PROJECT: BASEMENTS

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1. Basement hallways invite bold design elements, such as neon lighting – Ade Architecture/House Curious/ MattClayton. 2. Have fun with blank spaces to create social areas that wouldn’t work elsewhere – Architecture/ House Curious/MattClayton. 3. The ultimate basement luxury is your own personal Clapham Picturehouse – Ade Architecture/House Curious/MattClayton 4. Dig under the garden to create an unusual garden feature from above, as well as maximise light – Ensoul Interior Architecture.

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5. Cosy sofa, cinema and wine storage in this basement by Good London Builders. 6. Use heavily textured wall tiles to add interest to a wine cellar – Oliver Bea. 7. Create cosy spaces with clever lighting – Oxford & London Building Company. 8. Light-filled gym with entire wall of mirror from Ensoul Interior Architecture. 9. Warm back-lit shelving and dimmable spots soften the hard lines of this basement – Sian Baxter Lighting Design.

TOP TIPS FOR A PERFECT BASEMENT

1 Size will be decided by your budget, the footprint of your house and garden, and the size or type of accommodation. You can either dig under your house, your garden (front/rear), or both, depending on local planning office guidelines and investigation work eg. geological, boundaries, water table, drains and trees.

2 Basements usually require planning approval, always need building regulations approval, and design guidelines can vary between boroughs. Engage a specialist basement design advisor to produce the surveys, statements and plans to support a winning proposal.

3 There can be significant variations in price between basement contractors. Beware opting for the lowest as basements require experience – they are highly complex structures that need an expert structural design and construction methodology. Factor in costs for architectural design, structural engineers, waterproof design, and a party wall surveyor and arboriculturalist.

4 An experienced design partner will make your basement a beautiful space, with the right ceiling height and enough natural light to avoid feeling oppressive or dark. Ensure you get a smart space plan to make every metre work, and with a great flow.

5 Talk about your plans with neighbours both before you make a planning application and during the project. Explain your rationale, timings and, most importantly, answer questions and resolve concerns. Consider thoughtful gestures such as free window cleaning during the build.

Source: The London Guide to Basements by Ensoul Interior Architecture.
To download the full guide, go to: www.ensoul.co.uk/basementguide

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