Project Management of a Family Home Redesign for an Overseas Client

01 Nov 2013

We employed Thomas Haycock when we were looking to relocate back to London from Sri Lanka with our four children. We found a slightly tired and dowdy 5-bedroom, mid-terraced Victorian house with planning permission for a rear extension. We needed a well-rounded team we could totally trust to put our vision for our family home into reality, keep to budget, and throw in some creativity and practicalities to bring it all together while we were still in Sri Lanka in time for our return to the UK.

I knew Claire and Andie could spear-head the team to take on this project. We’ve always admired Claire’s style for interiors and we also knew that her meticulous eye for detail (by this, we mean she doesn’t/won’t let ANYTHING slip if she’s on call) would enable us to pull this whole ‘House Beautiful’ project off while we were still living in Sri Lanka.

We met the following day, and true to Claire and Andie’s style, they came with all the documentation on the planning permission, structural drawings, contracts, and other goodies in hand! In that initial meeting we also gave them some general ideas of the look and feel of the house we aimed to achieve. We wanted a ‘neat-and-tidy’, contemporary look that was also functional, textural, and mindfully bold! We’ve always liked a neutral palette as a background, but we also wanted to inject bursts of colour. We had kids now and we didn’t want a place to feel starkly sterile or too minimal, which we were prone to like when we were just a couple. Our years living in Asia had made us more open to bright, jewel-tone colours, and we definitely wanted to bring these colours back with us to London. Once we got to Sri Lanka, we sent Claire and Andie images and photos via email to help them understand what we meant by this. They reverted quickly with their interpretation, which was spot on, and the rest was history!

The entire project from start to finish took a little over five months, and we couldn’t be happier with the results! When you walk into the house, it makes you feel happy because you will see bursts of jeweled-tone colour each corner you turn. However, the palette of colours selected does not overpower or disturb the ambiance of the underlying calm and comforts of home (even if it is a house filled with four children).

Claire and Andie definitely nailed it when we specified that we’d like to integrate our Far East heritage and experiences living abroad into our home. The interior décor throughout the house reflects its own interpretation of ‘chinoiserie chic’. Some of our favourite design features in the house include: the red Chinese-lattice doors in the Master suite that lead into a walk-in closet and en-suite; the pagoda-cherry blossom, hand-painted mural in the girls’ room; the bird-inspired nursery; the concrete Zen garden; the turquoise blue glass in the kitchen cupboard; the light strips under the kitchen island; the Vitamin pendant lights; the wallpapers; the aubergine feature wall in the guest/study…OK, let’s just say the entire house!!! (You can only, truly appreciate it if you are in the house, and that is why I almost never leave).

The client and project team relationship was like a happy marriage infused with shared vision, joint collaboration and open communication. Unfortunately, we are taking a ‘break’ from this relationship for while (though Claire and Andie deserve the time off) with plans to resume our courtship for Phase II. Stay tuned to this channel…

Iris Yamanaka, London

Thomas Haycock Interior Design