Saturday, 22 September 2012

Open House- Day 1

This afternoon we opened up our house for the first time to the public as part of London Open House - we had over two hundred visitors in just over 4 hrs. I must say that so far (tomorrow we're open again for the whole day )it has been an incredibly positive experience - it's been great to get so much feedback and we've had many positive comments. The weather today certainly played its part as its been beautiful clear blue skies. Tomorrow however will be quite different, the forecast is for heavy rain and strong winds and with the large windows and rooflights in the house the feeling inside can be dramatically affected by the outside conditions - it will be interesting to see if there is any change in peoples reactions as a result..

How many men does it take to fix up a banner?
The lull before the Storm

People arriving
Blue skies.. - inside & out

Friday, 21 September 2012

All hands on deck - London Open House! excuse the pun but it really has been all hands on deck this week as we've built a new deck for the courtyard in the new house and tried to finish off as much as possible in time for opening up for the public this weekend as part of London Open House. We've managed to achieve quite a lot but there will still be quite a few things not complete - such as the front gate.. Sadly we've been let down by a delivery of pebbles for the front courtyard today so things won't look quite as good as we had hoped but if there is one thing I have learned building a house it is not to rely on  deliveries being on time!

Here's my builder Keith (on his knees!) and Mick carrying soil for the new planter..

'All Hands on Deck'
..and even my In-laws have flown in from Sweden to help with the gardening and making the curtains!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Silence is Golden

It's been a very long time since I last posted on this blog. And this silence has definitely been golden as it has been due to us being extremely busy.. Since the last post we've:

Completed the design of a winery near Eastbourne (south coast of England) which we've been working on in collaboration with designer Martin Swatton - it starts on site this month.

Won a competition against some of the UK's largest architecture firms and all but completed an extensive summer improvement works to convert a Grade II listed Girls High School into a modern 6th Form Centre in my home town Bedford.

Moved into our new house which is now close to being complete - we're now frantically preparing to open it to the public this weekend as part of London Open House.

Commenced work on site for a new office building constructed using SIPs (structural insulated panel) for the staff of the winery project.

Submitted an extensive contemporary house extension for planning approval.

..and Moved into a new office behind Waterloo station

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 30 April 2012

A Beautiful Swan..

Here's a project which we've just about completed which really illustrates what can be achieved with a bit of vision and careful design. Working in collaboration with Martin Swatton Design we took an existing 80's bungalow and created a 'Beautiful Swan'! Here are the before and after photographs..

Outside - Before

Outside - Remodelled

Interior- Before

Interior - Remodelled

Monday, 6 February 2012


Last week was quite a week and it neatly summarised the variety of work that we're engaged in now, coining the title of Rem Koolhaus's book S,M,X,XL (Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large - okay I admit I'm stretching it here a little) here's what I was working on..:

The crash pad in Paddington (see our website: is now nearly completed. At less than 50 sqm and just over 4m high overall this is a project which is tight for space into which we've squeezed a mezzanine floor with a bedroom and spare fold down bed sleeping area. In spite of the low ceilings the result feels surprisingly spacious thanks to the open layout at ground level and a the central double height space.

My house continues to move forward and I'm still spending a lot (too much?) of my time on it - visiting site and organising materials (trying to haggle deals from suppliers in order that I can afford to finish it the way I would really like). Today's an exciting day (weather permitting with snow on the roads) as the huge sliding folding doors are due to arrive and then we will truly be wind and weather tight..

I'm back working with my old employers, Dyer, as a consultant on a project for the Royal Society of Medicine. I worked on it as the project architect for Stage C (Concept Design) 12 months ago and after a delay while the client organised funding it is back and full steam ahead. The project includes conversion of an existing period style room into a state of the art raked lecture / conference theatre and the infill of a double height space over the foyer with a glass floor for breakout..

Through our friends at KDS Associates we were asked to produce a concept idea for Criterion Capital (a London based developer with a large and exclusive property portfolio) for a residential tower scheme in Colliers Wood, South London. I worked a quick initial concept up using Revit (use of curtain wall systems and interchangeable families to create the facade detail) and here's the result..

Thursday, 19 January 2012


So the building of our new house continues and yesterday we reached the important milestone of being watertight with the installation of two very large clear glass rooflights.We've been incredibly lucky since the weather all winter has been unseasonably mild and there has been very little rain.. Until today that is - now it's raining and I don't care!!

Here's a time-lapse video of the rooflights being installed in just over a minute..

I'll post something on the rest of the house soon..

Monday, 16 January 2012

Website Update

Last week I updated our website to show some of the projects we've been working on:

Check it out at:

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Back on the Blog

Well it's been some time since my last blog but now it's the New Year (resolutions and all that) I thought it was about time I started up again. Since the worst thing you should do in these situations is to start with excuses I thought I'd do just that and explain away my long blogging silence..

BlogPress, the App I use to draft my Blog on the iPad while I'm out and about has had a bug which has stopped it working for the last few months. Finally an update has now been released so I can get back to the writing.. More importantly, since October things have been really busy - which is of course generally a good thing. We've been involved in quite a number of exciting projects, with many of them already on site and one actually completed:

Ooyala, an internet based digital media company based in California, engaged Mark's (my business partner) friend's practice, Blitz in San Francisco, to produce the concept design for their new European head office off Carnaby Street in Soho, London. We were engaged to complete the detail design, specification and to see the project through on site. The programme was extremely tight, from Blitz's start on the design to construction completion and Ooyala moving into their new offices it was only ten weeks!

Ooyala Breakout & Kitchen

Ooyala Breakout & Kitchen

Ooyala workspace & medium meeting room

Ooyala workspace & large meeting room
Another three jobs have started on site, two of which are already close to completion - a refurbishment of a bungalow on the south coast for a vineyard manager; an extension to another bungalow in Dorking; and a small crash pad in Paddington, London.

We've also been working on planning applications for a winery, a scheme to add three stories of executive apartments to a 60's block in Kensington, and the remodelling of a large private house on the south coast near Brighton..

But my biggest excuse has been the house I'm building. Unfortunately the builder I was using got into financial difficulty and left site at short notice. The result was that overnight I became a true self-builder and in order to keep things moving and to stay within budget I've had to manage the rest of the build myself, employing trades and purchasing materials directly. In the beginning it was certainly stressful and time consuming but it's provided me an experience of construction from a different angle. Now that the house is really taking shape it's turned out to be a real distraction and drain on my time as I really just want to spend all my time on site admiring it and watching it grow!
So it's been a busy but very productive few months.. Long may it continue (along with some more blogging)!!