The Property Illusion

by theartofbespoke in Designer style at home

With a Little Cunning, You Can Make Your Home Seem Much Bigger Than It Really Is. We Look At How.

We all know the little tricks that can make a room seem bigger. Painting the walls white, for example, or placing mirrors in strategic spots. But what if you could make your home seem a full 30 per cent larger than it actually is?

Alan Waxman, director of luxury property developer Landmass, thinks this is perfectly possible. Certainly he should know – transforming property in London’s prime areas is his speciality. And the secret, he says, is getting the floorplan right. When he renovates a property, this is probably the job to which he devotes the most time.

‘If you see a floorplan and it makes sense, you know that hours and hours have gone into it,’ he says. ‘When things are beautifully executed they look simple, but that simplicity is the ultimate design – that’s the luxury you can’t buy.’


‘Attention to detail when it comes to the shade and the type of paint is paramount.’

So if you want to truly make the most of your home, it’s worth changing the configuration of the rooms, rather than splashing out on fancy kitchen worktops.

‘A lot of developers chuck money at the specifications but if the space planning’s not right, it just doesn’t work,’ says Waxman. Sadly, there are no short cuts to getting that right. ‘It’s very much a process,’ he says. ‘It might take 20-odd goes.’

Study the floorplan of a Landmass property and you’ll see that they tend to be very open, with large, relaxed living areas and spacious master suites.

‘The more open plan you can leave the living spaces, the better,’ says Waxman, who would always plump for three large bedrooms, each with a good-sized en-suite, over five smaller bedrooms – and his upscale clients feel the same way. ‘More and more people want quality space,’ he says. ‘There are more single people, more couples without kids and more people downsizing – especially in prime areas.’

He concedes that there’s sometimes a case for adding the extra bedroom, saying that, ‘in locations where families buy because they need somewhere to live, then in some cases it may be better to squeeze in an extra bedroom. But if we’re talking about trophy areas where people have more disposable income, they’re looking for quality space. After all, the ultimate indulgence is to have a 4,000 square foot one-bed flat.’

But even (especially?) in prime central London, space is squeezed. So for inspiration, Waxman travelled to the Monaco Boat Show to see how designers manage interior space on the mega-yachts.

‘I thought, “These guys are the best at what they do, so if we could learn from them, it gives us an edge,”’ he says. And what did he learn? ‘The boats that had the real wow factor were the ones that had a continuation of colour on the walls and floors,’ he says. ‘The ones that tried to chop and change had no fluidity, and the space looked all broken up.’

So these days Waxman will use the same flooring for the stairs as the floor. He’ll also use the same wall colour in every room, bar the bathrooms.

‘No developer has done that in a prime property in recent years,’ he says. ‘But the builders of old used to do the whole property in magnolia. They had the right idea, but the wrong strategy.’

As you’d expect, simply coating the walls in white emulsion won’t cut it.

‘Attention to detail when it comes to the shade and the type of paint is paramount,’ says Waxman. ‘It’s tricky, because London’s houses are historically tall and skinny, and flats have lots of rooms, both of which can make them feel cramped.’ But Waxman has no problem with this, saying, ‘It’s the perfect palette for us to work our magic.’

 Landmass London –

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