Exercise 4: A different research method; specific primary research

I have chosen a room in my own home that I would hypothetically like to redesign. The room is an attic room that is currently my bedroom that I share with my husband. It has two sloping ceilings that house white cupboards as storage. As you approach the room up the stairs, there is a bannister on the left hand side, the top of the stairs leads you into the room open plan style. On the left hand side against one sloping ceiling is an original beam that we chose to leave in the room when we did the conversion, our king size bed headboard sits up to the beam and there is room either side of the bed to move around the space. The opposite side of the room, the other sloping ceiling has two roof lights in, one above the other. The far end of the room there is an ensuite shower room, housing a shower, a toilet and a sink, the bathroom tiles cover a brick chimney breast, we chose to tile the room as we had three young children at the time and it needed to be practical.

I have carried out some specific primary research, basic information about the space and designed a questionnaire that my husband and three daughters have all answered, to help me define a brief for change of use of the space. I have uploaded the questionnaire in pdf format. I have also added some images of the space to help get a better idea of how the space is currently used.

Fig. 1 – A questionnaire with a list of questions to help me define a brief
Fig. 2 – Images of the space currently being used as a bedroom

I have chosen three different options for the design of the space and based on the questions answered it will help me understand a bit more of how my family would like to see the space redesigned.

I have gathered all of their answers and created a table on a Word Document that helps me understand their likes and dislikes about the existing space and the way the space is used and looks at the moment. Most of the questions are specific yes and no questions, but there are a few questions I have asked to get a better idea of their thoughts on colour, lighting and how often they would use the space once it has been redesigned. They also voted for one of the ‘change of use’ options.

As you can see from the responses table, they are divided with their choice of new space, it’s clear that 2 people would like a cinema room with less natural light and 2 people would like a yoga/meditation room with more natural light. If I was to choose to make a cinema room it would make sense to keep the windows as they are but if I choose a yoga/meditation room then by adding more windows would provide more natural light. It’s also clear that they are happy with the stairway and bannister style and the ceiling spotlights.

Fig. 3 – A table of answers to the questionnaire

Once I had created the table it helped me to understand a little more on how they felt about certain areas of the room. When you carry out this process it reminds you of how important it is to get information from the users to be able to create a bigger picture of how the space can be used. It was interesting to see my own families opinions on this and how they all feel about how the space could be used, I’m glad it’s only hypothetical otherwise I could have a real challenge on my hands!

During this process I felt inclined to ask more questions about the redesign, I felt that I needed to know what they would prefer the change of use to be, although in my mind I had a favourite choice, I definitely needed to know their choice. I understand that to enable a change to happen you first need to get an idea of how the space is currently being used and then based on that information you can gather more data to help you move forward with design ideas.


Fig. 1 to 3 – Walker, T (2021) Questionnaire and images of attic room [typed on Word document] in possession of: the author: Stoford

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