Case Study: Creating durable, attractive interior design for an adult mental health charity

31 Oct 2013

Thomas Haycock were asked to develop a comprehensive interior design for a property that is being converted into a mental health care home. Our brief was to put together a decorative and furniture specification for the communal day room and three bed-sit units, each with an en-suite shower room. The specification had to meet suitability of purpose, durability and cost. Plus we had to provide floor plans to demonstrate that the design would work in practise.

The first challenge was to create a colour scheme that is both warm (to create a homely environment) and calming. Referring to colour therapy, we selected a lovely sage green. But for one of the south-facing rooms that enjoys more natural light we chose a warm light blue.

The second challenge was that all the fittings had to be durable. We sourced a floor that would last well and be easy to clean, a feature wallpaper that provides some individuality to the design but can also be washed and scrubbed, and curtain material that is contract grade, being washable with good light fastness.

In the en-suite bathrooms, we designed the layout to optimise functionality and space. We sourced robust wall-hanging sanitary-ware; wall hanging would make cleaning easier, but we had to be sure that it could take weight. And we selected non-slip flooring and cost-efficient wall finishes. 

Finally we sourced the furniture for the communal room and bed-sits. Key to the success of the design was specifying a durable, robust pull-down bed that would make the bed-sits feel bigger during the day.

The result is a durable, warm, welcoming design, to provide a proper home for the residents as they make the transition back to an independent life.

Thomas Haycock Interior Design

Fifty Shades of Grey - for Interiors

19 Sep 2013

French Grey, Lead, Pavilion Gray, Lamp Room Gray, Manor House Grey, Paw Print, Ash Grey, Mouse Grey, Flaxen Grey, warm grey, pebble, graphite, Earls Grey... now I've started looking for different Shades of Grey I could go on... and on... it becomes addictive! A somewhat familiar feeling to those that have indulged in reading a certain trilogy about "Fifty Shades of Grey"!

Grey is not dull and boring. Don't let anyone let you think otherwise. Grey is a fantastic colour to use in interiors. It is incredibly versatile. It can be warm or fresh, light or bold. Best of all, can you think of a colour that doesn't go with grey? This means that you can design your room with tones of grey and then add accessories in whichever colour takes your fancy. Change it with the seasons, or more frequently? Mix lots of colours. Think of grey as a more exciting white or dare I say it "magnolia".

A client recently asked if you can have "too much grey"? No of course not. There are way more than fifty shades of grey. ;)

Here are a few examples of interiors that have opted for a grey palette.

Metallic Grey Interior

Copenhagen Grey Room on French By Design

French Grey Interior

Dark grey interior by Abigail Ahern

Dark Grey Interior by Abigail Ahern

Traditional Grey Interior

Traditional Grey Interior

So what's your take on Shades of Grey?

Please share your comments or photos.


Thomas Haycock Interior Design

Empty or “Fill Your House for Free”!

14 Aug 2013

When we started working on our Fulham project a few months ago we decided that instead of just filling skips with all the bits that weren’t required any more we would try to dispose of them using other means as well. If you have ever carried out any building work you will know that skips and the permits they require can mount up considerably. It is worth considering that giving away items not only saves on the costs of skips and the environment, but gives you the pleasure of helping others benefiting from “Fill Your House for Free“.

With the cooperation of a like minded building contractor (, we started by listing out all the items that weren’t required, taking photos and measurements and writing up descriptions. eBay was the first port of call. If we could get some money for it then that was worth a try. Honestly though I think you have to be pretty lucky to make much money on selling second hand household items on eBay. It is time consuming and arranging for the collections feels like it takes weeks.

The bath collected in Episode 4 of Fill Your House for Free Items that didn’t sell on eBay we decided to advertise on one of the freecycling websites ( There is something much more satisfying about freecycling. There are of course people that scour the freecycling websites to pick up bargains to then sell on… but there are also plenty of people that can genuinely benefit from a free sofa, table, chair… or even kitchen, bath etc. Best of all their gratitude is clearly visible. The kitchen went pretty quickly. Despite telling the lucky recipient multiple times that they wouldn’t fit the kitchen into their estate car, they turned up and looked surprised when the volume of items confirmed my recommendation that they bring a large van!

The Vanity Unit featured in episode 4 of Fill Your House for Free It was our advert for a bath that caught the eye of Kirstie Allsopp and her producers that were filming “Fill Your House for Free“. With the promise that it would go to someone in need of a bath tub, we were happy to offer it to them. Before we knew it the film crew and Kirstie were on site collecting the bath and an unwanted basin and vanity unit. Andie did a great job of showing Kirstie around and here is a photo that we managed to snap before the crew headed off to their next destination.

Andie Haycock with Kirstie Allsopp as featured in episode 4 of Fill Your House for Free So next time you are thinking about throwing something out, why not think again? Can you make it into something else? There are many incredibly creative ideas demonstrated on the programme. If you can’t sell it or don’t want to then why not help the environment and make someone else’s day by giving it away. One man’s rubbish is another’s treasure after all!


Thomas Haycock Interior Design

Outdoor Wet Room – Before and After Interior Design Project

28 May 2013

Everyone loves a “Before” and “After” photo to see all the work that has been done to a room. I wrote back in March about the Outdoor Wet Room that I had designed. I’ve finally had time to seek out the before shots so you can see what a transformation this was…

So here is the BEFORE (view from door)

Outdoor Wet Room - Before the Interior Design

Basically there was a small bath (about two thirds of the length of a standard bath), long enough to just about sit in with your legs straight, a small basin and toilet. The cupboard door you can see led to eaves storage... there really wasn't the space to swing a cat in this bathroom.

Thanks to a dormer with a roof light and new side window (which required planning permission as the house is located in a Conservation area - which I should point out does not mean that changes can't be made to properties, but rather that redesign needs to be considered. A strong case was put forward by aice architects and permission was granted). The floor space in this bathroom has more than doubled and the ceiling height is uniform, requiring no head ducking!!!

The renovated bathroom now looks like this (view from same door but slightly looking to the left)

Outdoor Wet Room - After the Interior Design

I hope that you agree that this is quite a transformation. This wet room now has the space to house a huge Megaflo for constant pressured hot water as well as the washing machine and tumble dryer! Read here for more details.

So what do you think? It would be great to hear your comments and let us know if you are considering similar transformations.


Thomas Haycock Interior Design

A successful interior design is all in the planning

21 Apr 2013

It was just before Christmas that our clients made an offer on a beautiful Victorian terrace in Fulham. It came with planning permission to build a ground floors side extension. At the beginning of March they completed the purchase. Two weeks ago the builders moved onto site. Andie and I have been planning for the arrival of the builders since the beginning of the year. I thought it would be interesting to share with you some of the things that we have planned up until now. I am determined to dispel the myth that Interior Design is only about cushions and curtains. It is so much more. It's all in the planning... and as a university lecturer of mine used to say "There are 6Ps in project management. "Proper Planning Prevents P**S Poor Performance"". It's a mantra that I have regularly referred to over the years.

So what is there to plan before the building work can start?

As I said this particular house already had planning permission. However you need to allow up to 8 weeks for this process. A site survey allows accurate scaled drawings to be made. Drawings of the existing and proposed structure need to be made and an application filed with the local planning authority.

A structural engineer was employed to provide more detailed drawings with structural calculations and details of the structural beams.

A party wall surveyor was required as the proposed works impacted the party wall with the neighbours on both sides of the property. It's impossible to know how negotiations with the party wall neighbours are going to go and while they can't oppose the work they can be awkward and it can end up costing the client more money. However in this circumstance the neighbours couldn't have been nicer and were very pragmatic, which was very refreshing.

Alongside getting all of this sorted there is putting together the design specification. From an interior designer's point of view this is the exciting creative part that drew us into the industry in the first place. It's the chance for us to show our creative flair. To work within an agreed budget to design something that will work for the client. However the proportion of time spent on this is overshadowed by the project management that surrounds it.

Once all the finishes, fittings and furniture have been decided it all needs to be detailed in a specification document. This document has to be clear, methodical and detailed. It should make total sense to its audience. It is supported by plans, sections and elevations that help visualise the design and that effectively provide an instruction manual for the building contractors.

Onto the building contractors... they need all of information above to be able to provide a quote. Even this is a process of iteration. Until their quotes come in you don't really know how much the project will cost (unless of course you have already paid for the services of a quantity surveyor). So of course it the project comes in costing more that the available budget a process of iteration starts... phasing of works, changing the design or finishes etc. This continues until the design, budget and expected cost are all aligned.

Then the work can begin... 

The site looks smart from the front. Our company board still needs to go up!

interior design planning hoarding

The opening to the master ensuite is created. Check out the original lathe and plaster! 

interior design planning new door

The stud wall in the master dressing room goes up. Our client is going to love this space!

interior design planning stud walls erected

The old kitchen and floor is quickly ripped out...

interior design planning kitchen rip out

We'll be back with progress photos as the build comes along. So do come back if you want to see how we're getting on.


Thomas Haycock Interior Design

Scandi Style

11 Feb 2013

Sitting watching the final episode of Borgen on catchup last night (fab Danish political drama and my latest obsession) made me realise how much we still love Scandi style and are completely embracing all things Scandi (again). Not just on our tv screens with Borgen, The Killing and The Bridge but also in our homes.

Us embracing Scandi style is nothing new of course, but why is it that our nordic neighbours seem to have oodles of seemingly effortless style that has spanned decades? (I love the fact that there is a Poul Henningson/Louis Poulsen Artichoke lamp hanging pride of place in the Prime Ministers Office in Borgen).

What I love about the Scandi style is that is never seems to date, perhaps because it's so understated, simple and functional. It's these three elements that keep the designs so fresh and contemporary. Take the wishbone chair for example, designed over 60 years ago by Hans Wenger, still going strong today - you can't open an interiors magazine without seeing at least one around a dining table.

The same can be said for the Tulip dining table and chair, designed in 1950 by Eero Saarinen, we see the marble topped wonders with the curvaceous base pride of place in many magazines, stylish, simple and elegant. 

But what of the newer Scandi designers? Can they live up to their forefathers? Well, take a look at these and let me know what you think. 

Raw Lounge Chair by Jens Fager, textural hand carved in bright colours

Dots by Lars Tornoe - simple tactile coat hooks (although I personally wouldn't want to hang anything on them - way too beautiful)

Thomas Bentzen portable tray table, is colourful and practical

Clean, simple lines, white neutral background, pops of colour, natural warm wood - as Spring approaches we will all want to de-clutter and look to the scandi influence once more.


Thomas Haycock Interior Design

Top Tips on Interior Styling

19 Dec 2012

Do you ever feel when you walk into a room that whilst you like the colour scheme, the wallpaper, the furniture and the layout that there is something missing? Maybe it is some interior styling that is missing? In this post I will aim to give you some top tips for styling your interiors.

Dishes and books can be used to create a visual display on a coffee table.

Ornaments can be arranged in different displays to suit your mood. 

Dishes can be used as display ornaments and arranged in different ways to add variation to the feel of the room.

Accessories can add a much needed splash of colour to a room. This is a particularly effective technique in neutrally coloured schemes. Books make a great sculptural display. Choose some big hardback book. Stack them and place some ornaments on top - these Jonathan Adler ceramics add a sense of fun. Your guest will be very impressed! 

Top Tips Interior Styling Arranging

Here is another example of how books can be used to create an interesting visual display. They don't just need to sit in a row propped by bookends. Make the books a bookend or alternatively use a heavy ornament.

Asymmetry is visually more interesting as this image shows. Miniature vases sit on a stack of books, raising their "status" and position. The height of the books is similar to that of the sun-face ornament which creates visual uniformity.

A console is a perfect place to display accessories. Use the surface of the console and the space below it for additional interest. This composition works as it provides different different heights, shapes, textures and finishes.

The items are arranged in small clusters which provides more interest than just lining them up.

The large reflective vases on the right of the console balances with the similarly reflective vase on the left underside of the console.

The giraffe adds an element of humanity and humour. The mirror and fresh daffodils provide "pops" of colour that lift the whole scheme.

Hopefully these images will provide you with some inspiration for adding some interest into your homes.

Final tip - enjoying acquiring the items that you display. Acquire them over the years and buy them because you love them. You will always be able to find a place and way to make them work in a scheme.


Thomas Haycock Interior Design

Add Some Sparkle to Your Home

04 May 2012

Us girls love diamonds, and you can’t have failed to notice that a certain Queen Elizabeth II will be celebrating her Diamond Jubilee this year. The shops are full of red white and blue and some great jubilee inspired memorabilia but following along the diamond theme, I’ve come across some wonderful diamond inspired pieces.

I love how this stunning mirror by Jake Phipps catches and plays with the light. It really sparkles, who wouldn't want to look into this every day?

This diamond inspired wire stool by Aoi Koari looks simple yet absolutely stunning.

How about an original Peter Blake artwork with diamond dust, what a genius way to add sparkle.

I love this rug by Emma Elizabeth Designs – a real gem (pardon the pun).

Or how about this quirky yet stylish table – a real twist part baroque with an edgy angular diamond side.

Also by Boco do Lobo is this sideboard, again inspired by cut diamonds.

How can you add a bit of sparkle to your own home? - apart from finding space for these great designs, how about getting creative this weekend, digging out an old black and white photo and embellishing with some diamond dust which you can buy from Hobbycraft.


Thomas Haycock Interior Design

Books Books Books

23 Apr 2012

I have a real weakness for books, so much so that my bookcases are groaning under the weight of piles and piles of them. I spent practically all day yesterday, sorting, shifting and categorising (yes really – sounds bizarre, but I need to find things quickly!) and once done, I wanted to find some different, interesting and fabulous ways of displaying them. These bookshelves are just what I've been looking for.

This Sean Yoo design looks amazing, especially packed with the on trend pastel book covers.

As does this brilliant book tree by Roberta Corazza. What a great way to brighten up a wall and is a piece of art in itself

Finally, I love this cow bookshelf, great freestanding in a large room and a real talking point

Whilst I was sorting my books I realised how without them, my home would not feel quite so relaxed and welcoming. Books are essential for creating that lived in feel.


Thomas Haycock Interior Design

Outdoor Room

18 Apr 2012

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about taking the inside out, creating a room in your outdoor space completely open to the elements, well, this hasn’t really been possible of late (good old British rain - although I'm not totally giving up hope for a scorching summer!). So imagine my excitement after a completely self indulgent trip to the Grand Designs Exhibition where I came across a great solution to being outdoors when the British weather is urging you to stay in……….. it’s called the Armadilla!

Such a beautiful shape with plenty of scope to do some stunning interior decoration - I'm thinking bright colours, quirky upcycled furniture with tons of personality, flowers blooming, glass of wine, relaxing (o.k getting a bit carried away now) - or even a sleek, modern calming retreat with plenty of textured finishes to give it a luxurious feel (strictly no kids allowed).

This outside room sent me into a whirl to find some more stylish 'pods' for the garden, and oh boy there are some really stylish solutions! This one below was designed by Lars Frank Neilsen for Add-a-room (and is my personal favourite), I love the large glass doors, enabling you to actually feel that you are outside.

Again you can do some wonderful things to the interior to personalise the space, here are a few ideas.

These pods are a fabulous way of adding another room as a mini retreat, who needs the sunshine when you have one of these in your garden.


Thomas Haycock Interior Design