When JCA Director Chris Lawler wanted to extend his cottage, he put his money where his mouth is and commissioned his firm to draw up the plans end execute the project.
Having lived in the house for a few years, he was intimately familiar with its limitations and knew what was needed to rectify it, but like most clients he was on a strict budget and restrained by the planning constraints of the local authority.
As with any client, Chris wanted to get the most bang for his buck. But being a conservation architect, it was important to him that the final design solution was in keeping with nature of the existing building and one that would fit in with the neighbourhood.
JCA's surprising solution was to virtually double the size of the existing building by repeating its form as a new extension - the planning logic being that this was a solution that was often used in the original construction of such buildings and so very much in historical keeping.
The design task was also to seamlessly integrate the old building with the new.
A beautifully crafted oak staircase was constructed between the two buildings which served to connect them and made for logical and easy access to the various rooms as well as making for a strong architectural feature.
The new extension's ground floor became a very comfortable sitting room and media centre with room left over for a dining area - all overlooking the new sunken garden which neatly resolved the problem of the awkward levels of the original house.
Being at the receiving end of his firm's work and living with its result is always a useful experience. He discovered that is team are even better than he thought they were. He has however resisted the temptation to award pay rises all round as he still wants his clients to get the biggest bang for their buck.