This year has seen us step up the size of projects we’ve won at Hale and work with architects that we have admired and wanted to work with for some time.
Two exclusive Surrey new builds
In the spring we secured two new build contracts in the Surrey countryside. The first, with international architectural practice, Ascot Design, is the largest private home we have constructed to date: a 9000 sq ft plot with 400 sq m of glazing, an open plan layout and contemporary finishes. Alongside garages to accommodate multiple vehicles and an outdoor swimming pool, the property will also include a basketball court and dedicated golf simulation room.
Our second Surrey new build project secured in the first quarter of 2022 is for a Scandi-inspired home designed by award winning architects, interior design and landscaping experts HollandGreen – another new architect relationship for us. With an emphasis on clean, modern lines and contemporary details, the 6,000 ft property incorporates several sustainable features including solar PV panels, smart home technology and an airtight, thermally efficient building envelope.
Attention to all details
This year has seen us continue our attention on the fine details of luxury building projects, not just the aesthetically eye catching and glamourous, but also the seemingly mundane and discreet. Adopting a fabric first approach using insulation and airtightness to prevent energy loss, and installing heat recovery ventilation systems for adequate ventilation, is our preferred approach for energy efficiency and wellbeing for the homeowner. It’s one we are keen to stress as more important – and fundamentally more successful – than attention-grabbing ‘bells and whistles’ such as ground source heat pumps.
With the desire to include many contemporary hard surfaces in the home – from polished concrete floors to kitchen work tops – acoustics has also become an important focus in the design process of new builds and refurbishment projects, particularly those located in the city.
For the refurbishment and extension project in Ealing that we acquired in the summer, we are working with acoustics specialists to minimise external noise by excavating the inside length of the front wall to limit vibration from buses and reduce traffic noise from the main road location. Meanwhile, in the rear extension to the property, we are installing a BASWA acoustic system, fabricated using laminated composite layers of hemp and recycled materials, to create the sound-absorbent ceiling. The refurbishment also includes the installation of acoustic glazing.
Although such features don’t have the same ‘wow factor’ as the spiral wine cellars, Italian bathroom tiles and cinema rooms we have also installed in properties this year, they really are the cornerstone of comfortable – and luxurious – living.
The year of garden rooms
Another key feature of our London refurbishment and extension projects in 2022 has been the addition of garden rooms. We returned to a property we had previously extended in Denmark Hill, South London, to further extend and refurbish the home and add a new art studio for the client, who is an illustrator. The room looks out onto the newly landscaped terraced garden, features a green roof, and has solar panels installed to generate energy for the whole house. We also added an Accoya-clad garden room to a property we have extended this year in Herne Hill. These rooms are much-desired additions to luxury homes following the surge in working from home since the pandemic, providing light-filled, creative spaces that are ideal for separating the living and working environment – without the pain of a commute.
The right people are paramount
We rely on a team of experts and carefully selected partners to deliver our projects, so establishing the right people is vital for us. We welcomed Contracts Manager, Christian Pond, back to the fold this year, after a brief hiatus. With more than 20 years construction experience and a meticulous attention to detail and client care throughout the design and build process, we are happy to see Christian back where he belongs! Alongside Christian, Contracts Manager Jos Gibson joined us from a London-based development company and brings with him a degree in Architecture as well as experience of heritage, new build and refurbishment project management. Claire Jenkins came on board as our Buyer, building critical relationships with suppliers and ensuring we have all the detailed information and materials in place for our portfolio of projects.
Looking to 2023
With the first year of ‘normality’ after the pandemic, we have been pleased with the calibre and range of new projects we’ve taken on this year and look forward to working with like-minded architects going forwards, on luxury homes with quality that lasts.