Hallmark Carehomes
A home from home: The inspiration behind our award-winning designs

11 November 2016

A home from home: The inspiration behind our award-winning designs

Hallmark Care Homes have won the prestigious Pinders Healthcare Design Award for ‘Best New Care Home’ for the past five years, but what makes our homes so special and different to the rest? Jacqueline, Hallmark Care Homes Design Manager, talks to us about her inspiration and what drives her…

I have been working for Hallmark Care Homes for over 8 years and enjoy bringing the homes to life with vibrant colour and beautiful and homely interiors. One of the things often mentioned by visitors, is the atmosphere when entering the home: corridors are light and airy, the air smells fresh and the sound of chatter and music can be heard from the home’s vibrant café. This is usually at the heart of the home and where residents like to catch up with each other and family and friends over fresh coffee and home-made cakes. It is this atmosphere that I aim to achieve with all of our homes.

Before I joined Hallmark, I used to care for my grandparents, one who was living with dementia, and the other who had Parkinson’s disease.  It was during this time my grandmother was to spend the last of her days in a care home.  This was a most distressing experience for both her and for myself, as she received very bad care in terrible conditions.  I believe that unconsciously I am trying to design every care home as if it was for her.

My approach to designing care facilities has always been to make it familiar, welcoming and ‘like coming home’ for the residents, their families and our care teams.

When designing the interior of a new home, I take inspiration initially from the location and the style of the building, as both need to feel they are connected in some way; like they belong and have always been together.  I like to bring local references through to the completed design where possible, for example the café at Maycroft Manor was inspired by the famous London to Brighton Road.

I research estate agent websites to see what the interiors of local houses look like and that gives me an indication of the style that potential residents may be used to experiencing.

Aside from creating the sense of homeliness and belonging, I am keen to create various community hubs or hearts within the home, where residents can socialise together, or with families and visitors. I strive to create a sense of an ‘open house’ so that everyone feels welcomed and enabled.  Like a home from home with a wider loving family.

I also understand the importance of routine and maintaining interests and lifestyle choices that residents had before coming to live with us. It means they are still engaging in all the activities they did before and often are able to make new friends and learn new skills and hobbies.

I believe colour can be very influential, so I tend to use warm colours and fresh tones, and create colour palettes to suit the individual room in question.  So a therapy room would be calming and a café area more vibrant.  A fashion designer once said that “colour is food for the spirit, plus it is not addictive or fattening” – so a win, win!

It’s these special touches that help our residents live life to the full and I find so rewarding. I overheard a family talking during a visit to one of our homes when one of them said: “When I walked into the home it just made me want to smile.”  I think that is why I feel blessed to have this as my job.”

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