Right first time, on time


A full-scale renovation on an existing property or any kind of construction work is a huge undertaking, especially for the uninitiated. It takes planning and requires careful and constant management once the work is underway, Nick Swindells of MRM Project Solutions explains.

A construction project can prove a logistical nightmare and can easily go off the rails very quickly: it’s not for the faint hearted or inexperienced amateur. An architect is there to aid with design and planning, but essentially a hands on manager is required: somebody on-site who has the skills and expertise to look after all the day-to-day aspects of the build. This includes managing contractors, tradesmen and deliveries to ensure smooth and timely running.

Any project can take months to complete and it’s only when the design, architectural planning and construction are all managed professionally that objectives can be achieved, expectations exceeded and the desired result obtained.


MRM Project Solutions Ltd is a bespoke project management company based in Surrey, totally flexible and tailoring its services to meet specific requirements, achieve objectives, solve problems and offer solutions. Renovation and construction is a complicated business and the various contractors will constantly seek guidance which, if not provided, could result in decisions being taken detrimental to the end product.

A manager on site will oversee progress and ensure the project runs according to plan, to schedule, and problem solving along the way. This removes stress for the client so they are happy and achieves the original intent with minimum fuss. There will always be problems and decisions to be made no matter how carefully everything is planned.

Project managers are responsible for the overall planning and managing of a building project, whether a residential home or commercial office. They might work with an architect throughout the project, but the architect will not be on-site every day. Responsibilities include budgeting, managing the contractors, liaising with and updating the client as often as needed, and managing the lifecycle of the project to a successful conclusion. They will importantly handle compliance issues such as health and safety, sustainability and insurance all of which have to be considered and addressed.

It’s a simple choice, and not hiring a project manager may be a false economy. Problems that arise which are not dealt with properly can end up costing far more than any potential saving, and will probably result in the project falling behind schedule.
Are you planning a building or construction project? Why not look to MRM Project Solutions Ltd, a company serving clients throughout London and the southeast.

MRM (Building) Project Solutions Ltd
71–75 Shelton Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9JQ
Telephone: 01344 851546
mobile: 07468 459933
Website: www.mrmprojectsolutions.co.uk

Summer living

Sea and rattan furniture blue cushions

A new season deserves a new look; Jenny Allan from JCA Interiors explains how interior and exterior spaces of any home can be adapted to make the most of long summer days.

An effective interior design should mean that rooms can be changed easily to fit the current season. When creating a summer time feel, draw inspiration from outdoors, beach holidays and florals. Light, bright interiors with natural materials and a seasonal palette will make a home feel ready for the warm months ahead.

Small changes can transform rooms such as replacing velvet cushion covers with linen and packing away fur throws and heavy duvets. Darker colours should make way for whites and sand tones as using large amounts of white fabric can help to convert a room from a cosy winter space to an airy summer sanctuary.

Blue accent colours can really bring a seaside or tropical feel to an interior, from turquoise to azure from sky blue to navy, blue is very on trend this season, so look to include it within the updated design. Evoke memories of blue skies from summer holidays with bright blue accessories or layer different shades of blue cushions on a white sofa to create a fresh summer vibe.

Simple touches such as changing artwork to beach or floral themes will be an instant update that can easily be swapped or moved around once the season changes. Floral arrangements will also affect the feel of a room, so choose a summer bouquet with roses, peonies or hydrangeas to start the summertime transformation. For more summery additions, accessorise with items such as white ceramic vases, resin coral and mother of pearl photo frames to create a beautiful glamorous feel.

Given that most of us prefer to spend time outside during summer, designing the perfect garden retreat is essential to making the most of sunny days and warm, balmy evenings. Updating terraces and outdoor seating areas with interior qualities will create an exterior ‘room’ that will be a pleasure to sit in. Rattan is a popular choice as it is stylish and weatherproof, however, metal or teak furniture also suit a more traditionally designed home.

Consider the layout of outdoor seating areas in the same way an interior room would be designed. The space would ideally have an eating area, seating space and loungers for sunbathing, so almost three rooms in one! Clever, subtle lighting with the addition of outdoor warmth such as a gel fire will look inviting in the evening and can be used to bring the outdoor design together, creating a cosy atmosphere.
Accessorising a terrace as an interior really helps to make it a beautiful, attractive area. Brightly coloured cushions or fabrics with patterns such as chevrons can lift the space and add vibrancy. Adding a selection of coloured glassware and jugs to the table and a bright summer floral bouquet will also bring it to life and offer a holiday feel.

These changes to the interior design and outside space will ensure that a home adapts to brighter, longer days and feels perfect for enjoying summer living throughout the warmer months.

JCA Interiors
Jenny Allan is founder of interior design company JCA Interiors
Telephone: 020 3714 9325
Email: info@jcainteriors.co.uk
Website: www.jcainteriors.co.uk

Taking the plunge


Despite the UK’s somewhat mixed climate, leading Virginia Water estate agent Barton Wyatt this year has seen a marked appetite for houses with pools to aid a healthy lifestyle.

Swimming can burn anywhere from 500-650 calories per hour and regular swimming has huge health benefits. It can reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and strokes, as well as boosting mood and keeping weight under control.

Although the name Virginia Water might suggest utopia for residents, the man-made lake, which dates from 1753, cannot be used for swimming. This leaves those more at home in the water looking for an alternative. For many this means purchasing a home complete with onsite swimming pool. Estate agent Barton Wyatt's experience this year is that the number of houses coming onto the market in Virginia Water with swimming pools has nearly doubled; currently one in four homes for sale having either indoor or outdoor pools.

Swimming is unquestionably one of the finest ways to keep fit. Few, if any, other sports work as many muscle groups at the same time giving swimmers a total body workout every time they enter the water. It reduces the risk of illness, keeps the body in trim and is very low impact making it ideal for people of all ages.

James Wyatt, partner at Barton Wyatt, is an avid swimmer. As he points out: “Swimming pools are an enigma when it comes to selling a property. They can be hard work to look after, but the lure of a pool in a back garden is often the icing on the cake. It’s a good selling point and once children have seen the pool it’s pretty hard to walk away.”

The Ridge Pool LR

The Ridge, Wentworth £8,750,000 - Six bedrooms with en-suite bath/shower rooms, four reception rooms, kitchen/breakfast room, entertainment room, cinema, staff kitchen/utility room and gymnasium/games room with adjoining shower room. Double garage, outdoor swimming pool and gardens of over an acre facing south to the rear. A stunning Georgian style family home beautifully presented with high ceilings and large windows. The property is situated in the very heart of the Wentworth Estate, backing onto the Executive Course, and set in delightfully secluded gardens of approximately one and a half acres.

Broomfield House Pool area mr

Broomfield House, Windlesham £4,350,000 - Five bedrooms (three bedrooms with en-suite facilities, master with en-suite dressing room and bathroom), family bathroom, reception hall, drawing room, sitting room, dining room, family room, study, conservatory, kitchen/breakfast room, utility room and two cloakrooms. Indoor swimming pool complex, triple garage with one bedroom staff flat above, tennis court, secluded landscaped gardens and grounds of approximately 1.68 acres.

Winbar rear mr

Winbar, South Ascot £2,600,000 - Entrance hall, cloakroom, dining room, drawing room, study, utility, conservatory, five bedrooms (three en-suite) and family bathroom. Garage with separate guest/staff flat with living room/bedroom six and bathroom. Large outdoor area with swimming pool, BBQ, Jacuzzi, kitchen, large tiled terraced entertainment area and pool house. Gardens 0.62 of an acre. Approximately 4,000 sq ft.

Roundbarrow House

Roundbarrow House, Sunningdale £3,950,000 - Seven bedrooms, five bath/shower rooms, second floor sitting room, drawing room, dining room, sitting room, kitchen/breakfast room, games room and basement plant room. Large two bay garage with one bedroom staff flat over. Swimming pool with beautiful gardens amounting to approximately one acre.

Healthy exercise
Swimming regularly may help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses in some people. The national governing body’s (the ASA) report that looked at health and fitness research from around the globe shows swimming may increase life expectancy. Swimming cuts men’s risk of dying early by about 50% compared to runners, walkers and those who are inactive. NHS guidelines suggest adults should undertake thirty minutes of moderate-intensity activity on five or more days a week. A thirty minute session at the pool on one or more days a week will count towards this recommended weekly activity target. The ASA believes that swimming can offer a sense of mental wellbeing: something not easily measured, but anecdotally mentioned by thousands of participants. Swimming is a safe form of exercise as water can support up to 90% of the body’s weight in the water, so reducing strain on the body. The activity builds strength, endurance and muscle tone. Swimming is a family activity in which everyone can partake throughout the year, inside or outside.

Key Benefits of Swimming
• Low impact There’s no ground impact when swimming and so joints are protected from stress and strain.
• Can be continued for a lifetime Because there’s no impact with swimming, it can be continued throughout a lifetime.
• Builds cardiorespiratory fitness Swimming improves endurance, increasing maximal oxygen consumption and stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped with each beat which indicates heart strength).
• Builds muscle mass: an alternative when injured Swimming is a resistance exercise and will strengthen and tone musculature. The resistance of the water makes muscles work hard without the strain or impact experienced on land.
• t’s a break from the summer heat There's nothing like a cool dip in the pool during the hot days of summer; it's relaxing, movements are smooth and rhythmic and it’s a great workout.
• It's a family affair Swimming and other water activities are something the entire family can share.
• Burns calories Swimming burns lots of calories, depending on how efficient the swimmer and how buoyant. Original research on swimming and calorie expenditure showed that swimming, regardless of the stroke, burned about 89% of the calories burned during running and 97% of the calories burned during cycling for the same time period (depending on the intensity of exercise).

Barton Wyatt
The Estate Office, 2 Station Approach, Virginia Water, Surrey GU25 4DL
Telephone: 01344 843000
Website: www.bartonwyatt.co.uk

The home office

Home office

A beautiful home office can increase productivity and be a really uplifting space. Jenny Allan from JCA Interiors looks into the best ways to create this.

Home offices have the potential to be fantastic rooms and they can be designed in certain ways to improve workflow and efficiency. Careful consideration and design are key to making the space a success. Obviously the real star of the show in an office is the desk and the bigger or more ornate it is the more impressive it will appear. Spend time considering the desk materials, as they should be included throughout the design within the shelving or other units to make the space cohesive. Make sure the desk is relative to the room size and is in the best position for lighting, ideally near a window. If possible, position the desk facing a view as this a real bonus and can bring a sense of calm to the working environment, encouraging positive workflow.

Comfort should be a top priority in the selection of office furniture, with desk and chair heights needing to work perfectly together. Look for ergonomically designed chairs and perhaps invest in a bespoke desk made to the perfect height. As Coco Chanel said, “luxury must be comfortable otherwise it is not luxury”.

For further comfort, if space allows, include a more relaxed, informal living area with sofas and cushions, perhaps even adding a fireplace. This space is then ideal for encouraging creative thinking or watching TV to chill out while having a break.

Fabrics play a large part in comfort and design while creating a sense of luxury. Leathers and velvets work well and have a timeless, elegant appeal, which will always be inviting.

Consider the colour scheme carefully as different colours create different effects. Neutral colours are usually best as they provide a calming backdrop, which is easy to work in. Navies and darker shades create a more dramatic appearance while lighter colours of creams, sands and greys can make the space seem bigger and more airy. It all depends on the size, location and natural lighting in the room.

The real secret to a beautiful home office is storage. Everyone accumulates more items each day and having a place to store all paperwork, stationary, electronic equipment and files is key. We usually recommend having cupboards with beautiful doors built into the office as this will hide unsightly but necessary items, while having open shelving to display treasured possessions such as family photos, ornaments or awards. For these items, which are on display, attention to detail is important when bringing the space together and finalising the room. Specifically selected and correctly positioned decorative items can give a stylish, polished look while being personal and homely.

When a home office is well designed it will be comfortable, functional and luxurious, three elements conducive to getting work done.

JCA Interiors
Jenny Allan is founder of interior design company JCA Interiors
Telephone: 020 3714 9325
Email: info@jcainteriors.co.uk
Website: www.jcainteriors.co.uk
Surrey’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine