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Less is More - A Designer’s Perspective on Property Investing

Landlord and design consultant Julian Maurice comments

A few years ago, in 2009 to be precise, my project management business was on the brink of bankruptcy. I had started my business during the early up-curve of the property boom in 2002. My career in property started in 1997 working my way up the estate and letting agency ladder finally ending up as a sourcing agent for wealthy investors, honing my project management skills and assembling building trade teams with each property acquired.

My natural skills and passion is in graphic design and I found that I could apply my creativity on my refurbishment projects and I quickly built a reputation and recognition for designing stunning interiors (on a budget) for my property investor clients. Naively I thought the good times would never end but as we all know things did, and for many with a rather nasty bump around 2008.

While prices were on the up property investors were keen to make their projects look great, but as soon as things turned negative, investors stopped spending, the light switch had been turned off and everyone left the room. For someone who had built a business on creating a quality product, the only customers that were left were the ones who had absolutely no creativity or desire to create anything other than a basic, low grade product, everything went vanilla, or magnolia in this case.

Fast forward through some very lean years and after some practical training and business mentoring I found myself walking into a local property networking meeting looking for work. As a keen networker I gave my time to investors in order to build credibility and soon found work with a progressive investor renovating HMO’s, this time for professional tenants rather than the student market that I had specialised in previously. Once again I applied my magic in a space devoid of colour, but it was a very lonely space.

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