We are grateful for the vision and trust that our Clients have placed in us, which encouraged and enabled us to produce architecture that is not just good for the environment but also for the soul. Explore some of our Clients’ experiences through the shared comments below, and feel free to reach out if you desire a deeper understanding.
Producing good quality and efficient designs that are respectful towards the environment is what we love most about our profession, but what gives us the greatest satisfaction is meeting our Clients and hearing that our work has transformed their lives for the better and that they still love every minute that they spend in their homes years after the project was handed over to them on completion.
Our house, in a central conservation area, is 200 years old. We were attracted by its charm, as well as its location. Many of its original features had been retained and if had a very distinctive, cottage-like character. However, it also had the drawbacks of its period: relatively small rooms (the kitchen-cum-dining room was particularly cramped), with an external courtyard which included a separate room which had been converted into a single lodging room. We had to improvise sleeping and eating arrangements when friends and family came to visit. State of Design came up with a highly imaginative design which was also extremely sensitive to the character of the house and its location. The design doubled the volume of our small house, adding a new kitchen, two new guest / day rooms and a roof garden which linked the old and new parts of the house on the first floor. Sabin was exceptionally skilful in addressing the planners’ initial objections (one of them initially suggested rejecting the proposals out of hand). He displayed imagination, pragmatism and consideration, taking time to understand the concerns of our neighbours. After careful, consultative work, Sabin’s design successfully cleared planning. All of the late Georgian character which we loved has been preserved and we are now able to welcome friends and family to stay, with comfortable space for cooking in our new kitchen and for entertaining in our dining room. And we have the absolute delight of a new terrace on our first floor which means we have actually gained in external, sunny space. Over the years, we have spent many happy hours in our new sun spot, enjoying views of treetops and roofscape which were previously hidden to us. Our experience of our house and garden has been transformed. I wholeheartedly recommend State of Design for their architectural imagination and flair, for their commitment in understanding clients’ hopes, and for their highly constructive ways of dealing with complex planning and construction challenges.
Arch and Margaret, Home owners
Sabin provided a very creative early design stage that allowed us to explore the full potential of our development. We chose 1 of 3 designs which we felt was both unique and practical. The overall design maximised the use of the available space and natural light and really enhanced the connection between house and garden. Sabin recommended a building contractor whom they had worked with on numerous projects prior to ours. They were selected on their experience and ability to work on more challenging projects. Sabin was very hands on during the tender process, planning and development. The collaboration between Sabin, the builder and ourselves was enjoyable and very beneficial in achieving a successful outcome. The end result has exceeded our expectations. Sabin has a very keen eye for detail and finishing and the build quality and materials used have ensured the house continues to perform well under the pressures of family living. Several years after the completion of our project we continue to enjoy and appreciate the great design and flow of our house. We would highly recommend State of Design for their creativity and professionalism.
Matt, Home owner
We chose State of Design as our architects when upgrading our unmodified 1930s semi-detached house because they were the only company whose previous work stood out as both stylish and.original within a generally homogenous market. Our original plan had been to turn the garage into a spare room, to do a loft conversion to create a fourth bedroom, and to add a conservatory onto the lounge, and several architects we consulted confirmed that they would be happy to fulfil these requests. Only one of the architects we consulted, Sabin from State of Design, went further and proposed a more radical and comprehensive renovation of the property within the available budget. Our initial consultation with Sabin lasted about an hour and a half – time he gave to us without charge. We discussed not only our ideas for expanding the property, but also our needs as a family, both in the immediate, as well as long-term, future. Sabin made several suggestions for alterations we had not considered, and showed us many examples of previous similar conversions State of Design had completed, so that we had a real sense of what we might achieve. We also talked very frankly about budget, timescale, and how much flexibility there might be with either. At our next meeting, Sabin presented us with three alternative designs, with detailed plans and rough costings for each. We chose to go with the most ambitious of the options, even though it was costed at slightly above our initial budget, because it was clear to us that the end result would be significantly bigger and a better use of the space, and well worth the relatively modest extra expenditure. From this point until the beginning of the actual work, things went incredibly smoothly and efficiently. Detailed plans were drawn up and these, together with interactive 3D visualisations were made available to us, so that we could get a real sense of what the final house would look like, both from the outside but also when moving from room to room. Despite the radical redesign of the entire property – especially at the back, where the most ambitious design elements were on display, the project received planning consent immediately and without dispute – clearly thanks to Sabin’s knowledge of the procedures involved, his attention to detail with regard to what was permissible within the existing regulations, and his personal efforts to ensure everything was done as smoothly and efficiently as possible. In consultation with the architect, and after a careful selection process, a builder was chosen. By this point, Sabin had already drawn up an incredibly detailed plan of works which was then discussed, costed and revised until all parties were satisfied. This might easily have been the subject of a great deal of argument, but with Sabin acting as intermediary between builder and client, the process ended up being very straightforward and all disagreements and revisions were sorted quickly and amicably. Once the building work began, Sabin was always available to deal with any issues which might arise and to answer any questions we had, either by email or phone. We had regular weekly meetings at which client, architect and builder could all get together and discuss any problems or alterations to the schedule and Sabin also set up a comprehensive website for the project, where the plans and schedule were always available, where the minutes from each weekly meeting could be posted, and where any other communications and useful information could be shared. At no point did we ever feel as though we, as clients, were being kept out of the loop, or where important information was being withheld from us. We never had any problem contacting Sabin, or receiving a reply to any inquiry almost immediately, and we truly felt that he was arguing our case with the builder just as much as he was trying to explain their issues to us, and suggesting remedies and compromises we certainly would never have considered ourselves. Once the work was completed and we were able to move back into the property, Sabin continued to make himself available to us whenever necessary, to ensure there were no issues between client and builder during the first few months when any teething problems needed to be ironed out. In fact, Sabin has continued to take an interest in the property and has continued to offer extremely helpful advice and assistance with regard to any maintenance work which has become necessary over the years, despite the fact that he has no contractual obligation to do so. The property itself is everything we could have hoped for and is an absolute pleasure to live, and to work in. The large open area of the south-facing lounge/dining room, with its mostly-glass end wall, is bright all year round, extremely warm in winter, and a much better solution to our needs than an add-on conservatory would have been. The loft conversion provides us with the largest of our four bedrooms. Its cleverly-designed, angled ceiling gives us more headroom than we ever imagined possible in a loft room and this, together with the full height, south-facing window creates a truly wonderful sense of light and space. But by far the most important and useful part of the redesign has been the entrance area at the front of the house. By abandoning the idea of turning the garage into what would probably have been an unnecessary extra room and instead using the space to expand the entrance area, Sabin was able to provide us with a downstairs WC, a beautiful staircase almost twice the width of the previous one, a generous storage area for shoes and coats, and still provide enough space for an external storage area for bicycles. What was previously a narrow hallway and a steep staircase with limited headroom has now become a wide, bright and significantly more useful and welcoming entrance area to our home. I would not hesitate before recommending State of Design for an architectural project of this type. Their stunning and innovative designs, their attention to detail at every stage of the process and their commitment and professionalism have provided us with a house that is both beautiful to look at and a constant delight to live in.
Andrew and Helen, Home owner
The plan devised by Sabin was extremely ingenious, and it produced a far more effective increase in usable space than the scheme proposed by the other architect whom we consulted. The presentation of this complex project to us was also very clear and effective. Once we had decided on the overall design Sabin produced meticulous sets of tender documents and schedules for the contractors which later helped to secure very good value for money. During the works, the thorough, regular inspections and detailed recording of the progress of works on site through minutes and photography, resulted in the programme being completed to the standards that we had agreed. The work was also completed on budget; we spent less than 2 percent of the contingency funds that we had allocated for the project. We found the project website, and particularly the many files of photographs, to be very useful for monitoring the works when we had to be away from the site for longer periods of time. We also greatly appreciated Sabin’s immediate availability when dealing with our queries. Overall the project has been a great success and has been much admired by all who have visited us. It has transformed our house and made it much better to live in; we also expect that its value will have been increased.
Chris and John, Home owner
I commissioned State of Design, with Sabin as the architect, to work on an extension to our Victorian house in central Cambridge. State of Design produced the initial design, obtained planning permission, produced detailed designs, managed the tendering process and worked with the designated contractor to bring the design to fruition. State of Design demonstrated skill, passion and dedication in this project, resulting in what my wife and I consider an excellent outcome. Some examples of these attributes were demonstrated in liaising with neighbours, to overcome various sensitivities, dealing with conservation area issues, meeting predicted schedule, achieving a vision and the quality within a tight budget, working well with myself and contractor and ensuring we avoided any significant contingency costs (10% contingency allowed for, but only ~3% needed). As a private individual, who was unfamiliar with the construction/building industry, State of Design's professionalism and commitment to myself the client and the commission left me with the opinion that I had made a excellent decision to use them on this project.
James, Home Owner
I write with reference to Sabin from State of Design, who undertook our design and refurbishment project in Cambridge city centre. From his initial presentation and subsequent appointment right the way through to completion and beyond Sabin demonstrated a work ethic which was equal to his design skills. The focus and delivery of work was very much in line with our desire to achieve spectacular results within a tight budget. Sabin also project managed the works which was a welcome addition to his design. This undoubtedly saved us considerable money by avoiding delays to completion and ensuring that his designs were implemented as per drawings with no deviation. In short Sabin was a huge success. A pleasure to work with and effective. I recommend him and indeed am using him for two other projects at the present time!