Coming Home

Along with the other ‘30-somethings’ leaving London, after nearly seven years I decided it was time to move back to my hometown, Chester. As a young Architect leading a 14-million pound project for one of the world’s leading architectural practices, some people couldn’t quite understand why I was leaving.

Since moving to London, circumstances have changed. As life goes on, you start to appreciate what is important, the fundamentals, the nice-to-have’s, the people around you and the place you are part of. So here it is, this is why I decided it was time for a change — a long-term change...


Time to feel something,
To be part of something.
Believe in something.
To build something .... (not physically!).

To be emotionally connected.
Part of a journey.

To make a difference.
To be valued.
To be rewarded.
To be recognised.
To be successful.
To do something that matters,
and gain a sense of achievement.


Meet people.
Get to know people.
Build relationships.
Join networks.
Start networks,
(People are important).

Be part of a Team.
To be a ‘role model’.
To Inspire.
To Encourage.
To Motivate.
To Enlighten and to be enlightened.

Architecture = a ‘labour of love’?!

Who are you working for?
Why are you working so hard?
Who would you rather work for?


What are you designing?
Is it a good design?
Is it design at all?

The client with no name vs. Mr and Mrs Jones.
The high-end budget vs. The lifetime savings.
Meaningless & unattached vs. worthwhile & life changing.

Make it real.
To design real things;
things to touch, to hold,
to cherish and appreciate.

To make people smile,
To change people’s lives.

The big company vs. The small company.
180 colleagues vs. 8 colleagues.
Not knowing everyone’s name vs. Knowing everyone’s business!


And on a more personal level........

Work-life balance.
Dream-design balance.
Be close to family.
To build a family.

Pass someone on the street and say “good morning”.
Chat to an old lady at the bus stop,
Talk about the weather — moan about the weather.


To wander,
To walk, and not be in a rush.
Get in the car and drive.....anywhere.
Walk in the forest and up mountains.
Climb every peak in Wales.
Walk every ‘Wainwright’ in the lakes.
Cycle without inhaling a bus-load of fumes.

Smell the grass, leaves and the country air.
See birds, butterflies and bees.

Buy local, eat local drink local.
Go to a butcher instead of a Tesco.
Grow herbs and vegetables.
Eat a potato that tastes like a potato.
Eat eggs with the yellowest of yolks.
And eat my mum's roast dinners!

- Julia