Top-end conservatory designer Crystal Windows is
urging architects and interior designers to partner them as a market
Paul Masterson, Managing Director of Cheshire-based Crystal Windows, estimates that at least £1 million worth of conservatory design opportunity a month collapses in the North West of England alone, because interior designers and architects don't consult conservatory specialists early enough in the process.
"There is a massive opportunity at the top end of the conservatory design market at the moment - people are looking to create more space, but also follow the lead set in North America to create big living spaces, not just additional rooms," said Paul, who started the business 17 years ago.
"House moves are slowing down, but people still want more space or modern living concepts - so they're finding the answer in conservatories.
"We are most definitely a premium and upmarket designer and installer of conservatories - and more and more people are coming our way because they don't simply want a slabby pvc and glass monstrosity tacked to the back of their house.
"The opportunity - and the issue - is how soon in the process the architects or interior designers get us involved, because while they have some fantastic design ideas they are not always as practical as they might think.
"Modern materials are flexible and versatile - but not as flexible and versatile as some homeowners and designers might believe.
"The first call an architect or designer should make after visiting a client is to us. That call could be the difference it makes to ignite a market that could be worth millions of pounds.
"There's a lot of people with a lot of equity in their homes, who want to go bigger, change or improve, but who are not willing to walk into the minefield of a house move.
"Their natural reaction is to call their architect or designer, but we need to get involved early to consult on what is and isn't possible - and that could include anything and everything from foundations to detailing of design.
"We're looking to form partnerships that will work both ways. We may not get the whole of the potential additional market, but we believe there is potential for something like £10m to £15m more top-end and exclusive conservatory design work in the North West in 2008, purely because we
can help architects and interior designers drive through viable designs."