Paul, our Director and Founder, shares his top tips and insights that he's learnt over the years at Garden Room Designs, where he looks for inspiration and his home improvement predictions for the future.
I'm Paul, and my wife and I own Garden Room Designs. I left school and became a boat builder and over time moved over into home improvements and building trade. We started Garden Room Designs as we realised people wanted more from a conservatory than what it was designed for, i.e. it is too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. We worked on the assumption that it needed to have a solid roof, Velux windows in the roof and be fully insulated so this would keep in heat in the winter and stop overheating in the summer while still giving the light and airy feel of a conservatory.
We have a garden room at home, which we use as a living room. Since having the garden room our traditional living room is now redundant as we like being able to look out at the garden and beautiful sunsets through our gable windows.
As I do a lot of miles driving between sites, I would say driving and seeing what people have done with their own houses is a great source of inspiration, and then thinking about how I would have possibly done it differently!
It's hard for me to choose a specific project as we enjoy speaking to the customers, getting their initial requirements and working closely with them to achieve their dream within their budget.
I'm probably controversial in saying this but speaking from my own experience, we try to avoid underfloor heating. That said, if a customer wants it, and they have a stone floor then it comes into its own, but not as a main heat source for the room. We are looking to be able to get solar gain if possible and underfloor heating is slow to respond to this.
There used to be a lot of brickwork inside, and unplastered, similar to how you would have in a conservatory, but now virtually everything is plastered. Lots of bi-folds! Venetian blinds within glazing, before this, would not have been possible for the average consumer, but advances in technology have made it possible and they are so good! The open plan trend for sure, as it used to be more self-contained, whereas now we do a lot of open plan rooms and rooms coming off a kitchen to offer a living area within the kitchen.
I think there will be the use of Solar Panels, increased smart integration (for lights, electrics etc) and more use of blinds in glazing.
I think I would say, think about how you will use the room, a living room? Dining room? Office? Is there a good view you look out for? If so, could you get the windows/doors to look out onto this? Consider where you put your plug sockets to ensure you have flexibility in the future.