What happened to February?

So after January bumbled on for about 7 years, we blinked and February happened.  After scrolling through Instagram on the first of March, it became apparent that everyone else had the same feeling too.  So here we are in March already, apologies for the gap in notebook posts to our regular readers!  As compensation this post will be a little weightier than our previous posts, to bring you up to speed of the Studio goings on.

Our Studio refurbishments are well underway, although we’re expecting some adverse weather heading our way in the next few weeks but hopefully that won’t delay the schedule too much.  The team have had the dulcet tones of breakers and sledgehammers as background noise for a few weeks, and being out in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside we’d become used to gentle wishy music playing from our mini speaker whilst birds sing & the odd tractor ambles by…

We had a very productive meeting with the Lead Architect and client of a project we’re working on in the New Forest for a project that has now gone live.  The planning process has been running for around 18 months, as not only is the building listed (part of the original house dates from the 1600’s) but as it’s in a National Park (and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), it’s subject to much stricter rules and regulations we must adhere to.  It looks as though we’re going to miss this Summer window for beginning the civil works, but after working with the Architect to resolve the concerns and notes raised by the Planning officials, we are now quietly confident that planning will go through.  We have had to make quite a few compromises and will no doubt be subject to a whole heap of conditions, but with great clients on board and a good working relationship with the Architect, we will most certainly arrive at the best possible end result aesthetically and practically, whilst maintaining the integrity & historical significance of the building.

The installation date has been pushed back again on our largest project, which was due to be installed pre-Christmas, then March, and now we’re set for the beginning of June.  When undertaking such a large project with the level of bespoke detailing that this has, it’s almost inevitable that somewhere along the way it’s going to run into a few snags.  With such a large team involved, from Lead Architects, Consulting Architects, Contractors, AV Specialists, M&E Consultants, Landscapers, Joinery companies, Craftsmen, Suppliers and us, it’s important that we all take responsibility for the project as a whole, rather than just for one single binary aspect.  We want to achieve the same result for the client and to get there we have to work cohesively as one big team, we understand and respect each other’s field of expertise, but also are open to the input of ideas from all areas as they all ultimately overlap a little.  We’re lucky to be working with such a great collection of people and we generally get together on site once a fortnight to do a ‘walk through’ and this gives everyone an opportunity to raise any questions or address and issues so we can quickly find a solution and move forward.  The clients on this project have exacting but diverse tastes so the end result is going to be a fantastic eclectic mix of the clients personal tastes and our designs, we can’t wait to publish the final photos when it’s all finished!

With our next installation scheduled for March of a lovely detached four story townhouse in Twickenham, Lizzie has been busy finalising orders and working on the logistics of deliveries arriving both here and directly to site.  With so many variables we do come up against delivery issues or unexpected delays, but working in this industry and regularly using suppliers in different time zones and speaking different languages, it’s crucial to have one person running the purchasing that can multitask and use quick lateral thinking to adapt to unforeseen issues that may arise.  We use EstiPC software to manage all of our projects, and the team often wonder how on earth Stephanie managed before the days of Estimate!

Many of the team took time off over February, whether due to half term (to spend quality time with our little ones) or to take advantage of the massive dumps of snow they’d had on the Continent for a good week of skiing, we all enjoy a wide variety of hobbies, from Stephanie’s horse riding & squash slaying, to Jonathan playing in his band and enjoying weekly tennis matches with his friends, we all try to incorporate some form of sport into our week, even if it’s just a bit of gentle yoga to ease out the muscles from sitting for such a long period of time.  It still amazes us how little time people think we spend on our computers, when in reality it’s 95% of our working day.  Whether it’s sourcing, pinning inspirational concepts, technical drawing or project admin, we are in front of our screens more than ever, so we are making a conscious effort this year to get out more!  The Design team took a trip to The English Joinery Company workshop in Weyhill to view the progress of a Kitchen for our Twickenham project, before it was sprayed.  It’s so nice to see the units in their raw form and be able to see the craftsmanship involved in creating them, I’m sure the client will spend many happy hours in the years to come in that Kitchen.

Our Cambridgeshire project has now been fully schemed, which Stephanie and I presented to the clients at the end of February, we have never had such organised clients!  We’ve really enjoyed working with them on designing their home and the team are really excited to bring this one to fruition over the coming months.  The best gift to an Interior Designer is to have a decisive but trusting client, one that is quick to say if they absolutely don’t like something and share with us what they absolutely love, but who trust us enough to go with it if they’re unsure as to how the end result will turn out or they’re having difficulty putting all of the puzzle pieces together.

The Design team are off to Design Week at Chelsea Harbour Design Centre this month, which we are all really looking forward to.  The new fabric collections in Autumn were exceptional from a vast array of suppliers so we’re really hopeful that the Spring collections will be equally as exciting.  We will be putting together the schemes for one of our clients with very eclectic taste this month, so it’ll be great to add some brand new textiles into the mix!

We often have requests from suppliers to host CPD events at our Studio, which is not something we have undertaken previously, but are keen to put this into motion for this year, so if you’re in the industry, watch this space!

 

Jenny Quinlan

Senior Designer