Monthly Archives:July 2014

Creative design starts with simple shapes

29 Jul 14
Michelle Gaffaney
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We all remember how we drew houses as a child: a simple box with a triangle roof and square windows. It’s too easy to think grown-up style has to be complicated. Going back to square one by sketching simple shapes can be a real eye-opener.

An A-frame vacation home using simple shapes

Take the example of this A-frame vacation home in Brecht, Belgium. It looks like a simple triangle fitted onto a rectangular house, but the designers dmvA have used symmetry, plain materials and stark palettes to make it look incredibly sophisticated.

This is the kind of home that could look childish or silly on paper, but the real thing is anything but. Inside the white and grey tones avoid any sense of being overdone and create a calm space to appreciate all the lovely angles made by the intersecting shapes. It really shows how getting back to basics with shape can pay dividends.

How to get started with a creative design

It’s really fun to curl up with a pen and paper and just draw some shapes to discover how you want your design to be. Take the buildings of Zaha Hadid for example – they often look like they started with a doodle on a piece of paper. One of her most recent buildings has a big curved wave over the entrance – it’s impossible to keep your eyes off it in the city skyline.

If you’re looking for the right shape for your home, whether it’s a new staircase, the shape of your kitchen or the layout of your garden, it’s a good idea to start out simply by thinking of what inspires you and what sort of shapes fit well with the surroundings. Simple shapes are the key to keeping things calm and relaxed.

The right approach for your home

Luckily for you, we have years of experience in helping people find the right shapes and styles for their home. We always start with a sketch and the design evolves with your thinking. That’s the beauty of having an architect to help you with your project – we’re there to support you and help you find the right choice for you.

There’s a great gallery of pictures on Cimot’s blog that shows you just where a simple shape can take you – check it out!


Straw bale walls going up at Castle Hill School

28 Jul 14
Michelle Gaffaney
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The new straw bale classroom at Castle Hill School is progressing well!

Since the pupils broke up for the summer holidays, building on-site has been continuing at a fantastic pace, with most of the straw bale walls now in place.

Straw bale walls

Straw bale walls

We’ve had two different site managers looking after the build. Craig Taylor has managed the site up until the wall-raising, taking care of all the preliminary work, foundation-laying, service installation and much more.

Craig Taylor

Site manager Craig Taylor

Laying foundations

Laying foundations

Now the walls are going up, our straw bale expert Emma Appleton has stepped in to manage this part of the build.

Emma Appleton

Straw manager Emma Appleton

straw bale wall raising

Straw bale wall raising

Straw bales, twine and baling needles

Straw bales, twine and baling needles

We’ve been incredibly lucky with the weather – as you can imagine, naked straw and rain don’t mix. But although the walls have been covered with tarpaulins each night in case of rain, thanks to the hot, sunny spell we’ve been enjoying recently everything has stayed nice and dry. That said, our building team have had deliveries of rehydration salts and ice lollies to keep them going in the heat…

straw bale building

Thirsty work…!

Jamie gets an unofficial visit

Jamie gets an unofficial visit!

We’re hoping that the straw bale walls will be completed this week.

At this point we’ll be ready to add the ‘wall plate’, which helps to compress the bales and will provide a sturdy platform for the roof. Then it’s more carpentry as the timber-framed roof goes up, and we prepare for rendering and plastering the external and internal walls.

Emma with the pre-built wall plate

Emma with the pre-built wall plate

The sofa of your dreams

20 Jul 14
Michelle Gaffaney
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Perhaps more than any other piece of furniture, sofas really express personality. They can make or break a room and you should expect one to last you long enough that it feels like an old friend.

A fitting way of sitting

The first thing to think about is how you like to sit on your sofa. This might sound like a silly question, but you would be surprised how much variety there is in whether people like firm support, something soft and pillowy, or a nice deep seat. The best way to find out your preference is to take a trip to a store and get sitting!

An expression of your style

Obviously sofas are pretty big, so it will make a big impact on the overall look of your room. We can help you find something that expresses your personal style, whether it’s sleek and modern like this capsule sofa or pretty and retro like this patterned number. We recommend spending time to find the perfect piece and going for quality – after all, you will spend a long time sitting on it!

Multifunctional and practical

When someone mentions a sofa bed to me, I tend to groan – we’ve all had uncomfortable night staying at a friend’s house on something cheap and uncomfortable. It doesn’t have to be that way – there are some great, well-made sofas out there with inbuilt storage, integral coffee shelves and guest beds that still look great and deliver on comfort. You can even have an inbuilt sound system and iPod dock. Check out these ideas for multifunctional pieces.

Give it detail

Once you’ve chosen your dream sofa, you’re going to want to make sure it look as good as possible in your room. You might want to keep the sofa clear but hang a picture or position a rug to accentuate a particular colour or part of your room. Alternatively, you might want to get super cosy with cushions and throws that make you feel snug. For a really comforting style, there’s nothing like having bespoke cushions made with photographs of loved ones, children’s drawings or a favourite saying. Or why not get one of these beautiful cushions from Spoonflower showing an aerial photograph of your home?