Could coronavirus be the trigger for a domestic renaissance? Edinburgh architect Lindsay Buchan is making space for our new stay-at-home circumstances
We don’t yet know how the post-Covid economy will play out for office and city life. We can however imagine how the new working-from-home normal will focus attention on living and working space. Architects who specialise in perfecting home environments look set to benefit.
That shift may suit Lindsay Buchan, of Edinburgh’s Lindsay Buchan Architects, one of Scotland’s leading domestic practitioners. His experience and reputation for working on hundreds of listed homes, especially around the capital has been painstakingly acquired over 30 years. The personal, flexible service he offers has seen him named as one of the Country Life Top 30 Architects in Britain for four years in a row.
Buchan’s sympathetic alterations and additions to numerous town and country houses has also won him increasingly high-profile assignments, such as that of reviving Gullane’s spectacular Category A-listed arts-and-crafts mansion Muirfield Gate (1900) and ‒ shortly to begin on site ‒ the redevelopment of the adjacent Muirfield Green.
Rarely short of work in a profession that’s always brutally exposed to economic weather, Mr Buchan was kept busy throughout lockdown – and the subsequent slowdown.
Although work in hand has naturally been disrupted, he strikes a positive note: “There’s definitely evidence of people taking more notice of their immediate surroundings and questioning how to improve it,” he says. “The pandemic has given people time to reflect more on projects already underway and they’ve been further refining their requirements, and in some cases adding new ones.”
A showcase for the kind of extension project now becoming increasingly popular is an extension he recently completed in Blacket Place in Newington, one of Edinburgh’s finest streets. Although planned and executed pre-outbreak, it stands as a model for the kind of sympathetic, imaginative transformation that makes the stay-at-home status quo easier to contemplate.
“It’s already a beautiful house with the added bonus of a huge garden but the kitchen was very dated, rather small and very dark. We took away two huge trees from the garden, turned the existing kitchen into a very smart utility room and added on a large, heavily glazed extension to house a new kitchen, dining and living area. The house now engages with the garden as never before.”
Stuck in our houses for well over six months (and counting), many of us have had time to fantasise about how they could be making them more mood-elevating. Lindsay Buchan’s long experience in what works and what doesn’t, and what’s is and isn’t worth spending is increasingly in demand.
“When I design an extension, I like to think that if the house is being sold in thirty years’ time the prospective new owners won’t think ”well that has to go for a start” which is what they will think of a lot of contemporary extensions.”
It would be good if, in future years, we could be enjoying our vastly improved home space and remembering that Covid-19 was the trigger. The annus horribilis of 2020 should surely leave some kind of positive legacy.
For more information go to: https://lindsaybuchan.co.uk/
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