Design, insight and project management working together are the hallmarks of one local property design and project management business.
Clara Bee provides all the creative professional support you would expect of a successful property design and project management business – and much, much more.“We’re not just about helping people to choose colours and wallpaper,” explains co-owner Claire Burrage. “We help our clients to see the potential in their properties – inside and out – then give them the confidence to realise it.
“That’s only the beginning of course, and taking big ideas from paper to reality can seem daunting – especially for busy professional people. I think that’s where we really come into our own. Our experience, local knowledge and trusted network of local suppliers all come together to ensure the reality is not just trouble free, but enjoyable.”
Judging by the effusive praise rained down on Clara Bee by delighted clients, this Balham success story has substance as well as style. This is a business that delivers.
A recent project in Tooting offers a case in point. A rental property, it was in a poor state of repair and, short of time, the client was focused on cosmetic improvement. “It’s totally understandable,” points out co-owner and project management specialist, Trevor. “Sometimes we all need a fresh perspective to see value, even when it’s under our noses.”
In this case, Clara Bee saw an opportunity to undertake a bigger project, but one that would deliver significant returns – converting the original 2.5 bedroom house to a four-bed, three-bathroom property.
The result? Rental income tripled and the overall asset value rose from £430,000 to £950,000 – a far cry from a lick of paint.
This eye for opportunity, clever design and a flair for getting the most out of any space is, however, only part of the story. A streamlined, repeatable process – one that is proven to deliver results time and again – is the true heart of Clara Bee’s success.
“Design is my passion, and the creative touches are what often catch the eye, but our clients want to know what they are getting, not rely only on one-off inspiration,” Claire explains. “That’s where the marriage of creative and project management is so important.
“It’s the framework on which the creative ideas can grow but which ensures that the client’s needs, objectives and budget remain absolutely front and centre,” Trevor continues. “It’s also the reason all our clients get a recognisable Clara Bee experience, whether we’re managing a side return extension, handling a garden redesign or helping with something simpler, like a bespoke carpentry project.”
With any major capital project, control is of course vital – control of budgets, specifications and timescales. This is again an area where Clara Bee has excelled over the years.
The secret to that success, according to Trevor, is disarmingly simple. “The single most important aspect of any project is the time spent preparing. Scoping projects properly gives a real understanding of the funding required prior to kick-off,” he says.
This, he points out, is vital to ensuring the agreed budget is used and managed effectively during the build stage, and to minimise the risk of specification change, overspend and delays.
Trevor concludes, “Clients may only undertake a sizeable project once every ten years, so it makes absolute sense to bring in people like us who do this month in month out and can help achieve it all faster, more easily and more cost effectively, all based on a structured client-centric process.”