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Business News: Inner visions
For the Allsop family, their dreams were made true by DMB Solutions
Mitsie and Marc Allsop moved into their Hove home five years ago. Their search for a new home had proved to be a long journey. They had looked at over 40 properties before being shown their current home, and on first glance they were ready to reject it along with the others. Mitsie tells the story: “From the front it looked so tiny, a new build in a very traditional cottage style. To be honest we were about to dismiss it, despite it ticking so many of the boxes that we wanted ticked, especially the lovely secluded location that was still so close to the city centre. When we walked inside, though, we knew right away that this would be our new home. With four bedrooms, a garage and vast amounts of really unexpected living space it was perfect for us all.
“We have lived here for about five years now, and happy as we were with the property we had always thought about expanding the living area in a quite dramatic way.
“The property already had a conservatory across the back but that was not really what we wanted – we had a vision of a large open space that retained the height and opened our home right up onto our garden. The conservatory we realised wasn’t functional, but we were also aware that as the property is in a conservation area there would be both restrictions and challenges. But that said, we had our hearts set on getting rid of the conservatory and having that one big, open space.”
Having decided exactly what they wanted, and with a clear vision and a determination to get exactly that, they set about finding a builder who could do the work for them in the way that they wanted it done, and to their exacting standards. It proved to be a difficult task.
“We saw a string of builders but the answer was always the same. What we wanted was not going to be possible, the engineering was impossible, the steels required would be too big; all in all, they sought to offer us a compromise.”
Compromise was not, however, part of the Allsop vocabulary, and they continued to search. Eventually, Marc found DMB Solutions by looking at websites for local building companies.
“We met with James Powell of DMB and immediately knew that he could see the potential that we could see. He came out and looked at the space and did a proper survey, he got an engineer involved and very soon they said that they could achieve what we wanted and for a better budget and offering far better value. We saw that James has a great sense of how a space can work and excellent design ideas. He managed to find a way to retain the height of the space by modifying the structural engineering – in simple terms, he managed to find a way to give us what we wanted and make that dream come true.”
So did DMB undertake the whole process?
“They did all of the structural work, plastering, flooring and the decor. We already had people that we wanted to use for the garden decking outside and the built-in furniture, and to their credit DMB worked with those companies very openly and very well, to get the very best result for us. I'm not sure that you would get that kind of co-operation from most builders. They made the whole process as seamless as possible.
“In terms of schedule, there were one or two hold ups, but even with Christmas on the horizon they pulled out all the stops to make sure that we had a comfortable living space in which to enjoy the holidays.
“Up until then of course we basically had to live upstairs, as the works were on such a large scale, with the giant steels having to be lifted by crane over our roof and into the garden behind.
“They were excellent, too, at keeping us updated weekly with progress reports, and sent an email schedule and plans for the upcoming days. They were very open in those progress reports and never hid away any possible delays.
“Most impressively, everything came in absolutely on budget and we were blown away by that. You always have a contingency plan but the fact that we didn’t need to use it meant that we could really have what we wanted when it came to the built-in furniture and the quality decking.
“We had seen testimonials and pictures of work DMB Soutions had done on their website and we were impressed by that – but now having had them work in our home we are more than impressed. It’s a great team and you need that as you have to live with them, every day, for months. They were respectful of our privacy and our home, they worked cleanly and we really felt that we could trust every one of them.
“The moment we got word that they could start we also got the news that our youngest son could have some much needed surgery. They were wonderful with him, and given the needs of a three and a half year old who had just had both legs in full plaster casts and could not walk, they were so lovely with him, and we were so glad that we did not postpone the work – or the surgery.
“All in all we are thrilled with the result. James Powell and his team of professionals at DMB Solutions have delivered our vision to a standard, a budget and a time scale that is truly impressive.”
Impressive it is, too. The work has clearly been executed to a very high standard with no compromises to that clean lined vision. It is a masterpiece of modern building that blends seamlessly into the existing structure, looking for all the world like it is part of the original design. Beautiful bi-fold doors open right back to engage the interior with deck and garden beyond. A large modern hearth offers another focal point and the large L-shaped space is versatile; space to lounge, to dine, to play and to simply relax looking out onto the garden. It is, in summary, a very beautiful home occupied by a very happy family.
DMB Solutions, 48 Borough Street, Brighton,