Are these London’s best home improvements of the year?

Are these London’s best home improvements of the year?

The 2021 shortlist for the coveted ‘Don’t Move, Improve’ competition in London has been revealed and demonstrates a playful twist to home improvements

If the 2021 shortlist for ‘Don’t Move, Improve’ is anything to go by, then home improvements during a year of on-and-off lockdowns have resulted in a series of fun and playful projects. The coveted London-wide competition’s nominees have just been announced and it’s clear that colour is king and unexpected designs that bring a sense of lightness to the everyday have been the order of the day in the UK capital. 

That said, the list is expansive and diverse, covering the aforementioned exuberant designs, but also anything from sober, modernist-inspired abodes, to small scale extensions, garden outbuilding additions and Scandinavian-influenced interiors in every corner of London. It features young and established practices alike, including studios such as Hayhurst and Co, Office S&M, Eckford Chong, and Nimtim Architects. 

Overcast House by Office S&M
Overcast House by Office S&M. Photography: Megan Taylor

The competition, organised annually by New London Architecture (a.k.a. NLA) is currently in its eleventh year. For 2021, the judges (a panel including NLA curator in chief Peter Murray, NLA managing director Tamsie Thomson, property expert, journalist and TV presenter Kunle Barker, and Groupwork director and architect Amin Taha) received some-200 applications, which they narrowed down to the 22 shortlisted designs. 

‘Don’t Move, Improve! is for everyone, that’s why we select a spread of projects with a range of budgets and client briefs,’ says Thomson. ‘It is remarkable what can be achieved when the client and their designer are in sync. We have seen projects that are muted and some with hyper-trendy futuristic colour palettes, in every case though, the Top 100, and especially the shortlist have impressed us with the way in which they address the needs of the homeowner, which of course, is the most important function of a home.’

Apart from the overall winner, prizes this year also include special home improvements’ categories: Urban Oasis of the Year, Compact Design of the Year, WFH Design of the Year, Best project under £100K and the Environmental Leadership Prize. All will be revealed later in the year. §

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