Just Shutters

Go Bespoke

We look at why tailored living can offer the most practical – and beautiful – way to live.

You can tailor every aspect of your home and garden, from your furniture and storage to your artwork and accessories. Of course, there is the kudos – giving you something unique that no one else will have – but it is much more than that, offering practical solutions to match your lifestyle and your tastes. And it doesn’t necessarily require deep pockets.

Battersea-based boutique architecture and design practice, creativemass, looks for bespoke solutions to solve tricky conundrums. Says director Claire McDonald: “We created a new basement to a house and we wanted to have a lovely rooflight to provide natural light. However, the property only had a tiny
garden so we doubled up by providing a little outdoor terrace, which slides and folds at the push of a button to allow the light into the basement.”

Another project they undertook was remodelling a family home from what was 11 bedsits. “We remodelled, extended to the rear, added a loft and a basement. Everything was bespoke, including all of the doors, joinery, and bathrooms, including the fun little sleeping decks for the teenagers that we squeezed into the eaves for when they have friends for sleepovers, or just want a bit of private time.”

Going bespoke makes the most of the space you have – a bookcase designed to fill an awkward alcove, for example, or being able to work around it – such as a sofa for a small living room that needs to not only work in the confined space but also negate problems such as getting up a staircase or through a narrow doorway.

Sofas and Stuff in Parsons Green notes that bespoke sofas can provide the exact comfort level you require: A bespoke sofa can be adapted to your form, proving lumbar or arm support as well as a custom seat depth and back height dependant on your height.

Bespoke flooring, meanwhile, lets you create spectacular effects, specifying exactly the configuration and colours you wish. And bespoke kitchens will make a huge difference to a busy family life, taking into account how you need to use the space, what you need to store and anything you wish to display.

Window treatments, too, can benefit from being bespoke, particularly for any unusual shapes. Says Georgina Broadhurst from Just Shutters Surrey: “How else can you showcase bay windows, portholes, arches or gable end windows with such precision? We can also colour match our hardwood shutters to almost any interior design feature, be that your Farrow & Ball paint, feature wallpaper, coloured window frames or even soft furnishings.”

As well as the practical benefits, many choose bespoke as a way to stamp their personality on their home. “I love commissioning bespoke items for clients as it is the perfect way to add individuality and creativity to a room,” says Louisa White Thomson, co-founder of The Lost Corner interior design boutique in Barnes. “Bespoke lampshades, bold upholstered chairs and cushions can all becoming stunning works of art in their own right.”

Furniture store BoConcept says the ability to customise is key. So if you want to go down the bespoke route, how do you ensure a successful project? “It is essential to have a proper drawing to scale as well as creating a mood board, adding all your existing furniture you want to keep as well as the new product you plan to purchase,” says BoConcept’s Mireille Baumgart. “Then take into account all other elements around: flooring, walls, natural light coming in the room so you can get it all coordinated and working in harmony. You need also to make sure that your choice will reflect your personality while keeping an eye on the practicality element and the way you live.”

Take advantage of in-store designers – BoConcept, for example, has a free service with an in-store consultation, home visit and full drawing proposal available.

When seeking an expert for your project, ask around for word-of-mouth recommendations, check out projects on Pinterest for inspiration, and start weighing up those awkward alcoves and unused nooks and crannies – you might be pleasantly surprised how transformative bespoke can be.