Monday, 15 December 2014

Slightly less glamorous pictures this time round.

Its been a tumultuous week.

Finalisation of contract with the basement contractor.

Neighbours calling regards party wall demolitions.... Last minute agreements..... But  thankfully diplomacy prevailed.

On the one side of our narrow access pathway, we have kindly been offered to use some space from the neighbouring garden....

And on the other we managed to gain an extra 30cm by negotiating the removal of the meter high party wall....

Which we will of course rebuild in due time!
This means we now have a 1.4m wide pathway to the site which will allow the contractor to use more substantial digging machinery.

Gaining time and minimising headache!

The clearing up of the site has started in preparation for the heavy duty work ahead.
We are talking about:

- the removal of approx 300 cubic metres of earth - construction of a 30m long concrete shell,
- waterproofing and associated drainage, water pumps etc
- underpinning of the entire existing (ground plus one) house (chimney stacks etc), on an entirely new steel structure underneeth.
- over 1600 sq ft of space below ground level plus sunken patios for light, access to the garden ventilation etc.

Let the adventure continue.....

A magical architectural promenade leading up to the magnificent palace! 
The view of the impressive side return patio! 
The luxury guest suite ! 
The nanny studio? 

And the grandiose landscaping.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Fashion glamour in the damp & cold!

After the mood shots  from the previous post, inspiration struck!!

Now I have to diverge a little from the main topic of the blog and give some background information:

I m a bit of a split personality; I have another life in fashion. Actually currently I could say that the property development is more of a "mistress" while fashion is my wife ( in terms of the amount dedicated during my work week.)

So last minute we decided to make a " autumn winter15 pre collection shoot". ( with our label -b l ^ n k- ) 

Two days later we had the model and I decided to shoot myself.... (No pun intended here!!).

Below some pictures giving a flavour of things to come! 

And yes of course we will have to make another shoot when all is done..... And who knows we may make one in the building site for some "hard hat" styled glamour? 

Monday, 17 November 2014

50 shades of "shou sugi ban".

At times, there's nothing more fulfilling then to put aside ones laptop or phone (or anything else digital for that matter) and enjoy playing with materials.

May it be stone, concrete or in this case wood. I have always found a particular joy (a deep-seated reassurance of phisycality perhaps?) in practical experimentation. 

I aught to be quoting Gaston Bachelard here.

Anyway, back to "shou sugi ban"; looking for wood cladding options for the extension, I came across this inspiring  traditional Japanese technique. 

A quick google search will tell you more, but in short: 

burning the top layer of the wood creates a protective layer that makes it more weather and fire resistant ( yes is odd but true). 

But practicalities aside, it allows for very rich textures, colours and finishes.... Something I was looking for! 

Pine, first burnt, then cleaned/brushed, either natural, oiled or with a dark decking finish.

Larch, lightly burnt, cleaned and brushed, either natural or with a clear yacht decking varnish
Pine, part burnt and washed. Natural.
Wish could convey the texture here. Beautiful to touch. Larch again. Part black painted. 
Pine, heavily burnt, either natural, " black ash decking paint, oil, or light varnish.
Switch from the keyboard & mouse.... 

Needless to say I am quite excited. Now will need to see what the city council says!?

Friday, 14 November 2014

Mood shots - "before"

Could call it the "calm before the storm"

Can't help but feel a little "romantic"  and philosophical about time. Life gone by, etc. 

Semiotic layers fading. 

Thursday, 13 November 2014

previous work - visual reference

I thought it is time to introduce some previous work... Not that the current project will necessarily look like that just to give an idea of what I enjoy in terms of design aesthetics ....

The screenshots below are supposed to give an idea of what I have done in the past.

It is a property in the now "uber cool" corner of shoreditch/brick lane. Originally an open plan live work unit turned into a three bed two bathroom - part double height - white beauty (according to me!)

Pure white(resin floors)  with black (slate) and grey highlights... With some "switchable" glass floors. 

My favourite part  are the "negative spaces" created by the bedroom cupboards being "pushed" into the stairwell. 

No professional shots, just phone camera.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Call taken. (For the better or the worst)

It has been a very difficult decision.

But finally, after a couple of offers and counter offers, we decided against walking away with a six figures clean profit.

Without going into detailed maths on the project, in terms of returns this would have been a 15% return on investment over a 6 months period. (So 30% annualised)

And admittedly, the future may prove us to have been foolish not to accept and walk away! (Hopefully not of course)

But we do believe there is more mileage in the property: Although we are looking at another year (and a lot of work to be done) before putting the final product on the market, we hope to double the return on investment again by the time we exit. 

The big "IF" is the result of the elections, and the threat of the "mansion tax" that could serve a serious blow to the resale of any property over the 2m mark.

But this is not not for us to decide.... The call has  been taken and focus is now single mindedly on the long hard slog ahead!

The ups and the downs of the actual build!!

The digging is to start in the next week and we are just getting mentally ready!

Soon more to follow..… oh by the way... The picture is our front door!