Client: The Finlay family
Complete biophilic home refurbishment for BBC DIY SOS.
The Finlay family’s home life was brought into chaos when mother, June, fell ill with Clippers disease just as she came about her retirement. Its debilitating effect meant that she couldn’t get upstairs or even wash, so depressingly ended up living in a corner of the kitchen. Before her illness June had a passion for all things to do with nature and gardening but her disability meant she couldn’t pursue or get out on her own at all.
The Biophilic design approach brought the family numerous benefits through connecting them with elements of nature, including:
Maximising natural light – through glass doors, windows and skylights.
Improving views out onto nature – be it plants, trees, shrubs, and vistas and encouraging fauna.
Creating recuperative spaces to retreat into.
Using a palette of natural textures, materials, patterns and images of nature as a reminder of nature.
The end effect was one of improving the psychological and physiological health of the home through improving the connection with nature, both inside the home and also making the most of external space such as the rear garden.
In the June’s bedroom, natural light floods in from windows, glass doors and skylights, providing psychological and physiological benefits by reconnecting with the suns daily rhythms and circadian rhythms. Floral patterned wallpaper was used – flowers are an evolutionary indicator of fruit and nutrition – and the unique Urban Retreat carpet floor tiles by Interface add to the input of natural images and textures.
The views out of June’s bedroom are onto the beautiful wooden courtyard, and this unique green wall -allowing sunlight to filter through the leaves and into her room. Having views onto nature is a central concept of biophilia, and these green plants are full of life. Outside in the courtyard, a water feature adds the calming natural sound of trickling water to the sensory experience and encourages bird-life into the garden.
In the kitchen a palette of natural materials was used, including white surfaces to reflect light and a vibrant energetic digitally printed glass splash back. On the opposite wall there is a low work surface that is wheelchair accessible with a Wooly Pocket green wall planting system, overflowing with life and utilising the skylight overhead.
In the study this digitally printed forest wall had a dramatic effect when framed by the clean lines of the doorway, plus the skylight allows light to flood in a natural way. The room is bright and lively without technological noise or distraction. Research has demonstrated in spaces where there is no access to dynamic forms of nature, natural mimics (or analogues) can create human benefit to relaxation, stress reduction and cognitive functioning