Biophilic principles for better, happier and more sociable homes – A Tid for Hjem case study

Eren McEwen Biophilic design, colour, Furniture, Healthy spaces, Lighting

Our latest Tid for Hjem was a fantastic opportunity to create a lively, dynamic family space in Bergen by incorporating key Biophilic patterns of light, texture, color , a sense of prospect and retreat. The clients, a young couple with a baby, while very happy with the rest of their new house felt that the kitchen/dining area felt far too heavy and traditional and didn’t suit themselves or the rest of the house. The living spaces in the house were all upstairs with a large open plan dining/living room and a dark enclosed kitchen. The whole space lacked zoning and felt empty and impractical. The potentially stunning views out onto the fjords were inaccessible with the only windows being small and high up.

 

 

The family wanted instead to create a space that could be the heart of the house. A place where family and friends could gather around a table and make cooking part of the social life within the house. Never again to stand alone in a dark area preparing dinner while listening to the sounds of people having fun in another room!

Through the repositioning of kitchen/dining room walls and the incorporation of smart storage we were able to create a design that was child friendly and multifunctional. The new kitchen is now open to the dining area, including a breakfast bar and a built in table with fitted seating next to a new window. By incorporating seating spaces into the kitchen itself the family now have the opportunity to come together and keep the space active. It gives them practical surfaces to use that are suited to the scale of their family unit.

 

 

The new kitchen is very bright and fresh feeling, reflecting light from the newly extended windows and exposing the family to as much natural light as possible. The old tiles were replaced with a more dynamic, graphic print wallpaper and glass splash back giving the room a contemporary textural finish. By using yellow highlights in contrast with the blues we’ve created focal points to bounce light around the space and make it feel and bright and stimulating.

 

 

A new wall separating the living and dining rooms uses a sliding pocket door to give the family the option of opening the two areas up to one another and close them off when necessary to prevent the spread of unwanted cooking smells or noise. A cosy built in seat with smart storage beneath it gives any future children a space to get cosy and look out onto the landscape from. This references several key biophilic design principles, by creating a space with both prospect over natural views and a sense of refuge. It also provides seating spaces for the extendable table which will seat 10 when fully extended – giving the family the opportunity to gather extended family together.

 

 

A new wood burner and timber storage provides a beautiful, natural focal point at the end of the room. The texture of the logs drawing the eye whilst the welded metal frame keeps storage neat and practical. We incorporated further beneficial natural materials by cladding the heavy chimney breast in the same textural pine that we used for the flooring.

By creating an environment that can be explored and used in lots of different ways we hoped to make the house feel usable and warm when the family are alone and at the same time give them the opportunity to create a more spacious, sociable atmosphere for visitors.  We referenced biophilic principles throughout the design process. We made use of natural textures and colours, significantly improved natural light levels and increased views onto nature on both sides of the building, allowing natural scenery into the peripheral view throughout the design. The result was a practical, sociable and stimulating environment, perfect for a young family and their social circle.