Can any home be unique?

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How to turn any property into a true one-of-a-kind.

Living in a space that is truly one-of-a-kind, particularly when you’ve had some involvement in its creation, is a pleasure that’s well worth some effort. You might be embarking on a major renovation, or you might have more modest plans. Either way, we’ve put together some thoughts on how to create a one-of-a-kind home from any property.

We’ll expand on each idea over the following months, but thought we’d whet your appetite with some general pointers on pushing a home toward unique status. That means we won’t be talking about new kitchens and bathrooms or even about décor. Instead, we’ll concentrate on changing the very nature of the space you like to call home.

1) Open up
Changing the relationship between rooms and spaces can dramatically affect the way a property looks, feels and functions. Removing narrow corridors to widen a living or dining room; knocking a tiny kitchen into a larger open plan living space, or opening up the back of a property to blur the lines between inside and out can all take a typical layout into surprising new territory.

2) Play with light
Lifting spaces out of darkness immediately adds a positive vibe. Can you borrow light from an adjoining room? High-level glass inserted into a wall can pull light through without encroaching on privacy, while vertical glass interventions can add an architectural flourish and increase the sense of space without losing separation.

3) Smash the ceiling
Attics can provide some of the most eye-catching improvements to a property. Instead of the regular loft conversion of simply adding more bedrooms – usually a master suite – try conveying something more dramatic. Double the height of existing bedrooms by removing the ceiling for cathedral-like results, or create a mezzanine for a partial double-height void along with extra floor space.

4) Period panes
Simply modernising windows can alter a property’s external appearance and interior mood. If you get it right, contemporary glazing can fuse period architecture and fierce modernity with remarkable ease. A wall of bi-folding doors onto a garden in place of a plain wall and single door; taking half-height windows right down to the floor; adding in skylights to look at the heavens. But do be mindful of your neighbours – on a typical street of Victorian or Georgian terraces, you might want to keep your wilder ideas to the back of the building.

5) Dig deeper
Basement conversions are all the rage, with extraordinary things happening under the homes of the rich and famous. But you don’t need to be a rock star with a huge Kensington pile to unlock the potential beneath your feet. Anywhere with a cellar has the potential for greatness, although be mindful that excavation is more expensive than mere conversion. Many a music studio has been hewn from former coal bunkers, with light either borrowed from the grate or through toughened glass in the floor above.

Hopefully that’s enough to get your cogs turning and your pencils sharpened. With a bit of imagination – and a healthy dose of Pinteresting – almost any property can be turned into a unique home. We’ll revisit this subject often with examples and images, so do stay tuned.

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