As followers of EB Interiors will know, I’ve recently extended my house in Swindon. We’ve increased from 3 bedrooms to 4 larger bedrooms - one of which I designed as a lovely office space. Finally I have somewhere to work rather than balancing on an ironing board in the lounge (No joke!).
It’s often the case when designing extensions, new builds or renovations, you end up with a funny little space somewhere in the plans. In our case it was a small room just off the master bedroom. “An en-suite?” I hear you cry.
But the interior designer in me wanted something different… Something special…
A walk-in wardrobe.
IS A WALK-IN WARDROBE REALLY A CRAZY IDEA?
It seems it is.
One guy from the mortgage company saw the plans and said, “That’s obviously where you’re putting the en suite… Isn’t it? You’d be stupid not to!”
But the interior designer in me didn’t agree!
With 2 kids in the house, maybe you would assume my husband and I would want to cram in an en suite. Because, you absolutely have to have an en suite in a house these days, don’t you? Because, every new build in the civilized world now has to be built with at least one en suite, preferably two, doesn’t it? Goodness me, why would anyone EVER buy one otherwise? Gah!
I’m not saying en suites are a bad idea, just that they are not always the best idea. I’ve seen some examples, especially in new builds, which are literally just a toilet and shower. To be honest, that’s about as luxurious as having a cold flannel wash in a zipped up sleeping bag.
Surely it’s time to re-think the assumptions we make about the way people want to live. Or at least show people the options they have.
I, personally, would rather walk the couple of extra steps to the bathroom in the night. Because that means, each morning, I can lose myself in the depths of my walk-in wardrobe while I ponder the perfect outfit for a client meeting, or most sensible footwear for a day out on site. Well, maybe one day when I no longer have a toddler in tow… All my clothes and shoes are organized and totally accessible, I’m like a child in a retro sweet shop every time I go in there!
One very good friend agreed, “You have a CLOSET?!” She shrieked when she saw it. (As a shoe designer I had an idea she might be on my side!).
Having a walk-in wardrobe may sound like the height of luxury, but it doesn’t have to be all singing and dancing. Like most people I had a budget, and with some clever planning we made the space work for us without breaking the bank.
I also didn’t have to worry about the interior design problem of where to put a huge, overpowering wardrobe in my beautiful new bedroom.
”BUT, SURELY YOU WISH YOU'D CHOSEN AN EN SUITE?"
Even now, 6 months on, some people think I should have opted for an en suite, and look confused when I say, “No, really, THIS is how I want it.”
But that’s what I love about interior design; it’s so personal. What works for one person would send another straight to Wickes for a sledge hammer. A room that elicits squeals of delight from one client, might have another reaching for the aspirin! That’s why I work hard with my clients to get to the bottom of exactly how they use the spaces in their homes.
I often think small spaces in a house are pigeon-holed into conventional ‘rooms’ (‘under-stairs cupboard’, ‘airing cupboard’, ‘en suite’), when often they could be changed into much more exciting spaces. All it takes is a little creativity (and a slightly adventurous client!).
Over the years, my interior design experience has taught me the importance of looking at ALL the options before deciding on the final design.
Choosing a walk-in wardrobe has left our master bedroom more open, roomy and comfortable. And for us, that’s more than worth the few extra steps to the bathroom.
There’s also the added bonus of fewer toilets to clean!
SO WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
I know I won’t convince everyone to trade in their en suite for a walk-in wardrobe (and neither would I want to), but you should at least know there’s a choice.
With this in mind I have been on the hunt - here are my top walk-in wardrobe and en suite designs from around the web.
So, walk-in wardrobe or en suite, which would you choose? I’d love to hear your comments below.