Architecture and interior design are intrinsically linked and both equally important in creating the perfect space. Architects are highly skilled in the art and science of construction, and in technical, structural and safety considerations, they are adept at structural problem solving and creative design for exterior and interior building designs.
Interior architecture focuses on the functionality of a space and interior design more on the aesthetic qualities and emotional responses that a space can elicit.
Interior designers need a strong sense of functional and visual harmony that enables them to create cohesive and aesthetic designs, a process that is second nature to Kate Spence, co-founder of HUB Architects and Designers.
Kate followed an extensive design career that began in stage and costume design.
âI worked as a theater designer in the 1980s before I moved on to set design for BBC Television,â Kate said.
She was also involved in several restaurant and club design projects in the then emerging London docks. In 2007 Kate founded HUB Architects and Designers with Simon Watkins, who directs architecture while Kate directs interior design. âSimon’s career in architecture has been more conventional than mine, and to that end he became one of the founding partners of a large London-based firm.
âLater, we decided to combine our experience and our creative energies and create our own firm and we haven’t looked back since. At HUB, our vision has always been to deliver projects where the experience of l he end user is at the forefront of the early planning stages to final project completion.
âOur customers and their interface with their building are at the center of everything we do. This allows us to make sure that the interior design is not an afterthought but is seamlessly integrated from the start. Our work is as much about people as it is about buildings.
One of HUB’s first projects was a large historic house on the Thames, originally designed in the early 18th century with a ballroom by Robert Adam and later additions in the 19th century.
“It is an honor to be part of the legacy of important historic buildings and we have continued to work on magnificent examples since.”
One of the most difficult projects Kate and Simon worked on together was the design and construction of the modification and extension of a maisonette in a listed mansion in Holland Park, London.
âWe managed to negotiate the consent of the listed building to combine three apartments into one and the construction of a two-story basement under the rear garden of the building containing a billiard room, a cinema room and a conference room. sport. We have had the privilege of working for very creative people, who choose to collaborate on architectural design.
âWe welcome collaboration and relish the joy of working alongside the artistic energies of others. Sometimes during this process, approaching the construction phase can get a little unorthodox.
âOne of our more dynamic customers found a life-size model of a giraffe. The giraffe was ‘jumped up’, after being displayed in a clothing store. Halfway through the construction phase, the contractor was tasked with retrieving the giraffe and storing it on site, so that he could take up residence in the main living room of the large apartment near Hyde Park.
Simon’s favorite project was a new music and sixth-grade center for the Aldenham School in Hertfordshire.
âThis building connects a Victorian chapel with an Edwardian sports pavilion in a historic setting. We organized a design âcharetteâ with the sixths and the teachers. We chose a traditional oak frame for the superstructure which allowed us to create large interior spaces.
What about Kate’s favorite project?
âMy favorite project was the complete architectural and interior design of an unusual 1950s house in central London, overlooking Hyde Park. The original house had been built cheaply in the 1950s, in the post-war rush, and was not a good example of mid-century architecture.
âThe mandate was to renovate it for an international family with a nod to its mid-century heritage and a clean, quiet material palette. The building was not large in size, but we were able to completely empty the rooms. four floors of the build and reconfigure the plan, to maximize space and circulation and add air conditioning and cooling for comfort.We were also able to relocate and design a new staircase with a nod to the building’s origin.
HUB has been fortunate enough to work on many beautiful projects with luxurious specifications in beautiful locations. Perhaps one of their biggest is a new house built near Regents Park in London.
âIn order to meet planning guidelines, we designed the exterior of the house in the style of the adjacent early 19th century stucco villas. Inside, it was contemporary yet classic, recognizing the context of the shell, while also concealing a myriad of smart home accessories, gadgets, and technical prowess. The building included a basement swimming pool and a cinema.
“For us, the greatest pleasure was being able to work with the best craftsmen. The most beautiful feature of the house is a large stone staircase on four floors, which was delicately and slightly detailed in Italian marble.”
Although HUB has never shown up for any awards, its projects have won numerous accolades. Most recently, a conversion of Hanstead House, a large listed building in Hertfordshire, which has won several property awards.
Like many businesses, when the Covid pandemic hit in 2020, Kate and Simon knew they needed to branch out.
âWe realized that the foreclosure ‘break’ would give our customers the opportunity to think more about their home. Thanks to the advantages of communication via the Internet, we have been able to offer an online design service. Work with photos and any other information our clients may share; we are able to put together patterns that inspire and refresh.
âWe believe that good design can be achieved without spending a lot of money. It’s just about staying within our clients’ budgets to maximize the benefits of their space and celebrate their lives and tastes, in that space.
Over the past year, Kate and Simon have also relocated their architectural practice to the North Cotswolds and renovated a beautiful Regency house near Evesham. This gave them the time and opportunity to get to know local artisans, suppliers and contractors with whom they look forward to working on future projects in the Cotswolds and Midlands.
Kate and Simon bring many years of experience and have a broad understanding of architectural history and planning, combined with a passion for contemporary design and new construction methods they come up with projects both friendly and contemporary.
âBuilding the perfect house takes patience, energy and time for everyone involved, but it is well worth it. Thoughtful architecture and interior design can add tremendous benefits to our lives. Our greatest pleasure at HUB is to improve the quality of life of our customers through carefully planned spaces and buildings with exquisite details. We know that a good building will stand the test of time and be durable, kept intact and loved for generations. On a practical level, our advice is always to invest in the sustainability of your home. Sound advice indeed.
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