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Building your dream home: what you need to know

Do you want to build your dream home, but need the confidence to take the plunge? We sat down with Gareth McFadden, Architect and Director of Ascot Design’s Mayfair office, to get his take on dipping your toes into becoming a private client with his design consultancy. The firm has a 20 year reputation in the industry for designing high-end residences with projects underway across the UK, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. With two other locations in Ascot, Berkshire and Knutsford, Cheshire, this RIBA chartered practise has over 50 talented designers with varying specialist skill sets, who can transform Pinterest board ideas into your actual dream home.

The process of commissioning a bespoke property feels overwhelming. Where should I start?

If there’s anything you take away from this piece, its that its never too early to approach us for a chat. It’s ideal if you come to us with a rough idea of budget in mind and a plot, but we can be engaged at any time. We can even give advice when you are considering purchasing land, or connect you with a trusted agent to source your perfect location.

I would also add that most of our work comes through trusted personal recommendations from our existing clients. Building long term partnerships with our community is central to our DNA as a design consultancy, and this relationship is built on trust and discretion. The team you meet when you come through our doors is the same lineup who will be by your side from concept to completion.

I’m inspired by homes I see online and in magazines, but I don’t have a clear idea of what I want. How does the creative process work?

We would love to see your Pinterest boards (there really are no bad ideas!). The front-end of the draft design process is quite focused on customer service. In addition to really listening to your vision, we will present you with concept options and tease out your ideas and lifestyle needs. We are most well known for our new builds, but we also re-imagine existing properties including listed historic sites.

The creative and detailed design process can be as involved and collaborative as you want it to be. It can be a really fun and rewarding experience to join you at a quarry to select the right materials for your project, but equally we can handle all the details if you’d rather take an approach that is “hands off”.

What can I expect from the process of taking the concept through to construction?

One of the major points of difference with our service is the option to walk through your design in virtual reality. In the pre-planning stage we can transform your plans into lifelike 3D renderings so you can experience your future home beyond the blueprints. Not only does this greatly enhance your excitement for your project, but it also allows you to scrutinise every detail of your plan and make adaptations before any broken ground. This results in a truly refined concept submitted for planning approval.

Most of out clients engage us on a full-service basis, to deliver the project from concept, to detailed design, through planning permission to appointing a builder and finishing touches. We have a “little black book” of trusted builders, interior and landscape designers, and other ancillary consultants shared with our clientele to ensure you have the right team on your side.


You’ve mentioned the importance of the relationship between your design and their private clients. Can you elaborate on that aspect?

As an architecture firm we’d like to think we’re ultra-exclusive, but approachable. We take the time to really get to know you, how you live and what you want from your property, because that makes the difference to producing a home that delivers beyond your vision. On a personal note, I am to become a trusted member of my private clients inner circles. I live the journey with you from concept sketches on the back of a napkin to handing over your keys.


Looking to design your own bespoke home?

Contact SWM for more information or an introduction to the Ascot team.

T: +44 7545 390 992 | @swmexclusive

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