Architect in the House

One of Architecture Week’s annual highlights is the Architect in the House scheme, in which hundreds of architects sign up to offer an informal hour-long consultation in exchange for a donation to the homeless charity Shelter. During the past decade, almost £700,000 has been raised
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For Karen and Grenville Tanner of Pinner, taking part in the Architect in the House scheme was a huge success. "We now have our perfect home" confirms Karen, adding that this was the first time the couple had employed the skills of an architect.

Having signed up for the scheme and donated £40, they were introduced to local architect Pravin Raheja. They wanted more space. "We loved our street and neighbours, and because we wanted to start a family, we had the choice of moving or extending," says Karen. "We liked Pravin immediately and he understood what we wanted. That first set of drawings he did was almost perfect."

The modest two-bedroom bungalow has now been expanded to become a luxurious three-bedroom home with two bathrooms, large garden extension, open-plan living space, a kitchen that has doubled in size and underfloor heating. "Along with the design, Pravin helped with planning, identifying builders and project-managing the job. The result is that we have a lot more space, it is well planned and because we have used as many natural materials as possible, there is a feeling of tranquility," says Karen.

For Pravin, the experience was equally rewarding. "People are often a bit apprehensive about contacting an architect, and they think everything is going to be incredibly expensive, but we offer very good value, and can even save money. This Architect in the House scheme is invaluable in breaking down barriers between the profession and the public."

With this project, his challenge was to carry out some clever space engineering. "Everywhere we looked we tried to find extra pockets of space. In the end we have managed to squeeze a lot in." The completed works cost £140,000.

Call Pravin Raheja at PR Architecture on 020 8866 3038.

To sign up for the Architect in the House Scheme, visit www.architecture.com or www.architectureweek.org.uk.

This year’s Architecture Week also sees the launch of a new website to match architects with clients, see www.whicharchitect.com.


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