Time for making changes?

  1. How long does it take to get drawings done?
  2. How long does planning permission take?
  3. Can I start building without permission?
  4. How long should building work take?
  5. How long will an extension or house take from beginning to end?
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Listed Buildings

It goes without saying that Architects love buildings, and the built environment more generally. The Architecture of every age has distinctive characteristics and it is fantastic to see good examples of these protected by giving them Listed Building status.

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Concept to Construction

We're excited to see that many of our projects are moving rapidly from concept to construction.  Whilst the statutory consent process can be slow, a number of exciting home extensions are now moving onto site, just a few months after designs were first produced.  It is an extremely satisfying process listen to a client's idea, design a solution, and then see it begin to come to life.  We like to ensure clients enjoy the process, but the ultimate test is of course when the client begins to enjoy the finished product.

From our base in Dalkeith, we have quick access to a wide geographical area.  The majority of our work has always been in Edinburgh and Midlothian, but we are increasingly working in West and East Lothian, in the Scottish Borders, and further afield.  We take great pleasure in helping people with alterations and improvements to their homes, as well as larger extensions and development projects.

Many of the projects currently moving on to site are high quality home extensions.  We have worked closely with our clients to agree a solution that meets their needs, but also hope that it will offer an improvement to their quality life.  As construction work begins on these projects, it is a delight to see our clients begin to inhabit the new spaces in their minds.

We have also seen a few projects reach completion recently, allowing our clients to inhabit their new spaces more literally.  Returning to visit them after this is a great pleasure and gives us motivation to do just as well on the next project.

Architect in the Hoose

We are delighted to be participating in Architect in the Hoose for another year.

This RIAS scheme gives people an hour-long consultation with an Architect for a nominal donation to charity.  We've been part of this since it started and have found it to be a great way for clients to get past the initial apprehension about approaching an Architect.  In previous years, this has given some  clients the confidence to go ahead with the project, and it has been nice to see these come to fruition. If you know someone who's thinking of making changes to their home, please let them know about it.

Architect in the House 2016

Architect in the House 2016

Hi, I'm Douglas Strachan - Chartered Architect

An extension to a family home in a Conservation Area.

An extension to a family home in a Conservation Area.

Imagination & Inspiration

I was born in Penicuik, and, like many kids, enjoyed creating my own world with Lego.  Growing up, my imagination was captured by disused industrial and agricultural buildings. I remember playing in them (before health and safety) and imagining what they could become. One such building was converted into an Architect's office in time for my school's work experience week, and my fate was sealed!

Experience & Understanding

I studied in Edinburgh, where I developed my interest in how people influence their surroundings. It is also a great place to help people with making improvements to their homes, many of which are listed or in conservation areas. There is a great satisfaction in seeing a building get a new lease of life and ensuring it better meets the demands of modern living.

Regeneration & Communication

I live in Dalkeith,  where my wife and I are raising a family. I chose to set up my office locally to be close to home and contribute to the community. I have therefore been active in local social enterprises to address the need for community facilities. I remain passionate about the re-use of existing buildings and enjoy helping people to improve, renovate and regenerate their homes.

Students' Communal Spaces Approved

We are delighted that our proposals for multifunctional communal spaces have just been approved by the planning department.  The ground floors of two student accommodation blocks will be transformed to include places to cook, eat and relax together, as well as spaces for projects and workshop facilities.   

A range of project spaces, workshops and facilities, arranged around a central multifunctional area.

A range of project spaces, workshops and facilities, arranged around a central multifunctional area.

The proposals are for Edinburgh Student Housing Cooperative - a group of pioneering students who came together to save money by sharing accomodation costs.  In doing so, they formed a community, and are developing a microculture and shared vision for long-term sustainability.  Regenerating these spaces will be a physical manifestation of this, and opportunity to foster further growth.

Participatory design sessions, aimed at fostering consensus, were key to developing the proposals.

Participatory design sessions, aimed at fostering consensus, were key to developing the proposals.


In developing a brief, we worked with a group of around twenty of the 106 members, listening to a range of ideas and helping to balance priorities. We consolidated the various desired uses into coherent but flexible layouts, grouping similar activities and ensuring each space has an individual identity to encourage cross-usage between the blocks.

It has been an absolute pleasure to work with the Coop so far, and we very much look forward to seeing the project realised on site.

Modern Family Living

Happy new year!

When families get together over Christmas, they get a concentrated view of how well their homes meet their needs.  This makes it a great time to reflect on the demands of modern family living. Whilst every project is unique, this is a recurrent theme.

It is a privilidge to meet and get to know so many families in their homes.  In order to help, it is important to understand how they live and what their needs are.  Embracing and reflecting the individual characteristics of each family is critical to the success of any design, but there is, of course, some commonality between projects. Recognising this, is recognising that family life is changing.

One notable example is a change in emphasis towards the Kitchen.  Many existing houses include only a small preparation room, or Scullery, with a separate dining space.  Modern families spend time in the Kitchen; cooking, eating and relaxing there. This requires it to be larger and more open to other spaces. 

This project featured an enlarged family kitchen and an  improved connection with the garden.

This project featured an enlarged family kitchen and an  improved connection with the garden.

There is an increasing desire for houses to include multiple living spaces and for these to connect with each other, including with the garden.  It is now more common for children to have separate rooms and for families to have multiple bathrooms.  As expectations of comfort levels increase, energy efficiency becomes paramount, and our aging population makes future-proofing eminently important.

All of the above are the result of incremental socio-economic changes, especially in the twentieth century.  It is therefore logical for older properties to require upgrades to remain in use, and this is particularly relavent to listed buildings.  Remarkably, many homes currently being built by house-builders also fail to meet the demands of modern living. Fortunately they are generally quite easy to make alterations to, with the help of a friendly Architect!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

We would like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and all the very best for the new year.  2014 has been another great year for us and we are very much looking forward to progressing all of our projects in 2015, as well as embracing all the new opportunities we hope the new year will bring.

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Gordon joins the team in time for our 2nd birthday!

Happy Birthday to us!

We were delighted to welcome Gordon Brown to our growing team in September.  He brings a rich experience of both Architecture and Construction Management, having worked on both sides of the industry. 

This enhances our commitment to providing a friendly and straightforward service throughout the whole process of design and construction.  Gordon also shares our passion for community-based design, and will be extending our existing involvement in this field to include his home town of Penicuik.

This addition to the team comes in time to celebrate two years as a local practice in Dalkeith.  Our High Street office, overlooking the Buccleugh, has become a centre of collaboration for Architecture and the other designers working here.  Gordon now joins us in this, and we look forward to building on these and many many other relationships for our mutual benefit and for that of our clients.