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22 CASE STUDY Attending to the details


The refurbishment of a luxury five bedroom house in Fulham, London, shows how SME builders can set their properties apart from the herd. Jack Wooler reports.


THE CHALLENGE IS TO FIND SOMETHING THAT SETS YOU APART FROM THE


CROWD James Watson, CEO of the Finer Group


C


The Finer Group CEO describes the high and low points of the project: Highs: “The big wins were that we managed to achieve a greater height in the basement, and with a revised floor layout, a better quality of accommodation than was originally envisaged.” Lows: “The lows so far have been minimal in reality. Challenging neighbours always present issues through a build, and while a few curve balls can be thrown at you, this is all part of the experience.”


omprising 1,300 ft², the once-modest property at 25 Furness Road, Fulham has been refurbished into a 2,500 ft²


luxury development in the heart of desirable south west London. Developed by the locally-based Finer


Group, the terraced property consists of five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a media room, office space and more, utilising every square foot of the property. The home will be priced at £2.4m, and as


such is aimed at clients with the highest expectations when it comes to standard of finish. Though a higher-end build, the property is by no means the most expensive home in the area, where properties often reach in excess of £4m. In the surrounding area, the French


Lycee has spread from South Kensington, opening up a grand school in an old Victorian building on Clancarty Road. The area is home to many good schools, and many residents work in the financial sector.


SUSTAINABLE EFFORTS As is typical in a refurbishment as opposed to a new build, Finer Developments was limited in terms of its ecological reach. The exterior brickwork, for example, had to be kept as was, important as it is that the look


and feel of the exterior be maintained, to fit in with the street. Everything else however was a


‘back-to-brick’ refurbishment, with every effort made to keep the carbon footprint as low as possible. The latest insulating materials were employed, and appliances are all A plus rated, with energy-efficient lighting and water restricting taps used throughout. Local suppliers were used to source


materials except for the fixtures and fittings, much of which have been imported from Italy in order to meet the development’s luxurious standards.


PLANNING Planning often erects barriers to the build process, but 25 Furness Road proved to be fairly simple in this regard. James Watson, CEO of the developer’s


parent company the Finer Group, explained the business approach: “The process always starts with what can be best achieved from a purchase. Sites which are just land have a different set of rules to refurbishment properties, and if you are looking to refurbish an existing property, I always look at how to increase gross internal area.” Watson says he begins each project by


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