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From large commercial projects in London to designer style in the South of France, Tim Stares has brought his own brand of expertise to the South Hams, making house renovations and refurbishments seamless and stylish with Amber Design…
It started when I was living in the South of France working with a high end residential market, mainly made up of second homes and a large expat community. I always made a point of using local craftsmen and women who knew the standards that people expected, knew the work that was required to achieve them and who also met the standards I wanted to achieve for my clients. Building that team of reliable contractors in each field was really at the heart of it all. I moved back to the UK two years ago, although I still do some work in France, and with it have established myself in the South Hams.
I moved to France on an extended holiday. I went for a couple of months and stayed for 15 years! I am from the home counties originally, but when I came back to the UK I wanted to come to the South West. I had this wonderful opportunity to go anywhere I wanted, and the South West was only part of the UK I really wanted to live in and hadn’t as yet. It’s the best of all worlds - it’s a naturally beautiful area but also has good transport links.
My degree is in Product Design, however after university I found myself working on architectural projects in London for big brands like HMV, Claire’s Accessories and chains of restaurants. The move to France meant dealing with demanding clients and an escalation towards residential work. I worked in a Danish design furniture showroom in Cannes for 5 years, specialising in the classics from the ‘50s and ‘60s, learning the histories and stories behind each of the pieces, which was fantastic. Then having to explain all that information in French was an interesting test of my language skills! I have a real passion for what I do and this is another string to my bow.
We do renovation and interior design. I am not an architect, but if you’re renovating your house, whether you want to do the whole thing or just the kitchen, I will come in, draw up the plans, work out the best use of space and I will implement all your design desires to create the finished article you’re looking for.
I coordinate all the electrics, plumbing, etc and project manage it through to completion, looking after the contractors and everything inside the house from paintings and furniture to putting up and decorating the Christmas tree and handing over the key. These are all things that people can do themselves, but as with any service it’s not always the best use of their time or perhaps they work full time or they live a long way away from the project. I act on the owner’s behalf and treat it as if it were my own - more precious than my own really. I make sure it’s 100% correct.
At the start, they probably don’t realise the extent that I will go to to make sure their project is as perfect as it can be and the number of decisions to be made along the way. When you explain the processes or what’s happened since the last communication, they start to see how much detail is involved and how much time I spend on site speaking to contractors. I try to preempt all the things they will need and want, as well as the things they will be looking for as the project comes together. I put myself in the client’s shoes and aim to over deliver.
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