Couple making dream homes come true
And since 2007 a small company based in Chorley having been bringing such dreams to life, making the most exclusive grand designs for a select band of clients.
SDA Architecture Ltd has been winning awards for their innovative, ‘Grand Designs’ style properties, designing and remodelling homes across Lancashire and beyond.
Tucked away in Chorley town centre, SDA is led by husband and wife team Simon and Katie Lewis-Pierpoint and later this year celebrates a decade in the business.
Katie puts SDA’s success down to an inventive service which concentrates as much on the people it assists as the properties it builds.
“We can help them as much or as little as they like,” said Katie, a former student at Wigan’s Winstanley College.
“The thing to remember is that it is a slog, it really is a battle, especially if you’ve got a site within a green belt or something like that. It might even be a case where a client has been to other practices and failed or has been told that there’s absolutely no chance of achieving their dream. When they’ve come to us downhearted and fed up with the venture, there’s then no better feeling than handing them their approval notice.”
As a bespoke chartered practice SDA does not have the capacity to deliver multiple projects week-after-week so they gives careful consideration to all commissions.
And while the company caters for a range of budgets, their knack for the spectacular has absorbed the interests of celebrities and dignitaries alike.
So, just who are these Lancashire-based VIPs?
Well, if she told us that, she’d have to ‘kill us’.
“We have had famous clients, yes, and people who are in the public eye but that’s as much as I am allowed to say. We’ve done a couple of things abroad – such as holiday homes in Greece – but we’ve not got anything overseas at the moment.”
As glamorous as this continental construction may sound, there can be one or two drawbacks.
“There can be a language barrier and legal issues so while we do do things for existing clients, our bread and butter is high end residential properties in this country. We would much rather create amazing properties in the UK.”
SDA has worked alongside the great and the good and whether it’s an oligarch’s play pen or a local couple’s fantasy fixer-upper, the company’s support package is just as bespoke as its properties.
“It just depends what the client wants,” said Katie. “We tailor our services to each respective clients’ needs. We have got some instances where we do a massive amount of work for £250,000, and then we have got some clients who have set aside more than £1m, so it all depends on the client’s budget really.”
However, selecting a favourite from such an array of award winning work is not easy; having enjoyed them all, Katie admits it’s a tough ask to pick just one.
“I think we get the best sense of achievement from the ones where it really matters to the client, where it’s a real life-changing thing for them.”
And it’s that attitude that has secured the firm a ‘Best Customer Service’ gong at this year’s Houzz Awards. With prizes for concept design and residential architecture practice at the Northern Design Awards last year, the planning permission for their trophy cabinet may take longer to process than some of their ongoing projects.
The company prides itself on its customisation with each project inherent to the individual footing the bill.
“It’s this personal connection that mark SDA properties out not just from the company’s competitors, but from one another.
“Our projects are really different,” said Katie, “for instance, you wouldn’t look at a property and think that it had been done by SDA; there’s no one style that is consistent.
“We’ve had some that are completely contemporary, white rendered or glass exteriors, to ones of stone with a natural material pallet; we’ve even had some underground.
“There’s just no two the same which is what we like as they’re all uniquely tailored to each client’s brief. There’s no two clients the same so there’s no two properties the same.”
And, similarly, there are no two marriages the same. You certainly couldn’t accuse the Lewis-Pierpoints of not spending enough time in each other’s company. Simon and Katie met as children, with their business subsequently blossoming alongside their relationship.
“Some of our friends think we’re mad but we enjoy it,” said Katie.
“We’ve grown up together so it’s weird for us not to be doing things together. There’s no real cross over – at work we’re fellow directors and at home we’re husband and wife.
“We always make joint decisions. Anything that has a big impact on the business or our personal lives we’ve both got to be comfortable with it to go forward.
“It’s a different mindset; when we go to work we’re focused on that and when we’re at home we’re a family.”
But in what kind of establishment do ‘dream home makers’ reside?
Discretion, ironically, is how the Lewis-Pierpoints like to keep things domestically.
“Our house is very subtle from the outside, it’s not ostentatious at all.
It was an existing building that we kind of took back to the bare bones before extending so it is now two and a half times as big as it was originally.
“It’s very in keeping with its surroundings but when you come inside, the space is really specific to us and there’s a lot more to it than you might expect.”
In keeping with their intrinsic ambition, the couple are keen to increase the scale of their operation.
To that end, two new recruits have recently joined the fold on the project management side of the business, and that’s not all.
The pair have also purchased new, larger offices in Chorley town centre – though the move will have to wait until the completion of a small-scale refurbishment, naturally.
Enigmatic, yet evolutionary; as this model company displaces and develops, Katie and Simon will continue to futuristically alter Lancashire’s landscape, architectural masterpiece by architectural masterpiece.