Making Historic Buildings Energy Efficient – Combating Mould

Mould – many home-owner’s worst nightmare. We hope that this article will provide you with some tips and tricks to avoid mould forming in historic buildings.

When a wall warms up after a cool night, air contained within its pores expands as it warms and a small proportion moves out of the wall via the connected pores. As the wall cools down the air within contracts and air moves back into the wall from the atmosphere. Air also diffuses through the building fabric, regardless of temperature. So masonry walls ‘breathe’ – out as they warm up, and in as they cool.

Understanding why mould forms in historic buildings, there are 4 main sources of moisture that are likely to affect traditional buildings.

1. Rain 

Rain will normally be absorbed into the outer layers of permeable material, and then safely evaporate back out again when the weather changes. Problems may arise, however, if wall heads and other vulnerable areas are less well protected than was originally intended

2. Rising Damp

Traditional buildings can normally cope with this quite well. However, it depends on the balance of the water intake (from rain) and the evaporation of the water. Problems are likely to occur when the ground water level rises or impermeable materials such as cement renders are added.

3. Internal Moisture Vapour

The occupants of the building can generate a considerable amount of moisture through breathing, cooking and washing. This warmer vapour tends to condense on the cold surfaces and create moisture

4. Damaged Services 

Water from damaged pipe-work is a self-evident problem which can and should be resolved by normal maintenance

How to avoid the growth of mould

  1. Dry wet areas immediately
  2. Ensure proper ventilation of your home
  3. Put lids on saucepans, drying washing outside and avoiding using paraffin or bottled gas heaters
  4. Open your bedroom window for 15 minutes each morning
  5. Make sure your home is well insulated
  6. Heat your home a little more
  7. Ventilate rooms regularly and leave doors open to allow air to circulate, unless you’re cooking or showering
  8. If you’re cooking, showering or bathing – open the window, put the fan on and close the door of the room you’re in

How to get rid of mould

  1. Make a solution of chlorine bleach and water – usually 1 part bleach to 3 parts water – or get hold of a household detergent like bleach spray with bleach as an active ingredient.
  2. Using a stiff-bristled brush, scrub the blackened area.
  3. Rinse thoroughly and dry.

Don’t be scared to mix styles

Our recent interiors projects has challenged us to delve into different interior styles and bring them together in harmony – which is also known as ‘eclectic’ style. Our client was intrigued by a few different interior design trends. Some say this is shouldn’t be done, but whether we know it or not, we are constantly mixing different trends. Here at living space, we feel every space should be individual and mixing different styles makes this easy to achieve (you’ve just got to do it right)!

Style 1 – Contemporary

Contemporary interior design displays a streamlined look and tends to use a substantial mix of natural materials. These include stone, wood,  and leather – faux or genuine. They are usually paired with concrete, steel, and other industrial-inspired elements.

Our client loved the streamline look and materials used in a contemporary trend and could imaging bringing this style into their everyday life. On the contrary they felt this trend lacked personality and colour bringing us onto their second style.

Style 2 – Scandinavian with a colourful twist

Scandinavian is one of the most popular interior design trends to date. Scandi Interior Design is characterised by spaces filled with light, natural elements, neutral colour palettes, and clean lines. Scandinavian homes are often very minimal and understated. The trend is perfect to have some fun with and pair with your own individual style.

Our client also stated their love for pops of colour. This image in particular stood out to them and is something we continuously referenced throughout the project. We had our two styles established, it was then time to get them singing together as one.

Living Room Inspiration
Lighting Inspiration
Sample Board

Our mood boards and sample boards helped the client see the two different trends come together. By using colourful tones along with classic contemporary materials displayed how the tone of the space would feel. The images below show our initial renders of the space.

Living + Dining Area
Living + Dining Area

With some design development still to go we are excited about where this creative space could go!

Hooray for Southernhay!

We love being involved in local projects – especially when they’re on our doorstep. Over the past month the LSA team have been working hard on a new development here at Southernhay West. One of the wonderful Georgian style Grade II* Listed townhouse is having a revamp and we couldn’t be more excited to get this beautiful building up and running again.

By January 2020, Number Nine will have five floors of luxury office space with full infrastructure for 21st century businesses to work from.

Externally this project contains a great deal of heritage, although sadly like many of the buildings on Southernhay it has lost a lot of its historic detail internally. Throughout our design work here at LSA we were sensitive to this, adding back period doors and details where possible. The internal building work is underway and the site team are doing a sterling job. Below shows the current state of the building. Working closely with our clients, who also own the stunning Southernhay House hotel, we are creating an exciting new scheme for the interiors with high quality materials and fittings. We have also submitted a Listed Buildings application for some improvements to the exterior.

The refurbishment aims bring the spaces up to date. With brighter, well designed, high quality spaces the client hopes to entice businesses with the opportunity to work from this unique building.

Look out for the progress pictures!

Transforming a building which transforms lives…

Since our last post on the Salvation Army, the project has made great progress and exciting things have been happening. We are eager to share the next stage of our work, as the team here at LSA have been working hard with their design caps on. From exterior to interior, the design process is now well underway for the redesign of Friars’ Walk.

In our previous post, we highlighted the importance of the building’s history and how the Salvation Army has had a great impact on our society here in Exeter. Friars’ Walk is home to a thriving community, and we believe that the people at Salvation Army are taking the right steps towards the future of this building.

We knew from the outset that the interior spaces required a high-quality design strategy, and we intended each space to bring something new and different to the renovation of this building. This raised a range of considerations, from the function of each space down to the quality of finishes used. The style of design had to be sympathetic to the building’s past, but also needed to enhance and be conducive to modern life. The renovation is partly intended to act as a means of attracting people to use the building, and better appreciate all it has to offer. Opening up the interior spaces allows the building to be versatile, in keeping with its use as a site of varied activities. Below are some of our initial 3D views of the new interior spaces:

Chapel Space looking back on to Entrance Cafe
Chapel Space
Entrance Cafe
New Entrance Area
Basement Area
First Floor Area

First Floor area from double height space

The future is looking bright for Friars’ Walk. We feel privileged to be working with the Salvation Army, and hope that we can offer them something special which will keep their community thriving. This is only the start – so stay on the lookout for updates on what unfolds next!

Restoring Historic Buildings – Conservation Philosophy

We believe that when restoring historic buildings, it is extremely important to maintain the original character of the building. We want to keep the history of the building at the forefront of our minds and respect it. We recently read “New Design for Old Buildings” by Roger Hunt and Iain Boyd and found their Conservation Philosophy a fantastic set of guidelines to keep in mind when re-designing historic buildings. Here are the basic principles:

  • Respect the beauty and imperfections of age
  • Retain original fabric and surface patina
  • Respect historic alterations and additions
  • Conserve rather than restore, repair rather than replace
  • Carry out honest and legible repairs using compatible materials
  • Fit new materials to the old rather than adapting the old to accept the new
  • Avoid artificial ageing new materials
  • Make additions reversible where possible and appropriate
  • Steer clear of conjecture and do not try to reinstate what has been lost
  • Undertake regular maintenance to avoid problems developing
  • Record and document
  • Retain the building and its fabric in its setting
  • Delay change until the full impact of what is intended is understoof
  • Never be afraid of good new design where it complements the old