How should architects and designers seek to build homes for the future with climate change and rising water levels in mind?
It's a question that was much discussed in the immediate aftermath of the devastating floods that hit parts of the UK earlier this year. A huge amount of debate was devoted to how we should plan for the future, with experts citing various housing design solutions that might potentially provide a robust answer to climate change. In particular, a lot of people argued that rather than seeking to defend our homes against water we should shift our way of thinking and instead seek out more harmonious ways of living alongside it.
Building homes on water is not a new idea. The Dutch have been doing it for years, as have communities in other countries including Thailand where villages are built on stilts, but it still remains relatively uncommon in the UK. With riverside and coastal areas under increasing threat from rising water levels however, floating homes look set to become increasingly popular. It's easy to see why. As well as offering an appropriate housing design solution for areas that are prone to flooding, building new homes on water is also an attractive option in overcrowded cities like London where house prices are increasing at an ever alarming rate.
This one bedroom floating home on the River Thames in West London was designed by Hertfordshire based company Ecofloat. Bright, modern and stylish, the home is part of a pre-designed range which aims to provide affordable water based living and is built from sustainable, low maintenance materials.
I came across this apartment on the Swedish website Stadshem recently and, after pausing to admire its easy going mix of mid-century modern and industrial elements, I realised that there was something about this space I was really connecting with.
Sometimes the homes featured in interiors magazines and on blogs can seem a little too pristine and perfect. It's easy to be left with the impression that the owner has just thrown a heap of money at creating their desired look in one fell swoop. The results may be admired from a design persepctive, but homes created in this way often feel lacking in something. You can't 'buy' a home with soul - it has to be created over a period of time.
The arrival of spring has prompted me to clear out my laundry room and attempt to embrace the art of organisation, so for Design Hunter's ideabook on Houzz this months I've picked out some laundry room essentials to add a more style conscious spin to this often neglected area of the home.
The bathroom is a place for ritual and transformation, and sometimes also a space that allows us time out for moments of reflection and calm.
With the aim of representing the idea of transformation within a series of objects, Stockholm based John Astbury and Kyuhyung Cho have created Fade - a collection of quietly beautiful bathroom vessels and furniture in graduated tones of soft, blue grey.
One of the most treasured pieces of furniture I own is a 1960s rosewood sideboard that I picked up for just a few pounds at a local junk shop. Nothing makes a statement in your living room quite like a perfectly styled sideboard. Designs from the 50s and 60s came in beautiful woods ranging from rosewood and teak to maple and cherry, and were intended to be used for storing 'best' china and tableware. Often they came with drawers for cutlery and table linen. The one I own admittedly contains a more eclectic assortment of stuff, as I'm guilty of using it to quickly tidy clutter away out of sight whenever I'm expecting visitors.
They also offer up a useful surface on which to group together and display books, artwork, vases, lamps and other objects. I can't claim that mine is anywhere near as artfully arranged as these beauties... but I'm working on it.