Thursday, 9 September 2010

Pods, pods, pods

Ah, I can't sleep because I'm thinking about pods.  My latest idea in the renovation sweepstakes is to knock down every wall in the flat (none of which are load bearing since its inside an old warehouse) and create a bedroom/bathroom/kitchen pod. A room-within-a-room.  

Like this, designed by Jade Jagger for the renovation of 16W 19th st in NYC (but without the chav shiny outer skin):
Photo courtesy of
Now, before we go too far, this idea is as unachievable as it is awesome.  Contrary to what I first thought, there are no off the shelf pods on the market; it would need to be designed from scratch, and then built by more reliable tradesmen than I'm willing to bet we can afford. 
I know I haven't shared with you our actual renovation plans yet, and there is a good chance you'll now be disappointed when you see them, but there will hopefully still be some interesting design features in there, and in all likelihood it will hold more appeal for the infinitely conservative London buyer and/or buy-to-let market when we go to sell... And so as long as we make our money on this place, one day I'll have a pod. Just maybe not here.

For instance, this little puppy cost 200,000 Euro, and was designed by Graft (check out their website, it is uber-cool):
Photos courtesy of
I love the wood panelling and the futuristic shapes.  

Here is another I found yesterday, although its a bit smaller and includes bathroom and storage only:
Photos courtesy of

I then discovered a company called Atelier that makes outdoor rooms that you can put in your backyard. I contacted them to see if they would be interested in designing a similar room for indoor but alas they appear to have crossed over from innovation to commercialism, such that their 'bespoke' service only involves putting together the same components in different combinations.  They look pretty cool though, and if one day I have a backyard and am in need of extra space, these are the guys I'll call.

I think I'd like to design it myself anyway.  Well frankly I've already designed it in my head, but the tools are the main problem - I need a better free 3D design programme - any recommendations? I've been using SweetHome3D which is super easy to use, but has 3 major drawbacks: (1) in 2D it shows a picture of the furniture within the outline, not the outline of the furniture item itself which looks incomprehensibly stupid, (2) the range of decorating options is so severely limited that even when I create the perfect layout the resulting 3D vision is... mediocre, and (3) its a stupid name and I just don't think I can be taken seriously using it.  But I'm just too cheap to buy good 3D software with an appropriately polished brand and logo, and I'm not talented enough to use Google Sketchup, although I feel comforted that there is significant time and effort involved in creating a good sketchup after reading Morgan's post about it on The Brick House.  And eventually I'd like to be able to draw something half as good as this

In my dreams I can open up both sides of my bedroom with these great big beautiful barn doors and have a studio for day, and a cosy-walled-up-sound-proofed-sleep-haven/theatre room by night.  Ah sound proofing. So we don't have to listen to the 20yo raver upstairs having parties that start at 11pm, finish at 2am and start again at 6am.  Or clomping around on her wooden floors in her stiletto heels all day. Back and forth. Back and forth.  

Here is a quick mock up on SweetHome. The kitchen moves out of the main living area down the side to become a galley kitchen. That green thing is a bed.

I've not figured out a way to deal with the fact that the kitchen is too long for this wall, or exactly where I would build in the wardrobes yet, but this is the basic concept. Key criteria: can walk around all sides, has big sliding doors, doesn't make the main room feel too small, and is do-able for the same price as a normal reno. Hah.

Anyway, back to reality. I think it will be standard bathroom and kitchen remodel here at ec1v.

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