Firstly, Happy New Year! I hope you have had as relaxing a time as possible over the Christmas “break”.



From the number of enquires I’ve received over the break, it’s clear that lots of you are thinking about embarking on a project in 2017, which is amazing! As you might expect, I love a project – large or small – but I also know how challenging they can be. I’ve written blogs on this subject before, but thought it might be useful to offer up a few tips for making your project go as* smoothly as Christmas dinner with 10 guests, 3 surprise guests, several food allergies and many, many children.




So, here we go…


Ask permission


Get your regulations, surveys and surveyors, planning and plans in order first of all. There’s literally no point in cracking on with buying flooring if you don’t have that party wall agreement…


Get your designs drawn up in as much detail as you can. Along with the structural calculations and drawings (if needed), these will enable you to get more accurate estimates from your quoting builders.


Ask a number of builders to quote – your designs and plans will really help here.

It’s unlikely that a builder will give you a proper cost breakdown until you have confirmed the job, especially if it’s a big one, but do ask for as much detail as possible. Ask questions if you are unsure of anything – clarity throughout the process is REALLY important. If they can’t answer your questions at this stage, they may not be the best team to remove your roof!  Confidence in your team (and they are YOUR team) is really important.


Your lovely neighbours are immensely proud of the build that they completed last year, and are only too happy to offer advice on EVERYTHING.

This is fine, but don’t forget that just because they’ve been through a similar process, they may not have all the answers. Your build and design team will have done perhaps 6 such builds last year. And every year for the last 15 years. Chances are, they have a better idea how big your kitchen island should be.


Budget properly

By properly, I don’t just mean look at how much you have and don’t go over that figure. I mean understand the cost of things. Be prepared to pay for quality and craftsmanship. Nothing worries a designer more than the word “reasonable”.

As in “I want a bespoke, unique kitchen, but at a reasonable price”…does this exist?! No, of course not!!


Think about the details

Lighting and heating, for example. Get these sorted in your initial plans and it’ll make life so much easier than trying to re-plumb or re-wire a space because it’s not warm or bright enough.


Finally, don’t rush.

Take your time and enjoy the process. Discuss options with family, friends and professionals. Sit with the space plans and a glass of wine or two, and imagine how you’ll use the space.


N.B Delete all the ideas you have after the end of the second bottle…