What do you get from an Architect?

Having lived and worked as an Architect in Henfield for the past twenty-two years (and thirty-two in Sussex), I believe that I have a good understanding of the people and properties in the village and surrounding area. We are very fortunate to have a wide variety of buildings. Ranging from very old oak framed farmhouses to modern Scandinavian chalets, and with brick built worker’s cottages and Georgian villas in between, they are a testament to the industry of residents and their love of the area. Each property is literally unique; I have never found two buildings quite the same.

The main challenge of enlarging or adapting any house is to maintain its character, and this is where I feel the Architect has something to offer. After a few years in residence, most people develop an emotional attachment to their homes, and it can sometimes be quite difficult to imagine that the dining room could be anything else BUT the dining room. I have had clients who told me ‘we like everything as it is, just make it a bit bigger all round’, which is neither economic nor, in most cases, feasible. As a dispassionate observer, the Architect can see where improvements can be made that provide an appropriate solution to the need for a bit more space.

Television, and Grand Designs in particular, has made us much more aware of the possibilities to change our living space, but what seems great on the screen cannot always be translated to our own home. However, every house has potential, and rarely is there no room for improvement. The first stage is to make a rational assessment of what is needed. This could be as simple as ‘we need two double bedrooms and one single, not the other way round’, or ‘we wish to sit twelve people at table on occasion’. A larger project should try to describe the spaces needed and the relationship between them, but not necessarily where they are to be positioned.

A preliminary discussion with an experienced Architect is usually sufficient to give a good feeling of what is both possible and practical within the context of planning and construction legislation. It saves time, and heartache later on, to be aware of the potential problems that can arise when planning what is invariably a complex procedure. The architect can generally be relied upon to suggest design solutions that are not only suited to the building and client, but are cost effective and acceptable to the wider community. Not only are there technical solutions to building problems, there are sometimes different ways of seeing things that will make the property work better. The biggest compliment I can be paid is when a client says ‘ why didn’t I think of that!’.

Our built environment is hundreds of years old, and most of what we do today will still be around in another hundred years. We should do our best to ensure that our homes are as much loved in the future as they are now.

Don’t just think about it, get in touch to see if we can help!
I am generally happy to make a without obligations visit to discuss your project at a mutually convenient time. Ring or email the contacts below.

Roger Minost RIBA
Chates Studio, Stonepit Lane
Henfield, West Sussex BN5 9QT
Telephone (44) 01273 494779

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