...a little bit about Hub

Michael, Hub looks like it has been busy. Who is on the team? Are you quite big?

Quite the opposite. In essence, Hub is me. Despite what you might think looking at the projects that the company has delivered, Hub is not a large team operating out of a swanky office with private parking and a range of different flavoured coffees on tap, it's me working really hard for bold clients who want to maximise their budgets. I started my career as a draughtsman and worked my way up large architect firms across the north east. I prefer staying light and nimble these days.

Some people are quite daunted by the idea of commissioning an architectural designer. It sounds expensive.

This is something I come across quite a lot and there's a few ways of looking at it. Firstly, you don't need me if you are planning on buying a house that already exists. You choose to live in the space and constraints that someone else has provided, you fit the space. However, if you do involve a designer and build your own home, or adapt a space, you are essentially creating a space to fit you. What is the value of that to you and your family? That's an interesting question to think about and there's no right or wrong answer. A lot of my clients believe that the cost of a space that is not fit for purpose is higher than the cost of creating one that is.

Secondly, if we approach the project right, we really can design my fee out of the project. That may be due to careful selection of materials, or approaching a design or build aspect in a different way that reduces costs, or designing in energy saving features that will save money and recoup costs over a certain time frame. There's different ways of looking at it, but really it boils down to the value that an architectural designer can bring to a project versus the alternative. In Hub's case, because I enjoy operating as a very tight unit, I find that clients can expect to set aside 2 to 2.5% of the total project budget for design fees (including planning and building regs).

Do you have a design philosophy or approach to your projects?

I don't come from a particular 'school of thought' as I prefer to be adaptable. It goes without saying that quality and integrity are fundamental Hub values, as you would expect with any professional you employ, however I also want the whole experience to be enjoyable and dare I say it, fun! Designing and building your own home is a massive chapter in your life and I work very closely with my clients over very intimate decisions about how they want to live their lives. It's important that we get on and the more enjoyable the experience the better the result.


Michael hard at work converting a Methodist chapel into his own home