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£10k refit competition ??

I have just returned from hospital having had a procedure carried out on my foot/ankle that involves repairing a damaged tendon and realigning my foot by breaking my heel! While waiting to be called down to theatre I sat in my room checking e-mails - as you do when you want to take your mind off things.

There was an e-mail from Colin Clayton of Desk Centre Limited talking about a £10,000 office refit and all I had to do was create a blog post suggesting why my office should be the one to receive it! What an opportunity - here I am laid up for two weeks before I can mobilise on crutches and my office certainly would benefit from a revamp in 2013.

Like most surviving, small, independent estate agents we have done this by cutting costs, reducing premises and regrettably letting staff go. Our address used to be 20-22 Market Place but is now 20 Market Place only. We originally moved to No.20 from our first premises in Newnham Street in 1993- my then business partner and I did it on a Friday night with the aid of a borrowed sack barrow! We got some strange looks running along the street with filing cabinets as it must have looked like we'd stolen them!

We ended up with this aluminium shop-fronted delight which we wall papered to dado height and added a paper border to, in an attempt to style it like a living room.

Like most estate agents in the mid 90's we got a rush of blood - possibly to the head but at any rate we decided to expand into what was then the launderette next door.

 Vast amounts of cash later we looked very stylish - and big!

The wall paper went and we used MDF with glued on panels to create a service area in the walls for our computer network cables. The shop front became Oak. All was going well but then my business partner and I did what business partners do and split. We became David Clark and Company still in the same big premises but within 2 years the market and the UK's economy took a turn for the worse and I had to look at a fall back position. We fell back into No.20 alone.

Making the best of a bad job I had some decorating done.  The market has been kinder to us over the last couple of years and the people I let No.22 to have hung on in there!

Staff levels have crept up again but the desks I salvaged were too big so I bought some cheapo smaller ones to get everyone in.

This is how we look today - bit 'quart in a pint pot' outside and in. The pedestals from the big desks with drawers in had to stay for some people to fit all their paperwork in. Mismatch is probably the word.

Estate agency is changing and some are trying the on-line route or moving out of the centre of towns. I'm inclined to take a different line. I want my central Market Place premises to be stunning to look at and send out the right impression to the passing hordes of people. Efficiency and friendliness. They may not be buying or selling today but my office needs to be a subliminal message etched into their brains.

From the outset of the business we've relied on our own interior design skills - no laughter please. I'd now like to let a firm of professionals loose on our not so blank canvas. Whilst life is a little easier we're not rolling in cash and our bigger competitors have upped their game and presence. The whole team would like the lift a re-fit would give.

Here is the current layout:

This is an official entry to Desk Centre’s £10,000 workspace refit competition.


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