Architects in Balham: 12 Ways To Select The Best One For You

Here are 12 key considerations to help you discern which Balham architecture firm is best suited to your unique requirements.

Avoid pitfalls like running over budget, missing the deadline completion date, wasting hours of your own time chasing up planning applications and contractors, or worst; not ending up with the dream home you envisage.

We trust that this guide will help you to decide whether or not to appoint AURA Architecture, or one of the many other architects serving Balham, as your chosen architecture firm.

1) Choose An Architect That Knows Balham Well

Balham has a unique culture and identity.  From the numerous period homes, mainly from the Edwardian and Victorian eras, to the Heaver Estate, and the landmark Art Deco flats of Du Cane Court, Balham has a strong architectural heritage.  To add value to your home, any refurbishment, extension, or kitchen remodel should be designed with this in mind. The Balham Architect you work with should have an understanding of local culture, and be on the inside track with the planning team at Wandsworth Borough Council.

2) RIBA Process Architects

While every project is unique and every client has unique needs, your chosen architect should be disciplined and have a documented process to ensure important details are not missed and all requirements are accounted for. AURA Architecture have a 10-step process based on the RIBA process, that is followed on every project.  For more details, view our RIBA process blog post, and download our free Home Design Guide at the same time.

The above image shows one of AURA’s kitchen extension projects in Wandsworth – click here to view the case study.


Or for more Balham home improvement ideas, see our main projects page.


3) Trust And Confidence – Architect Reviews And Awards

How valuable is your time? You’ve worked hard to get where you are in life and don’t have time to waste working with someone you mistrust. Honesty and integrity are our first two core values.  The team at AURA Architecture were voted the ‘Most Trusted Architecture Firm in Greater London‘ by Build Magazine in 2019.  Checking the reviews of Balham architects online also gives you valuable insight into the experiences of past clients – you can view AURA’s reviews on Google here (current overall score is 4.9/5).

4) Listening – Your Needs First

Your home should reflect your personality, your needs, and required features. Up to 8 weeks will be spent designing and documenting the requirements for your home transformation, and communicating these back to you, to ensure we fully understand what you require.  It is important during that time to be comfortable with your design team and express to them what your requirements and goals are for your dream home. 

Creating a home that is ideal for YOU, i.e. not necessarily the kind of home the architect or designer themselves would design, is one of the key reasons people select the team at AURA based on recommendations from family and friends.

5) Advanced Visualisation, Including Virtual-Reality 3D Tours

Unexpected results and mid-project changes are definitely something you want to avoid when extending or redesigning your home.

With our contemporary 3D rendering capabilities, AURA have the ability to show what your finished project will be like and help you spot any necessary changes before the site works begin.

See our 3D visual blog post for an example of how you will be able to visualise your new home before the first building contractor arrives.

6) Choose A Balham Architecture Firm With Past Experience

Nobody deserves to be a guinea pig. Experience and track record are critical to ensuring success in your project.  Working with an experienced architecture firm may bring up some ideas you hadn’t thought of.  In business since 2014, with extensive previous experience in property development prior to that, AURA Architecture’s team of architects can draw on a wealth of creativity to enhance your home.

View a live example of one of our recent Balham residential projects here.

Examples of our projects in and around Balham

7) Balham Planning Experts

Balham comes under the London Borough of Wandsworth council, who handles planning and building control. The Balham Architect you select should know Wandsworth’s planning process and the personalities involved.  This is very important in obtaining planning in reasonable time. Located in nearby Clapham, AURA Architecture have extensive experience with planning applications that involve the team at the Wandsworth Council – see our Wandsworth architect page for further details.

8) Balham Conservation Areas

Because of the local heritage, some Balham homes are located in conservation areas requiring additional planning strategy with Wandsworth Council to achieve your home improvement goals. An experienced architect can guide you through planning with Wandsworth’s Planning and Building Control to develop a scheme that achieves your dreams while securing necessary planning permission.

9) Utilising Natural Light

Perhaps you are saying to yourself “why does my Lounge feel like a cave?” or “I wish my dining room wasn’t so depressing”. Natural light is very important to human well-being, actually impacting the hormones your body produces. Bringing natural light deep into your home creates a soothing environment as well as reducing the need for artificial lighting and the associated energy consumption.

10) Kitchen Design Architects

Have you ever thought to yourself “my kitchen is so dated I don’t want my friends to see it”? Or maybe you find yourself feeling depressed when trying to put an evening meal together… A kitchen is the heart of most homes, especially when it incorporates dining and socialising areas. Having a tastefully designed and functional kitchen adds significant value to your home as well as increasing the value you derive from living there. Natural light brings liveliness to your kitchen and is an important consideration in any kitchen remodel.

11) Sustainable Home Architecture – By Design

With the ever-increasing cost of energy, and the importance of protecting the environment, choosing an architect with strengths in this area is an important consideration. What will your new home’s carbon footprint be? AURA are passionate about making sustainability and energy efficiency an integral part of every project.

12) Representing Your Interests As Your Home Transformation Proceeds

Contractors can be quite inventive, especially when it comes to excuses why your project is not progressing. With site monitoring, AURA Architecture can monitor works progress and inject accountability into your home transformation. And by carefully selecting tried and tested contractors in the first place, AURA can preempt many of the issues that come from experimenting with new tradesmen and builders.

Our Online Reviews

Scott Robertson
Scott Robertson
June 20, 2023
Professional, reliable, great to work with. Highly recommended if you are renovating your house.
Carina Isabel Lopes De Carvalho
Carina Isabel Lopes De Carvalho
May 2, 2023
It is a company of excellence
Emily Stuart
Emily Stuart
January 25, 2022
I used Aura for a side return and rear extension, and a renovation of my first floor bathroom. I wanted something unique and characterful, with lots of natural light. Aura really went above and beyond my expectations, creating me a space that truly is more than I could have imagined. From the initial consultation, where I felt immediately at ease with the team, to the transparency in their costings, all the way through the design process and project management, Aura have been consistently professional, communicative and flexible. It certainly hasn’t been an easy time for anyone in the industry, but Aura’s solution-first attitude and their adaptability made it so easy to work with them through lockdowns, supply chain challenges, pingdemics and everything in between. It was a true pleasure to work with the team - they really do their utmost to make the process as straightforward, simple and enjoyable as possible. I’d not hesitate to recommend Aura. They team are the perfect balance of creative and practical, imagination and solutions, to make whatever dream you have come to life.
Rob Birkin
Rob Birkin
November 18, 2021
February 9, 2021
I chose to use Aura based on their reviews in June 2020. At first it was a really good experience and I was impressed with their professionalisim. I received my drawings and wasn't completely happy with them. The 4 options I was given were all basically the same thing. They never came to my property to see the space or get a feel for where the light was coming in etc. The bathroom on the drawing didn't make sense as it was so small. (See below). The snug was also like a meter so again didn't make sense. I tried to escalate this to Ben, and I was offered another call but I had lost confidence in them. My neighbour was also doing work on her flat which is a similar layout and in contrast her drawings were really well thoughtout. In the end I had to pay again to get my drawings redone. (Attachment P&S - one example of my new drawings below - the more detailed drawings). I asked Aura for a partial refund as I never actually received a final drawing from them (despite paying for them) and they refused. It was just a disappointing and expensive experience.
Anthony Egan
Anthony Egan
May 22, 2020
I recently contacted Aura Homes Ltd to discuss a small development project. The project was unusual and a lot of factors needed to be taken into account due to the location, site surroundings and practicality of the proposal. I originally discussed it with Ben Richards who I found to be helpful, knowledgable and very accommodating in that he listened intently to give a fair assessment of feasibility. Iris Kouneni was assigned to me and met with me to thoroughly discuss and understand what my intentions were. Like Ben, she digested my layman’s view and proceeded to give me her professional opinion. Iris and Ben were an absolute delight to work with, professional, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and communicative to mention just a few of their qualities. Unfortunately due to the COVID19 lockdown we have had to shelve the project. It's been a pleasure to work with Aura Homes Ltd, refreshingly honest and professional. I look forward to working together with them in the future.
Brendan Quinn
Brendan Quinn
May 20, 2020
Thanks for reading this review. Ben is one of my monthly sponsors of the Property Events that I have run and also of the National Development Summit earlier in 2020. In a business setting I really appreciate Ben's support, particularly during COVid19- Ben had the option of pulling out of my events as a sponsor- as I have had to pivot- moving them online. Ben has continued to support these events as a sponsor, when he could have easily turned his back and moved on. Also at the National Development Summit 2020, Ben could see the effort I had put in to make the event, a great event, and himself and his team also equally put in huge effort. When you organise events, you ideally want things to go smoothly in terms of presenters turning up on time/before time, and with slides which are hassle free, and this Ben has done so. I have been to Ben's office several times and the staff have been really friendly. Ben's knowledge of working at Berkeley Homes, puts his company at a very high level.
Louise Hancock
Louise Hancock
April 13, 2020
Aura Homes is a highly professional firm of architects that always have the clients best interests at hart. The quality of their plans and drawings is superb and their turn-around when making amendments well within expected timelines. For bespoke projects, their research and recommendations (both in terms of quality and costs) is superb.
Harry Bucknell
Harry Bucknell
April 10, 2020
Couldn't recommend Ben and his team more. We were in a really tricky position with our building project and Ben navigated us safely out of it. Superb guidance, great technical knowledge and what I really valued the most was the communication. Always got back to me promptly which makes a real difference when stress levels are high. Thanks Aura!
Eugene Clarke
Eugene Clarke
April 9, 2020
The quality of work from Arua Architecture is to an excellent standard. We worked primarily with Ben and Gabby, they provide a friendly and professional service that minimised the worry and stresses associated with building projects. We hired Aura Architecture to assist us with our building project. We appointed them for the following work: - Regularisation on previous designs - Planning conditions discharge - Building regulation drawings - Detailed designs They came recommended from a Structural engineering company, and we were not disappointed.
Best Notting Hill Extension and Home Transformation Project Award

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