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New practice: The Vawdrey House

The Vawdry House
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The latest in a series of practice profiles looking at those who have recently decided to go it alone

In 2012 by Jennifer Hamilton. The Vawdrey House became a RIBA Chartered Practice Summer 2015.

Main people:
Jennifer Hamilton, Ian Chapman and Graeme Montague

Where have you come from?
Jennifer and Graeme were both directors at MoreySmith, Ian was at ArchitecturePLB for 10 years

What work do you have and what kind of projects are you looking for?
We are keen to keep a mixture of residential and small-scale commercial projects. So far, we have completed projects in retail, hospitality and residential sectors in London and rural locations.

What are your ambitions?
We’d like to be seen as a design collective, and would love to work on products or surface pattern design. We have a lot of contacts and links within web, graphics and branding, so could offer small businesses or hospitality ventures a ‘full service’ solution where we would help with everything from the building, interior and general styling to branding, websites and menus as needed.

The Vawdry House

The Vawdry House

Source: Siobhan Doran

Sterndale Road, London

How do you overcome the challenges of running a start-up?
Running a business and finding new work is a full-time job in itself, and all three of us take an active role in this. However, our passion is designing and running jobs to successful completion. Our focus is always on maintaining the balance between ‘process’ and creativity. It seems to be working as we have retained happy clients from each and every project we have completed, all of whom have in turn recommended us to friends and colleagues. So, in effect, doing what we do best has become our most effective business strategy.

How do you win clients?
All our work up to now has been through word-of-mouth or recommendation. This year our project at Sterndale Road was part of Open House London, and was highlighted in both the Open House London Guide and in the Metro as a key new project worth seeing. The response was amazing and we received around 450 visitors through the house over the weekend. The website also gets us a lot of contacts.


The Vawdry House

The Vawdry House

Sketch of proposed new build in Kent

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