When we initially bought the house, we were pleased with its size and location. We loved the large patio at the back which faces south-west and overlooks a golf course, so we see a lot of greenery and open sky.
But it wasn’t long before we noticed how the wind rolled in across the green and with very few trees there’s little to shelter us. This meant that sitting outside was either too windy or too hot. We tried an awning on the house, but the wind really is too strong for it to be effective.
After we’d lived in the house a while, we also felt like some more space would be useful, so we decided we’d turn the patio into our extra space by having a rear extension while retaining a large portion of the garden.
For most people, the first time they use an architect is the only time, so best you choose wisely! We’d interviewed architects for designs on our last home (which never went ahead) so when we met Carl, we knew he was the right man for the job. His ideas were exactly what we’d envisaged.
If you’ve watched Grand Designs, you’ll know that architects are very able to spend your money on their ideas, but Carl was able to design a plan to suit our budget. He’s also a great listener.
One of the unexpected benefits was his expertise in the legal side of things, and not just taking the job of getting our planning permission off our hands. Even though the house is detached, he suggested we get a party wall agreement with both neighbours.
He could see that the proximity of the homes, plus previous work done on one of our neighbour’s house, meant we’d benefit from the two neighbouring properties being surveyed and an agreement being drawn up, which we did through an independent qualified surveyor. Now, we and our neighbours are more comfortable with the build process and we’re secure knowing that if we ever sell the house, we have all the right documentation.
Carl helped us with the builder tender process and recommended Mark Fitzerald of MJF Builders Ltd, who we’ve been very impressed with. It’s important that the builder works well with the architect, which Mark does well while sometimes suggesting his own ideas, one of which was really beneficial.
His team are working in an iterative way, by which I mean that rather than taking a linear approach and undertaking the build in the usual order, he is doing as much as he can first without disrupting the house – which makes it harder for them and easier for us!
A few weeks in and so far so good!