Since setting up her own practice in 2006, Annie Kenyon has become one of the best-known names in architecture in North-east Scotland.
Distinguished by a style which is contemporary in spirit but rooted in tradition, she has won a string of awards which recognise her flair for design and her commitment to the very best principles of architecture.
In 2017, she took her business to a new level and, with her partner Duncan Barton, founded Annie Kenyon Developments (ak|d), a sister company to Annie Kenyon Architects’ (ak|a).
Combining Annie’s skill as an architect and Duncan’s expertise in project management and strategic planning, and with the support of their great team, the company has become an award winner in its own right.
ak|d is the only developer in the area which builds architecturally-designed homes to order. The company’s unique business model gives clients all the benefits of a custom-built, architect-designed home as a hassle and risk free alternative to the self-build route.
ak|d has an extensive portfolio of available sites. Developments are typically in rural locations of one to four homes. Buyers chose a home and work with the team to create a home that’s unique to them, and ak|d looks after the rest, including funding. The funding model means that rather than clients having to navigate the complexities of securing a self-build mortgage, the build is funded by ak|d with the buyers paying a fixed price on date of entry.
In 2019, Annie Kenyon Developments was named Best New Business and won the Best Exterior Building Improvement Award at the Trades Awards. That path continues in 2020 with ak|d being shortlisted in the Best Rural Innovation category in the Scottish Field’s Rural Scotland Awards and the Three Sheds at Petmathan, one of the properties in the ak|d portfolio, being shortlisted in Aberdeenshire Council’s Design Awards.
Whether designing one-off homes through ak|a or working with buyers with ak|d, Annie’s approach is the same.
She said: ‘Our homes have a clean, contemporary style but reflect the tradition and culture of rural Scotland. Using a palate of materials from render, stone and timber cladding we ensure every home is unique, designed specifically for the site and client in mind.
‘Sometimes designs can look very simple, and you can’t put your finger on why they look so stylish, but that’s the clever thing, as so much goes on in the background to achieve that. One of our mottos is Simple not Complicated and that reflects the clean, elegant, unfussy look of the finished home.
‘Creating sustainable, environmentally friendly and energy-efficient homes is at the forefront of all our decisions. Our buildings are built to the highest standards of quality and energy efficiency, using materials which reduce running costs for the owners.
‘Clients can also stipulate if they would like particular sources of renewable energy such as solar panels built into the design or if they would like to include features such as charge points for electric cars.
‘We have one principle objective and that is to deliver homes which make our clients happy. An architect might be delighted with a property, but it’s only successful if the client truly loves it.’
Duncan said the ak|d business model has opened up the equivalent of self-build opportunities for buyers.
He explained: ‘Self-building your dream home is extremely rewarding but often hugely challenging. Our model offers all the benefits of an architecturally designed home without the hassle of self-build.
‘Since we established the company, we’ve helped many families achieve that dream and there is clearly an appetite for this approach.
‘We are very excited about the future of ak|d. We’re currently completing our 25th commission for a client. Our portfolio of sites continues to grow and in addition to the one-off sites and small groupings in the countryside, we are now planning some exciting new ventures in local towns.’