When Richard and Sarah Haywood bought their semi-detached home they always knew an extension was on the cards. The house’s dated and traditional style, with individual rooms for cooking, eating and relaxing, was not for them. ‘We wanted the main living space to be open-plan,’ said Richard. ‘We also wanted a playroom, where we could keep all the kids’ toys hidden away.’ They decided on a rear extension, which stretched the full width of the property, to accommodate a large kitchen, dining and living space and a front extension to give their two daughters a much-needed playroom to keep clutter at bay.
Kantec was one of a number of building companies that the Haywoods invited to tender for the project, and it was our organised and efficient approach that eventually won us the job. ‘They were very professional and organised, which filled us with confidence,’ said Richard. ‘I thought that Kantec’s quote would be higher than the others, because they seemed so much more professional, but we were pleasantly surprised when they came back somewhere in the middle.’
While many clients choose to live at home while building works are taking place, or evacuate the premises completely, the Haywoods did a bit of both. Sarah and the children lived in the house while Richard was working in Paris during the week and returning to the property on the weekends. ‘I would’ve preferred to be there the whole time’ said Richard, ‘but the team were really understanding of the whole situation.’ Sarah would update Richard with photos and phone calls throughout the week and he would email Mac Sulewski, the project coordinator, with any concerns.
‘I don’t know the normal amount of emails Mac gets from a client,’ said Richard, ‘but I was probably somewhere near the top of that list. I like to keep on top of things and know that everyone understands what’s going on. They always replied to us quickly with really good answers. Anything that we weren’t clear on, they helped to make it clear.’ On the weekends Richard was able to assess the progress and feedback any questions or concerns to the build team.
The process worked well for all involved, and even when a sewer was found too close to the foundations, requiring the input of a structural engineer and additional works, Richard’s confidence in Kantec didn’t waver. ‘It was something they couldn’t have predicted,’ said Richard. ‘They handled it really well and came up with solutions rather than adding to the problem.’
Richard has only recently finished working in Paris, but the rest of the family have been enjoying living in their completed home for a while. ‘I think they were extremely happy when they moved back into the space,’ said Richard. ‘For five months they’d been living pretty much in the front room. We had boxes stacked in corners and the kids only had about four toys they could play with. When it was finally finished, it was phenomenal. Everyone’s very happy.’
And now he’s been able to enjoy it for himself, he said the space has really made a difference to the family’s everyday lives. ‘It’s fantastic. We can all be in the room doing our own things. The children have their own playroom and we’ve got the big doors so it’s very light and bright.’
Although he admits to still looking at properties online, Richard hasn’t seen anything that comes close to the custom living space they’ve already got. ‘We have the house exactly as we want it,’ he said, ‘to suit our family and our needs.’ That said, he’s still got plans for further improvements. ‘If we ever get round to doing phase two, which is putting in another bathroom and going into the loft space, we’d definitely contact Kantec,’ said Richard. ‘We’d request the same team of builders too, because they really went above and beyond and were such a big help. They even mounted the TV for us! We were really happy with them.’