Get your house ready for Christmas (2020)


Wish I was at home for Christmas ♫

Whether you are hosting the masses or looking forward to a quiet Christmas watching ‘it’s a wonderful life’, having somewhere cosily warm and thoughtfully planned to spend it enhances the joy. Tinsel and fairy lights can only go so far and while it might be too late to make any changes for this year, here are some things you can put in place for Christmas 2020.


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♫ Baby its cold outside ♫

What is nicer than sitting in front of a roaring fire after being out on a cold day? Woodstoves are more efficient at heating the room than an open fire and have the benefit that you can leave the room to baste the turkey without having to worry about a fire guard. They also make a lovely feature to gather around in a room

An efficient alternative heating system is needed to keep the rest of the house at a nice ambient temperature (unless you really want to keep all your nearest and dearest huddled together in one room). Building regulations set to come in in 2020 are leading design towards electric boilers and microgeneration via heat pumps and photovoltaics which have a lower carbon impact than traditional gas boilers making it cheaper and more sustainable to keep warm.


To avoid continually having to heat the space good insulation is critical. The highest standard is Passivhaus which means the building is so good at keeping heat in, all the heating can be generated by the people and appliances with no additional heating.  You want those glistening ice crystals on the outside, not the inside of your windows, so high performing triple glazing will ensure you can appreciate them without the radiant coolth and mouldering frames of the past.

A common misconception is that Passivhaus means no ventilation – not an appealing situation with so many people overeating! A mechanical heat recovery ventilation system will keep the air fresh, and you can always throw open the window if needed!

An architect, and particularly a qualified Passivhaus Designer like us, is best placed to advise you on the options for your new home or upgrading your existing fabric and systems.


Rocking around the Christmas tree ♫

Where to put the Christmas tree? You want it to be central enough so that everyone can appreciate the effort you made to decorate it, but not so central that everyone trips up over it and it’s in the way. You want it to shine merrily from your window, but you don’t want to all be sat facing the window to look at it.

You want to gaze snuggly through panoramic windows at picture perfect snowy world outside, but in the more likely event of grey drizzle, retreat to cosy corners.

And where on earth to extend the table for 14 people for Christmas lunch?

Thinking about how a room is going to be laid out in various scenarios is part of the early design process for any project. An architect will listen to your brief and how you want to use the space. They will carefully choreograph the space to ensure contrasting environments and plenty of useful wall and alcove space – for Christmas trees or any other storage.


♫ Chestnuts roasting on an open fire ♫

Well on second thoughts maybe a new integrated electric convector oven would be easier. Open plan kitchen dining living rooms are a great way of ensuring you don’t miss the party in the kitchen. Strategically placed kitchen islands along with surface changes can demark the different spaces ensuring guests don’t get under your toes. Don’t want everyone witnessing you massacring the turkey? A linked larder and prep room can provide crucial behind the scenes areas allowing you to present a scene of domestic harmony. An architect will can help you design a new kitchen by detailing units, to working on layouts to take to a kitchen supplier, to coordinating with a kitchen designer.


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♫ All I want for Christmas…is to renovate my house ♫

If your 2020 New Year’s resolution is to finally get around to sorting out your house, then contact Hetreed Ross Architects. We will be happy to talk over your project and if we think we can help, make a no fee visit to talk about the next steps.

Merry Christmas from all at Hetreed Ross Architects!

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