All images © Nick Isden Photography

Julian. She says they were “ideal customers,” being amenable to all of their design ideas.

This extended to specifying the bathrooms, partly because they had seen, and liked, previous examples of Architecturall’s work. “We’d seen a few of the houses they’d designed and finished,” Rachel says. “They’d done similar things before, and clearly knew how to do it.”

All cupboards throughout the house

– including built-in wardrobes and bathroom cabinets – are in the same bookmatched oak, designed and finished by the contractors. “I didn’t want just white walls and shiny floors with nothing else, so I asked for textures and different materials. Bringing the wood in makes it more interesting.”

In another example of the contractor’s thoughtful approach, Simon asked Lee and Rachel where they planned to put


furniture before the electrical plan was done so that all power points would be in sensible places. “He had us thinking about things we would not have thought about,” she says. With her knowledge of interior design, Rachel knew specifying lighting and fittings can be an overwhelming task, so she was grateful this task was taken off her hands. “They thought of neat little things like automatic lights in some rooms,” she explains. Architec- turall also built the kitchen from scratch. The couple’s trust in the firm’s discerning taste went to perhaps unusual extremes – far from just choos- ing paint colours, they even let Simon choose the sofas. “We went to see one of his houses and he was a bit sniffy about the sofas they’d chosen not working with his design, so I said ‘you can choose my sofas if you want!’” Rachel explains.

Simon’s painstaking approach meant

he was anxious that they had picked the wrong window frame colour, says Rachel. “We decided it was fine. They had all the anxieties.”

In total the project took 11 months, from demolishing the bungalow to completion. Rachel credits much of the success to having a combined architect and project manager. “They weren’t going to make mistakes, but if they did, they just sucked it up – it was never anyone else’s fault,” she says. She also believes it helps keep the architect on track, commenting: “Archi- tects can be idealistic, and having the partnership with the project manager helped on the practical side of things.” Rachel and Lee couldn’t be more pleased with the end result. “We still say we can’t believe we live in a house like this!” Rachel says. “Because the process was so enjoyable and stress- free we wouldn’t think twice about doing it again.”

november/december 2017

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