Streaming services, with a twist
signers of the RIBA North building on Liverpool’s waterfront.
And at Canary Wharf ’s Pan Peninsula, where prices start from £365,000 for a studio, the entrance hall features a silent waterfall. “Potential buyers and tenants expect to see ultra-modern interiors and quirky features that add an element of personalisation to a development,” says Chris Osmond, director at Johns & Co, the selling agent for the development. “The concierge area is where visitors form their first impressions, so it is essential to create an entrance that is unique and memorable.”
Viki Lander, creative director at Ensoul Interior Architecture, says that water features are calming, attractive and often stimulating additions to the home. “Indoor waterfalls and ponds require their mechanics to be hidden so that you only see the beautiful effect,” she says. “Use natural stone with cavities to house waterfalls. If you can dig down you can make ponds flush with your floor finish which can look stunning, or you can build up walls to form a seating area.”
Any installations should be done by professionals who can waterproof the areas to avoid leaks. As water is heavy, you may need to consider the structural impact so that the feature and anything around it will not collapse. Particular care should always be taken if there are children or elderly people living in the home to avoid accidents.
Of course, many of us already have water features inside our home: aquariums are the most accessible and popular indoor water feature, according to the home design website Houzz. Lander positioned a large aquarium on the ground floor of one client’s open- plan townhouse to blur the lines between the contemporary interior and parkland outside – and to add an element of privacy. “It’s a freshwater aquarium and features a multitude of plants and fish, chosen to look natural in the surroundings,” she says. “It also fits perfectly with the interior scheme of green and orange, and prevents visibility of the whole house when the front door is opened.”
The cost was around £8,000 (plus £2,000 for the fish) and it requires a maintenance visit from a specialist every two weeks. Filters, lights, plants and fish need to be replenished or replaced from time to time. Lander advises checking the ongoing costs of any water installation before committing. Not only can some water features be cumbersome to maintain but they can even reduce the property’s value if they are left to deteriorate.
They must also fit with the style of the room. “Contemporary homes or extensions are most suited to the more dramatic water features,” says Athina Bluff from the virtual interior design service Topology London. “While bespoke designs can cost thousands, it’s possible to buy much cheaper options for a few hundred pounds – but make sure designs are in proportion to the room and materials compatible with the chosen decor.”
There are plenty of ready-made options on the market. Victoria Harrison, an editor at Houzz, says she has seen creative designs on the website including “waterfalls, water sculptures and even mini moats that bridge the gap between indoor and outdoor living”.
If your budget is slightly larger, take inspiration from Infinity House, a Georgian property in London where no expense has been spared. It has a three-floor rear extension with a cleverly excavated basement that reveals its pièce de résistance, a swimming pool with glass sides. This is even more spectacular when viewed from above through a skylight that doubles as a glass floor in the kitchen. (For privacy, this can be frosted at the touch of a smartphone.) The six-bedroom home is on the market with Hamptons International for £6,999,950. Talk about splashing the cash.
A functional fish tank designed by Ensoul Interior Architecture, main; a glass pool is visible through a skylight at Infinity House, below; the water wall at Chelsea Creek, below left