Simon Opens Doors

Simon Opens Doors

open door 2011.jpg

First of all, belated thanks to everyone who “hired” me for last year’s Open Door weekend. Fast becoming a staple in every architect’s annual calendar, the Simon Open Door weekend, for those who don’t know, is where home-owners pay a charity donation for an hour’s consultation with an RIAI architect to advise them on all kinds of aspects of their home and what they can do with it. Very well run and very well publicised, it is one of the main opportunities for small architects like me to show people what we do and how we do it.

In my case, I made the decision in my first year of doing Open Door that I would take the show on the road and do all my consultations in the “client’s” houses. The first year I did it (2010), a couple got away but I’m glad to say last year all my “clients” got to avoid having to print out loads of photos and spend a Friday night taking measurements of the living room. Avoiding that hassle is handy, but the big benefit for the client is that with me on site we can get straight down to business… In fact, it was as a result of doing this on Simon Open Door that I decided to start all prospective jobs with a free on-site “ideas and advice” session.

What I really like about the Open Door is its rare status as a win-win-win-win situation. For me - apart from the warm feeling of doing a good deed - it can lead to paying work: which I like! and it also gives me access to different houses and different householders – helping me keep my eye in… For the client it gives them a wealth of ideas and information, a feel for what an architect can do for them and the all important feel good factor of giving to a good cause. For the RIAI it brings goodwill and publicity for the role of architects in the home improvement scene. And for Simon it brings goodwill, publicity and a nice slice of dough. And everybody’s happy.

Last year I called out to a number of different and interesting houses, with issues discussed ranging from dodgy front porches to the aesthetic values of 1950’s glazed doors and tiled fireplaces, to all kinds of alteration, extension and storage options, including building a shed for restoring cars, via the discovery of a little slice of 60’s Scandinavia tucked out of sight in Monkstown…

And this year I’m hoping to put a different slant on things by finding some apartment owners to sign up and explore their options for improving their space. The booking site goes live on March 5th until just before the event itself, so if you have an apartment and want to know what you can do, and help a good cause, just click here to book a consultation.

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small spaces is a one-man architectural practice dedicated to helping people find the best way to add space to their home, or to make the most of what they’ve got. You can find out more here.