“THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF ANY PROJECT IS THE TIME SPENT PREPARING”
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 Southfields demonstrates the value of fresh perspective, experience and a little common sense.
Property owner, Alastair, was planning a refurbishment encompassing a ground floor and garden redevelopment, and was keen to extend into the basement too. A dizzying array of consultants was assembled to help analyse feasibility and the various risks. But fees were in danger of spiralling out of control and Alastair was facing months of exploratory work costing at least £20,000.
“Soon there was enough information available for Alastair to make an informed decision on how best to proceed,” said co-owner and project management specialist, Trevor. “But it needed someone to take a step back and offer a bit of clarity.”
In consultation with Trevor, Alastair agreed that the basement component was simply not viable. As a result, his budget was protected against tens of thousands in unforeseen and potentially futile costs, and he was able to redirect this money to get a more focused project
off the ground.
Alastair explained: “Clara Bee saved the day. They helped us to take a step back and look at the whole situation afresh. They really helped to speed up and take the risk out of the whole project. I can’t recommend them highly enough.”
This flair for getting the most out of the client’s investment 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 on one-off inspiration,” Claire explains. That’s where the marriage of creative and project management is so
“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 of 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 minimising 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 based on a structured clientcentric process.”