movement whilst accommodating the integration of existing furniture, and included versatile layouts to support relaxation, exercise, working and entertaining.
The apartment was re-planned with a second bathroom and re-opened balcony to make the most of the generous circulation space and create a more open and spacious feel. The space volumes, proportions and eyeline were then carefully designed to enhance both connectivity and separation.
As the client was looking for a strong biophilic approach, an abundance of natural materials, lighting, patterns, and colour combinations were used such as exposed wood and neutral or warming tones. These were balanced through a combination of deep or vivid colours on one side of a room and deep textures on the other, creating a sense of wellbeing and harmony.
In addition to the use of biophilic design principles, increased emotional wellbeing was achieved through a multitude of features. These included an adjustable artwork hanging system to allow the clients to tailor their space more easily, and enhanced spatial heights through high-level coving that allow the eye to travel over the walls and ceiling junctions and to be carried from room to room.
High levels of natural light and good ventilation, a key factor in the design, were also achieved by increasing air flow and the open space in the kitchen, living and dining areas.
As the apartment is to be used as a retirement home, the design needed to be adaptable and focused on a long life cycle. This meant taking an approach that catered for future needs such as possible changes in mobility and sight and incorporating these into the planning and positioning of rooms.
To sub-divide the space, timber framed partitions and Fermacell wallboards were chosen as low-carbon, environmentally friendly and durable options. For acoustic insulation, sheep’s wool was used which has a negative embodied carbon footprint.
The existing timber parquet floor was retained and refurbished, an aspect that was extremely important to the client.
All timber used throughout the project was FSC certified, and included the following items:
To ensure that the property has minimal impact on the environment and serves its occupants for many years to come, Grigoriou Interiors incorporated a range of natural and low-carbon materials such as natural fleece insulation, timber framed walls, a high U-value balcony window and door system, clay-based wall finishes, and cork among others. All paints, adhesives and seals are also water based or made up of very low volatile organic compounds that are not harmful to the environment.
Increased efficiency for energy and water use was another important factor and was achieved through energy efficient heating products, cooling space design with a push towards passive air flow and thermal comfort, and reduced water flow with clay topcoats to create a self-regulating moisture surface.
One of the main benefits to the home’s design is the use of recycled and renewable materials, the majority of which can be disassembled and reused at the end of their life such as 100% recycled glass worktops with full environmental product declarations.
To increase sustainability, all building materials were responsibly sourced through selected suppliers and their supply chains. In addition, Grigoriou Interiors offered sustainability training to upskill the numerous sub-contractors through on-site support and workshops.