Home happiness goals


Can well planned storage be part of the answer?

There’s a practical simplicity to “a place for everything and everything in its place” but there’s joy in making your home your own.

Vicarage kitchen storage

If your next project is a new kitchen then function and storage are top of the agenda. Islands are great devices for adding much needed storage while also absorbing other activities and serving as the command centre of the kitchen. If space allows, it can be practical but also satisfying to use areas dedicated to specific tasks like the beverage and bread surface below.

bev and bread smaller

Think about function

What happens in the space you are looking to improve? Does the activity change depending on the time of year?  Never miss an opportunity to include storage in any bespoke furniture you may be considering like in the space below.

V living room storage

3 storage shots square

This space does many jobs – it is a lounge area with wood burning stove, it’s a place where the family reads, watches tv, practices music and it also gives access to the deck and garden. This space is the scene of many different kinds of activity requiring hard working furniture solutions to make it comfortable, functional and relaxing all in one, while remaining easy to keep tidy and maintain.

Karen walking through

Storage doesn’t just have to be about a place for all the working parts of your home. It should also provide the backdrop to telling the story of your family life; your vinyl collection close to the deck ready to enjoy at a moment’s notice, mementos of family travels alongside photos of the ones you love. This is what makes your house unique to you, packed with personality.

Well planned storage can also address one of the higher stress moments of family life which is, of course, arriving and leaving the house. A place for everything ensures what you need is to hand in those rushed moments. Or if you’d prefer scenes of Michael McIntyre comedy gold then own your domestic chaos!

But seriously, if a little forward planning for storage in your project results in a calm, organised, restful home like this one, then don’t fight it and make sure it’s something you give lots of thought to in the run up to your renovation.

Amo Espaco mantra #2: functional can be personal, beautiful and mindful!

Location photos by The Big Picture for Amo Espaco, additional photos of logs from Insteading.com and garden tools from The Wedding Shop.com, thank you.







2018 renovation goals


A new year and the urge to renew, refresh and make our homes mindful spaces – the ultimate renovation goal any time of year.

Glendower windows wide

Let there be light – open up your space to the outdoors and banish grey January.


Declutter – bring some order to reveal your precious things.

space g

Discover your pared down space and find room to breathe.

dishdrawer copy

Hide away functional appliances and get organised.

keep it personal

Remember the Amo Espaco mantra: make it personal and it will be mindful.

Thanks to clients Olly and Ant for inviting me to help them realise their new ground floor space and for the fun we had along the way.

Thanks to David at the Big Picture for lovely photos once again.

A renovation story – step by step


Here’s one renovation story made really enjoyable by lovely clients and a wonderful builder – this is what it looks like when all the key elements come together in the right way!

You will see from the process menu above that the initial consultation between the client and amo espaco is getting to know them, thinking carefully about priorities, lifestyle and dreams and arriving at some tangible goals for the project.

Then the fun starts – moodboarding and gathering inspiration. This renovation threw up several challenges around textures and materials. We spent time looking at how to resolve key spaces on the ground floor. Pinterest really came into its own for us, helping us collaborate and discuss remotely, saving time and keeping the creative momentum going.

window seat pinterest

Sketching – it’s amazing! How else are you going to know what your new space will look like? Often when clients come to me they are really struggling to visualise their current space working differently, so at this very early stage of idea generation, I can show them, to scale, with their furniture or new fittings, how their new space will look. This is what makes this creative idea-generation stage of the process so exciting. When the work is complete it is actually possible to hold up the initial sketch of the new space and see how it has come to life.

kitchen view sketch

window seat with cushion

kitchen under cab on

Now, the bit you really want to see – the “before” and “after”! Here’s how we enter the new space, the old hallway transformed by new double doors streaming light into the main house from the enhanced glazing.

hall before and after

The rear of this property looks over the garden from a position of height – there are steps down to the lawn and the view of trees and greenery is lovely – the clients felt drawn to this window so we decided to make it a real feature. We enclosed the window and view in a deep frame in which you can sit, and this frame then allowed us to build in much needed storage – for toys, books, photos, music tech and all the trappings of domestic family life. The focal point – the beautiful view – delivered not only an enhanced experience of the space, but a functional one too!

window beforen afterWhat is now the kitchen, dining and family space was in fact two good sized rooms. We have flipped their functions with the kitchen now in the old dining room and the dining and family space where the kitchen used to be, with a large opening between them. We’ve also, along with the new feature window seat, added Crittal doors to the kitchen and dining spaces, making the most of the beautiful garden and the interesting higher position these spaces hold, creating a lofty feel.

kitchen beforen after

The generous ground floor space allowed us to create a boot/utility room, where all the muddy rugby boots and running gear can be sorted out, keeping the kitchen for more pleasant tasks.

You have seen some of the key spaces, now let’s talk materials and finishes. It’s a real treat as a designer to work with clients who are brave and adventurous, allowing us to include some really nice materials in this renovation. We pulled out all the stops scouring markets and the internet for the right look.


In the end, we married faux London brick on one wall with concrete worktops, crackle glazed metro tiles around the hob with antique mirror splashbacks and stunning hand distressed metal tiles as the panelling on the island.

sink extractor finshesAntique oak flooring marries beautifully with the island pendants in wood and white ceramic, while the subtle coloured pendants over the dining room table twinkle a little glamour. It sounds like a lot of different textures and materials but when they are chosen to compliment each other the result unites in a single look – “boho industrial” we like to call it! The colour palette is muted, and acts as a backdrop to daily life, not an imposition, so the space is comfortable. The large grey blackboard painted wall delivers the thing every household needs – somewhere to scribble notes to family members passing each other like ships and reminders to everyone.

chalkwall to dining

The renovation has truly transformed this home and the experience of being in it, and all without the expense of extending, by really examining the use of the existing space and how to make it so much better!

inspiration for renovation!

It’s an oldie, but a goodie! To help you get your renovation juices going again in 2015 take a look at this renovation, from sketch to finished job. I hope you can get a sense of the excitement we felt making this happen – it has truly transformed this home, delivering the key elements identified – light, style and space while future-proofing this ground floor for many years to come, as children turn into teenagers! Turn up the volume and enjoy!

the Good Life in Putney a year on…


2012 was a busy year, and saw Amo Espaco’s renovation of the ground floor of a 1930’s house in Putney. It has been a dramatic change, as we flipped the layout, moving the kitchen to the opposite side of the house, and created a study which doubles as a guest room with it’s own ensuite shower room, and access into the home’s wonderful garden. It becomes a self contained almost-apartment giving guests and the family their own space during busy holiday times. This was never more true than over these summer holidays as Sara, the owner goes on to describe:

“It’s been a year since the work on our house was finished and we’ve been so happy with the results. Everyone who visits loves the bright, enormous kitchen (though they are usually hopeless when it comes to guessing which of the 29 drawers I keep the plates in – I’m thinking of repurposing the Dewey Decimal System as an index for kitchen equipment) and it holds the credit for turning my teenage son into an enthusiastic and confident cook.

I have worn a groove in the worktop at the spot where I keep my laptop – facing out into the family room through the new mega-hatch, next to the wireless speaker which mostly plays the Archers when I’m on my own, and the family’s various Spotify playlists when I’m not. Although I love all my old recipe books which live close by in my new shelves, I mostly use the internet for recipes these days, and can see to all my admin while making tea. It’s fair to say I rarely leave my quadrant when I’m at home.



We’ve had tons of guests to stay – two families joined us for the Olympics (the deadline for our refurb) and the house absorbed them easily. Elderly relatives have been really pleased to use the new downstairs ensuite shower room and the rearrangement of the garden access has been really successful. Interestingly, the new door and windows so perfectly replace what was there before that friends don’t realise anything has changed. I do though – double glazing is my friend!
I take a peculiar delight in remembering how awkward the old setup was as we move easily (and far more frequently) from the house to the garden. Speaking of which, the veg patch is currently overflowing with produce, most of which started life in the ‘potting shed’ end of the kitchen.

It’s been a great year for us, and we’ve been able to share the joy that is our ‘new’ old house and garden with so many friends and family. Thanks AM!”

So Sara, it just begs the question – when do the chickens arrive?!


As the autumn evenings start to draw in, the new family room really comes into its own when the wood burner gets going and with the darker evenings, the eye is drawn to the accent lighting in both the kitchen and family room.

This renovation is all about a “sense of home” for all the senses, Sara’s family home is incredibly welcoming and warm and there is always a slice of her latest successful cake experiment regardless of when you drop by.

Read more of how Sara and her family felt about their renovation in her recommendation of Amo Espaco on http://www.linkedin.com/in/amoespaco.

David Roberts of the Big Picture is to be thanked once again for his beautiful photography, which you can see all over this blog and the generosity he shows in his pursuit of the best picture!