Stuart Henderson, Group Product and Design Director at Stewart Milne Homes.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Ensuring we maximise the value of great design; whether it be in the layout of a new home, the way it relates to the street, all the way to a masterplan for thousands of homes. By getting designs right, we deliver additional value to our business, and we also enhance people’s lives.
What’s your favourite aspect about working in the industry?
The new build housing industry gives us the ability to impact many people’s lives in a positive way. Whether it’s finding the perfect first home or downsizing in later years. Great design should always create additional value.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I hope to influence wider decision-making to ensure that good design is valued within the industry and that the processes to achieve great places is better understood and more deliverable.
How do you define success?
The most important thing is that customers are happy in their new homes and developments. I also enjoy seeing how developments evolve over time and will often go back five or ten years later.
How has the global pandemic changed the industry?
COVID has changed the way we live and the way that we use our homes in many different ways. We are more focused on design and the way that homes work and function to meet their individual needs. As well as moving from city to suburbs!
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
I would love to see more architects working within the industry. I would also like to see more investment in developing the skills of the next generation of architects, technicians, surveyors, land managers and planners.
Favourite area of a house to design?
The way rooms connect with each other and the flow of spaces and views. Incidental connections and peeks through rooms to the garden beyond, or that special view down a street can bring some joy to the way you live in a home.
What skills are required to become a Design Director?
You need a varied skill set and whilst it is obviously important that you are a great architect, it is also essential that you are commercially astute and very committed. This role can be very challenging, so it is also important that you are resilient.
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Editor, Showhome Magazine
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