Last weekend I was in Wirksworth, Derbyshire for their festival of the Art & Architecture trail. It was the third year that I’d visited and it never fails to enthral. Walking around this lovely old mining and weaving town with its steep and winding roads and narrow paths that lead to tiny cottages perched on the hillside with breath-taking views across the rooftops to the church spire and the tree-lined hillsides beyond, you step along the often shared paths and inside these mostly tiny cottages with kitchens so small you can stand on the spot and reach everything  – dwellings that were beyond charming.

The town was awash with artistic talent and creativity for this ‘open studios’ festival and for me as a professional  designer and interior architect specialising in the smaller spaces I was intrigued to see people’s small space challenges.  Naturally, there were many dwellings where I felt the best solutions were still to be realised but I was there as a happy tourist.

One fascinating stop that I made on the trail was to an architect named Derek Trowell  whose lovely hand drawn plans and visuals were a delight in themselves and made me a little wistful as I used to hand draw all my designs before the computer aided technology seduced me.  Derek’s display of projects were wonderful and included a beautiful two-storey extension built in the corner of the end of the room that was purely for bringing light and space into the client’s north facing garden cottage.  Derek designed a genius solution that made the little home a unique and happy dwelling for its owners.  I explained that my passion for finding beautiful design solutions for small spaces and smaller homes was being realised via my own house renovation which I intend to have as my showroom for clients to see what can be achieved in a small space when you think outside the box. Derek recommended the book: Small Architecture by Philip Jodidio.  I think it will be a great investment.

10th September 2019