Inspired by a love of great design and challenged by the environmental problems of the 21st century, Kevin McCloud is a British designer, writer, and television presenter with a wealth of knowledge and advice.
Here are our top 5 Kevin McCloud tips for designing a house and home everyone will adore!
1. Spend money on the materials you touch
Touch is a sense that many people ignore in their homes. However, it’s often one of the biggest markers of luxury, comfort, and wealth, says Kevin. “Make everything you touch of the very highest quality. Door handles, locks, switches, chairs, and controls should be an ergonomic pleasure to use and robust enough for that pleasure to continue.”
Some of the most tactile areas of your home that you might like to invest in include:
- Kitchen bench and work surfaces
- Handles and door knobs
- Taps and bathtubs
- Light switches
- Oven and stovetop controls
- Stair handrails
- Drawers and wardrobe doors
- Flooring and carpet
2. Respect the character of your home
If you’re thinking about renovating your old Queenslander or adding extensions with a ‘heritage look’, you might want to reconsider your plans. New additions should be distinctly different and modern so that you can truly appreciate the old things, says Kevin.
“Respect the character of old buildings and cherish their idiosyncrasies and imperfections. The character of a place consists of a thousand tiny details which can carelessly be ‘improved’ into mediocrity.”
3. Choose decor that embodies the spirit of a place
When you move into a new neighbourhood you should make the effort to learn about the history, flora, fauna, food, and local culture, says Kevin. “Make the context of where you live part of the narrative of your home…invent a story for your place”.
For example, if you live by the beach you might like to display seashells you’ve collected or black and white photographs of the local surfing culture. If you reside in the countryside, perhaps you could repurpose wood from an old barn or plant flowers that are native to your particular region.
4. Don’t neglect your home’s lighting plan
According to Kevin, lighting is perhaps one of the most important features in your home. He says the way you shade, direct, reflect, soften, sharpen, or dim your lighting can have a massive effect on your home’s overall atmosphere and feel. The five types of lighting that Kevin says you should install in your home include:
- Task lighting — for corridors, pictures, artworks, work surfaces and reading. “Task lighting should never point at the eye…it lights what we do in a building”.
- Ambient lighting — for backgrounds lighting and mood lighting. “The best ambient schemes uplight ceilings as giant reflectors providing the artificial equivalent to a cloudy day.”
- Directional lighting — for alcoves, recessed areas, specific walls, and decorative building features. Kevin says, “it’s task lighting but pointing the other way, at the building.”
- Decorative lighting — for glamour, twinkle, and wow factor. “Decorative lighting is the fun stuff, the chandelier that says ‘look at me’, the heartwarming candelabra or colour-changing inflatable Christmas tree.”
- Kinetic lighting — for movement, shadows, and light play. Kinetic lighting is “the most atavistic and psychologically powerful of all kinds of light”. It includes electric fires, televisions, and dancing candle flames.
5. Buy authentic
High-quality craftsmanship and handmade furniture pieces are worth every penny. Kevin says, “do not be led only by price but look for value and craftsmanship. Buy only things and materials that respect the human energy that has gone into them and where the maker is rewarded fairly”.
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