Cornwall LivingIssue #65
Design for life
RA Design is an architectural services practice that has Cornwall and family at its heart.
Chris and his brother-in-law Tom, the talented duo behind RA Design, have their roots firmly based in Cornwall. Chris is a Porthleven boy, with a Cornish family tree going back generations. “It was my uncle that got me into architecture,” says Chris. “Under his tutelage I learned my skill before moving on to another local firm in St Ives.” Brother-in-law Tom then joined the same firm as part of a rehabilitation programme after he had a brain tumour removed. What started as a voluntary position soon became a career as Tom also realised that design was his vocation. Sadly, ill health forced their boss and mentor to retire and in 2009 Chris and Tom had the opportunity to take over the business. They did, and the rest is history.
“… we balance our work with quality time spent with our families and giving back to the community as much as we can…”
The business has gone from strength to strength as they have put their unique stamp on the buildings they design. Clean lines and nautical-inspired angles create striking buildings that remain in-keeping and sympathetic to their surroundings. A recent project, for local furniture and lighting designer Tom Raffield, caught the eye of design guru Kevin McCloud and was featured on Grand Designs last year to great acclaim.
But Chris and Tom don’t just do large single, build projects. “For us, it’s about making a house a home and that can often mean a small extension rather than a rebuild. We love to work on these smaller projects, watching family homes reach their full potential,” enthuses Tom. The pair has a diverse portfolio including out-of-county projects or clients looking to build in the Duchy and wanting to instruct a local design team for either a new home or a holiday home renovation.
RA Design can take on the entire process from designs and surveys through to building regulations and planning applications, and is a Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists registered practice. They can even recommend a builder from a carefully chosen list of preferred partners. After an initial consulation, Chris and Tom will help you achieve the home you have always wanted and with fixed price fees you can be safe in the knowledge that you won’t have to spend a penny more than you need to. The office is run by Chris’ wife Lucy, proving that family is at the heart of everything they do.
Tom is undertaking his own ‘grand design’ project on his family home while Chris is kept busy with coaching a local youth football team, volunteering for the coastguard and helping with the Bickford-Smith Institute renovation project in Porthleven. “It’s all about work-life balance,” says Chris. “We love what we do and the joy on our clients’ faces when a build that we’ve designed comes to fruition is the greatest reward. But, we balance our work with quality time spent with our families and giving back to the community as much as we can.”
"... we balance our work with quality time spent with our families and giving back to the community as much as we can..."