Aquinna Homes plc is delighted to be recognised in the inaugural listing of the “Financial Times 1000 fastest growing Companies in Europe”. This follows earlier success in the “Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100” highlighting Britain’s private Companies with the fastest growing sales over the last three years. In addition, in October 2016, Aquinna Homes was recognised by “Investec Mid-Market 100 ranking of the country’s fastest-growing private mid-sized companies”. Stephen Brazier, Managing Director of Aquinna Homes, said “we are delighted to be recognised for our growth by three independent high profile organisations both in the UK and now Europe. This reflects the great deal of hard work by the team in establishing the Aquinna brand in the UK Housing Market. In particular, we are proud of our reputation in London and the Home Counties for building individual homes of excellent specification and quality and believe we have significant opportunity for further growth with continued support from our excellent team of employees, subcontractors, funders and of course customers.”
What House? looks inside a high-end executive family home, Magnolia House in Chiswick from Aquinna Homes
Aquinna Homes have a gem of an executive family home in Chiswick, West London which the WhatHouse? team has selected as the focus for the show home room by room feature this week. Set in gated grounds, with parking for two cars, close to Gunnersbury underground station on the district line, which means central London is just 30 minutes away, the property offers space and style in a traditionally designed detached home in West London. Magnolia House has four bedrooms and three bathrooms, an open-plan kitchen living area leading onto a private patio garden, formal drawing and dining rooms, a study, cloakroom toilet, utility/ laundry room and a storage room on every floor. The exterior of the property features red brick facades, slate roofs and wooden sash windows that are carefully blended in with new-build technology that helps maximise the flow of light and space with the use of double doors and lightwells on both the top floor and lower ground. Magnolia House is set within its own secluded gardens and the lower ground floor includes a contemporary kitchen, part of a large open-plan space which has huge potential for family entertaining, has a glazed façade that can be opened up onto a leafy courtyard with a Italianate fountain, reminiscent of its grander neighbours Chiswick House and Kew. Interior designer Cathryn Holmes from Aquinna Homes has combined earthy and neutral colour palettes with natural wood and stone-effect finishes. Standout features include bespoke hardwood designer kitchens with a lightwell above, built-in wardrobes concealed within the wall and full-length bi-fold doors that open the kitchen living space to the outdoors. Ground floor living space: "This room has combined earthy and neutral colour palettes with natural wood, stone-effect finishes and Italianate features, reminiscent of its grander neighbours Chiswick House and Kew, to create a light, natural feel to this informal living space which leads through full-length bi-fold doors to an outdoor courtyard." Dining room: "Elegant and sophisticated tones of plum, silver and taupe, combined with crystal, mirrored glass, velvet and silk help to create a sense of exclusivity in this luxury dining space for more formal entertaining." Formal drawing room: "Calm tones of white combined with subtle dashes of orange and blue with a nod to Scandinavia style create a relaxed, everyday feel to this formal drawing room." Master Bedroom: "A tranquil ambience has been created in this vast, spacious master bedroom using champagne toned curtains, luxury padded headboard, sumptuous throws and lampshades. Furniture is minimalist to emphasise the relaxing simplicity of the room, and includes a lounge space for quiet contemplation." Set within the Thorney Hedge Conservation area, these traditional town houses blend seamlessly into this historic neighbourhood of leafy tree lined avenues. Wooden sash windows, London Stock Flemish bond brickwork and detached gable end pitched slate roof all reflect the local vernacular architecture, whilst fully utilising the latest technology in new-build house innovation. The property location allows easy access in and out of London via the A4, M4 and A40.
Our first exclusive interview of the year is with Stephen Brazier, managing director of South East-based housebuilder Aquinna Homes, who tells us what his company is working on and his thoughts on the year ahead in property. Hi Stephen, please tell us a little about yourself and the company. Aquinna Homes plc is a small housebuilder operating throughout London and the Home Counties. I founded the company in 2005, having previously been on the main board of Bovis Homes Group plc, responsible for growing all of their regions on a national basis. Previously I had learnt my trade at Taylor Wimpey, ending up as group managing director of the UK housing division. At Aquinna Homes, our aim continues to be focused on differentiating ourselves from the main-stream housebuilders, recognising that our customers are individuals. We pride ourselves on spending a significant amount of time challenging and designing our products both internally and externally; we achieve excellent feedback from our customers. This is what really drives us and spurs us on to do greater things in the future. Our homes are very much focused on the aspirational market rather than the prime central London market, which is focused on investors and therefore very different. We sell by and large to ‘real people’, typically aspiring middle and upper managers and directors typically wanting to move up the housing ladder. We go to great lengths to install an excellent specification in our houses and endeavour always to exceed our customers’ expectations. We are very keen to grow the company, reflecting both the strong demand for our homes and a desire to continue to develop our team of in-house Aquinna Homes specialist surveyors, engineers, designers, builders and marketing. What developments are you currently selling? We are currently selling luxury houses in Chiswick and New Malden and building on sites in Yarnton, Oxfordshire; West Malling, Kent; Tongham, Surrey; Crowthorne, Berkshire; Windsor, Berkshire; Chiswick, London and Farnham Common in Buckinghamshire. Do you have a 'star' development that seems to be outperforming others and if so, what do you think makes it special? All of our developments are treated equally. They all go through a very thorough review as to elevations, floor plans and internal specification. Indeed this can take many hours for each house type! This in my view makes a significant difference and allows us to truly differentiate ourselves from most of our competitors. We therefore do not have a ‘star’ development; I would go as far to say that all of our developments are ‘star’ developments! 2016 was an odd year politically - did you find it made a big difference to the property market in your region and do you think 2017 is likely to be more predictable? 2016 was indeed odd and perhaps continues to confound logic. Brexit, Trump and ongoing uncertainty in Europe have largely been set aside by UK housebuyers, partially reflecting the substantial undersupply of homes in the UK. Most of our product is aimed at the aspirational market rather than the very top end, which has suffered to a greater extent although more associated with the ramifications of higher stamp duty than Brexit per se. 2017 will undoubtedly contain further uncertainties both in the context of Brexit negotiations, but perhaps also with the wider Europe and US implications of different political agendas. For our part, our focus is to continue to deliver excellent quality homes into our marketplace where we continue to believe we will be able to attract customers even in a tougher market place, largely reflecting our different approach. Is Help to Buy a popular option with your buyers, and do many of them know much about it before they come to you? Help to Buy continues to be a major fillip to the market. It is a huge point of differentiation for new homes over second hand and allows many customers to buy houses further up the housing ladder than they might otherwise have been able to. It has helped many thousands of customers in an environment where wages have been largely stagnant for many years, and therefore fulfilled many peoples dreams of owning their own home. I would go as far as to say it is the single most important government initiative to help the new homes industry in a generation. Do many house-hunters come to you determined to buy new build, or is there an element of persuading most of them about the benefits of new homes? Some customers are very focused on the benefit of new homes, having researched the market in advance and understood the major benefits of owning an energy-efficient, low-maintenance new home. The new build NHBC 10 Year Warranty also provides significant comfort to purchasers that they will be supported in the event of the need for any repairs to their home. You were recently named at Fast Track 100 company - what differentiates Aquinna Homes from the competition? We were very pleased to be named in the Fast Track 100 Awards. This reflects many years’ hard work by the team in growing and seizing new opportunities thereby allowing the company to grow. It is important to us to be recognised as a growing company both for our team, as it allows for internal promotions, and to provide comfort to our customers that we are an exciting brand further establishing our reputation in our target geographical market places. What's in the development pipeline from you in 2017? We have many new developments in the pipeline including sites under option which will allow us to grow the business in the future. We have ambitions to add another region in the next few years to ensure that we are able to benefit from full coverage of London and the South East, and to ensure our brand and reputation for quality is further recognised. As always, we rely on continued support from our extensive base of funders, partners, sub-contractors, suppliers and consultants, all of whom are an extended part of the Aquinna Homes plc team. Read more at http://www.whathouse.com/interviews/one-on-one-interview-stephen-brazier-aquinna-homes/#fv4BWl3umlkrjt4y.99
For the last twenty years, Fast Track have shone the light on companies who may not be household names but have made a big impact on their sector. Aquinna Homes secured a well-deserved place in the Fast Track 100 fastest growing companies, joining the likes of Innocent, Carphone Warehouse and Fever-Tree. Aquinna, established in 2005 and founded by Stephen Brazier, has capitalised on Stephen’s experience with Bovis and Taylor Woodrow to create a homebuilder focussed on creating homes for families in the commuter suburbs around London. Their latest development in leafy Chiswick is typical of the company’s family ethos. Built on an old goods yard, the two detached houses, feature everything a family could want; security, close to transport hubs and 3000 sq feet of family accommodation spread of three floors, plus a garden and private parking. Other developments are in New Malden, West Malling, Yarnton, Oxford, Warfield, Berks, Liphook, Kingswood in Surrey and they are about to start in Crowthorne, Tongham and Windsor. The league table and awards programme is sponsored by Virgin, Barclays, BDO and BGF, and is compiled by Fast Track, the Oxford-based research and networking events company. Sir Richard Branson of Virgin, the title sponsor for all 20 years, commented: “This year’s Fast Track 100 is packed full of entrepreneurs and family businesses tackling many different challenges head-on and thriving thanks to their team spirit and togetherness. Entrepreneurship and family values are at the heart of everything we do at Virgin. Like many on the Fast Track 100, we’ve turned a family business into a business family. Working with family works”. “The award means a lot to our company” said Stephen Brazier. “We are a small dedicated team and have never strayed from our roots of creating homes which families can live in and call home. We have a number of developments in planning for 2017 and look forward to more families being able to appreciate our dedication to creating well-built and stylish homes”.
Aquinna Homes, which incorporates Argyll Developments, is composed of a small team of experts with a simple goal: to offer a new approach to home-building within the residential market. The company builds properties throughout Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire under Managing Director Stephen Brazier, who has been in the position since May 2005. The firm values individuality and attention to detail and is dedicated to creating both an outstanding customer service experience and superior quality homes. Aquinna Homes believes its thinking sets it apart from its larger peers, finding solutions that others would never contemplate, while constantly taking a long term view to continue building on its brand. The company describes its approach as a rejection of the ordinary, the predictable and the formulaic in favour of the exciting, the unconventional and the challenging. “We pride ourselves on spending a lot of time designing our products, both internally and externally, and we get excellent feedback from our customers. That’s really what drives us and spurs us on to do greater things in the future,” says Brazier. Aquinna Homes is currently developing sites throughout Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, Kent and Berkshire, with homes available for purchase now in Chiswick, Kingston, New Malden and West Malling. Brazier added: “Our product is very much focused on the mid-market, not the prime Central London market, which is very different and not one that we deal with. We sell to real people, typically middle managers trying to move up the housing ladder, and build our houses and specify our houses accordingly. We always try and exceed our customers’ expectations.”