In November 2020, we began a project to transform the interior communal areas at The Grange to better reflect the needs and wishes of the people we support. Armed with a budget, we set to work to achieve the maximum we could!
Which rooms to choose?
Now, this was a difficult decision and something some of the people we support struggled to visualise. Having lived at The Grange for many years, the décor they had was all they knew. As The Grange is split in to 3 areas, each with their own kitchen, lounge and diner it was important that all individuals would benefit from the redecoration. The flat, lodge, Grange kitchen and dining room were all identified as priority areas with maximum impact for individuals. We also identified that The Grange had a large lounge which was hardly used, a room without any real identity. But, the area in which individuals would be supported to undertake activities such as yoga and keep fit, this helped us to formulate a plan for the room.
We set about obtaining quotes for the work, not an easy task during lockdown but a contractor was appointed. As we knew this work would take some time and that the contractors would be regularly onsite, we included them in our vaccinations and weekly testing schedules to provide an additional layer of safety for the people we support.
It was really important that the people we support were involved in the process of choosing what they wanted for each of the areas. Fortunately, for the flat, lodge and Grange we were able to work with the smaller group of individuals who use those areas to explore their choices. From these discussions mood boards using PowerPoint for each area were created. Staff then went through the colour schemes and accessories and sought more feedback from individuals on what they wanted. Then, we set about trying to find where we could buy the items and again gave individuals choices on which items they wanted for their areas.
Individuals chose a theme of teal with yellow, but not too much yellow! This area is an open plan kitchen, lounge and diner but doesn’t have a lot of natural light so it was important that it didn’t look too dark. They liked the geometric theme and in particular honeycomb and bees.
The flat liked the idea of greys and blues within their area. This room is an open plan kitchen, lounge and diner which has the benefit of lots of natural light.
The Grange Lounge / Diner
The individuals who use this area find it more challenging to make and communicate their decisions. The space is large with huge windows overlooking the gardens and has the benefit of lots of natural light. We knew that we would be keeping some pale green leather sofas in this room so that helped to form some of the choices.
The Grange Kitchen
We planned to upgrade the kitchen on the ground floor with new doors, worktop and splashback. Individuals were shown a range of colour options to choose from.
The Activity Room
This room was to have a huge transformation to bring an area where individuals could undertake their activities. Individuals wanted something fun with bright colours.
We made the decision to avoid using any wallpaper in the areas and new furniture that was chosen was easy to clean enabling us to have a better environment to manage our infection control procedures.
Some hiccups and opportunities along the way
No project is ever totally straightforward and we did encounter a few hiccups, some were problems and others were opportunities. Due to the impact of COVID-19, some lead times for furniture and products were a challenge but nothing we couldn’t overcome. Other opportunities that presented themselves were an opportunity of a new to us kitchen and some incredible original floorboards.
With new flooring and soft tones on the walls the accent furniture really stands out. The teal colour is matched on the new dining chairs and new roman blinds match the ochre. The furniture has been chosen to meet the needs of individuals who use this space which is now much more welcoming
The Grange Lounge / Diner
During the process of redecorating, we lifted the carpet and found incredible original floorboards, game changer! When individuals and the staff saw them, we all fell in love and knew we needed to keep them. This meant that our dedicated contractors went in to the maze of a cellar to apply a layer of insulation board under the floor to ensure that no cold draughts would come through and then sanded down the boards and applied a varnish to create our very own strictly dancefloor!
With the strictly dancefloor and matching furniture this room is now much more accessible to all. A desk and PC has since been added to enable individuals and staff to sit and work together. It’s now a bright and inviting place to enjoy meals or sit back and chill out whilst watching the TV or enjoying the garden views.
The secondhand kitchen has aided the transformation of this area. Creating a much more usable kitchen area where people can work together to prepare their meals. The space is open and bright and loved by all members of The Flat.
The Grange Kitchen
With dark blue units and recently added bright orange splash backs the kitchen is now an inviting and fun place to be. We will share some pictures of the splash backs soon!
New Carpets for the hall stairs and landing
We had planned to replace the carpets and were ready to go and then lockdown happened and the carpet companies closed for a while. Once we were able to, we got the job completed and what a transformation it is! The new carpets run from the top floor all the way down to the entrance hall.
The Activity Room
From hardly used to the place to be! The Activity Room now provides a multiuse space that’s inviting, comfortable but really fun! Again, when lifting the carpets we found beautiful original floorboards but with the purpose of the room we needed to have a softer floor covering. In a nod to history of the house, we decided to keep a section in the bay window exposed where craft activities take place.
The room is equipped with meditation cushions ready for mindfulness sessions and each individual who wanted one has their own personalised yoga mat. The clear wall is the perfect surface for the projector, bringing the big screen to The Grange. The waterproof beanbags also mean they can be used outside in the warmer weather and easily moved when we need a clear floor for fitness classes.
This project has shown some incredible collaborative working between the teams, trades and people we support with them at the absolute heart of the process. Individuals are delighted with the transformation of their home. It reflects the diverse characters and needs of each person as an individual to create spaces which they feel extremely proud of and connected to.
Individuals were communicated with throughout the entire process and trades worked with empathy knowing that the process could be challenging for some individuals. There has been a lot of upheaval so this was an important part of the process, our absolute thanks go to all those involved who have created some amazing spaces.
When asked how individuals felt about the transformations, one person said:
I have lived here for a long time, and now it really feels like MY home!