Janine Stone’s Jeremy Spencer on the secret to achieving creative harmony

Jeremy Spencer of Janine Stone on the secret to achieving creative harmony when building or transforming a house.

The beautiful houses created by William Kent, Robert Adam, Sir Edwin Lutyens and Frank Lloyd Wright owe their coherence to the fact that the same hand was responsible for every last detail, inside and out. Increasingly, architects and interior designers are recognising the importance of working collaboratively to ensure a similar coherence in their work.

The team at Janine Stone has a long experience working on a wide range of projects, from refurbishment to newbuilds. At the heart of these is a collaborative spirit that ensures they are seamlessly delivered.

Jeremy Spencer of Janine Stone shares with Giles Kime, Country Life’s Executive Editor, the secret to achieving creative harmony when building or transforming a house.

Who are the key specialists in a project?

Much depends on the nature of the project and the contractors working on it. As a multidisciplinary practice, Janine Stone is lucky enough to have a number of specialists under one roof — architects, interior designers, quantity surveyors, as well as a head of construction and a head of programming, who manages the scheduling of projects. We also have trusted relationships with structural, mechanical and electrical engineers, plus landscape designers.

The result is that there is seamless communication between all our teams and a common goal of delivering the best possible outcome to a client. From a timing perspective, it can also mean that we are able to speed up every stage of a project, avoiding lengthy and protracted design, planning and delivery.

A single architect’s vision was behind the great country houses of the past, such as William Kent’s Holkham Hall, Holkham, Norfolk.

Why is collaboration so key to the success of a project?

If you look at Britain’s greatest country houses, designed by architects such as Kent, Adam and Lutyens, they were the result of one single vision. This created buildings that are coherent and function perfectly. Because of the relative complexity of 21st-century buildings, it has been necessary to involve many more skills, so the design and delivery of projects have become increasingly fragmented.

However, that single vision is what we also aim to deliver at Janine Stone and the benefits are significant, not only in terms of the logistics, but also the aesthetics and quality of a building and the lifestyle it offers.

How does collaboration benefit the design of a building?

Everyone involved in a project will have different priorities, whether the house’s external elevations, the way it relates to its surroundings (both externally and internally), the configuration of its interior, the lighting and the style of its decoration.

It’s only through effective collaboration that these can be effectively balanced.

What is the secret to achieving excellent collaboration?

Essentially, it’s down to effective communication and a shared responsibility for every aspect of a project. All the constituent parts of a project are integral and affect one another to a greater or lesser extent, so full transparency is vital.

Today, coherence can be achieved through good collaboration among professionals

What are the other benefits of working with a multidisciplinary practice?

For the client, working with a multidisciplinary practice means that there are fewer relationships to manage. Instead, they are afforded the luxury of having only one point of contact, who has oversight of an entire project.

Janine Stone & Co specialises in building and renovating great houses, incorporating architecture, interior design and construction management, and has been providing Country Life with insights and expertise on different elements of newbuild and renovation projects through this regular ‘Masterclass’ series. To speak with Janine Stone & Co, please telephone 020–7349 8888 or visit www.janinestone.com

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