West Midlands: The next ‘Grand Designs’ hotspot?

The head of a boutique architects practice reckons that the West Midlands is well on its way to becoming the next big ‘Grand Designs’ hotspot.


Grand Design Eco House

Vic Johnson, founder of Johnson Design Partnership (JDP) in Bridgnorth, believes the region’s mix of rural locations, easy travel links to the big urban centres and a wealth of unique buildings are proving an enticing offer for people looking to create their dream homes.

His company is currently working on six projects that fit the ‘Grand Designs’ theme and range from a once-in-a-lifetime challenge to create living space in a redundant water tower to converting a Grade 2 Listed building into seven residential properties.

This is the largest number in the practice’s eleven year-history and is worth a total £2.5m construction cost.

Vic picked up the story: “There certainly seems to be a growing desire to create dream homes, probably fuelled by the popular Channel 4 TV programme and the fact you don’t pay VAT on new builds.

“The West Midlands is an ideal place to make this happen. We have some fantastic buildings that have great potential and the fact you can be in a beautiful rural setting whilst only being 15 minutes drive away from a big city is a real selling point.”

He continued: “Our current projects are for a mix of local people and individuals looking to move into the area – a telling indication of the region’s growing popularity.”

JDP has built an enviable track record for originality and creativity in design, two attributes that have led to the surge in demand for its services.

The architects work with each client on developing the initial idea, securing planning permission, scoping out the full design and then, in some cases, helping to project manage the build/refurbishment.

It also ensures that each project fully explores eco-friendly building materials and techniques, with some recent examples being the installation of wood chip boilers, passive solar heating and lightweight cladding.

Matt Spinks, Director at JDP, continued: “Every one we undertake is different, but we always apply the same exhaustive design process including replicating everything in 3D CAD and physical modeling.

“The aim is to turn a property into a dream home with all the latest features, from open plan kitchens, bi-folding doors and snugs to games rooms and master bedrooms that epitomise comfort and style.

“Maximising the garden is one of the more recent trends, with as much time and investment spent on the outdoors as you would usually put aside for the indoors.”

He went on to add: “These ‘Grand Designs’ really help put the Midlands on the map for innovative architecture and we are taking them to London to win an increasing amount of work in the Capital.”

For further information, visit www.johnsonltd.co.uk or contact 01746 768191.