In the spring of 2006, I was at my parent’s house by the Vale Mill and we were talking about houses that I had been passed on as I was keen to move from my small Farmhouse where I had been living for over 10 years.  At the end of the road there was a strange looking house with a funny turret and my father noted that it had come up for sale.  It was well above my budget but “for a laugh” I asked for the details and had a look around – it was “interesting”.  Not really knowing what to do I asked my friend Dave Corson around before long we had hatched a plan.  The long and short of it was I managed to buy the property.

When I was introduced to André at a meeting at Dave’s offices, I immediately grasped the fact that Andre has the most amazing design and architectural skills and that he quite simply had to do the job. We never looked back.

When I took on the property I had a romantic notion that I could live in the house, do some building in the evenings and have the job done in a year or two.  I could not have been further from reality.  I also had no idea that I would need a project manager and again thank goodness he was about to save me.

Firstly I would like to thank André for designing and creating the most wonderful house. I know we have only completed Phase One but that in itself is the most amazing dream come true. Andre’s plans are so clear that nobody I have shown them to has ever seen such a tidy and complete set of plans, let alone the design features embedded in them.  Andre’s open and attentive approach allows the client to give input and have their wishes incorporated in the design.

Secondly André’s skills in managing the project are second to none and I cannot imagine that it would be possible to build a house without having the designer there as required to conquer all the obstacles that are thrown in the way.  Andre’s ability to be on-site at a moment’s notice and to ensure that a problem or issue is resolved to his level of satisfaction far out-weighed the cost of employing him to do the job.  I could not count the number of times that Andre saved a problem from becoming one by getting on site and dealing with the situation first hand.

André’s design philosophy tends towards the modern, which is very much in keeping with what I wanted but at the same time, he has the ability to retain character and ensure that you do not create a sterile environment, something that too many modern architects do.  People often forget you are creating a home, Andre however does not.  Case in point here is when we had an issue with the bricks on the old house.  The builders wanted to render the property as we were unable to source bricks to match the originals, Andre stood firm and insisted on re-bricking the entire house.  Despite the extra cost and the potential time delay I took André’s advice and we went with the re-brick option and thank goodness.  The warmth that the bricks create gives the homely feel whilst the clean cut of the brick gives the modern aspect.  I have had countless people comment on how much of the character of the old house has been retained and how sympathetic the new design is.

The last couple of years have been a complete education for me in the world of building and design and I am not sure I would have gone through it if I had known then what I know now.  One of the main reasons that I have got through it is down to André.  André has spent the time to teach me things, explain how things can and can’t be done, managed difficult situations and stayed level headed.  André shielded me from issues that I did not need to be involved in whilst ensuring that I was involved with the things that I needed to be.  This is a very difficult balance and one that Andre achieved very well indeed.

Over the course of the project it has been an absolute pleasure to deal with André in all aspects of design and building management and whilst I will miss the on-going interaction (which had to be daily at the height of the project) I trust that we will maintain the friendship that has developed over this time.

André – words cannot describe the thanks I owe you and your turning a dream into reality.  I will have no hesitation in recommending your professional services to anyone who may be looking to design a new house, renovate an old one or just build an innovative extension.  When I have the financial resources to do the next stages of the project I will accept no one less than yourself to do the projects.  I don’t accept second best.
— Client, Le Corsaire

2010 Alan King Award for Technical Excellence in Architectural Technology