Exercise 2

Precedent research, fitted furniture

For this exercise, I have found several examples of different types of fitted furniture that have different functions or purposes. Most of this research was made online but there are a few of fitted furniture that I have worked on in client’s homes. The pieces I have chosen I admire and and intrigued to find out more about.

Here is a bathroom cupboard that houses the sink. It is made of a timber frame with tongue and groove panels on the side and the front doors. It matches the rest of the bathroom and fits in well with both the materials and colours. I like this idea but would prefer to create a style that’s in keeping with the property. This bathroom has been clad in tongue and groove for practical purposes, it’s easy to wipe clean and repaint if and when needed.

MDF tongue and groove style panels would have been added to the walls using a strong adhesive and around the basin with the timber for the edging, using nails and screws to fix it in place. Once in place it can be painted in a suitable paint, for this bathroom the product of choice would be an eggshell, for the protection against water damage in a bathroom setting.

Here is an example of floor to ceiling furniture that can be functional in a living room, an office or a bedroom. Glass doors are great for displaying nicer items and then you have the cupboards at the bottom for less aesthetic items. The unit is versatile and comes in lots of different variations, made from particleboard, melamine foil and plastic edging. So if the materials aren’t a priority and you are looking for a bargain this could offer the perfect solution.

Another of our client’s had two single beds made in the eaves of their attic room with three drawers under each for storage. Each bed has it’s own light switch on the middle panel dividing the two with lights fitted above. The design is very simple and is made to fit two single mattresses. I think this design is very clever and utilising a space under the eaves that otherwise might be difficult to use.

The bed bases and drawer fronts are made from MDF and the surrounding frame is made from pieces of pine timber and fixed together using nails.

During the summer of 2022, whilst on holiday, I had the pleasure of visiting a beautiful pottery shop in Heraklion, Crete. Here is a photo of the display they had in the shop. It’s cube style shelving is made from plaster and stone, each shelf is a different style, this I really like because it adds character to the backdrop but lets the product shine. There seems to be quite a depth to the shelves too, the shop isn’t very large and so this will help with storage of the pottery, you can fit more than a few items on each shelf. The spotlights are an added bonus putting emphasis on each of the pottery items.

Fig. 4 – My own photo of a pottery shop in Heraklion, Crete

Painted in white it just lets the pottery stand out, a very good marketing technique, it really is a beautiful shop with the most helpful assistant. It is at this building point that the electrics would be added to add spotlights. Then it can be painted and becomes a great display unit, the shape of holes vary adding interest to the design.

When we visited in July they encouraged us make a small dish from a ball of clay. We had to leave our dishes in the shop, to dry, but in exchange they let us choose from a collection that other customers had made. I thought this was such a cute idea, of course I inscribed my Instagram name into the side and only a few weeks later a lady from Spain, picked mine up and tagged me in their post on social media, what a beautiful way to connect people from around the world.

Here is one of our client’s bespoke kitchen cupboards. There is a plate rack on the side which has fake doors on the front. There is a cupboard underneath that which functions as storage space for kitchen items. It was made using solid oak and finished to a very high standard, we sanded each piece down and oiled them to bring them back to life. The style and colour of these units suits the large open plan kitchen, a practical and traditional country house style kitchen.

Fig. 5 – An kitchen unit in one of my clients homes

Solid wooden units are made using dovetail joints and the basic carcass is then put together in this way.

The decorative brickwork was designed by A. Dunbar Smith and Cecil Brewer in 1898, resides at The Mary Ward House. Tavistock Place, London. A beautiful example of how the brick has weathered over the last 120 plus years, exposed to extreme temperatures and moisture, they look wonderful connecting to the story of the red brick chimney breast wall I hope to uncover and restore.

Fig. 6 – Decorative brickwork, The Mary Ward House. Tavistock Place, London

To give the design a little more context, this brick design is on the side of the building in the image below. The Mary Ward House, London was designed by A. Dunbar Smith and Cecil Brewer and is considered to be one of the best Arts and Crafts buildings in London. It was the headquarters of the National Institute for Social Work Training and has a long history of making a valuable contribution to society and the local community.

Here are perfect examples of traditional pieces of real wooden furniture that would have served as a cupboard in a room but have now been converted for use in a bathroom. This style of furniture is how I imagine my design to look, the style and colour are both warm and tangible, they have character, so many stories to tell. A vanity basin and counter top fitted to suit the cupboard, a wonderful combination. Put this combination in front of a brick wall, mixed with a little industrial style. Even colour with the paintings of parrots add that extra bit of character, an original classic style.

Images found on the internet of furniture that gives me inspiration

In the image above, I have sketched a section of how I think the water and waste pipe would probably be set behind the tiles in the wall, the pipes would be joining the water pipes for the bath tub on the left hand side. I quite like the idea of no taps on the sink itself, maybe I could look at disguising the taps on my design once I’ve removed the existing tiles, it’s definitely food for thought.

After creating a site analysis and with all these ideas of how to design my piece of furniture for the ensuite bathroom, I then wrote a short brief defining the functionality of my piece – ‘A classic period style bathroom cupboard that houses the sink with a cupboard beneath for storing bathroom necessities’.

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