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The Resi Interview: Laura Perkins

Laura Perkins, Project Consultant at Resi, shares her experience in the company, and her best advice to start a home renovation project.

6 min read

Join me as I sit down for a chat with our very own Laura Perkins, a Project Consultant at Resi, about what being the first point of contact for customers is like, the advice she would offer at the beginning of a renovation and what she thinks makes a happy home.

Molly-Sue: How would you describe your role at Resi, and what does a typical week look like for you?

Laura Perkins: I speak to potential customers, right at the beginning of their journey. So, that’s people who are thinking about doing some form of development. And then the main crux of what we do is offer initial consultations which are completely free where we discuss what they're hoping to achieve and the feasibility of that. We even go through questions from a policy perspective and outline what processes their project entails, along with a timeline and budget details. So it's a rounded approach at the beginning of a project to really help a client understand the big questions like: ‘Does this make sense for me? Is it the right decision? And if so what do I need to do to actually make it happen and get the space at the end?’.

Molly-Sue: How long have you been at Resi and how has the business evolved over time?

Laura Perkins: I’ve been with Resi for five years, which is actually quite a long time! So I’ve seen a lot of change. I think the heart of Resi has stayed the same. We’re still focused on filling gaps in the industry but like any company, we’ve kind of learned as we’ve gone along. And now, some of the gaps that we really wanted to fill have been. So things like the finance support to ensure people have the money to be able to do their project and our Connect offering as well. So, that’s everything from builders and structural engineers and integrating that all in one place. We’ve become a lot more holistic in terms of our offering. It's been an exciting journey.

“I would say that we love a challenge. That’s probably the most Resi thing about Resi.”

Molly-Sue: What’s the most Resi thing about Resi?

Laura Perkins: I would say that we love a challenge. That’s probably the most Resi thing about Resi. So much change goes on. We're very big picture thinking and I guess it all comes back to our original mission. We’re always asking, ‘Okay, how can we be better? And what else can we do?’. The core of what we do is solving these problems and just going for it.

Molly-Sue: A significant factor of your role puts you in direct contact with customers who are looking for guidance – what do you find most rewarding about it and are there any parts that feel challenging? Why?

Laura Perkins: I think a lot of my job is rewarding, because at the end of the day, I'm offering free advice, right? People usually seek advice because they’re in a place of confusion of, ‘Where do I start? What do I need? Is this even possible?’. When I speak to customers, they’re normally very early on in this process and my whole job is to provide clarity to them. So, if at the end of the call they're like, ‘Oh Laura, I feel so reassured’, that's a really rewarding part of my job. I also just love speaking to people, so I think it's kind of natural.

Molly-Sue: What are the most common questions you get asked?

Laura Perkins:  I’ve probably touched on it a bit already, but I would say, ‘Where do I start? Do I need an architect? What does this professional actually do? What do I actually need?’. People will often ask how much it’s going to cost, how soon they can get building. So, common themes are  timelines and just generally what's involved because at the end of the day, the best part about this process is actually having this space at the end so that you can enjoy it but people don’t always know how to get there.

Molly-Sue: What are the most common types of development that people look for?

Laura Perkins: The type of extensions people are most interested in haven't necessarily evolved that much over time because there's only so much that you can do within the confines of policy and what have you. So I'd say, you know, ground floor rear extensions, side infills, wraparound extensions, loft extensions – you know, common renovations that gain you space.

Molly-Sue: …And, are there any features, types of extensions, design elements or practical aspects that seem to remain consistently popular?

Laura Perkins: I guess you can narrow it down to two main types of people. There’s one type of person who focuses on needing more space, for a growing family for example who looks for practical solutions and is less design-oriented. They tend to think about questions like, ‘Will that give me an extra bedroom? Is this bigger kitchen going to offer me more storage space?’.

But then you have people whose primary goal is to make it look really nice. Increasing natural light is definitely one of these common requests. Lots of glazing! Another thing I’ve noticed is, depending on the property type, people now want to retain the original features of their home. A few years ago, people might have been more inclined to knock their chimneys out but now there’s a lot more consideration on how we can make these elements a design feature.

Molly-Sue: If you were to offer someone at the beginning of a renovation journey some key pieces of advice, what would they be and why?

Laura Perkins: Firstly, that it always takes longer than you think so I would give yourself more time than you think you need. And that the unknowns surrounding your renovation will remain unknown until you progress with something. If you know a renovation is something you want to do but you're not sure when, I’d say that there's no harm in starting now - those concerns are only going to go away the further that you progress. You open up so much choice booking further in advance and you can make it as gradual as you like along the way.

“A happy home to me would be one where I can use my space how I wish.”

Molly-Sue:  What does a happy home look like to you?

Laura Perkins: I would have to say something really practical. I hate being cold, I hate having doors that open onto each other, you know, this little bug bears that you have in your everyday life. If you can eliminate those for me, that would be a really big perk. But then I'm also someone whose friends might look at something and go, ‘That is Laura’ in terms of how it’s styled. So I guess a happy home to me would be one where I can use my space how I wish. So it's quite flexible and functional in that sense, but also represents my character and who I am.

Molly-Sue: When we think of ‘forever homes’ it can feel rather sentimental and abstract but, practically speaking, what do you think – for the majority of people – really contributes to the creation of a property that you want to spend an extended amount of time in?

Laura Perkins: It comes down to a few things. It's thinking about where you’re at in your life. Naturally, we can't foresee the future and predict what's going to happen. But thinking about, say, am I going to have a family? Are my parents going to move in? How do I really live? You know, over even the last five years, open-plan spaces used to be the one. Everyone wanted an open-plan kitchen, but you need to think about how that space can adapt over time. So maybe open-plan isn't the one for you and there's certain you can do to be flexible with opening up spaces up and closing them down. So I think it's important to think  practically about not just what looks nice but how am I actually going to use this space?

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