Throughout my PR career I’ve worked with a number architect firms, many of which had completed inspirational residential projects, giving me plenty of ideas for the house.
Initially we just needed some advice to help us understand whether our ideas were feasible. Years ago I worked with Architect Your Home – a firm offering a pay-as-you-go menu of services – and knew they offered an initial consultation, either a half (£450+VAT) or full day option (£850+VAT).
Due to the scale of work we wanted to do, we needed a full day with the architect. Felix arrived at 10am and began by taking a tour of the house, discussing our needs and finding out how we would use each room.
We already knew that we want to remodel the first floor and do a loft conversion, but we’d previously been advised against building a single-storey infill extension on the side of the house. A retired architect friend had a look around and told us it would be more money and effort than it was worth.
Felix disagreed and brought this idea back to life for us. We were thrilled and excited at the thought of opening up the back of the house; by carrying out the extension we realised it could mean the difference between us living there for five years or 15. We also love cooking and entertaining so having a much larger kitchen and living space was really appealing.
After Felix had finished measuring up, we headed to the nearest pub for lunch (our new local The George Payne) and spent the afternoon discussing our plans while Felix worked on our drawings. We had lots of questions and used Felix’s knowledge to find out more about the planning process and what should happen at each stage of the build.
Following the session we were sent A3 print outs of Felix’s finished drawings:
Existing ground floor and proposed ground floor (omitting the front room)
Existing first floor and proposed first floor (omitting master bedroom)
Proposed loft conversion
As well as the sketches, we were also sent a breakdown of each stage of the project and what it would cost if we were to employ Architect Your Home’s services. We quickly realised we could find a more cost effective alternative locally and in hindsight, because we already had quite a clear idea of what we wanted to do, we could have probably done the same with the sketches and advice too. We were also concerned over a possible lack of local planning knowledge – our house is in Hove and the nearest Architect Your Home architect was based in Kent. Our local authority is notoriously tough on planning applications so it’s essential we employ someone who knows how they operate, otherwise we run the risk of our application being declined and our build being set back by months.
Nevertheless, we were happy with the initial sketches and they served a purpose – they’ve made it easy to show what we hope to achieve, meaning we we’ve been able to get more accurate quotes from suppliers. Hands down, the biggest value in using Architect Your Home for us was the realisation we could do the side return, and understanding the impact it would have on the way we live. It was during this session we decided our priority was to build the side return and the loft conversion could wait until we had more funds available. Without Felix’s advice, we may have completely written off an idea that could potentially (if planning is approved) transform an average house, into a family home with wow factor.
For more information and lots of great advice on improving your home visit www.architect-yourhome.com.