Creating a change for happiness & success – Designing a better future together. Part 4

Part 4

For Part 1 Click Here.  For Part 2 Click Here. For Part 3 Click Here.

From the previous blogs, you should now understand that all emotions have a positive intent; the stronger the emotion the more motivation.

If you do not act upon negative emotions, they typically get stronger and can turn into stress.

You should now understand what beliefs are; but before you can start to understand how to change your beliefs you need to understand how they are created in the first place.

A belief is simply a thought that you think over and over again until it gets ingrained into your consciousness. The origin of these typically come from our parents, other family members, friends, teachers, work colleagues and bosses.

Typically the more authority the person has, the bigger the impact their opinions can have on you. The majority of destructive and limiting beliefs you have are from people who had good intentions but just didn’t understand the importance of delivering feedback on the behavioural level.

Your tone of voice and intent also have huge impacts here: the same thing said with anger will have a different impact than something said with a soft loving voice.

You may have heard of Albert Mehrabian’s 7-38-55 Rule of Personal Communication – that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of voice, and 7% is the actual words spoken.

Hopefully, you are starting to understand that a small difference to your words makes a huge difference. It is the 80 / 20 rule at play again.

A friend of mine once said to me that he didn’t believe in body language. So I gave him the middle finger, folded my arms and looked away and pretended to be pissed off. He quickly changed his mind. Unfortunately, not all body language is as blatant; a lot of it is very subtle. People pick up on a lot of these without being consciously aware of it, often labelled as ‘gut instinct’, ‘I get a bad vibe’ or ‘something doesn’t feel right’.

Bullies typically have low self-esteem and take it out on others (similar to blaming). The person that is bullied can start to believe that they aren’t loveable, that they have no friends etc. Even if you aren’t actively bullied, subtle exclusions can have a similar effect. The saying is; ‘do onto others what you would want to be done onto you’, but unfortunately a lot of the time people behave as if it is; ‘do onto others what has been done onto you’.

A lot of perpetrators have been victims first and then pass on their negative experiences.

Start becoming more aware of your choice of words, voice tone and body language. Everything has an equal and opposite reaction; what you send out usually comes back. The kinder and nicer you are, then more people will be kinder and nicer to you.

If you think most people are pricks or difficult to be around? I am saying no more lol.

 

CHANGING YOUR BELIEFS

This is the sign you are looking for

Now that you are becoming aware of your negative identities, start writing them down as you catch them. Put it in your notes part of your phone, a scrap of paper or whatever; they are usually situational and fleeting. By writing it down at the time it allows you to address them later.

Beliefs can’t be simply removed, they have to be changed and you need to understand NO belief is true. There is a paradox in every belief, every argument etc.

As Richard Bandler says “in a belief, you get a ‘B’ then a ‘Lie’ then you get an ‘F’.  In the middle of every belief you get a lie”.

Example; I was helping a friend who believed he had no confidence. I asked him ‘are you very sure?’ He said ‘Yes, very sure’. He was confident that he had no confidence.

You see the quality of your life is due to the quality of the questions you are asking yourself.

ASK QUESTIONS

When I was depressed I used to ask myself ‘why me?’ and ‘why do I deserve this?’.

I started to ‘find answers’ which made me worse.

It wasn’t until I started asking myself better questions, like ‘how can I learn to be happier?’ and ‘where can I find this information to help me?’ and ‘what will I be doing when I am happy?’ that I started to find happiness. I started to educate myself on how my brain works and I took control of my thoughts.

It is now time to start thinking ‘what can you do to change?’ instead of ‘what had been stopping you?’.

To start creating your change, you need to know what you want and what had been stopping you from a psychological point of view.

What do I want to stop doing?’ After you answer this ask ‘what do I want to do instead? How do I do that?’

Everything starts with a thought.

Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve’ Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

Our mission statement is ‘Designing a better future together’.  Most people think it is about the ‘Passive House’ and energy-efficient houses we design, it is – but only to a small degree, I will come to back to this later.

The real opportunity is time to change your limiting beliefs, to learn and grow.  Start doing the things that you always wanted to, like exercise, studying, tidying up the garden or set up a Pinterest account and start thinking about designing your ideal home – I know someone who could help you with that lol!

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF WRITING YOUR GOALS

In 1979 the Harvard MBA program conducted a study where graduate students were asked, ‘have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?’ 10 years later, the same group was interviewed again.

  • 3% had written goals and plans.
  • 13% had goals but they weren’t in writing.
  • 84% had no goals at all.

The 13% of the class who had goals but did not write them down was earning twice the amount of the 84% who had no goals.

The 3% who had written goals regularly were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97% of the class combined!

This is the same for the rest of the areas of life – love or happiness – this still applies. To achieve success, you need to first commit to making a change — and setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.

How do writing out goals make such a difference?… well there are loads of reasons.

When your goals are written out in the correct format it overwrites your limiting beliefs and creates new ones. Remember a belief is simply a thought that you think over and over again. Giving yourself goals will help you stay motivated.

Set BIG long term goals.  When you do this you probably won’t know how to achieve them – but have the faith you will work it out as you go.

To do this, let yourself dream, removing your limitations, even just for when you are thinking about your goals.

Design your dream life, think big, the more detail the better, both personally and professionally. Think about;

  • How you are you enjoying life?
  • What is your health like?
  • What are your relationships like?
  • What is your financial situation?
  • How much do you exercise, what condition is your body in?
  • What is your idea?
  • What is your career like?
  • What will you think about yourself?
  • What will others think of you? etc.

Start writing these out and create mood boards or a Pinterest Board.

Write short (1yr), medium (5-10yrs) and long term goals (10-20yrs).

  • For short term goals make them measurable, achievable, realistic and anchored within a time frame. The long term should be grandiose; if you have an idea of how to achieve them they probably aren’t big enough yet; the pathway will appear over time.
  • Your goals must be moving towards something, i.e. positive tense; saying ‘stop doing something’ isn’t positive. Write what you will be doing instead. Eg; ‘I have stopped telling lies’, becomes ‘I always tell the truth’.
  • Writing them in the present tense i.e. use ‘I am’ instead of ‘I will’ or ‘I am doing’. In your subconscious mind, tomorrow doesn’t exist, as there is always a tomorrow. It has to be stated in the now.
  • Activate your language i.e. ‘I run 3 times a week’, when activated is ‘I am running 3 times a week’. The saying goes ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, a movie is made of thousands of pictures. ‘I run’ is a picture and ‘I am running’ is a movie and so is more emotive.

Before you do this, start by exploring what you are grateful for. Gratitude is a very powerful emotional state. It helps remove the neediness from your life, which is part of your limiting beliefs. It helps free up your unconscious to accept your new positive beliefs.

Start making plans on how to achieve your goals and taking action.  A marathon takes approx. 55,500 steps to complete and many more in training too. It starts with a small number of slow steps and over time fitness builds.

Most people overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in 5-10yrs. By having a goal with the faith you will eventually achieve it, and knowing it will take persistence then you will achieve it.  It may seem slow at the beginning but will seem to speed up as momentum builds.

 

SEEING IS BELIEVING & BELIEVING IS SEEING

We are emotion-based machines and e-motions is what makes us move and achieve.  Now think of this visceral difference between a still picture and a movie. A movie is infinitely more powerful than a picture.

Likewise thinking in movies (the words you use are describing what’s going on in your head) is much more powerful in achieving your dreams.

Another important aspect is the size and distance of the movies and pictures in our heads.  The bigger (life-size or bigger for the things you want to achieve) and the closer they are the more power they have over you.

Think of the difference between watching something on your phone and in the cinema.

The opposite is also true; if you had been thinking negative thoughts, bring it into your awareness. If it is a movie, run the movie.  Then fast forward to a time when everything is better, then backward, and then make it a picture.

Make the pictures black & white, and make it smaller and move them into the distance. Then think of something else, repeat 5-10 times if required until the negative emotion has gone.

After you have set your goals, keep reading over them and keep tweaking and adding to them. When reading them, imagine you already have them in your life and feel how you will feel when you have it.  The feeling is extremely important; it’s the emotion that makes things real.

When writing out our goals, in the back of your mind ask your subconscious mind to look for the opportunities and they will start to appear (your subconscious will stop deleting and distorting them).

 

OUR ROLE AS ARCHITECTS

By now you may have guessed what ‘Designing a better future together’ really means. When designing your home, this is the mindset we approach it with. We like to get into your head and help you draw out what type of life you want to live, helping you design your ideal life.

This is a time of giving back and helping each other, if you have thought this has been useful or informative, then give back and help others by sharing it with your friends and family and work colleagues. There are more people suffering from mental health issues than you realised, and most will never tell anyone or ask for help. Our hope is to help as many people as we can.

If you have any questions on this or we can help you, feel free to reach out and ask.

How to take control of your Life – Start creating more Happiness & Success – Part 3

For Part 1 Click Here.  For Part 2 Click Here. 

This part is about understanding your belief systems and how they control you and how to start taking control of them. This isn’t a light and uplifting read, but it is important to understand if you want to improve your life. In the next part, I will help you to understand one way you can change your beliefs.

But first, you need to understand how they controlling your life. Please note this is about beliefs around yourself; therefore excludes religious & scientific beliefs etc. For example, the earth is flat.

In Robert Dilts ‘Logical Levels Model’, you have different types of beliefs.

Your identity has the biggest impact on your life and your environment has the least:

  • identity, then
  • values,
  • capabilities,
  • behaviours,
  • and lastly your environment.

Let me say that again your environment has the least effect on you, yet this is what most people blame and try to change; therefore they often get stuck there.

When you are blaming, you are discharging your pain or discomfort onto something or someone else, so you don’t have to deal with your issues. If you don’t deal with your issues you will always be the same.

If you want to make effective change, working on your identity will give you the biggest and quickest changes. I recommend a holistic approach with an emphasis on changing your identity.

Any time you hear yourself think or say;

I am..’ smart, fat, brave etc these are identity beliefs.

Your values are abstract beliefs; like family, honesty, integrity etc. These incorporate multiple beliefs around each topic and if ‘family’ is your highest value then you would put it above everything else, including work.

Most of your limiting beliefs usually manifest via your negative identities.

Shame is one of the most destructive emotions. An example of the difference between shame & guilt; shameI am bad, guiltI did bad. Shame is a negative identity and guilt is a negative behaviour.

A quick note to parents, when you are saying to your kids ‘bad boy’ you are shaming him and creating a negative identity within him. If he has an identity of being bad he will feel the need to do bad things to fulfil his identity.

Moving this into guilt language is a better way of saying it, ie ‘that is bad’.  Means that the behaviour is bad, the person is not.   Moving the action into the behaviour belief system means that the child learns not to do it, as he knows it is a bad thing to do. Your tone and body language can also have a negative impact even if your words are correct. I will cover this later.

When one of my children does something wrong, I put my arms around them (showing that I love them no matter what they do) and I tell them ‘that was unacceptable behaviour’. I discuss what they did wrong, what made it wrong and what type of behaviour we expect from them. Then I tell them that I will always love them, no matter what they do. I tell them this is just another learning moment and talk through what they have learnt.

Even ‘positive’ identity imposed on us can have negative consequences. Eg telling a kid they are ‘smart’, often they won’t want to do hard things and opt to take the easy route as getting something wrong would break their identity of being ‘smart’. As a result, they can fall behind, this can cause conflicts within the belief systems which could cause anxiety.

To guard your kids against this we teach our kids a different definition of what smart is. Being smart really means embracing mistakes, getting things wrong and failures, as these are actually learning moments.

These are the times we learn the most, without feedback loops we would never improve. When you are confused, I hear people say it makes them feel stupid. When it is actually you in peak learning mode!

When you start thinking about it this way they become positive experiences instead of stressors and you learn better and quicker.

You can spot shame by how it manifests:

Moving away – withdrawing from people, keeping secrets.

Moving towards – Appeasing & pleasing people, so they think good of them.

Moving against – gaining power over others; being aggressive; blaming others; humiliating others.

(for more information on shame or shame resilience theory, read Brene Brown’s books, or TEDx talks, or Netflix show)

To start to take control of this, instead of it controlling you, you must start taking responsibility for all the things in your life, the good and the bad. The word ‘responsibility’ means to be ‘able to respond’. This is the opposite of blame.

If you believe you can’t respond, then you were in victim mode; ie victims think that life happens to them and they have no choice in it. Eg I was speaking to a kitchen designer who was telling me he had a few non-paying clients, he said they put so much stress onto him that they made him have a heart attack, his words to me ‘them non-paying b@$t@rds made me have a heart attack’. He was discharging his pain onto them, ie blaming them. This rarely helps.  His stress was coming from him making his pictures in his own head; of him losing his business.

I explained it to him by pointing out; the only thing that they did was not pay you, everything else was on you. You caused your own stress by the way you were thinking about it, which caused your heart attack. This is taking responsibility for how you respond to what’s happening to you and taking control. This is akin to the thinking from the ‘growth’ mindset (check out Carol Dweck’s book; Mindset).

By taking responsibility it allows you to problem-solve. He could have chosen to think differently about it. I approach things with the mindset; expect the best and plan for the worst. Nearly everyone that I speak to that is stressed has this in reverse ie imagining the worst happening to them (expecting the worst) and doing nothing about it (acting as if everything is fine). He could have gone to the bank for an extended overdraft, he could have reached out earlier and set up a payment plan; this is taking control.

Social scientists love twins: they create a natural control group. There is a famous study where they asked one of the twins why he was an alcoholic: he said ‘My father was an alcoholic, so how could I be anything else?

When they asked the other twin why he never drank he said: ‘My father was an alcoholic, so how could I be anything else?

It is nothing to do with what happens to you; but how you decide to respond to it.

Once you start taking responsibility and admitting it to yourself, then you can start catching your shame and deciding to behave differently.

You are starting to name it and tame it.

I said in an earlier post that my major depression was the best thing that ever happened to me; this is true to a degree. Its wasn’t the years of suffering that made it good but how I finally responded to it and what I learnt as the result. I only wish I had decided to respond much earlier in my life so I didn’t have to suffer for 20 years plus.

The question is when is now a good time for you to start?

Don’t be like me and wait until things get bad. Start now.

You will also start to notice other people’s shame manifesting which helps tame your responses to it.

The more you do this the stronger you become, and the stronger you become the easier it is. It is the equivalent of ‘lifting more weight’.

I recently read Chris Voss’ book ‘Never Split the Difference’. He was the head FBI negotiator, he dealt with a lot of ransom cases around the world. When dealing with the family of the hostage, he would finish the call by telling them I will ring you again in an hour and he always made sure he did.

This is similar to a time several years ago when I was roped into running a leg of the Belfast marathon the night before it. I hadn’t trained in a few years, so you can guess my fitness levels. It was the final leg running through the city centre and there were lots of people out watching the race. Within 5 mins of running, I felt I couldn’t run any longer but with loads of people watching I didn’t want to stop. I convinced myself that I would run for another 5 mins then I would allow myself to stop and hopefully there would be fewer people around. I was wrong, there still was a good-sized crowd but I wasn’t feeling any worse, so I decided to run 5 mins longer. I never stopped, I just ran for 5 mins at a time until I finished. It turns out it was close to my personal best over that distance and I hadn’t trained.

Chris Voss knows the unknown and the uncertainties in life can be the biggest negative stressors. He knew if he told them he would speak to them again in an hour, it removed a lot of uncertainty. They only had to hold it together for an hour each time.

Life is not about holding it together forever but it is about holding it together for an hour and winning the day, then the marathon that is life becomes easier. When training for marathons, rest days are needed. So go easy on your self and if you need an hour or a day off now and again, that’s okay, eventually, your fitness will increase.

This was potentially a heavier, difficult topic for some.  Hopefully, I have started a bit of introspection, thinking about your beliefs. How much you value yourself, how you see yourself and start to let go of how you think others see you.  This will free you to write your own, happier story.

In Part 4, I will explain how you can change your beliefs and in turn,  creating an inspiring future, turning your ‘crisis’ or ‘problems’ into YOUR opportunity.

And remember, no one is perfect, so do NOT expect yourself to be. We are only human so having off days is okay, as long as you are on an upward trajectory. Remember, improving a bit each and every day wins the race.

It’s Time for a change – Part 2

Part 1 can be found here

For many people, you have some extra time on your hands, have had your hours reduced, been furloughed or simply working from home; saving your commuting time.

Herein lies where you will find your opportunity if you wish to take it. It’s simple physics; every action has an equal and opposite reaction, for all the bad, there has to be good to come out of this.

The question – do you want to take your share of the good?

Or

Do you want someone else to have your share?

Mental health issues, and depression, have increased during the lockdown.  In some ways, that is an obvious reaction.  But the ‘why’ may not be for the reasons you think. Let me explain why, simply:

My depression, even though it wasn’t good at the time, was the best thing that ever happened to me. I learned so much going through it that it has made me a stronger, better, person.

If you go to the gym and keep lifting the same light weights, you won’t get any stronger.  It is hard to appreciate the warmth of summer without the cold of the winter. If it wasn’t for my negative experiences, my life would not be as fulfilled; and I wouldn’t be feeling the amount of gratitude for what I have today.

HAPPINESS

Life isn’t about being happy, it is about being happier and enjoying it more. In the book, ‘Happier Tal Ben-Shahar tells the story about training for a big event.  He dreamed about winning, which gave him the motivation to train hard. He went on to win and afterward, he felt deflated.  You see; life isn’t about the destination.  It is the journey that counts.

Happiness is about the person you become on the way to your goals.  It’s about becoming a better version of yourself. To do this we also have to address the dark sides or the shadow self. This is where the real growth happens.

Most of us have addictions of sorts to a greater or lesser degree.  Addictions are effectively numbing the brain.

Whilst an addiction numbs the ‘negative’ emotions (away from motivation) it also numbs the positive emotions (towards motivation).  These addictions can range from drugs, alcohol, shopping, watching too much TV or spending too much time on social media. I think this should be renamed to anti-social media as it is a truer reflection of what it is (yeah, I know the irony, seeing as I am writing this for social media lol!).

Distracting and numbing yourself can be forms of escapism from your deep inner issues; keeping your shadow self hidden from others and often yourself. With the lockdown and less work, it has been harder to escape these ‘away from’ motivators or ‘negative’ emotions.

There was an experiment with rats where they were given 2 water bottles and 1 of them had cocaine added to it. All the rats preferred the water with cocaine and kept drinking it and eventually overdosed on it.

Experiment 2: they created a rat utopia with the same 2 bottles, all the rats tasted the cocaine water but none went back for more.

Experiment 3: a group of rats started in the 1st cage where they loved the cocaine, they were then moved to the utopia cage. In this cage they didn’t overdose, in fact, they rarely drank from the bottle with cocaine.

Unlike the rats, you can escape from your cage as it is only in your imagination, (which has nothing to do with the physical constraints of lockdown) and part of doing this is confronting the shadow self and using it for good. Using your negative story to propel you away from it, instead of numbing and distracting yourself. This will create the motivation to start creating your utopia and in turn giving you a better story.

MOTIVATION

In NLP we talk about ‘enough is enough patterns people go through and these are the turning points in peoples lives. It is the moment when people get a strong ‘away from motivation’ (negative emotions) creating a time to change who they are, for the better.

The problem with only using ‘away from motivators’, the further away you get from the issue the less motivation you will have. Eg ‘I don’t want to be fat’, means you start eating healthier & exercising.  This is why a lot of people yoyo up and down in weight: they get thin enough that they feel better about themselves and then stop doing what was working and slip back into old eating patterns.

Now if you add ‘towards motivations’ to the mix at the same time you create a propulsion system which is like sending you off like a rocket towards a better life. Then the further away you get the easier it becomes.

This is the Pareto Principle in practice, better known as the 80 / 20 rule. This means when a rocket is going to outer space, it uses around 80% of its fuel in the first 20% on lift-off. The closer it gets to orbit the less fuel it needs as the gravitational pull gets weaker the further away from the earth you get.

If you’re going to have lasting change in your life, you must also raise your standards. Someone who gets into shape, and plans to stay there, need to raise their standards. They very quickly become aware if they put on a pound or two and do something about it straight away – before they become overweight. The earlier we create these interventions, the easier it is to remedy.  Unfortunately, too many people leave it too long, waiting until it gets bad enough that they have to change. This means it can become more difficult to recover or make changes as the gravitational pull is stronger.

To successfully achieve goals you also need to address your limiting beliefs, such as ‘not feeling loved’, ‘not being good enough’, ‘not worthy’ or ‘don’t deserve it’ etc.

We have approximately 100 billion individual nerve cells and your conscious mind holds around 7 +/- 2 pieces of information.  If you are dyslexic like me, it is on the lower end of that range. For your mind to process all this information, it deletes, distorts, and generalises these billions of pieces of information, based on your belief systems.

This means that if you believe that everyone hates you – you will either delete all the times’ people are kind to you or distort it into something else (turn a ‘positive’ deed into a ‘negative’).

Example; they are only doing that because they want something from you. In turn, your behaviours may cause people not to like you.  So it can become self-fulfilling.

These beliefs create the story you tell yourself; rather than the objective reality.  It was your story that was holding you back rather than what is really happening around you.

In part 3 we go into how belief systems are created, work and how to start taking control of them.

Turning your Coronavirus fears into your Opportunity – Part 1

IMAGE Interiors & Living magazine

With lockdown, we are all spending more time than ever before in our homes.  Who else is looking around their home & wondering how they could update things; thinking about paint colours, new shelves or art work, a new rug….or discovering that your house doesn’t really work for your family any more? Or maybe you are thinking about a self build house, or extension?

If you are in need of inspiration, and can get to the shops during lockdown, check out the current copy of IMAGE Interiors & Living Image Interiors & Livingmagazine, which features our award-winning architect designed ‘House of the Year IE’, with an exclusive interview with the owners, Paul & Lucia.

They describe the design process from the client’s point of view, their design intentions; what they wanted before they started, and what they have achieved!

Discover how we designed the house; why the house is the shape it is, why it is angled, and the inspiration behind the cladding…..and how a space designed to connect the family has created a bit of fun!

Photography by: Captured by Keri-Leigh 

How to create a bright home

Thanks to the RSUA & The Irish News for asking me to write an article on natural light in our homes.

Self Build Magazine

Check out the new edition of Self Build magazine for an interview with Martin about his award-winning house: ‘FMB Energy Efficient House of the Year UK’.
Martin talks about the process of building a Passive House (with no yearly energy bills) & what drove him down the path of energy efficient building.
“I thought I would prefer to pay a bit more on a mortgage than waste the same money on energy bills.”

 

…”We didnt have to go above and beyond the Passive House requirements…each house is unique, you have to delve into the details and tweak the amount of insulation…for a cost optimal performance.”

“We paid a lot of attention to detail…design and cost analysis with the builder. It was all down to payback times. Anything that wouldn’t pay for itself within five years in terms of energy savings wasn’t going into the house.”

Belfast Design Week – Panel Discussion

As part of Belfast Design Week, 2019, I have been asked to speak as part of a panel of inspirational women, discussing the importance of conversations about the creative journey; and how as female entrepreneurs we can uplift & encourage others.

I will be speaking about, and giving an insight into the realities; the highs and the lows of the self-employed journey.

As a prelude to this event, I had the pleasure of catching up with Esther from ‘Womenfolk’:

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to set up your business?

Hi! I’m Roisin McCann; a registered architect, mum of 3 girls, and I have recently started my own architectural practice, along with my brother Martin.

Prior to starting out on my own, I was a design director in an architects practice, managing +20 people, working on hotels, one-off houses, housing developments & commercial buildings.

Setting up in my own business was almost a natural progression. Being raised in a family with entrepreneurial parents, and consequently, siblings, my brother (an architectural designer) and I began to ponder our future…a couple of years later, and here we are!

What/who influences/motivates you?

On a personal level, my mum is the person who tells me I can do anything, has my back, believes in me, is my sounding board; pushes me forward with encouragement, and tells me if I step out of line!

From a professional, creative side, the need to be creative, to design beautiful things makes me switch on my computer in the mornings. I absorb ideas from everywhere – social media constantly bombards me with ideas, details, colours, materials; I could get lost for hours on Pinterest just looking at staircases!

However, it is the site, and more importantly, our clients who drive me. The clients who know what they want, but have an open mind; the ones that fully engage in the design process; the ones that want to push boundaries, are what motivates me to hone, develop and rationalise my designs.

What has been your biggest hurdle and your proudest moment or accomplishment with your business?

In some ways, our biggest hurdle is also our greatest strength. My brother and I have come to this point from very different pathways: me, from the design, planning and management side; Martin, from the technical, detailed side. I am the big picture person, in personal and professional life; with Martin, it’s all about the detail. This has, in the past, caused some sibling tension! However, realising this, acknowledging this, and getting a business consultant in for a short period of time, has allowed us to understand each other better, and use this to our advantage. It gives our buildings the edge – because we look for different things, clients get the whole package.

One of our biggest accomplishments has been Martins House winning ‘Energy Efficient House of the Year UK’. His entire fuel costs for the year are approx. £600 – and he makes £800 from the renewable energies in his house – so he actually makes money from his house! Martin is a certified Passive House designer: in an era where energy efficiency and running costs are paramount, this gives us an important advantage over our competitors.

Check out Womenfolk for the full interview!

Media coverage of #HouseoftheYearIE

Picked up by some media outlets, our Award Winning House of the Year IE, was given some beautiful accolades…To name but a few:

The Newsletter: available to view online at https://www.facebook.com/belfastnewsletter/


The Derry Post

So…we won!! House of the Year IE

Our project, ‘House overlooking Lough Foyle’, has been awarded ‘House of the Year IE’ in a glittering ceremony in The Mansion House, Dublin!

We had an amazing night at the Building & Architect of the Year awards ceremony, sharing the stage with other incredible architects.

Whittled down to a shortlist of 3 houses in the whole of Ireland, we were delighted for our house to have been crowned ‘House of the Year’.

As well as House of the Year, as a special bonus, we were shortlisted on the night for overall ‘Building of the Year’.

Here’s to many more Award winning designs!