David Kemp and the whole DKA team enthusiastically stuck with our project from first concepts through to redesigning the custom picture rail hooks afterwards. From the overall concept to the minutest detail, DKA proposed, interacted, reworked and supported great outcomes throughout what, at times, was a very challenging build. We assembled the team of builder and contractors DKA proposed and DKA then worked closely with these highly skilled and design-committed people – always in close alignment with us as client.
Our flat, at the top of a late Georgian terrace had not had serious care for over 50 years. It was also void of original 19th century features. Complete re-plumbing and rewiring were essential, but first there needed to be an overall total rethink: electrics were aligned with 21st century electronics, waste pipes were reconfigured, rooms reconfigured and a fundamental problem solved.
One example illustrates the breadth of requirements DKA confronted and solved: fixing the damp of external walls. Ranging through restoring the fundamental fabric of the building to the most precise design detail of the new finish: external damp was cleverly eliminated with a modern membrane system and at the same time, a total reworking of the decaying hotch-potch of styles of skirting, picture rails and cornices turned a practical solution into a beautiful and consistent design throughout. The design also disguised the venting system (thus the need for special picture rail hooks).
We could go into similar detail on many other project areas from the reinforcement of the roof to stabilising ceilings to the careful location of the in-ceiling lighting. Each required interaction between architect, client, builder and contractors. As the build progressed, and the builder (Pat Plumstead) and contractors* came to the fore, DKA receded to a support role, but one where David Kemp was always ready to constructively join a client/builder/architect site meeting to solve a problem, propose or refine a clever design twist.
Because there was a plan, and a teamwork approach with the client, builder and specialist contractors, we didn’t chop and change or fall out with each other. The final result is a beautiful and subtle Art Deco-themed whole (with a dash of Memphis spice) that is loyal to its early 20th century conversion to a flat, yet enhances the conservation of a late Georgian building – and also delivers 21st century “smart living”.
DK architects are thoroughly professional with wonderful insight and a great talent for design.
The advice given by David on how we can improve the original design for our three storey house renovation and extension meant we absolutely maximised the space and light in the house. The final design was perfect for our needs and the extension ‘box’ at the rear of our house still gets compliments from passers by more than one year after project completion.
David provided a great deal of help navigating the planning process and was a huge comfort when the project faced challenges in getting the plans finally approved.
We love the look and more importantly the feel of our home. I would happily recommend DK Architects for any renovation or extension project.
I’m so glad I chose David Kemp architects.
Though I’ve had quite a lot of experience renovating exhausted Victorian houses this time, with quite a few structure issues involved, I felt I needed an Architect’s practice.
Choosing DK Architects turned out to be a great decision, possibly wiser than falling in love with an abandoned, much neglected ex-student house!
A house suffocated by years of neglect, dirt, damp and layers of paint obscuring and hiding the beauty of the original features.
David, arriving on his bicycle, embraced the vision entirely as we walked around the cold, rotting building. His enthusiasm for creating ‘real’homes for people to enjoy living in and understanding how we would function as a family within the space was immediately apparent.
Function, integrity and honesty can describe what I wanted from my new home and from the professionals who would help me to build it. I didn’t want any preconceptions of trendy design or someone else’s interpretation of what would work best for us.
David managed to translate my whirlwind of ideas and emotions about restoring this old house onto paper and then into plans and planning applications and accurate tenders from builders. It was reassuring to have every step of the process logged, printed and navigated, choosing how much I wanted to do myself and how much I wanted them involved.
The builders chosen from David’s recommendations were also impressive and, as budget is possibly what frightens us the most, they were on time and on budget.
There’s no doubt that in any project there’s a time of impatience and frustration when things just seem to go on forever and we just want to be living in our new home. But David and his team were always available and held steady and when you read in testimonials that employing an architect is money well spent, you can believe it.
It’s a team project; your ideas and vision, David’s interpretation and invaluable suggestions and design experience, a builder who can build it well, all helping you create a home you love.
‘Working with DK architects was an excellent experience. David provided measured and insightful advice and came up with a wonderful design for our large bungalow project.
David’s extensive experience enabled us to start on the design prior to moving in and his in-depth knowledge of the planning process, and likely obstacles, was invaluable in making the right decisions at the design stage which resulted in our planning application being approved at the first attempt.
We are thoroughly delighted with our finished home and would highly recommend DK Architects for their practical design ideas, professional approach and the easy working relationship that they engender.’
One year on from the completion of our extension, we are still in love with it, and have yet to think of anything we would do differently. The kitchen has become the hub around which the family gathers, as well as creating an unbeatable space for entertaining – whether an intimate dinner party or a gathering of the children’s school friends. Having created a small den within the scheme, there’s also a place for watching movies or playing video games. The creation of a cloakroom and utility room, has transformed our hallway. No longer a dumping ground for shoes and coats, it has regained its original purpose as a welcoming space and a bold statement of Edwardian interior design.
David Kemp from DKArchitects had listened to what we wanted to achieve in the enlargement and created a design that delivered more than we had dared imagine. Importantly, he re-designed the rear external ground floor aspect to successfully blend the contemporary extension with the Edwardian DNA of the house. As happy as we are with David’s designs, we were also impressed with his professional and systematic approach. The attention to detail in the schedule of works (he encouraged us to think of everything, including future proofing for cable TV, Ethernet and wired speakers, as well as flooring choice, patio stones) ensured that the builders we asked to quote for the job were able to provide a highly accurate estimate of the work. It also formed the basis for a program of works that we could use in discussion with the builder once the project got underway. The high level of detail contained within the design and schedule gave us the confidence to project-manage the job ourselves. However, we also knew that either David or Clive were at the end of a phone and more than willing to offer advice, as they did on more than a couple of occasions.
After over a year searching for our new house for our increasing young family, we finally found a ‘do’er upper project’. Once we purchased the house and lived in it for 6 months we interviewed 4 architects to start the ideas and planing process. David stood out from the rest and we choose DK Architects to work for us. What stood out for us from the rest was David’s vision of what the house could be from talking and listening to us. Over the different stages of the planning and construction David’s office was open to us anytime when we needed that face to face conversation to go over ideas, change of plans and be our advice centre when things came up that we were not experienced in. Overall we and our trusted builder were happy with David’s services from start to finish.
Alterations and additions to family home – 2014
We had a kitchen extension designed by DK Architects and are delighted by the outcome. The space has been transformed so that it is light and airy, opening up the views to our garden actually making it feel like part of it. The fantastic flexibility and utility of the room means that we hardly ever have to leave it. The main reason for it turning out so well so suit our needs is the way in which DK Architects involved us fully, sensitively and intuitively in the design process.
Alterations to family home in Hove – 2007.
When we bought our first home, we decided on a Grade listed flat. We knew that a major renovation project in a heritage listed building would present lots of challenges, but we had a vision to transform our run down 1827 flat into an elegant, sympathetically restored Regency home, whilst being careful to respect and reinstate many of the traditional architectural features.
David Kemp and his team at DK Architects were not only very experienced, but incredibly passionate about helping us to transform our vision into reality. We worked with David to maximise daylight throughout the flat by creating a large integrated lounge and kitchen with Regency style dividing doors, reinstated wooden shutters on the original windows, along with traditional cornices, and many other features were restored in line with the guidance provided by Conservation.
David and our builder (Pat Plumstead) worked closely and harmoniously together, and any challengers that arose were quickly resolved. We have no hesitation in recommending David and his colleagues to anyone who may be considering a similar architectural challenge. David was so passionate about our project from start to finish and we can’t thank him enough for all the time and attention he put into transforming our flat into a beautiful, relaxing home.
A professional, friendly company who I would have no hesitation in recommending. They developed my initial thoughts, made amazing suggestions that have made my home fit in with my lifestyle. My flat is now light & airy, reinstalled with the original features whilst modernising it & adding great storage. I now adore walking in through the front door. A huge thank you DK Architects.
This seems more like a novel rather than a review, but it made sense to write it this way in attempt to prevent another family to experience our ordeal.In 2005 we decided to convert our 3 bed bungalow to a 4 bed dream house.
With no previous construction experience we managed to gather a team of equally inadequate “professionals”.
We moved out and the work began on August 1st 2006, by mid October we had run into so many problems that the work had to be halted by November 2006.
In the space of the following five years we moved 3 times to different rented accommodations with a 3 and a 1 year old and spend the majority of our free time and all savings on solicitors, surveyors and various building consultants.
Totally worn out, we gave up on the dream home idea and decided to save our marriage and sanity instead.
What once was our home, became an overgrown forgotten building site, and we gradually got used to the idea of never seeing it completed.
In early 2011 my wife Khatereh coincidently met David Kemp from DK Architects and suggested we should meet up with him to get his opinion as a last attempt to make sense of our failure.
I distinctly remember our first meeting and what David said to us, as it was not only the start of us getting back our home but a very valuable lesson for life that restored our faith in humanity and professional commitment.
David said something along the lines of “rescuing the project is one thing, but from what you have said I think it is more important for you to fall in love with the idea of it being your home again and I think we can do this together if you trust me.”
And that was exactly what he did. We as a family are forever grateful for not only building our home, but giving us hope and restoring our faith in humanity.
David is not only a magnificent visionary architect he is also the true symbol of professionalism in its noblest attribute.
We wish him and his family health, love, harmony and prosperity.”
We used DK Architects for our major house refurbishment three and a half years ago. This was the first time we had engaged a professional architect. While it may have seemed a significant investment on top of all the other refurbishment costs, I can categorically say it was money very well spent and we have been delighted with the result.
David was very attentive to our requirements, and not only took them on board but exceeded our expectations through a number of innovative suggestions.
We were knocking through a couple of reception rooms and building a kitchen extension to offer a large family social living and social space – we entertain on a large scale sometimes. Through his significant experience he was able to suggest a number of enhancements to our original requirements. He suggested a number of innovative suggestions:
A big ‘Wow’ entrance into the Living / Dining Room with double doors facing into a bespoke fitted shelf / dresser unit, a lowered section of ceiling with associated lighting scheme to provide greater balance as opposed to just boxing the beam that was required to support the knocked through wall and various refined ways to subtly define different areas in a room that is unusually large but with several different functions.
Other rooms were also reconfigured and connecting routes were all considered and worked well.
Some of these to the inexperienced eye seemed risky, especially the idea of having the lower ceiling partition. Nevertheless David’s quiet confidence gave us the necessary assurance and courage to see this through to implementation.
I can only say that the finished room is a complete joy, and his suggested enhancements have really paid off.
Looking back I have come to appreciate how important the investment in DK architects has been especially given the relatively small fraction of the cost of David’s services in comparison to the overall project budget. For such projects it is obviously essential that the final result is ‘right first time’ given the significant costs that would be incurred in any retrospective amendments or having to live with any subsequent irritations that go with ‘making do’. It has now been over three and a half years since completion, and we are still completely satisfied with the design, because it really works, and we have had and continue to have compliments from friends, guests and visitors.
I would categorically recommend DK Architects!
House remodel, Streatham, London, 2010
What we liked about working with DK Architects was that we felt they listened to what we wanted to do and the dialogue was two-way and creative. This gave us the chance to get the project that we wanted. There were some technically complicated problems to solve, but they seemed to enjoy the challenge, worked well with the Contractor and the project turned-out to be very successful, but more than that, it is a home which works very well for us. We are happy to recommend them.
Refurbishment & alterations to Listed house & adjacent new eco-house, Brighton – 2004.
What seemed like a simple extension has changed the way we use the house. We now have a family area in which cooking, homework and relaxation can all take place in the same space. We now spend more time together! DK Architects listened to how we wanted to use the space and adapted their designs to reflect our feedback.
They helped us find the ideal contractor for the work. Throughout the build, they were there to support us when we needed it, but stood back when we didn’t. A perfect balance.
Extension to family home, Hove.
We had spent months and months (and months) looking for our family home when after yet another disappointing viewing the estate agent commented that perhaps we should consider a “project”. This generated some discussion and then excitement as we thought about the possibilities (we’ve all seen too many Grand Designs repeats.) However, having never done anything more challenging than change the bathroom in our previous homes it was also a little daunting.
Our search expanded to consider houses that had been a little neglected or unloved but I don’t think either of us were prepared for the wreck of a house we unearthed and then purchased.
So we had a house (that we couldn’t live in), now we needed to find someone who knew what they were doing to help us turn it into a home. We met David and the team at dk with a good idea (and a long list) of what we liked and as we walked through the house David started to talk us through the transformation. We liked the sound of his ideas and the creative way that he tackled our wish list. Yes we thought, off we went and some time later our beautiful family home started to emerge.
Friends and family came to witness the transformation, some even commented how “brave” we were but I don’t think we ever considered ourselves brave. A little foolish perhaps but David and the team at dk weren’t fazed by anything and their quiet confidence helped to give us confidence as the “project” progressed, even when one third of the house had to be knocked down and rebuilt.
So the house is finally finished and we have been living in it for a year and a half now. Thanks to David and the team at dk we now have a beautiful family home that works perfectly for us as a family and our extended family and friends. And I finally understand why people say the best part of a holiday is coming home.
Alterations and additions to a family home in Hove – 2011
The house is coming along very nicely and I am very happy with it; lots of compliments to you from friends and neighbours.
New chalet bungalow in Seaford – 2004.
Thank you for making our house a home.
Alterations and additions to a family home in Brighton – 2012
Being in the unique position of working with DK architects as a client and being under their employ on construction projects I feel I can comment on all facets of their business structure.
From initial discussion and design concept right through to support and scrutiny David Kemp and his team offer an extremely professional but at the same time very friendly approach to their practice.
I am particularly impressed with project integration throughout the team, every associate has an active role within each project and therefore even small enquiries are never left unanswered as project development is very much shared.
DK Architects were a pleasure to work with. We were particularly impressed by the process before a drawing was even made. David Kemp took a very detailed brief of how we lived and intended to use the property in the future and alerted us to flexible nature of rooms as family life evolved children become teenagers, grandparents aged etc. This meant that years after our initial project we were still reaping the benefits of his foresight.
Alterations to Listed Family home, Lewes – 1998.
We are absolutely thrilled with the house – it really is better than we could ever have possibly have imagined and sometimes have to pinch ourselves to believe that it’s real.
Large country house extension in Salfords, Surrey – 2013.
David Kemp and DK Architects created and executed an inspiring vision for Space Doctors’ three new office spaces in Wilbury Grove, Hove. He produced a scheme for Space Doctors main office building, workshop areas and meeting spaces, smartly taking into account the ways in which we wanted to work, allowing for our foibles and idiosyncrasies and suggesting improvements as possible.
David spoke to employees individually about the new spaces and their desires and created a scheme which married design inspiration and great practicality and embodied the values and nature of the Space Doctors brand.
We are delighted to receive great compliments from our clients and suppliers on our new site. The experience of working here is comfortable, bright and easy for everyone. David brought great professionalism, a gentle but firm manner and points of creative inspiration to making it all happen – a great experience and one I’d not hesitate to recommend!
Office refit, Hove
We appointed David Kemp to work with us when building an extension to our house and convert the loft into living space. In working with David and his colleagues we had much more than an architect, they provided us with support, advise and help to manage the entire project, and all done in a friendly and professional manner.
This included assistance on the selection and appointment of the builder, and ensuring that we were kept on the right side of the planning and building control people. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend DK Architects for similar projects.
Extension & loft conversion to family home, Hove – 2004.
Buying a house is as we all know is stressful, doing so with the requirement to gain planning in the national park more so. It was a risk and so choosing the right Architect to facilitate a successful bid was paramount. DK architects where our choice and a successful application resulted.
We have utmost respect for David and his team, from conception to completion our hands were held, expectations met and results achieved.
New house, South Downs National Park – current.
DK were a pleasure to do business with, coming up with many creative ideas that enhanced our plans and met our budget. They were also an advocate for local building companies, and the builder recommended by David completed a fantastic job.
Alterations to a house in Hove – 2007.
What we enjoyed about working with David and his practice was they took the time to come up with a design that would work well for the house as our family home and our budget.
They dealt with the maze of legislation and the contracts without fuss and we were confident that we would get a quick response to queries and were available to discuss anything that might arise. We liked the contemporary design. It was a very friendly service.
Loft conversion and other alterations, Hove – 2010.
David was an absolute pleasure to deal with – very professional, honest and friendly. He listened carefully to our requirements, asked questions and kept in regular contact throughout the build. His project was to extend the kitchen, join it to the garage and create a large kitchen/family room. The result is beautiful and has real ‘Wow’ factor.
He came up with some amazing ideas which we would never have thought of and our new room is perfect in every way. We would definitely use him again.
Alterations to family home, Hove -2005.
I came to David Kemp with a particular idea about how I wanted our build to look and feel. David really listens and thinks about a project. Over a series of meetings, he was able to pin down my ‘vision’ and make it real. The room we now have is an exceptional living space, filled with light and space, though still in keeping with our Sussex-style house.
It’s a triumph and has changed the way we live as a family; I put this down to DK really listening to our brief, and finding solutions to the tricky bits. Fitting a new build into an old house is a challenge, and one which David and his colleague Clive rose to brilliantly. They were always available to ‘hold our hands’ during the process, while not overplaying their role and becoming over-precious about their work. Impressive indeed.
Alterations to a family home, Hove – 2010
I’ve worked with David Kemp of DK Architects several times over the years – firstly on building a studio to work from; secondly when he designed our house in the most spectacular spot high up on the South Downs, and then thirdly when I converted a massive nineteenth century wooden framed barn into a wonderful family house looking across the landscape to The Long man of Wilmington.
Each time David absorbed my brief and then proceeded to enhance it, pull it apart and think about what I wanted to achieve in the most creative and lateral way. The barn won a Sussex heritage award and our house has weathered and worn into a truly beautiful and modern twist on the Arts & Crafts movement. It’s given us 20 years of pleasure.
David and all his colleagues at DK Architects are a fine group of very creative individuals. Like all gifted designers David is not prepared to simply fulfil a brief or knock out mediocre work. Yes he wants his buildings to please his clients and fulfil bring their dreams to life but he also strives to provide the community with architecture that makes the soul sing.
Properties near Alfriston & Eastbourne
DK Architects saved us from a design nightmare. Originally this relative small project was something we thought we could do ourselves. We were very wrong. The service we received from them was faultless. The design was excellent adding unexpected joy to a simple extension. Even though we lived a couple of hundred miles away communication was first class. It is the best investment we ever made.
House in Failsworth, Lancs
Our roof space conversion is a joy: it’s the lightest and warmest part of the house and without exaggeration changed the way we felt about the whole building. From the front of the house it has given us new views of Brighton while from the back we can now look out at our roof-level garden. It’s my work area and daily my spirits never fail to lift as I reach the top of the stairs and walk into the space.
Loft conversion to family home, Brighton – 2007
What I loved about David was his intelligent realism, practical sense of architecture and the fact that he listened. It was our dream not his vision. He also found another whole floor we never knew we had! We’re very proud of our house + he helped make it our home.
Extension and alterations to family home, Brighton – 2006
David Kemp and his colleagues have delivered consistently high quality architectural services to me and my wife over a period of more than 20 years. This work has involved four projects – three domestic projects, on and around our listed building home, and a commercial office development in Central London. In all cases David has met the challenges presented with creativity and efficiency – and he has dealt effectively and sympathetically with difficult conservation issues as they have arisen. In short, we would always rely on DK to deliver to brief.
Alterations and additions to 17th Century Listed thatched cottage and outbuildings in Hursley, Hants + as Former Director of the BUFVC – relocation and fit-out of premises.