Client: Elaine + Hyungsok
Their home: 2 story apartment in a large four storey house,
built in 1890s. In a conservation area of London.
They were wanting to extend the apartment to create a study and improve its connection with the garden.
Previous design proposals were too expensive and not really
providing what they wanted.
We went back to first principles to discuss how they want to be able to use their home, taking a fresh look at various options, the pros and cons, sketching, walking and talking them all through. Arriving at a new and more cost effective design feasibility that they much preferred.
On a subsequent day I then introduced them to a local architect who picked up from our feasibility discussions to progress the project.
Having decided to extend our apartment 2 years ago, we had worked with a design company to design an extension, but had reached a point at which we were not happy with the proposed design, quite confused and unclear how to move forward. Meeting with Beverley redirected our ideas and helped take us back to first principles. With her we worked through what we had originally wanted from the extension, how we really wanted to use the space and we reviewed all the options available. Her clarity, vision and expertise really helped to make sense of what we wanted to achieve. On top of this she was able to refer a wonderful architect who has been able to turn this vision into a reality. Without her help I really think the whole project would never have been completed. Elaine + Hyungsok, London
Her home: 2 storey semi-detached house, built 1930s,
Lizzie has lived here for 9 years.
She is about to retire and wants to maximize her comfort at home, especially as she is recovering from chronic illness.
She wants somewhere indoors with more light and better access to the garden.
We discussed how Lizzie wanted to live in her home, the feasibility of extending it into the rear garden within the parameters of planning restrictions, and ways to make it a light and bright space. We paced it out so that she could picture herself actually sitting in the new space. We also discussed the steps for moving forwards to make these ideas into reality. The extension was built 2 years later.
The process of healthy home brainstorming was fascinating and enjoyable. While I had an idea of the sort of designs I want for the kitchen and possible new ‘Dream Room’ I was completely unsure about whether any of it was feasible. Also, with no one to talk to about my ideas I felt completely without confidence and considered that it wasn’t even a good idea. You were able to offer pragmatic comments and solutions as well as creative idea developments. I was really happy that we ‘paced out’ in the garden the possible new room area as doing so helped me to get a feel for the scale and space of the room. It also helped that you were able to ‘put some flesh on the bones’ by the simple act of drawing a sofa on the plan. Discussions about materials and finishes, and the grounded reasons for them, brought the picture even more into focus.
You also picked up on my wants as well as my needs in relation to the spaces. I felt supported in my ‘dreams’ as you didn’t put me on the spot with negative criticisms and listened carefully to my tentative suggestions about mood as well as space and structure. Your special sensitivity to a client’s mood or emotions is a great asset when doing this sort of work – that’s something rare in an architect in my experience! When I met up with my coaching supervisor recently I referred to our meeting as ‘coaching through architecture’ as the ‘work’ you did was more than designing and specifying a room; it also helped me to open up to myself about what I want going forward in my life not just what I want out of a building. Thank you. Lizzie, Nottingham