Eamonn Agha of Design & Build Project Management company Huntsmore, based in Kensington, tells The Resident how he overcomes the trials and tribulations of renovating period properties with creative solutions
London is filled with period homes, and owning one of these homes has become a hot commodity in the London property market. The issue, however, is that while the outside of these homes are timeless and grand, the interiors don’t always match up.
Huntsmore, a property project management renovation specialist focus on helping Londoners combat this issue and turn their period homes into something more functional and personal for modern living.
‘A client will contact us if they need a full renovation or reconfiguration,’ says Eamonn Agha, founder of Huntsmore. ‘Our goal is to manage the entire design and build process for them, organising designers, architects, surveyors and builders that we have a track record to ensure our clients get the most value out of their renovation project.’
Based in Kensington, Huntsmore is surrounded by plenty of period homes. ‘We started out by just renovating the Victorian homes in the area,’ says Agha, ‘however, due to our location there are lots of period properties that need attention, including Edwardian and Georgian homes, so our expertise has really pushed us to focus on the other properties as well.’
With any home renovation, problems can arise throughout the course of the build. Many of the properties Huntsmore focus on are well over 100 years old, and these sometimes have been altered throughout the years to fit the times.
Overall, we want to make sure the client gets exactly what they want out of the space and we deliver on what we said we would.
‘Very often we will assess a property and the walls and floors aren’t straight, or the original plaster work is out of shape,’ explains Agha. ‘Many of these period properties have been converted, sometimes very badly, into flats, with no regard for practicality or aesthetics. We see odd pipework boxed in, poor space configuration and many of the original cornicing and fireplaces removed.’
‘One of the main issues is that many of the problems associated with renovating a period home are not identified until the works have started and the property has been gutted,’ says Agha, ‘We try to identify as many of these possible hurdles as possible in the design phase to avoid delays and keep the project on track.’
They may have been doing this for years, but Huntsmore hasn’t run out of creative solutions: ‘Of course, we have go-to solutions and ideas that work well with all the Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian properties, but if the customer wants to we always like to introduce a third party into the build. Then we’re using not just our expertise but other expertise as well.
‘Overall, though, we want to make sure the client gets exactly what they want out of the space and we deliver on what we said we would,’ says Agha. Many of Huntsmore’s clients want their properties to marry traditional period features with modern functional living.
‘We spend a great deal of time working with trusted specialists to reinstate traditional coving and antique fireplaces, but these are juxtaposed with modern state of the art bathrooms and bespoke kitchens that fit around the customers’ everyday lives.’
‘Our philosophy is that if you’re spending all this money doing the work you might as well spend a little bit more and make sure you’re getting a good design the first time so you’re not stuck having to live with any errors.’
huntsmore.com / 020 7484 5745
5 Tips for YOUR
Eamonn Agha shares the five tips he factors into all renovation projects
1 Prioritise the Design
Invest time at the design stage getting it right. Many people overlook the importance of this phase, but if the design and layout are mapped out and planned early on it will save time and money throughout the course of the build.
2 Get Creative with Lighting
Be creative with the lighting throughout the house. Opening up spaces, allowing natural lighting to flow through the property, or incorporating intelligent lighting solutions will make any space feel much larger and more welcoming.
3 Consider the Flow of the Property
Ensure the property has a practical and natural flow, especially in smaller properties. Time should be spent considering how the space will be used and the property flows from room to room. When doing this, also factor in storage. This is key in a property of any size and creative storage solutions allow for more space whilst allowing you to pack away items, keeping your home uncluttered.
4 Pick Your Battles
If you have time constraints on the build, be that space or budget for example, prioritise what is important to you, but factor in the future impact of the renovation. There is no point over-specifying or over-spending on areas if it will not add value later down the line. Choose what’s important to you, but also what’s important in context to how you’re going to use the space on a day to day basis and how it’s going to impact your life.
5 Consider Hiring a Project Manager
The prospect of fully renovating your home can feel like a daunting task so getting professionals in to manage the process for you can save time and money in the long run. No project is without its stresses, but with the right team on board from day one you can reduce this and be on track to realise the home you have always imagined.