Henley Road - Curved Wall

Works are progressing well on the front extension at Henley Road. The bricklayers have done a very nice job of matching up the existing Flemish bond brickwork with the adjacent garage and formed a beautiful curve with header bricks. The extension appears seamless against the rest of the house. The windows are to be designed with the frames hidden within the brickwork to allow for as much light as possible to enter the room and will be specially made to fit the curve of the extension. A flat roof will be hidden beyond the parapet wall to blend in seamlessly with the roof of the existing garage. 

More information on my projects page

Works progressing - new dwelling, Kettleburgh

New house, Kettleburgh, Suffolk

Works are progressing on a new dwelling in Kettleburgh, for which I am Contract Manager and Principal Designer. The foundations and plinth bricks below DPC level are in place and the site is looking good so far!  

Class Q conversions

The regulations for conversions of agricultural buildings to residential under permitted development are being changed in April. The proposals are expected to relax the rules and allow for the conversion of up to five dwellings, with a larger footprint, rather than three. Details available in an announcement on the Planning Portal here: Class Q announcement

Planning Permission

Planning permission has recently been obtained for the proposed two storey rear extension and side extension to a house in Thorndon. The Clients are very pleased with the outcome and look forward to Let's Design Architecture completing the building regulations drawings in the near future.

Completion of conversion project

Works recently completed on a conversion project in Saxmundham. The existing townhouse was converted into two separate dwellings, including the re-building of a previously demolished lean-to.

The original property would have been two town houses, which had previously been converted into a single dwelling; the layout of which didn't work and the appearance was outdated. The original sash window had been removed and replaced with a poor quality casement window, which looked out of place on the street scene. The property lends itself well to being two dwellings as it was formerly, so the developer wanted to restore it as such.

Works to the frontage included the provision of a new front door and window, re-instating the original appearance, along with carefully chosen brickwork to suit. A new party wall was added to separate the dwellings and the internal layouts were carefully designed to maximize space. 

The developer is very happy with the finished houses.

Approval for nine dwellings in Benhall

The reserved matters application for a proposal of nine properties at Benhall has recently been approved by Suffolk Coastal District Council. Let's Design Architecture is delighted with the outcome of the application and looks forward to watching the properties being built in the near future. 

Planning fees 20% increase

The Government has recently introduced a new fee scale for Planning Applications, increasing the fees by 20%. 

These new regulations also include the right for them to charge a fee for applications for planning permission related to the removal of permitted development rights through Article 4 directions or by condition, where this was previously free of charge.

The Planning Portal fee calculator provides the latest fees for planning applications.

Contact Zoe at Let's Design Architecture if you need drawings and to make an application for planning or building regulations. 

Block plans

Two new build houses - preparation for planning application. 

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Today I’ve been working up a block plan to show my Clients their proposals in 3D. They wanted to know whether the two new build properties had enough space between them, to make sure the bungalow wasn’t being overshadowed by the house. The basic 3D model helped visually to convey the context of the site. They found them really useful. 

 

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Permitted Development

People often ask me if they can do things without planning permission. The answer is sometimes yes, but it is always a useful exercise to check with the planning department first and get something in writing from them. They have introduced a pre-application submission process, to check whether permission is required and also whether the proposals are likely to be considered favourably upon submission. 

The good news is that there is information available on the government website which helps with ascertaining whether your development is permitted under PD rights or not. There are different classes of permitted development and the PD order is available here: legislation.gov.uk

If the document seems a bit of a daunting read, there is a very useful 'interactive house' available on the planning portal which makes life simpler. 

However, what is often unknown is whether permitted development rights apply to your property or whether they have been removed. Some properties when they were built had permitted development rights removed and some had the permitted development rights removed at a time when a previous extension was added. Check the planning permission(s) relevant to your property to see which classes may have been removed, as you may be able to do certain things under permitted development and certain other things you will need planning permission for. 

In the case of listed buildings and buildings within conservation areas, it is most likely that you will require planning permission or listed building consent to carry out any works to the property or the buildings/walls within the curtilage of the property. Again it is always best to check with the planning department before undertaking any works. 

Of course, Let's Design Architecture is here to help if you need any assistance with your proposals! 

Feeling blue... architecture

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Today I am in London, which is always architecturally interesting. I have just driven here on a day trip to the Royal London Hospital. I didn’t know what to expect, I have been to a few hospitals around London with my parents and usually they are a mismatch of architectural styles, using converted buildings with new elements added on. I was quite impressed to find a completely contemporary building with a very smart blue mosaic facade and modern glass atrium. I only went to the second floor, but from here you can see that the hospital architects have made the most of the views of London and the famous ‘guerkin’ at 30 St Mary Axe. 

The interior is very clean, open and well thought out.  I should really have ventured to the top floor to get the most of the view, but I didn’t think about it at the time. Maybe if I come back I will get a picture from the top!

 

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Proposed Change of Use of Former Shop to Holiday Let

 Proposed Floor Plan for Change of Use to Holiday Let

Proposed Floor Plan for Change of Use to Holiday Let

After a lengthy planning process, Let's Design Architecture has recently obtained planning permission for the change of use conversion of a barn to form a holiday let. The barn had previously been used as a shop, although is now redundant storage space. The planning process took some time as we had to prove the viability of the potential use as well as giving reasons why there is no longer a requirement for a shop in this area. 

Front Extension

Having recently obtained planning permission for a front extension on Henley Road, I am currently undertaking the building regulations stage. I've added the project to my 'Projects' page which I will update with further details as the work progresses. 

It is quite unusual to be asked to apply for a front extension, other than porches, as it is often thought that the planning department are unlikely to approve them. Most people would opt to extend to the rear or side of the property. However, as this one was in keeping with the rest of the property and doesn't detract from the main elevation, it was approved with no issues. 

It is always worth making a pre-application enquiry to get the council's view on any application which might seem a little unusual or contentious. They will give advice at a small cost which helps a little towards the application if you then wish to proceed. 

Architectural career

Following on from my previous blog about my architectural career, this just popped up on my Facebook timeline - a proud moment four years ago, I was part of the design team on the locally famous Rivercote dwelling, near the River Deben in Woodbridge. We won Highly Commended for Design (Residential). I worked on the initial design concept alongside Patrick Allen and produced detailed coloured planning drawings and site plans. The dwelling is built on a flood plain, with the residential area being located on the first floor allowing for the storage area underneath to become flooded while not affecting the living area above.

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A is for Architect

Growing up, I didn’t know what I wanted to become. Its difficult when you are young to find a place in the world. People say ‘the world is your oyster’, which is true to a certain degree, but I was constrained within an educational system which gave me no idea about the real world and what was out there career wise. 

I knew what my strengths were and I knew what subjects I wanted to study at sixth form. I didn’t know where that would lead. Not a clue. 

By the age of seventeen or eighteen, other people seemed to have an idea, they knew where they wanted to be in five years time. I really didn’t and the thought of being lost in the real world terrified me. 

Most people don’t believe me when they ask me ‘why did you want to become an architect?’ and I tell them that I opened the big A-Z careers book in the library at sixth form and starting at ‘A’, the word ‘architect’ popped out. If I had opened a different page who knows what I might have become! Art and history were my subjects, I loved graphic design and when I saw the job description, that was it, my mind was made up. When my mind is made up about something, I go for it. 

So that’s what actually happened. I went on to study architecture and I’ve never looked back.  

I have been lucky in my career choice. I landed a summer job in my third year at university with Patrick Allen. Patrick’s practise was small, he had employed Paul a few years earlier and it was just us for a while, with Mary there to look after us all with regular tea and cakes! 

I was lucky enough to carry on working while studying part time and I realise that I was truly blessed to have the support of the company during my studies. 

I had such a good job I worked there for thirteen years. I then took a leap of faith, became self-employed and have not looked back.  

I really love my job. Sometimes it is really hard work, juggling everything, meeting clients, preparing quotes and invoices, carrying out measured surveys and working up drawings without a team of colleagues to bounce ideas off. 

However, it is so much more rewarding when you know you have made a difference in someone’s life. Making someone’s home better. Building someone’s dream. 

I drive around a lot and I visited some potential clients this evening. The sun was setting and a beautiful orange colour enveloped the autumnal countryside. I loved the journey and I loved meeting the people. They had phoned around other architects and they were impressed with me, because I gave them time and listened to their ideas. I want to make their house better, to make a difference in their lives. This is what I want to continue to do, every day.

I didn’t find architecture. Architecture found me, and I’m thankful that it did. I found my place in the world and have the confidence to justify my career choice and be proud of what I’m doing, even if I did just pick it out of the first page of a book.

Late night at the office

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I’ve been working very hard today, finishing off as many projects as I can before the weekend. I’ve completed two building regulations projects this week, drawn up a survey, done a little bit of design work and met some new people. Now working on another building regs project, it’s all go!

I looked up behind my screen to notice the beautiful, dramatic sky outside so took a quick break to rest my eyes. I have a lovely view from here in the late afternoons and early evenings, with the local church visible in the distance.

Have a good weekend all! 

Virtual reality

Wow, just wow. I been playing on the PlayStation VR and it is incredible. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, virtual reality was a dream. We never really believed that it would become a reality, much like hover boards and robots that talk and think like people. But these things are becoming reality. 

I am blown away by VR. It was the first time I had tried it, I recommend that everyone gives it a go. You can go deep sea diving with a shark, go on a rollercoaster and go into outer space, all in your living room. It is so unbelievably lifelike. You enter into a room and look up and you can see a vaulted ceiling with mouldings and detailed 3D statues in the walls. You look down at a very realistic tiled floor. All around you is a new room you have never entered before and it’s so real that your mind is tricked into believing that these things are there and can be touched. 

Which brings us to the future of architectural design. One day soon we are going to imagine our dream house and be able to take a tour of it before it is built. We could check what furniture would look good, we could wake up in the morning looking at the view from the window and adjust the position of the rooms according to the sun. Would we even have to build it at all? Would it be possible to actually live in a virtual world? 

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