Interior Design
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18th February 2018

Using Skylights to Add More Light in Your Home

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18th February 2018
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Skylights are one of the most effective, least expensive and easiest ways to make over both the exterior and interior appearance of your home. For many homeowners, skylights are immensely popular, because they impart roominess to the interior and add a beautiful view of the sky above into the house. To get the maximum impact from this design element, it is important to understand the size, position and design of skylights. Many people tend to choose the biggest skylight possible, but it’s ideal to keep the size to no more than 5 percent of the floor space if the room already has good sized windows. In rooms with no or small windows, skylights can be up to 15 percent of the floor space.

Skylight Variations

Most common skylights are rectangular, however, there are many variations of colours, shapes and sizes available. The shape, of course, should have an impact on the look and design style of the room. The type of material you choose for your skylight has a direct impact on the efficiency and the look of it.

Popular glazing materials for the skylights include plastic and glass. Plastic doesn’t break easily and it’s cheap; however, it may eventually show scratches and become discoloured. Glass doesn’t fade and resistant to scratch, but glass skylights are more expensive and they can shatter easily when subjected to hard impacts.

Skylight Location

Location is essential if you want to get the benefits of solar heating and natural lighting from skylights. Expect to get consistent lighting when your skylight faces north and maximum illumination and solar in the morning when facing east and in the afternoon when it faces west.

Fixed or Ventilated Skylights

There are a wide range of skylight styles to choose from. Fixed skylights are perfect for family rooms and attics as they provide extra light and are available in many different varieties of shapes. You could also choose ventilated skylights that you can open and close to allow the smooth passage of air. They are more appropriate for kitchens and bathrooms, and can be controlled by motorized cranks, a wall switch, remote control or automatically by temperature sensor. The newest style is tubular skylight, which is small and can be placed in a spot where a normal full-sized skylight won’t fit. For the most affordable option, you could also choose a domed acrylic skylight.

Skylights are a decorative and functional design element that can be added to the design of your new home, or as an addition to your current one. When choosing to add a skylight to your home, consult with an architect who can answer your home design questions.

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Uncategorised
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18th February 2018

Modern Architectural Design Trends

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18th February 2018
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As we are already entering the early months of 2018, the architecture industry needs to focus on what’s applicable today. New changes in architectural designs are looming and technologies are affecting the way houses and buildings are being both designed and built. Modern architects need to be well prepared for these trends and integrate them into their designs if they are going to remain relevant and successful.

For many builders, today’s architectural trends are being driven by materials and innovative construction methods. As architectural design makes use of more modern, eco-friendly materials, those will be seen in the final construction as well.

What are the latest architectural design trends for 2018? Let’s take a look:

High-tech materials: There have been some implementations of complex and intelligent designs using Nano-materials that react with the constructive systems and the environment. Although this technology is still largely at the experimental stage, architects should be on the lookout for practical usages in 2018. Durable, high-tech materials are useful for many architectural applications to make buildings easier to construct, eco-friendlier and more durable.

Unusual Constructive Methods: It is becoming more common to use unusual mediums, beyond timber, masonry, steel and concrete. We have seen structures made of high-strength plastic and living materials. Combining nature and modern architecture styles may represent some challenges, but they are often applicable to modern design.

Community-Driven Design: Community-driven designs ensure good interactions between people, structures and the surrounding environments. It is a concept that is being implemented by many newly built houses and offices. They have sustainable features that vastly improve the quality of life in the community through bigger considerations and respect of the environment. It is also essential that the design interacts well with nature, not just people.

Smart Buildings: Technology integrates well with architectural designs and it allows new things to make their way into our daily lives. Smart buildings and homes are no longer science fiction. Architects may come up with new designs that allow proper use of smart illumination, wireless sound systems, remote heating systems, smart appliances and more.

Repurposed Materials: Integrating repurposed materials into modern architectural design is the right move. Not only environmentally friendly, but repurposed materials could also become cheap and quick solutions. Glass, recycled plastic, metal and usable wooden elements can be repurposed. Reusing and turning them into new objects will save energy and effort, compared to exploiting remaining resources in the nature.

Modern design elements are becoming modern homes, offices and other workspaces. When combined with innovative architectural designs, modern buildings will move away from boring and turn into something exciting and beautiful to see.

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Interior Design
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18th February 2018

Luxury Swimming Pool Ideas

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18th February 2018
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Today’s high-end homes wouldn’t be complete without luxurious swimming pools. Homeowners can really go over the top with luxurious pool designs and they can add many new design features that most can only dream of. Due to the more flexible budgets and available options, it is much easier for the designer to adopt new ideas that embody the luxe lifestyle.

Mediterranean Oasis

Mediterranean style pools look great with large white tiles and deep blue Mediterranean tiles as this design element captures the idea of high coastal cliffs and the blue sea often found in the region. But designers can take that look one step further by adding more ornate tiles that tell a story as family and guests lounge poolside. Many homeowners are opting for outside kitchens to complete the luxe look and let them prepare authentic Mediterranean dishes for outdoor parties.

Tropical Elements

For oceanfront luxury pools, designers are turning them into luxurious tropical retreats. By adding a beach entry pool with gentle downward slope and combining an infinity edge to play artfully with the imagination, homeowners have a pool they may never want to get out of. Teak lounge chairs may add to the overall feeling of serenity and provide seating for guests. Instead of the normal rectangular shape, luxury swimming pools can have modified L-shape with an artful combination of teal and blue glass tile to create a perfect peaceful retreat.

Combination Indoor/Outdoor Area

You may even choose to bring the outside in and create dramatic views of your pool by using floor-to-ceiling windows on the facing walls of your home. The patio can be decorated with an aqua and teal glass tiled border, which contrast beautifully with a more neutral flagstone decking. Pools with irregular shapes may look like a natural pond with the natural stone tiles as the border. To make the design looks more appealing; an elevated Jacuzzi area with water that flows out into the primary pool can be added.

Mountain Regions

For luxury swimming pools that overlook the mountains, designers can focus on simplicity with regular rectangular shapes combined with different cuts of stone pavers. The usual infinity pool design can be placed on the side that allows for unobstructed view of the mountains and surrounding towns. This is a good design that can be combined with modern houses. To make the pool blend better with the environment, rock-colored tiles similar to the surrounding natural stones can be implemented.

A wide range of materials can be used to turn and ordinary pool into something extraordinary. Whether you want a luxurious outdoor oasis to relax in, or you want a more subdued pool design for your home, choosing the right architectural design firm can make it happen.

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Interior Design
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18th February 2018

Green Home Design Checklist

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18th February 2018
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There is a lot of thought and consideration that goes into the design and building of an eco-friendly home. From the home site and how the land is used, to the appliances and fixtures used in the final build, architectural design firms put a lot of effort into every green home design.

Let’s take a look at a typical checklist that many leading architects use to ensure they design an eco-friendly home that meets their client’s needs.

Green Siting & Land Use

  • Build within already developed areas. This helps to avoid urban sprawl and the depletion of wildlife and wetland areas. It also increases the density in neighborhoods so homeowners can rely less on transportation to get to shops.
  • Locate buildings to provide access to public transportation, bicycle paths, and walking access to basic services. This further helps to minimize automobile use.
  • Locate buildings to minimize environmental impact. By clustering buildings together, it can also help preserve wetlands and other areas close by for wildlife.
  • Situate buildings to benefit from vegetation. Trees on the east and west sides of a building can reduce cooling loads while dense shrubbery can block cold winter winds.

Green Building Design

  • Smaller is better. Making better use of interior space through good design can decrease the amount of natural resources used to build the home.
  • Design an energy-efficient building. High levels of insulation, less thermal bridging, high-performance windows tuned to the sun (heat reflective in east & west), and tightly sealed construction all work to make a home more energy efficient and eco-friendly.
  • Get free energy. Designing buildings with solar water heating and photovoltaic (PV) panels and sloping roofs towards the south for optimal solar energy will give the homeowner free or low-cost energy.
  • Make it easy for occupants to recycle. Making recycling easier to do will ensure that homeowners are more apt to recycle since containers will be handy.
  • Use rooftop water catchment systems for collecting rainwater. This is an easy way to get free water for landscape irrigation.
  • Look into the feasibility of using gray water. Used water from sinks, showers, or clothes washers have many purposes on today’s green homes.

Green Materials

  • Avoid ozone-depleting chemicals in mechanical equipment and insulation.
  • Use locally produced building materials.
  • Use salvaged building products or products made from recycled material.
  • Choose responsible wood supplies.

Green Appliances

  • Use high-efficiency appliances and lights. Using Energy Star rated appliances and LED lighting will help reduce energy usage and costs.
  • Use water-efficient toilets, fixtures, water heaters and other elements. Water-conserving toilets, showerheads, and faucet aerators reduce water use and they reduce the demand on septic systems or sewage treatment plants. Centrally locating fixtures reduces hot water cost.

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Architectural Design Consultation
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12th February 2018

What’s the Average Cost of Cladding a House?

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12th February 2018
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Cladding your home can add beauty and value and give you a sense of pride in ownership that is incomparable to any other home improvement or renovation project you undertake. Whichever cladding material you choose, the biggest factor in deciding to clad your home is cost. The average cost of cladding has gone up in the past decade and many homeowners want to know just how much it will cost before they make the decision to add new cladding to their home.

Average Cost of Cladding a House Factors

The average cost of cladding depends largely on the material you choose and the size of your home in square metre’s. Brick is the most common choice for many homeowners, with render, timber boarding, stone and tile hanging as the other alternatives. Stone is usually considered the most expensive option and required in the stone-belt areas of the UK.

Let’s Look at The Average Cost of Cladding a House

The factors that go into creating an average cost of cladding a house can vary, just as the materials can. Other factors include labour, additional materials and any decorative treatments. But what are the real differences in costs? Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Bricks: £56/m2

Bricks come in a wide range of stock and that can make the price of brick cladding change dramatically. Prices can range from £350 per 1,000 bricks, to £800/1,000 with the average cost around £450/1,000. There are 60 bricks per square metre. Factor in labour and the costs will look like this:

  • Bricks @ £450/1,000 £27.00
  • Mortar per m² £2.50
  • Labour @ £450/1,000 £27.00
  • Average cost per m² £56.50

Rendered Blockwork: £59/m2

Rendered blockwork is a less expensive alternative that many homeowners choose. What they don’t realise is that there are hidden costs that factor in making rendered blockwork more expensive than brick. This can include the addition of a waterproofing agent, pebble or stone dashing or decoration of a smooth rendered wall. There are 10 blocks per square metre. Factor in labour and the costs will look like this:

  • Blocks (aircrete 450x215x100mm) £8
  • Mortar £1.00
  • Labour @ £12.50/m² £12.50
  • Labour and materials for two coats render £25.00
  • Decoration — labour and materials £12.50
  • Average cost per m² £59.30

Tile Hanging: £66-£80/m2

Tiles are much more expensive and are usually hung on an external blockwork skin. This shares much of the costs of a blockwork and rendered wall bringing average cost to £21.80/m2. Average tile hanging costs can range from £66.80 up to £101.80.

Timber Cladding: £50/m2

Timber cladding features softwood featheredge boarding that can add £15.74/m2 to the cost of the blockwork. This has to be decorated which will add even more bringing the total cost to an average of £49.54/m2. More expensive Siberian larch and western red cedar are popular and don’t require additional decoration as they will weather to a silver tone. With an average labour and materials cost of around £27.89, combined with the blockwork costs becomes £49.69/m2.

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Single Storey Extension
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12th February 2018

Top 5 Single Storey Extension Ideas

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12th February 2018
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When you live in a single storey home, you will soon find that there isn’t enough space for you and your family. As your family grows, so does the amount of stuff you have. From home furnishings to children’s toys, clothing and more, adding a single storey extension to your home will give you the space you need.

What Is a Single Storey Extension?

When many homeowners hear the word extension, they begin to see large amounts of money flying out the window as builders begin construction. This isn’t necessarily the case. A single storey extension can add beauty and value to your home and give you some much needed space as well. Most house extension ideas consist of creating a new room alongside an existing room or taking an existing space and making it larger. Whichever path you choose, the first step is to choose a reputable designer who is knowledgeable and experienced in creating house extension designs that suit your specific needs and style.

Once you have selected a local architect for your single storey extension, you will need to decide just what you want out of your home extension project. Do you want more space, more utility or a combination of both? An additional room can provide more space, but you could also make it a purpose-built room such as a conservatory, library or additional bathroom.

Here Are Our Top 5 Single Storey Extension Ideas

Conservatory-A conservatory is a small room built on side of the house and includes many windows on the walls and ceiling. They are quite common in the UK. Although a conservatory and a sunroom seem similar, they are built for two very different purposes. A conservatory can add sunlight and warmth to your home while providing a horticulturists dream room where they can keep their plants safe from the elements while caring for them.

Sunroom-sunrooms are popular in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and some European countries. Like a conservatory, a sunroom is built as a wall of windows, but instead of being used to house plants, it is designed for recreation and entertaining. Think of it as an indoor patio where you can relax in the sunshine while still staying cool on those hot summer days.

Annexes-You may have read about adding an annex to your home and it is a good choice for those looking for innovative house extension ideas. An annex is a garden building that can be used as a self-sufficient accommodation with kitchen, bedroom and bathroom spaces, or it can be used by hobbyists as a workshop.

Veranda-If you like the outdoors but find the constant chance of rain to be a problem, a covered outdoor room such as a veranda or loggia could be the answer. This single storey extension idea provides comfortable seating for guests as well as protection from the elements.

Extend an Existing Room-when thinking of house extension ideas, perhaps extending an existing room could give you the space you need and make your dream kitchen a reality. Adding an extension to your home can include making your kitchen larger, adding space to your living room or adding a spare bathroom for guests. Whichever you choose, you will be adding value to your home and providing a more comfortable space for your family.

For more advice call today 01252 714 985 or email admin@lewisvisuals.co.uk. If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it on your favorite social media sites.

 

Kitchen Design
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12th February 2018

Top 5 Kitchen Design Ideas

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12th February 2018
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The kitchen has long been the heart of many UK homes. It is where conversations begin and meals are prepared and it is often the showplace of many homes. If your kitchen is beginning to look tired and outdated, perhaps a redesign is what you need. You could add new countertops, more cupboard space and even a central island with cooktop that will let you show off your culinary skills.

From Visions to Kitchen Design Ideas

Having a vision of your new kitchen and actually implementing that vision into a design and finished project isn’t as easy as it sounds. There is a process to applying to your own kitchen design, and knowing where to start is important. To create the kitchen of your dreams, keep reading as Lewis Visuals is going to share with you some of our own design tips that will help you design and build a kitchen you can show off to friends, family and guests.

Our Top Kitchen Design Ideas

Space

Your new kitchen is more than just the design element, it is the space you put it in. If you have a large enough space, you can create a larger kitchen. Smaller spaces require more innovative kitchen design ideas.

Create a Wish List

What do you want from your kitchen? Do you use it for dining or entertaining? These are questions you should ask yourself when creating a kitchen design. What you want from your kitchen is going to decide what you put into it.

If you like to show off your culinary skills from time to time, you want a kitchen that reflects that and that enables you to use it more effectively and comfortably. Many new home designs are adding two ovens, two dishwashers and commercial appliances. If you cook a lot, you may want to consider this as an option.

Adding more storage to your kitchen design is important, especially if you have a large family. More space and more storage are usually the top requests that designers hear.

Dining – Formal or Informal?

Adding soft seating is an important feature for homes where most of the entertaining is done in the kitchen. Guests and family naturally congregate in the kitchen so making them feel more comfortable should be part of the plan.

Location

Where should your kitchen be positioned? Where is it now? You don’t always have to design your new kitchen based on your old one. If it faces south but you want a different view, why not add that to the design plan and create a totally new kitchen layout that gives you the space, view and features you want. Some homeowners want more sunlight so they face their kitchens toward the sun’s travel. This can give them more natural light and keep energy costs down.

The Kitchen Triangle

Have you ever taken a look at the floor of an older home? In the kitchen especially, there is a wear pattern on the floor. This is the kitchen work area where the cook spends most of their prep and cooking time. New homes have this element also, but it is much more efficient enabling the homeowner to move easily between the cook top, the sink and the refrigerator. These three points and make up what kitchen experts call the work triangle and it is something you should add to your kitchen design ideas.

For more advice call today 01252 714 985 or email admin@lewisvisuals.co.uk. If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it on your favorite social media sites.

 

House Extensions
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12th February 2018

Top 5 House Extension Ideas

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12th February 2018
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Deciding to add an extension to your home is a big decision but one that can offer a wide range of benefits. From adding value to your home, to adding some much-needed space inside your home for your growing family, an extension is one of the best things you can do to your home.

House Extension Ideas

Whether you own a single storey or two-storey home, an extension can make it more usable and give you the space you need. At Lewis Visuals, we help our clients choose beautiful, cost effective home extensions that suit their style and their homes. Here are some of our favourite house extension ideas that are becoming popular throughout the UK:

  1. Build Up

The best way to add more value and increase your ROI is to build up. By adding a second storey extension to your home, you can increase your space and reduce costs of adding foundations and other structural elements that are already there.

  1. A Sunroom

Building a sunroom means that your builder often doesn’t need special permits which means costs are lower and there is let waiting. Modern sunrooms include separate doors which can reduce energy loss, large areas of glazing, a conventional insulated roof and at least one insulated wall. Sunrooms are increasingly popular and have become a special request for many new homebuyers.

  1. Outdoor Rooms

If you like to spend time outside but find the weather becoming a problem, an outdoor room could be the answer. A covered outdoor living area provides comfortable seating and protection from the elements. From a traditional loggia or veranda, to a more contemporary space featuring a projecting flat roof and slatted sun louvres, an outdoor room will make your home the place to be for hot summer parties.

  1. Beautiful, Contemporary Kitchens

Although a kitchen isn’t really an extension, if you increase the size of your kitchen, it can be considered an important investment in your home. Adding a beautiful, contemporary kitchen will make your home more usable and increase its value when you sell. You can create a central island with a built in cooktop, or add an appliance wall with increased storage space to create the kitchen of your dreams. Many homeowners will have an extension built onto their kitchen adding more space to the footprint while giving their home a totally new look and feel.

  1. Annexes

Adding a garden building or annexe makes use of that extra garden space while giving you some outdoor storage or additional outdoor seating away from the house. A garden building can be used as a games space, self-sufficient accommodation with kitchen, bedroom and bathroom spaces, or it can be used by hobbyists as a workshop.

These are just some of the house extension ideas you can create for your home to add beauty and value to your home while increasing the usable space.

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Architectural Design Consultation
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12th February 2018

Looking for a Local Architect or Designer?

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12th February 2018
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What’s the difference between a local architect and a designer? Aren’t they the same or at least close to it? Actually, the terms are not as interchangeable as many homeowners think and the differences will be quite clear after reading this post.

When You Need a Local Architect

Any time you are building or designing a home, you want to choose a professional for the job. From the design stage through to moving in your furniture, you want everything to go as planned and on schedule. Everyone involved with creating your dream home should be professionally trained and certified in their field. This ensures that your home will be designed, built and finished properly.

With that being said, an architect is a professional who is trained and certified in their profession and has the degree, diploma or other certification to prove it. In the UK, they may be registered with the RIBA, the Royal Institute of British Architects or the Architect’s Registration Board (ARB).

For an architect to qualify for certification, it takes seven years of theoretical and practical training. They also need to carry insurance as a stipulation of the ARB. This enables an architect to provide a full range of services from concept design to detailed construction drawings and specifications.

Choose the Architects Farnham Homebuilders Choose

Now that we understand just what an architect is, you should know that not every architect will be right for your build. By researching local architects in your area and choosing the one that best suits your needs and your design style, you will find that your vision of the perfect home will become reality.

Let’s also take a look at the difference between an architect and a designer. As we have read, an architect requires many years of training and expertise. A designer, however, does not. The term designer is very broad and could cover architects, or it could not. Becoming a designer requires no training or certifications and every designer is different and may come with different qualifications. Whereas, when you choose a local architect, you know the certifications they hold and the requirements needed to qualify for those certifications.

Does this make one better than the other? In many cases, it might, but that is up to your personal preferences. You should choose the best qualified candidate that suits your needs and that can design the home you want.

Award Winning Design Team

Lewis Visuals provides our clients with a wide range of home design services and can create a personalised design that suits your family’s needs. We are an award-winning London design firm respected in the industry. Our many design awards include:

  • IoD’s 2017 London and the South-East Director of the Year Awards Finalist
  • AI Global Excellence Awards Most Outstanding Design and Build Company 2016
  • BEFA’s Best Service Based Company 2017
  • BEFA’s Finalist for Best CEO 2017
  • Houzz Best of Houzz Client Satisfaction 2017
  • Build’s Most Innovative Designers in the UK 2016
  • Build’s Best Design and Construction Company in Surrey 2016
  • BEFA’s Best Female Entrepreneur in Europe and the Middle East 2016
  • Build’s Best Design and Construction Company in Surrey 2015
  • WICE Best Female Architectural Technologist in Europe 2015
  • FSB’s Best Business Person of the Year in Surrey 2015

Lewis Visuals Offices

Lewis Visuals has offices in Farnham, Brighton, Forest Row, Honiton, Lyme Regis, Yeovil and Potters Bar. We serve clients in Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire, London, East Sussex, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.

CONTACT US TODAY FOR YOUR FREE 1 HOUR CONSULTATION 01252 714 985

Architectural Design Consultation
, Architectural Easter
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12th February 2018

Build Magazine’s Most Innovative Residential Designer of the Year

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12th February 2018
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Build Magazine brings its readers the latest need-to-know content and updates from across the global construction and property industries. They are often the go-to source for industry information and consumers trust their vendor reviews when searching for everything from an architect, to a finish builder for their existing home renovation or new home build. When to comes to the home design and building industry, Build Magazine is the leader in dependable news, information and advice.

Leading London Architectural Firm

As London’s leading home and building design firm, Lewis Visuals provides our clients with relevant, up to date home designs that are both professional and innovative. We focus on the needs of our clients and on creating home designs they can live with. Our service oriented focus has gained us numerous industry awards including:

  • IoD’s 2017 London and the South-East Director of the Year Awards Finalist
  • AI Global Excellence Awards Most Outstanding Design and Build Company 2016
  • BEFA’s Best Service Based Company 2017
  • BEFA’s Finalist for Best CEO 2017
  • Houzz Best of Houzz Client Satisfaction 2017
  • Build’s Most Innovative Designers in the UK 2016
  • Build’s Best Design and Construction Company in Surrey 2016
  • BEFA’s Best Female Entrepreneur in Europe and the Middle East 2016
  • Build’s Best Design and Construction Company in Surrey 2015
  • WICE Best Female Architectural Technologist in Europe 2015
  • FSB’s Best Business Person of the Year in Surrey 2015

One award we are particularly proud of is Build Magazine’s Most Innovative Residential Designer of the Year Award. As a small design firm, this means a lot to every member of our team. Our hard work and diligence has paid off and the industry is taking note. We are very pleased to accept this award and we have made it our mission to continue providing the same high levels of service that have earned us this award.

For more information or a design consultation with a local architect, call Lewis Visuals today on: 01252 714 985 or email us at: admin@lewisvisuals.co.uk.

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