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The view of waterfront Falmouth homes from the river with boats anchored in the foreground
Marraum Architects22-Jul-2021 10:40:003 min read


If you’re looking to transform an old property in Cornwall into a reimagined space, there are a few things to watch out for.

Renewing an old home, commercial building or other property can be easier said than done. Elevating a space and using it to capture the imaginations of its occupants is an exciting project, but it’s not without its catches.

Consider these points when contemplating a property transformation to ensure you don’t encounter any bugbears on your way.


1. Is the building in or near an Area of Natural Beauty?

Natural features, such as forested areas or bodies of water, play a vital role in enhancing a property’s sense of place. As such, it’s crucial that their integrity is maintained. Planning applications for properties that fall within an AONB’s jurisdiction are usually more closely examined and scrutinised than other applications, particularly in areas like Cornwall where natural beauty is watchfully preserved.

Sometimes, applications can be more problematic when they fall within designated areas. Save yourself time by contracting a reliable architect in Cornwall who can foresee and advise you on the likelihood of a successful transformation within an AONB.


2. Do original features require restoration?

Classic design features in an old property can lend the building some irreplaceable character. Original tiles, wooden beams and outdoor decorations all require upkeep to keep them looking sharp, so restoring these alongside adding new design features will enhance the personality of a building. Depending on the complexity of the old features, this can be tricky. However, an experienced architectural consultant can help you decide what to replace and what to restore.

There are some fantastic architects in Cornwall that will conduct a measured survey of the whole property, from foundations to external features that need some upkeep. This is vital for not only preserving these features but also restoring them when needed, as well as accounting for any potential hidden costs and drafting a realistic schedule.


3. Will you encounter hidden costs?

On that note, hidden costs are part and parcel of property transformations. They can crop up from unforeseen places, but a good architect in Cornwall will advise you on what you can expect. Still, it’s a good idea to have a contingency fund in place should additional costs rear their heads – which they most likely will.


4. Do you have a timeframe to work in?

If you’re on a tight schedule, expert planning is key. Draft a realistic plan that marries your expectations with the time you have – this will reduce stress and result in a wholesome transformation. Older properties are notorious for throwing up unforeseen problems, so it’s crucial that you set aside time in your schedule to allow for this.

Professional advice from a Cornwall architect will help you stay on top of time constraints, maximising your available time with thoughtful scheduling. Your architect should be with you every step of the way, from hearing your vision for the property to overseeing its transformation. The best architects are assets to a project and will be able to devise a realistic schedule that meets your needs.


5. Is the planning permission likely to be approved?

A major consideration – and the one on which all other considerations hinge – is the likelihood of your local council approving your application. An architectural consultant can advise you on the chances of approval but you must ensure your application is as strong as possible regardless.

Virtual Reality in architecture is a great tool in visualising a soon-to-be recrafted space. A comprehensive VR visualisation will not only help you to fully envision what the final product will look like, but also enhance your planning application. VR makes concepts more accessible for your local planning authority, giving them a full picture of what to expect and thus strengthening your application.


Property transformation with Cornwall architects

At Marraum, we bring your space’s story to life, capturing imaginations. We’d love to discuss your property transformation with you – sensitively and respectfully reimagining existing spaces and aligning them with your unique vision is what we do best. Meet our team to find out more about us and contact us to arrange a consultation





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