With the noughties safely behind us, it's time to begin looking ahead to the new decade. And what better way to start than by transforming your home with some expert advice from an architect.
Architect in the House is the hugely successful fundraising initiative run annually by the housing charity Shelter and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Each year architects nationwide give up their time for free to offer hour-long consultations to members of the public in return for a £40 suggested donation to Shelter.
Now in its 14th year, Architect in the House has raised over £1 million for Shelter's work with homeless and badly housed families, including over £100,000 in 2009 alone.
The scheme is a fantastic opportunity for homeowners to discuss changes to their home with a RIBA chartered architect. Whether it's knocking down an interior wall or adding a new floor or extension, a consultation with an architect is the first step to making your dream home a reality.
The scheme officially launches on Monday 19 April 2010, but those who can't wait until then can pre-register now at www.architectinthehouse.org.uk. Participants will be matched with architects in early July and consultations can take place any time up to the end of November.
George Clarke, architect and presenter of Channel 4's Home Show and forthcoming series Restoration Man, said:
"Architects play a key role in any successful home improvement venture, ensuring your project is well designed and thought through. Only an architect can give you the big picture, offering insights in to the latest trends in property design and advising on everything from finding builders to choosing fixtures and fittings . Architect in the House is a unique opportunity to take advantage of this expertise while raising money for Shelter. I'd urge anyone who is looking to make more of their property to register with the scheme."
Ruth Reed, President of the RIBA, said:
"We all have grand designs for our homes, but architects can turn ideas into action by offering professional advice whatever the nature or scale of the project. Thanks to the architects who so generously give up their time for this scheme, Architect in the House has helped over 50,000 homeowners maximise their property's potential. It is a great way for the profession to give something back to those in desperate housing need."
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said:
"Everyday Shelter sees the devastating impact of bad housing on people's lives. With more than a million children in England living in overcrowded accommodation, our help is needed now more than ever. Architect in the House is a fantastic opportunity for homeowners to give their home a fresh new look for 2010 while supporting Shelter's vital work to ensure no child's future is blighted by bad housing."