History and Influences

Barnet’s existence as a settlement began at a fork in the Great North Road running from London to Edinburgh. Its location on the turnpike at the top of a hill ensured it became a key transportation gateway in the 18th and 19th centuries where coaches would stop at one of the many coaching inns to change horses before heading away from the capital.

The site of Signature’s home at Barnet is adjacent to the old Victoria Hospital, built in 1888 for the grand sum of £3,000. By 1949, the burgeoning population created a need for maternity beds and the hospital took on this function, with a Special Care Baby Unit being created in 1958. Many of the older population of Barnet associate this site with the birth of family members or even themselves.

The inspiration for the interior design of the home draws on Barnet’s character as a gateway, a place where journeys begin with the excitement and anticipation of new experiences. Also, the tradition of care on the site will be continued; this will be a building where wellness is at the forefront; the design will respect the six concepts of wellness, to create a gateway to wellness for the residents, families and carers who live and work within.

Each of the six concepts will be supported by the physical environment, creating a series of different destinations and experiences, all navigating from the hub and heart of the building, the Grand Lobby. The purpose of each area will be reinforced by a presentation that will enhance one or more of the six. This will be directly focused in some cases, by providing an activity or facility. In others, it will be an underlying atmosphere of calm or stimulation, created by use of space, colour and materials.

For those who have lived long and busy lives, this will be a sanctuary, a tranquil home, close to urban convenience, but not overwhelmed by its stress and bustle. It will be their own personal gateway to wellness.

Grand Lobby, Reception & Café

The first impression of the Reception and Café will be the welcome of the receptionist and the bustling, lively atmosphere of the area where residents, visitors and carers start their journey of wellness.

Its interior design takes inspiration from the grandeur of the great houses surrounding the town with the introduction of classic architectural features and quality finishes, with an injection of modern details and design elements such as the chandelier and soft furnishings.

Those wishing to can sit comfortably where they can be involved in the day to day comings and goings of the home whilst those wanting a quiet time can find a more secluded area by the fireplace.


The design of the restaurant is intended to support the staff in their nourishing of the residents by creating a welcoming, warm atmosphere with space to enjoy a meal in comfort. With colours to stimulate the appetite. There are varied seating options to encourage social engagement for those who wish it and a more private experience for those who prefer to enjoy their meals in peace.

The dining experience is one of the most important parts of the residents’ day.

Private Dining

The Private Dining Room interior is designed with luxurious finishes that will complement the restaurant.
This is a space that can be used for special occasions, allowing residents to invite friends and family to their own dining room experience whilst providing necessary seating capacity to support the other restaurant spaces.

Facilities include:
• Seating for 52 Residents and Guests in Restaurant
• Seating for 8 Residents and Guests in Private Dining


The lounge location and large windows not only provide generous amounts of natural light into the room but allow views into the rear gardens. Screened from the reception, but not cut off by a door, it is filled with softly upholstered seating and coffee tables arranged in small social groups allowing residents to socialise or sit quietly and read a book.

Facilities include:
• Combination of Sofas, High Back Chairs and Recliners
• Fireplace & TV
• Access to both Reception and Restaurant

Activity Room and Hall

The key to this space is its chameleon-like design and interior style. With a nod to Barnet’s Horse Fair heritage, it is simple and practical in design to enable any activity to sit comfortably within. The flexibility of the room with its open space, wheeled tables and stacking chairs allows for a multitude of arrangements to suit all pastimes.

Although the kitchen area has the appearance of a domestic kitchen its design and equipment make it capable of catering for the room’s occupancy when used as a social space.

A memory wall and shelving to display 3D creations provide character to the interior.

Facilities include:
• Wheeled activity tables and high back upholstered chairs for resident’s activities
• Auditorium style demountable stage and seating for up to 60 residents and guests


The Cinema is designed to be dramatic and differ completely from the rest of the home. It is intended that a visit to
the cinema is a real event, providing an occasion to be anticipated.

The big screen, luxurious seating, theatrical lighting and plush furnishings allow a variety of entertainment from blockbusters to major sporting events to be shared.

The room also doubles as a multi-faith room for groups or quiet contemplation.

Facilities include:
• Combination of 15 Luxury Single Chairs and Sofas
• Side Tables
• Foot Rests to Front Row
• Drinks Fridge


The social opportunities provided by the Hair Salon, Nail Bar & Therapy Room are facilitated by a spacious and stylish interior design that is sympathetic to the building’s interior. Residents can enjoy a pampering experience and a familiar routine as though they were visiting a High Street Salon.

Equipment and furniture specially suited to the age group allow for an enjoyable hair washing experience whilst the therapy room offers a state of the art three sectional electric couch that provides support to the less physically able residents.

Facilities include:
• Two Hair Styling Stations
• One Hair Wash Station
• One Nail Bar Station
• Spa Bathroom
• One Private Therapy Room with Electric Couch

Bistro, Bar & Library

The Bistro is an important part of the Signature lifestyle, offering variety in dining to the residents. It is an informal dining space with cosy interior finishes that reflect Barnet’s manufacturing history: Mr Duck’s Brickworks and John James Cowing’s Printing Company.

A bar snug area enables the residents to enjoy a pint by the fire, whilst the small library, tucked around the back of the Grand Staircase has an interior that combines natural and artificial lighting to ensure those with failing eyesight have enough light to allow them to read, in an interior that has a gentle nod to local arctic explorer John Franklin.

Facilities include:
• Seating for 40 Residents and Guests to dine

Art Space

The design of the Art Space is light and airy with facilities to store and display the materials required to support a diverse range of independent or group arts and crafts activities.

The combination of natural daylight and artificial lighting is designed to provide enough light for residents to comfortably
participate in the activities, paying homage to Miss Cowling who established the Guild of Arts, Barnet in 1948.

The adjoining corridors will be dressed to complement the art and design theme and will provide locations to display creative work.

Facilities include:
• Tables and Chairs for activities
• Art Display, Storage Units and Shelving

Dementia: Circulation Spaces

The Circulation spaces are coloured to help with navigation and decorative leaner rails are provided to assist walking
with clear signage set at a level that can be easily read.

Light fittings are carefully selected to avoid an institutional appearance but do not encourage residents to try to touch them.
The circulation spaces provide walking routes for the physically able, with 2 and 3 dimensional memory prompts to stimulate and promote conversations as well as being useful tools to distract agitated residents.

Dementia: Lounge

The provision of lounge spaces, both large and small, provides choice and variety for residents whose world has become smaller.

Domestic in their interior style with simple, un-confusing décor and recognizable fixtures and fittings such as TV and lamps, they are spaces to encourage both group and individual activities.

Dementia: Kitchen & Dining

The kitchen area is domestic in size and interior style with glass fronted wall cupboards and open shelving to allow residents clear and unobstructed vision.

A new catering operation will make meal times easier for Staff and Residents. Mixed dining tables allow the space to be changed to suit the day’s activities and practical vinyl flooring to enable easy maintenance.

Garden Spaces

External spaces and facilities are invaluable to stimulate & promote the wellbeing of residents. Raised beds and veg trugs complete with storage will provide an activity area where residents can ‘grow their own’.

A quiet seating area will offer residents the opportunity to just sit and reflect in a natural, outdoor environment.