McGoff & Byrne – The Grand Care Centre Case Study

Winner of Commercial Interior Design Project

The Grand Care Centre care home in Nottingham has been crowned the winner of Commercial Interior Design Project £250k+ by the Northern Design Awards 2015. The 82-bed facility which opened in April 2015, enlisted the help of the Whitakers team in providing care home design expertise, as well as all furniture, furnishings and specialist linens.

The category celebrates innovation and creativity within a commercial building and is testament to the work carried out by Whitakers, who worked closely with The Grand Care Centre’s interior designer, Katie McGoff. The judges recognised the particular challenges that care home design presents and commented upon its superb interior design, which still remains functional yet homely for residents.

Katie McGoff said: “We strived to create a care home that was different. I wanted to ensure that however traumatic it had been for the resident and their family to enter the care home, it looked and felt like somewhere they wanted to live.”

The Project

The Grand Care Centre caters for three distinct resident groups consisting of nursing, dementia and residential. The brief was to blend functionality with a homely appeal. It was important that the different floors, despite their varying challenges, were equally attractive with a pleasant ambiance.

Kim Reed, Account Manager for Whitakers who led the project, said “The crucial objective in choosing the design for The Grand was to create an interior that has a functioning clinical environment but at the same time is inviting and comfortable. This was one of the biggest challenges.”

So, how did Whitakers work with Katie to achieve such a challenging brief and ensure the care home was inviting yet catered to residents’ health needs? Kim talks us through the process:

Mobility Considerations

“The clinical requirements are of utmost importance when starting a new project, as we knew many of the patients would have mobility problems we had to include such features as wider corridors and doorways for increased wheelchair access and hoists to help manoeuvre patients.”

Specialist Requirements

“We also had to consider the space demanded by the various therapists. Specialist furniture was required in all areas of the home, for example, they needed rounded corners to avoid injury when residents knocked into them. Beds needed to double as treatment benches. Chairs needed to be at specific heights with arm rests that assist with mobility as well as backrests and full neck and back support. We adapted an award winning dementia chair to tie in with our scheme, the chair whilst providing neck support does not isolate the resident.”

“Furthermore, fabrics needed to be waterproof and functional with antibacterial properties; floor coverings had to be hard-wearing with non-slip properties; wall coverings had to be wipe-clean and comply with the requirements of fire regulations and the light levels in these areas also had to meet additional regulations.”

Colour Schemes

 “We also had to consider the patient’s psychological state. When choosing colour schemes we had to consider the different emotions the colours can evoke. We also chose finishes that stimulate memory. This included using more tactile products and visual prompts such as wallpapers which epitomised earlier eras or art-work; whether it was images of old movie stars or of the local area.”

Design Inspiration

“We decided to use the Art Deco period as our main design inspiration, as it evokes a period of opulence and glamour. We felt that we should avoid recreating a domestic setting in the communal areas where dining and seating for up to 20 people in one room had to be accommodated; and instead aspired to a more boutique hotel setting.

“One design feature is the lobby and reception area. We worked very hard to give the ground floor a wow factor and a very welcoming feel, so whoever walked in immediately felt reassured this would not feel like a clinical institution. The public and communal areas were designed to have impact but at the same time were relaxed and reassuring. This is where the Art Deco inspiration is the most prevalent; Deco details have been incorporated with panelling, beaded lights combined with brass faceted pendants and monochrome lampshades, and an original Art Deco reception desk in a black lacquer piano finish. Hotel style sofas have been coupled with a black lacquer sofa and console tables, stunning light features, chevron patterned carpet, full length glamorous curtains and displays of hydrangeas in mother of pearl vases.”

The Grand Care Centre

Pamper Rooms

“On site at The Grand Care Centre you will find a hair salon and coffee shop – these areas provide a retreat for the residents to be pampered and was designed with a Deco feel with bespoke piped styling chairs, bevelled mirrors and a soft pink colour schemes.”

The Grand Care Centre

Open Plan Day Spaces

“The main challenge in large open areas is to create visual interest. We created on each floor a more intimate day room and used a gentlemen club scheme as our inspiration. We also introduced an element of playfulness into these spaces with such touches as the Jeeves and Wooster bowler hat pendant light, a map mural of the local areas in one room, the Osbourne and Little dogs wallpaper in another and in the dressing of the bookcases.

“Furthermore, by varying styles of chairs and adding details such as piping and using contrasting fabrics, we avoided a uniform look. We planned the space to ensure there were seating zones which did not solely focus on the television.

“On the ground floor maximum advantage was taken of the garden outside with large patio doors, the use of an overblown floral designer wallpaper, botanical artwork and a striking grey and yellow colour scheme.

“On the second floor there is a day space that opens onto a roof terrace. This is the dementia floor and the space was designed to allow the residents a roaming path and again the outdoor was brought inside in the interior with a heather colour scheme, harlequin tree wallpaper and nature inspired artwork. On the third floor (nursing floor) the same plum and heather colour scheme was used and careful consideration given to furniture layouts to allow for more wheelchairs and hoists.”


“The bedrooms in a care home can be a challenge as you are designing a room that needs to be personal for the resident but you are designing it before you know who they are. For the personal areas, we gave the bedrooms a timeless quality, using walnut furniture and elegant colour schemes such as dusky pinks or classic greys with yellow.

Whitakers managed the project throughout and were on site at each phased installation to ensure all ran smoothly and everything was delivered on time with minimal disruption. Kim finished: “Overall, we achieved our goal, to create an interior that improved the life of the residents by carefully marrying the conflicting needs of clinical care with a welcoming environment that adds a dash of glamour.”

What the Client Had to Say

Katie McGoff, Interior Designer for The Grand Care Centre, said: “In all commercial spaces the challenge is to remain functional and maintain attractive aesthetics whilst ensuring all regulatory requirements are adhered to. With a Care Home there are additional pressures as every aspect of the design has to be approved by the CQC before the home can be opened.

“All design briefs have to work within a budget. Quality and design cannot be compromised, therefore we had to consider clever ways to save money, but still create a fantastic interior. For prospective residents going to a Care Home is an acceptance they can no longer live independently. Relatives often feel guilt and for the general public it can be the fear of our own potential failing health. The design had to address these fears and create a luxurious environment that can be enjoyed by residents and family alike.”

The Grand Care Centre project took just over a year to complete, but working closely with therapists, clinical staff, regulatory staff and the architectural team, Whitakers has managed to create a calm and comfortable living environment that caters to particular health needs whilst also exuding elegance and glamour.