Olga’s views makes news in Fleet Street

CLIENT: Private
VALUE: £40,000
LOCATION: Central London
DURATION: 2 months
PROJECT TYPE: Full refurbishment
PROJECT MANAGER: Tahir Akram

“I’d happily work with them again and I’d definitely recommend them to my friends.”

As an interior designer Olga had a vision for a modestly proportioned apartment and she called on Battersea Builders to bring it to life for her.

It’s situated in Fleet Street, a thoroughfare that until recently was the centre of the newspaper world. But now the journalists have moved out and in-the-know residents are starting to move in. As Olga comments “It’s a central location in London that’s good for business people.”

The apartment wasn’t immediately attractive. “It was in a horrible state, you couldn’t live there,” says Olga, “It had no kitchen, just a sink, all the pipe work would have to re-done and the layout was completely wrong.” But she remained optimistic. “I would have to change everything. I had to use a lot of imagination but then I’m an interior designer so I would be doing the design work myself.”

At this crucial point she shared her vision with Battersea Builders.

“I’d had five quotes but after my first meeting with Tahir Akram, the project manager I liked the company – they were very nice, helpful and responsive and, importantly, very competitive on prices.”

Tahir comments, “It was a pleasure working with Olga, she had great initial ideas but she looked to us to support her through the design stage. She needed to know what was possible structurally in what was a very old building”

Throughout the project Olga got on well with Tahir.

“I felt very comfortable working with him. He understood what I wanted and would often negotiate prices down for me.”

Tahir adds, “ We advised her to retain some of the walls for the structure’s sake but this also had the effect of reducing the cost”

However many of the interior walls were demolished and the old-fashioned and leaky piping was cut out. “ But we kept traditional features like the windows,” Olga adds, “This was based on my designs but with the help of Battersea Builders who would tell me what was realistic and what was not.”

“Technically the project was very challenging,” Tahir comments, “Elements like the pocket doors, fitting the bathroom and installing the electrics were particularly challenging. Access for materials in a busy side street was difficult. And the apartment was at the top of a 100 year old building – so we had to treat it with a lot of care”

The refurbishment progressed smoothly thanks to the regular meeting of creative and more practical minds. “I would meet them once a week on site to clarify and double-check things.” Olga says, “They would help me with the structural issues like pipes and insulation. They knew all about the fire and electrical regulations.”

Often the discussions turned to Olga’s innovative ideas. Room in the apartment was limited so her plans included a guest bed that folded into the wall but Battersea Builders also provided some space-saving magic. “In the bathroom they suggested hiding the system in the walls and a cupboard behind the mirror – that’s why it looks so flash”, says Olga.

She was just as impressed with the overall finish. “Their tradesmen did an excellent job. They were craftsmen and things like the spashback they did in the kitchen is just amazing.”

Tahir comments, “As with all our projects we saw our role as enabling Olga to realise what was possible and helping her create her dream.”

The completed apartment works beautifully. Olga’s imagination has produced great views in every room and the use of space is incredible. In realising her vision in such a stylish way Battersea Builders have added value to the entire project. Olga is impressed. ‘They finished the job on budget based on what they quoted. In the end I changed a couple of things but they’re very nice guys and calmly coped with it”, she says. “They took a lot of stress off my shoulders. With construction work like this it’s best to deal with one person. Tahir structured the whole process and it proved you don’t need to sub-contract – one team can do everything.”