Make Working from Home Work for You

Make Working from Home Work for You

Millions of people have been forced to work from home since the coronavirus outbreak in what could be described as the biggest remote working experiment in history. 

It is without a doubt that working from home can have a positive effect on both your work and life balance, and in a ‘post-crisis’ world you may want to continue this way of living.

Studies have proved that the most common benefit of home working is the elimination of the unrelenting commute. By not traveling to work you can save time and money all whilst having a positive impact on the environment. 

As well as making far better business sense, the extra time may also  provide more you with opportunities to see your family, exercise, cook healthier meals, complete household chores or simply just catch up on an extra hour of sleep.

The technology capability to support valuable working from home is solid and available, however, you do need to be in the right ‘zone’ to be happy and productive. Slouching on the sofa with a laptop or hunched over the kitchen table is far from an ideal work environment. 

By creating a separate office environment you can retain a professional and productive workspace whilst ensuring privacy and less opportunity to be distracted.

Have you considered setting up a home office as a separate structure from your home? This will create a clear distinction between home and work life, especially if your work demands a quiet space away from family life and a barking dog!

Could it be a possibility that you may need to invite colleagues or clients to your home office in the future?  A light and airy garden office, stylish garage conversion, or beautiful home extension could be the perfect place to create the professional arena you may need. 

MP Architects can support you with identifying the best position to situate your home office and create the perfect professional working environment that will retain your privacy and increase productivity.  Also, where necessary we will obtain quick and simple planning permission if your outbuilding falls outside the boundaries of permitted development.

We are here to help you to commit and define this new way of working life.   Your new home office will help you focus and increase efficiency, whilst also giving you the opportunity for mid-morning coffee breaks with your partner, walking the dog at lunchtime, or just clocking off at 5pm to relax in the evening sunshine with a delicious G&T.

G & T
G & T

Furlough Fruition, Baking and Beyond….

March 2020 and the nation tuned in to listen to Chancellor, Rishi Sunak announce unprecedented measures supporting businesses and their employees through the COVID-19 pandemic.

For many of us, the term ‘Furlough’ was an unknown phrase and a new concept.  Fast forward a few months and Furlough has certainly become a widely used word that over 9 million UK workers can now fully understand.

Like others, part of our team was temporarily “furloughed” as we adjusted our workforce to meet staff and business needs. 

As tempting as it may sound, binge-watching Netflix in their PJ’s was something that none of our furloughed staff wanted to do.  They made the most of the opportunity to engage in training and learning new skills, so that upon their return to work they will be more prepared and informed than ever before! 

And they didn’t disappoint….

One of our Senior Architects, Kate Murray spent many hours educating and improving her knowledge of Revit, the leading BIM modelling software tool that is used by architects all over the world. Revit enables the design of structures that, when built, should look exactly like the digital view.  Kate also managed to decorate no less than five rooms in her home and perfected her baking skills of delicious sourdough ‘lockdown’ loaves!

Dandi Passerini is another multi-talented member of our team.  Along with learning the art of ‘parent home schooling’ Dandi also continued to fulfil her annual RIBA CPD obligations, whilst studying very hard to become a qualified BREEAM AP.  

BREEAM is the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for master planning projects, infrastructure, and buildings, which means that Dandi will be able to provide a professional BREEAM consultancy service to clients, designing buildings that achieve the accredited BREEAM sustainable rating.  

Our Architectural Assistant, Navid Hamzeheinejad has definitely made the most of this great opportunity too.  Navid has been working tirelessly on his studies for his RIBA Part 3 examinations. This is the final stage of the qualification process, that will see Navid’s passion and dream of becoming a qualified Architect develop into a reality.   And…as if that wasn’t enough to keep him busy, Navid has also given himself a huge skills boost, engaging in Rhino 3D design software tutorials and allocating any spare time to becoming a multilingual mastermind and taking steps to learn German. Gute Arbeit Navid!

Upon reflection, as businesses start to reopen and staff begin to return, the furlough scheme has allowed us to adapt to the challenges that came hand in hand with pandemic and the global economic slowdown, but it has also lent itself to allowing our passionate team to up-skill and educate themselves, making ‘furlough’ work for their careers, our customers and to support the longevity of our successful Architect Practice.

Stay Healthy.

Martyn Pattie

Homes – The New Normal

For the past 80 days, most of us have spent more time at home than ever before.  Our ‘Home Sweet Home’ has been acting less like a hotel and more like a makeshift workplace, school, pub, gym and most of all a safe place to retreat to, from the virus.

Coronavirus has encouraged us to rethink the kind of life we want to live post-pandemic and the role our homes will play in this.  The future design of practical living has changed and we now know what works and what doesn’t in our home layout.

Have the light and airy open-plan living spaces you once craved been a major cause of stress during this period, due to the lack of privacy and unforgiving acoustics? 

And, has the major shift with so many of us working from home encouraged you to realise that your spare bedroom is no longer a suitable ‘WFH’ solution?

Has it become clear that your dining room is perfect for dinner parties, but highly impractical for home-schooling?

Our gyms have been closed for months and with the sale of home exercise equipment reaching stratospheric heights, it seems that home gyms have become almost as crucial as a home office!

The Kitchen has always been the most essential room in any home, but with the closure of restaurants and pubs they have become even more important as they are used as a central hub for work, schooling, cooking and also a place just to ‘hang out’.

We will all be striving to make our homes cleaner and healthier, with fewer indoor visitors and less room for cross-contamination. Our future housing designs will be responding to what people perceive as priority features in their homes and the new realities of home education, working from home as well as a healthier lifestyle. 

Sir Winston Churchill once said, ‘Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it’

Indeed, many of us are now understand the surprising advantages of historic homes and their separate rooms that nowadays would differentiate places at home for work and for living.

We also now may prefer the exercise in our own homes or in public outdoor spaces as opposed to visiting the local gym.

Who knows…. we may even see the return of the ‘outside toilet’!  Once deemed as a sign of hardship, but could now be seen as luxury addition, designated just for visitors to your home post COVID-19.

If it is time for you to think about a better functioning home with clearly thought out spaces, smart solutions, family-friendly acoustics and beautiful outdoor living spaces, let us help you make your home one that can withstand the future of change.

Stay safe, stay healthy.

Thank you NHS Key Workers

We want to say a huge thank you to the thousands of key workers that have been working tirelessly on the frontline during the COVID -19 pandemic. We are truly inspired by what you are all doing in these challenging times.

Despite the hardships and health risks, our essential frontline workers continue to do their jobs to keep us safe, fed, collecting our bins, providing life-saving medicine, caring for those who are most vulnerable, cleaning our public places and hospitals.

We thank you for the risks and challenges you face, putting your lives on the line, trying to save ours.  

We also extend our thanks to our loyal clients and future customers for supporting our local architectural practice at this difficult time.  We are continuing to work and moving your projects forward, but also protecting each other by observing Public Health England’s social distancing guidelines. 

 Please Stay Safe and Protect our NHS.

Thank you NHS rainbow

Great Ideas, Brilliant Designs, Perfect New Homes

Designing and building a new home can be one of the most exciting and rewarding projects you will ever undertake.

It is often said ‘that everyone has at least one house build within them’ and with recent studies showing that one-third of all new detached homes are self-built, maybe it could be time to turn your ‘new-home dream’ into a reality. 

Anyone who is remotely interested in commissioning a bespoke home will have surely indulged in one of the popular ‘self-build’ TV shows and what’s not to love!   Beautiful elaborate homes, practical living quarters with desirable design features such as dog showers and laundry chutes whilst ensuring the ultimate use of space and a real sense of excitement and pride by the home-owner when the project has been completed. 

However, building a new home can be an incredibly daunting experience and no matter how many TV shows you watch, books or blogs you read, it is incredibly hard to become an expert on everything from design, planning laws, to building regulations and all that is in between.

So, a great place to start is by researching local residential Architects that have a proven track record with good design concepts for new homes in your area.  A good Architect can guide and support you through the entire process of building your new home from scratch.  They can help you understand the project’s feasibility and the planning process you may be facing.

New homes require a lot of expert thought into innovative, economical and sustainable design features, all the while being aware of accessibility, environmental impact and the optimum financial return should you ever choose to sell.

Yes, building a custom home is a big job, you can expect lots of highs throughout the process.  The excitement of receiving the first issue of beautiful plans and drawings, the success of approved planning permission, building work commencing and rooms starting to take shape will surely will give you nothing but pride and satisfaction throughout the journey.

 By surrounding yourself with a quality team of experienced experts, you can be assured that the difficulties will be few and you will soon be enjoying life in your beautiful new-home that has been completed efficiently and to an exceptionally high standard.

If you have future property plans and would like some professional advice on how to achieve them our fantastic team at MP Architects are here and ready to support you. 

There is no need for ‘face to face’ meetings or handshakes, we are working just as effectively through contactless telephone consultations and our easy to use virtual meeting resources. 

Please contact us at any time via email or telephone to discuss putting the plans in place for your future way of living.

 We look forward to hearing from you.

Stay healthy.

Your Future Way of Living

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to own the world, the Government message remains crystal clear. Stay at Home. 

Could the perfect medicine to pass the time in isolation be re-evaluating your future life and property plans?

It is true that the COVID-19 lockdown has brought the property sales market to a standstill and that our economy will be affected.  

However, once we get past this ‘history-making’ blip, experts say that there could be an economic boom.  People will have re-evaluated life and living and start to spend money on the things that they now deem are most important to themselves and their families.

Has being forced to ‘work from home’ actually been a real success? Whilst earning your livelihood from the kitchen table has been ok for now, if it is to be part of a longer-term solution to your work/life balance, you could be considering building a beautiful new home office.

The imposed downtime may have finally enabled you to spend some quality time, searching online for that perfect plot of land to build your dream new home or even a development project. Is now the time to make it happen?

Or have you realised that for more harmonious living, your growing teenagers need their own space away from the family fold and the answer is building an exercise studio, music room or even a stylish annex?

COVID-19 has changed our outlook dramatically.  Apart from anything else it has given us time to rethink and consider what matters most and how we will all live our lives going forward.

If you have future property plans and would like some professional advice on how to achieve them our fantastic team at MP Architects are here and ready to support you. 

Our talented Architects offer exciting ideas and expert opinions on layouts and plans.  You can take advantage of their extensive local ‘planning permission’ knowledge and let their brilliant drawings turn your concept into a reality.

There is no need for ‘face to face’ meetings or handshakes, we are working just as effectively through contactless telephone consultations and our easy to use virtual meeting resources.  

Please contact us at any time via email or telephone to discuss putting the plans in place for your future way of living.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Stay healthy.

Improve your home this Easter Bank Holiday

Traditionally the Easter weekend provides the perfect opportunity to think about some potential home improvements.   Maybe you’re thinking about applying a fresh lick of paint to your bedroom wall, tackling the overgrown garden, clearing the guttering or considering a larger scale project such as a home extension, building that long-awaited home office or pool house.

With the UK still on lockdown, the long weekend could be a great chance to spend a moment considering how to add value to your home, making the most of the space you have or indeed put a plan of action together for that long-awaited house project.

Speaking with neighbours who have undertaken similar projects can offer you some great advice on build time scales, costs and implications.  It is important that ‘social distancing’ is observed, but how about a chat over the garden fence or from the front gate all with a 2-metre distance, of course! 

A sizeable project will need a level of professional help.  MP Architects in Essex are ready and waiting to support every aspect of your project, firstly by bringing your vision to life with expert drawings of the amazing new space you desire.

We will also assist you with our wealth of local authority knowledge, advising on what does and doesn’t need planning permission, along with any building regulations you may be facing.  

Planning applications can be a daunting and tricky task, but with our assistance, we can assure you of a simple, slick and stress-free process.

Once your plans are approved, you may start to think about obtaining quotes for the work ahead. This is another area where we can support you with recommendations for brilliant local tradesmen with a proven track record for quality of work, adhering to timescales and finishing the job on budget.

A good project manager needs to understand drawings and foresee any potential issues, whilst working with the tradesmen to keep the job on course and in budget. Should you need it, MP Architects offer a full architectural service, managing on-site and covering all of the RIBA stages.

So, a pro-active Easter weekend means that your home project will be all ready to ‘hit the ground running’ as soon as life in the UK gets back to normal.

But it shouldn’t all be work, work, work, make sure you take time to relax and indulge in some perfect ‘social distancing’ with a nice cup of tea and a tasty hot cross bun whilst day-dreaming about your lovely new space.

Happy Easter.

Making your home the best version of itself during COVID-19

So, life in general is on hold, schools are shut, lunch with friends is off-limits and a quick pint down the pub has to be postponed.

That’s right, the Government has asked us to stay inside to protect the NHS and the health of the nation.

Some say this is a time to sleep and binge on box sets or even learn a new skill. Whilst it is true that we should all use this down-time to recharge and re-boot our own systems, it is also a golden opportunity to make the most of this recess and stop procrastinating over house plans that have been just an intention and not a reality due to your normal everyday time constraints.

You may love your home, but being hunkered down in it right now with your nearest and dearest could have you thinking that there simply isn’t enough space for you all. 

Recent Government advice is that all house moves should be put on hold wherever possible until the COVID-19 situation is less demanding, that coupled with the inevitable temporary slump in the economy, a new home is probably off of the menu.  

So, how about you use this period of self-isolation as the perfect time to consider how you can add value or improve your home to make it the best it can be.

Have you been considering some renovations in the form of a top floor extension, conversion of a garage, an extra bedroom, and bathroom, a garden room, home office or if you’re lucky enough an in-house haven just to get away from it all?

MP Architects LLP is a local experienced company that can help you improve your home to make it the best version of itself.  

Our dedicated team are working remotely but just as effectively throughout the COVID_19 crisis to support and advise homeowners with ideas, drawings, layouts and plans.  

Our extensive knowledge means that we can advise you on planning permission requirements, specialising in the recently relaxed rights of permitted development, so you may not even need to go through the traditional planning permission channels to create your perfect space.

Please contact us at any time via email, telephone and our easy to use virtual meeting resources to discuss how we can help you design your perfect project.

We would love to hear from you.

Stay healthy.

The perfect home office during this coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Working from home is a dream for some people and a nightmare for others.  We all love spending time with our family and our loves ones, but when it comes to spending 24hrs endlessly, we soon need a designated home office to “keep calm and carry on”.

Many say that after this pandemic, the world will rethink about the traditional office environments and for many businesses working from home may become the future.

What is a good home office?

A good home office should provide you with minimal distractions and ensure peak efficiency.  The following elements are important to achieve:

  • Natural light. The most important element to have in an office, natural lights keep us feeling positive, healthy, and focused.  
  • Safety. A place to keep your documents and equipment safe from the weather or potential break-in. 
  • Privacy. Minimal distraction from noise and any public activities around you to work efficiently. Best to separate work from home life. 
  • Equipment.  Computer, software and fast internet connection with the right size screen that doesn’t strain your eye.

How to convert or build a home office under Permitted Development?

Loft Conversion

If you have an unused existing loft space that is tall enough to be converted into a room, then you may be eligible to add dormers and convert it under permitted development. Subject to the conditions of your original house.

Loft conversions are great investments to your property and can bring endless flexible uses to your homes, such as home office, music room, and kids bedroom, etc.  It is a perfect space for privacy in the house, nothing better than having a whole floor to yourself.

M P Architects carry out many loft conversions every year from planning through to construction.  Contact us for examples of our portfolio. 

Garage Conversion

If you have an attached or detached garage you can most likely convert it to a habitable room under permitted development.  It is a great location for a home office, as it’s close to the front door and most likely a good view out to the street.  

A Garden Home Office

You can build an outbuilding in the garden up to a certain size under Permitted Development. There are strict guidelines to follow when design under Permitted Developments.  However, it is a perfect place to have a home office. It physically and mentally detaches you from your home life and will guarantee maximum privacy. 

Juliette Balcony for the bedroom

If your home doesn’t have spaces to convert or build new rooms, and you just wish to have more privacy and a better environment to work.  Why not consider changing one or two of your windows to a Juliette balcony? It will give you more natural light, better views and most importantly access to the outside world without leaving your bedroom.

Soundproofing your existing house or just to a single room is also an option to improve productivity at home.    Our experienced team of architects have a wealth knowledge of lastest soundproofing materials for your home in a cost-effectively way.  

Please note, sometimes permitted development rights are removed from some properties, particularly if you live on a new housing development, listed building or in a conservation area.  Contact us to discuss whether your development falls under permitted development and whether we can help you achieve planning if it does not.

We look forward to helping you

Our office is open and our team of experienced architects are working from home 9-5 picking up emails and phone calls.  We are equipped with digital conference call facilities such as Zoom, Facetime and WhatsApp, etc to meet you during this period if required. 

Why not give us a call to discuss your dream development and see how we can help you to future-proof your home.

Moving your architectural project forward and safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

M P Architects are here to support your project through challenging times.

Today one of our senior architects Kate Murray who is working from home had a successful video conference call with the client and planning consultant. 

Kate’s feedback after the meeting was “it went better than expected!”. She felt everyone was more focused to listen to each other than a normal face to face meeting.

We would like to ensure our clients that our office and Architects are equipped with digital conference call facilities.  We have software such as Facetime, WhatsApp, Skype, Messenger, etc.  Therefore we can still help to move your project forward if there is restrictions or preferences of not to have a face to face meeting.

Our office will not be closed during the coronavirus outbreak.

We are following the UK government’s official health and travel advice closely, and we have an office policy in place to ensure any risk and disruption is minimised.

Why not give us a call to discuss your dream development and see how we can help you to truly maximise your next opportunity.