M+HW Stories


How to Find Land to Build Your Dream Home

May 2019

Tom Howard shares his practical insights into how and where to find your perfect spot... 

As an architects’ practice, we often have people getting in touch saying something like: “We like what you do. How can we find a plot to build something like that for ourselves?”

For the full article click here

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New opportunities for planning permission on smaller sites

May 2019


The Government released its updated National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) stating “In rural areas, planning policies and decisions should be responsive to local circumstances and support housing developments that reflect local needs.” 

Tom Howard explores how this could create real opportunity for landowners with smaller sites and those wanting to build their own home...

For the full article, click here

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M+HW Share Client Project Management Tool

May 2019

We've made our project management toolkit available so anyone can use it for their own building project. 

We know how projects should be run (and the reality), we know each stage, task and aspect and who is responsible for each element. We know how to balance the books and keep the momentum of a job going. Our project management toolkit helps us do this time and again. And now we've made it publically available for anyone to use alongside their architect. 

It makes assigning jobs easy and allows self builders to break down the process by room, by task, by responsibility, by consultant or by time frame. Each detail of the project from finding land, through foundations to fitting pictures is listed and sorted so deadlines, budgets and tasks can be tracked.

M+HW Project Management Toolkit



4 Business Self Help Books That Changed The Way I Work

March 2019

Tomas Millar confesses to his guilty pleasure of reading business self help books...

For the full article click here

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Flexible Working, Should Just be “Working”.

February 2019

Who'd have thought Margaret Thatcher and Dolly Parton could be trail blazers for modern working practices...?

Ros James discusses how these women have influenced her working life and the shift change required of employers and employees to maximise the experience and skills of those who able to work part-time and how it doesn't equate to being only partly committed.

For full article click here

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Can Architecture Shift Attitudes for our Vulnerable Future?

January 2019

Humans have an impact on the natural environment, and that impact is ever increasingly detrimental. Alternatives need to be adopted and as designers, and problem solvers, architects can contribute to this in a real and significant way.

Eva Pontika and Charlie Glenton from Millar + Howard Workshop take us through their award winning final university project which highlights the importance of architecture as a way of finding solutions to defend and protect our planet and its people.

For full article click here


How Digital Technology is Transforming Architectural Practice

January 2019

New technology is radically expanding the toolkit of architects. From the early days of CAD (Computer-Aided Design) to the widespread use of BIM (Building Information Modelling), architectural practice has embraced technological change and continues to do so.

RIBA invited five architects, including Millar + Howard Workshop, to share their experiences and opinions about the transformative role digital technology plays in their working lives.

Originally published in Architecture.com

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Working Around Nature and History, Sir Peter Scott’s House, Slimbridge

January 2019

The transformation of Sir Peter Scott’s house has been an intriguing project to work on right from the beginning because its historical significance is astonishing but not in a typical way. Its historical value comes from how it has been used by Sir Peter and his family. Conservation — a concept that’s hugely important to all our lives — was conceived in this house.

The irony of ensuring this building was preserved for future generations to learn the importance of conservation for all our futures was not lost on the architects Millar + Howard Workshop.

For full article click here.

Abridged version first published on Slimbridge 2020.



Vegan Chocolate Fudge Brings People Together

December 2018

Food brings people together, that’s undeniable. Chocolate works especially well but really it’s the small act of kindness of bringing in home made goodies that lures colleagues away from their desks to gather them for a meeting or really breaks the ice at client introductions.

Chocolate isn’t the only great element of this recipe, it’s gluten and dairy free too so everyone here can eat it and it’s also easy peasy to make: uses just one bowl and there’s no cooking involved just cooling in the fridge. Anyone can do it.

This isn’t just any old fudge, it’s collaborative chocolate fudge. Make some, bring your colleagues together this Christmas…

For the recipe, click here

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Why Small Startups are the Future

November 2018

The fourth industrial revolution is gaining momentum. We are entering the age of AI, self-driving cars, the internet of things and additive manufacturing. However, according to a recent McKinsey report, construction is rated as one of the least digitised industries in the economy.

Both construction and architecture have been described as industries that are ‘ripe for disruption’, following research by the IHS Global Projects Database that indicates projects routinely take 20 percent longer to finish than originally scheduled and run up to 80 percent over budget.

For the full article, click here.

Originally posted on Architecture.com

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How VR Models are Transforming our Clients’ Understanding of their Unbuilt Buildings

October 2018

Those who really gain from Virtuality Reality designs are the clients.

Millar + Howard Workshop has been using Virtual Reality (VR) to aid the process of conceiving buildings for a few years now. Its impact has been positive and instant. As a design tool, it pushes the boundaries of construction techniques as well as assist with how buildings flow and function at the optimal level for its eventual occupiers. It quickly became apparent however that while VR is incredibly useful for architects at the design stage, the real beneficiaries are clients.

For the full article, click here

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What if Wildlife Has Made a Home Where You Want to Build a Home?

October 2018

Wildlife can enhance a project rather than cause delay or an increase in costs.

Being aware of any wildlife activity and subsequently preparing is key when considering a project which is likely to be home to a protected species. A specialist ecologist may be required to carry out a survey or report.

Wildwood Ecology has created this brilliant infographic detailing the optimum months for surveying protected species here in the UK. 

For full article click here

 PHOTO CREDIT: Tony Wellbelove

#environment #wildlife #endangeredspecies #nature #conservation #sustainableconstruction #buildingwithnature

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Creating a Great Place to Work

September 2018

For many, a great place to work is probably a coveted corner office, elevated within a sleek skyscraper with extensive views across a city. There’ll be in-house catering choices and spa treatments will be just a short, high-speed elevator ride away. Employee perks are an important tool for attracting new staff but a great place to work is actually so much more than free stuff in a swanky location. For me, it’s more about the ethos, the people and the atmosphere. Happy workers are 12 % more productive so it’s worthwhile ensuring staff is actually happy. 

For the full article click here

#worklifebalance #productivity #flexitime #flexappeal #feelingvalued #gigeconomy #workculture #worklife


Making a Home from a Barn

September 2018

When dealing with any change of use building project an inherent tension is formed in the project between the original function of the building and its proposed new use — the building was designed for one thing and now someone wants to use it for something entirely different. During the design process a negotiation begins — where will the building adapt to the new use and where will the new use adapt to the building.

For full article click here.


Just a Simple Shed

July 2018

The symbiosis of function and beauty allow agricultural sheds the accolade of being nearly perfect buildings. They balance purpose with their landscape’s vernacular: a break in the fall of the land, housing tools and equipment which exist to preserve and maintain the very location in which they sit.

Newly built or crumbling some can seamlessly blend into their setting, others enhance their surroundings, acting as a signpost to the rock which lies beneath the surface they occupy or the timber which stands nearby.

For the full article, click here.

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5 Questions To Ask An Architect Before They Design Your Home

July 2018

Regardless of the scale of your future house or extension, the relationship with your architect will be intimate and enduring. Creating a home is an exposing and emotional process. 

We thought about questions clients asked us over the years and which ones we valued. The most pertinent questions from which we learned and gained from, it transpired, were from clients for whom we’ve delivered some of our most successful projects.

For full article click here.


Inward Opening Windows

July 2018

Whilst sweltering in our loft office during this unusual spell of summer heat, we’ve been discussing window design in the office. This is the kind of chat you can expect during tea break if, like me, you work in an office of 12 building designers.

With summer holidays in Mediterranean villas on our mind, we began talking about inward opening windows. They are a standard fitting on the continent yet buildings of all types here tend to have outwardly opening windows. We started to wonder why and what the benefits and drawbacks of each would be.

For the full article, click here.

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Could Custom Build Developments Fix the Housing Crisis?

July 2018

Why is self-build housing so scary for Brits?

Millar + Howard Workshop sees the value of creating communities not just shells in which people live, disconnected from each other; an aspect of house building which is seemingly all too often overlooked even in this era of growing awareness of loneliness and depression.

Mass home production is one answer but there is also a little-known alternative — custom build. I honestly can’t understand why all housing developments aren’t custom build.

For the full article, click here


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Mind the Gap: Returning To Work After Kids

July 2018

It’s not returning because everything’s changed and you can’t go back to something new. Admittedly I had a fair sized break from office work (five years and three children) and I went on to a different company in a new location but it was still a shock that everything about office life had changed. Advancements in processes are obvious and of course, I was expecting technological progress — as one does with each new day; but I wasn’t prepared for how I’d react to these changes and how others would react to me. Five years down the line and two workplaces later I realise that I have changed significantly too.

For the full article, click here

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Virtual Reality and Architecture — Powering a Customer Service Revolution

June 2018

Over the past 30 years, technology has changed the way we as architects produce our work. However, the way we interact with our clients has remained remarkably constant. This is about to change. A new generation of technological innovation is offering opportunities for architects to connect more directly with their customers. Those companies that embrace this opportunity will change the industry for the better.

 It is no longer good enough to simply have a fantastic idea or produce a great product or service — those companies that manage to connect with their customers and provide an exceptional customer experience are leading their industries. 

 For the full article click here

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Wildlife Architecture

February 2018

Jamie Lorimer in his book ‘Wildlife in the Anthropocene’ suggests that the vision of wild nature devoid of human presence might have come to an end. I think there is something contradictory about the way we treat wildlife; on the one hand invading the natural environment in every possible way but on the other hand trying to protect it from ourselves by isolation. I always hoped there was an alternative where we gain the trust of nature by bringing wildlife and humans closer and treating nature sensibly, with care and respect.

 Read Gabriele's full article here.


Living As We Work

January 2018

Martin, an architect here at Millar + Howard Workshop has been telling of his experience building his own home in a community-focused residential scheme designed by Stride Treglown architects.

325 Fishponds Road is a pilot project for Bristol Community Land Trust with the aim of creating a truly affordable communal housing scheme for their members, while giving them an active role in the design and construction process.

Read Stride Treglown's interview with Martin here

Image courtesy of Stride Treglown

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Best Passive House from Telegraph Homebuilding & Renovating magazine awards

November 2017

We're really chuffed with this award. Attaining Passivhaus Certification was an achievement in itself but for the design of the house within that to be recognised is brilliant. PassivHaus is an engineering standard and the fact that is so rigorously audited is its great strength. The downside (sometimes) is that Passivhauses can look as if nothing other than engineering has gone into the design. What is wonderful about the treehouse is that it demonstrates what’s possible when adopting a broader, more balanced approach.

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Tomas Millar Shares Knowledge at RIBA Guerrila Tactics Conference

November 2017

One of our founding directors Tomas Millar shared his knowledge of cutting edge technologies which help him design and commuinicate more effectively with clients with attendees at the RIBA's Guerrila Tactics Conference. 

Aimed at small architect practices, the conference gave Tomas the opportunity to share his entusiasim for developing VR and photogramatry technologies which have enhanced the design capability for the whole practice and helped clients understanding of their future space.  

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Treehouse Dursley Recognised with CPRE Award

October 2017

We really believe in the work the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) do, so for one of our projects, the Dursley Treehouse, to be recognised with a CPRE Award feels amazing.

They describe is as a "town centre energy neutral family home, preserving the natural environment, recycling materials imaginatively, using a derelict sire in an innovative manner, supported by the local community". 

We'd like to add "winning collaboration with Stroud District Council and utterly dedicated clients".

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Winner of Build It Magazine Best Self-Build Architect

September 2017

Thrilled to be winners of Build It Magazine's Best Self-Build Architect for our Dursley Treehouse project. 

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Dursley Treehouse Officially Certified Passivhause

September 2017

Dursley Treehouse has been certified by the Passivhause Institut.

Achieving Passivhause status is largely due to building owners Jon & Noreen's unwaivering passion for an ecologically sound home. There were several issues posed by structural design, building material and building layout which we managed to overcome by closely collaborating with expertise from strucural engineers Structual Solutions and energy consultants Greenguage

Gaining such an accolade is an incredible achievement for any building but for this complex build is particularly satisfying.

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Kiln Green gets Planning Permission

August 2017

Kiln Green, a large extension to a farmhouse in Iscoyd, gained planning permission today.

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Horsley Hill Emerges

August 2017

Horsley Hill, a new build home in the Stroud Valleys, is making good progress this summer and is nearing completion.

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M+HW Design Circus Skills Training Facility

July 2017

A planning application has been submitted today for the only purpose built circus skills school in the UK.

The proposals for the transformation of the New Mercury Building in Cinderford, Gloucestershire will include an additional space which celebrates light, height and movement for a locally celebrated circus school and other performance arts users run by Artspace Cinderford.

The expression of structure is as much about suspending the acrobats as it is about holding up the building. With an emphasis on natural light and ventilation, we've incorporated internal side balconies to the new training space to give the feeling of watching from within the gantry while simultaneously creating a performance space adding flexibility to the utilisation of the building as a whole.

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Northfield House gets Planning Permission

July 2017

Planning has now been granted for a new home to be built on the site of an abandoned, corregated iron shack on a residential road in Tetbury. 

The new four bedroom house, designed in a contemporary vernacular, is set around a courtyard to maximise the space available on the plot. It allows for large, light spaces which connect and flow with each other as well as the garden which surrounds the building. The use of local stone together with glass and a roof of standing seam sheet metal (a reference to the corrugated roof on the original house) means the proposed building will sit comfortably in its setting: a synchronous addition which blends well with surrounding historical buildings and landscaping. 


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Old Meeting House Features in Evening Standard

July 2017

The Old Meeting House featured in the Evening Standard this week, a converted 18th century chapel for artisan  silversmith Hal Messel. See the article here.

Evening Standard Article

The photos are taken by Julia Murphy and are subject to copyright.


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Woodlands gets Planning Permission

June 2017

Millar Howard Workshop have gained planning permission for a new home skilfully hidden into the sloping garden of an existing house in rural Gloucestershire. The three bedroom home was designed to be hidden from its neighbours yet maximise the views over a garden and valley beyond for its residents.



Building a School in Ghana

May 2017

Two of our team recently ventured to Kokrobite, a fishing village in Ghana where the local Kokrobite Chiltern Centre is busy building classrooms from used plastic water bottles. Rachel and Rosalyn were able to learn the method of filling the bottles with sand and laying them with laterite, a sandy cement to form the walls of buildings. They hope to use this experience to help generate a future design for Kokrobite. 


Rachel and Rosalyn employed the photoscanning technique we use on most of our projects to generate a 3D model of the bottle building currently under construction which will allow them to re-visit the site in our Chalford office.



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Conversion of a Derelict Mill Building gets Planning Permission

May 2017

Planning Permission has been granted for the conversion of an derelict existing mill building into a residential dwelling on an unusual site framed by two braids of the River Frome.

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Preston Mill Completed

May 2017

Preston Mill, a project designed using our small projects service was completed this week.

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Incorporating an Art Collection into the design of Franaker

April 2017

Millar Howard Workshop teamed with interior designer Siobhan Loates Design to complete work on an extension and home renovation which incorporated artworks including paintings, sculptures and ceramics from a variety of eras and artistic styles.

The collection of largely contemporary pieces, all of which is the client's own, has been successfully incorporated into both the building and interior design to be a prominent feature of the new and existing rooms.

Bespoke shelving was designed to accommodate some sculptures and objects while some of the colours were inspired by the paintings. 

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Old Forge Nears Completion

April 2017

Our project, the Old Forge nears practical completion

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Old Meeting House features in Architectural Digest

March 2017

Old Meeting House featured in Architectural Digest: "The Incredible Live Work Space of One Silversmith in the English Countryside." Read the full article here: 


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Rees Farm Site Visit

February 2017

Rees Farm, a replacement dwelling in Gloucestershire, materialises on site.

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Hotel submitted for planning

December 2016

Our 28 bedroom hotel and dining pavilion project on the Fosse Way has been submitted for planning.

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Stroud Valley Scouting & Community Centre Submitted for Planning

December 2016

The project involves the construction of a replacement scout hut and the refurbishment of a Grade 2 Listed "Explorers Den" building along with extensive landscaping to enhance the site for the Scout Group.

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Visit to Harleywood House after Completion

November 2016

We took a visit to Harleywood House today after its recent completion to see how it was settling into the landscape. You can read more about the house on our website.


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Permitted Development Design Approved

October 2016

The Hockett, a single storey dwelling extension situated near Henley on Thames has been approved under permitted development.

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Dursley Treehouse Featured on Grand Designs

September 2016

Our Dursley Treehouse has been featured on Grand Designs.  The brief for the house was to gain planning permission for this unusual site which had twice before been refused planning for conventional houses. The client wanted a dwelling that was very sensitive to both the immediate surroundings of the site and the wider, local community. The client was also adamant that the impact of the house on it's site should be very low and be as environmentally sound as possible.

Office Site Visit

September 2016

The whole office had a site visit to our Rees Farm project today

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Elmore Court Tour by Tomas Millar for RIBA Gloucestershire

July 2016

Tomas Millar gave a tour of our award winning Gillyflower building at Elmore Court to RIBA members today. This event was kindly sponsored by the RIBA local initiative fund.

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Virtual Reality Demostration for RIBA Gloucestershire

July 2016

Tomas Millar also gave a demonstration of our pioneering Virtual Reality designs to RIBA Gloucestershire members after their tour of Elmore Court.

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M+HW Submit Entry for Forest Green Rovers Stadium Competition

May 2016

Millar + Howard workshop have submitted an entry for the design of the new Forest Green Rovers Stadium.

Our design came from combining the beautiful surrounding landscape in which the stadium would nestle with the anticipation and excitement gained from entering a football stadium before a match.

The stadium would sit on rammed earth mound to provide a rake for the seating, and fans would enter through tunnels and elevated walk ways to experience or admire the woodland setting of the stadium.

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Barn Conversion Nears Completion

April 2016

North Ecchinswell Barns nears completion on site

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Planning Permission Granted on Blackwell Meadows

April 2016

Full Planning Permission has been granted on Blackwell Meadows Barns.

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Treberron Hand Over

April 2016

Handover on Treberron Farm happened today, the sympathetic residential conversion and restoration of barns arranged around a large courtyard.


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Handover at Beaudesert Park School Library

January 2016

Beaudesert Park School Library finished handover today

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Millar + Howard Workshop Win RIBA Award

May 2015

We are proud to announce that Millar + Howard Workshop have won an RIBA award for The Gillyflower at Elmore Court.  Tom, Tomas and Milo were joined by Ans and Sarah who own Elmore Court and John and Ken who built The Gillyflower for the award ceremony in Bath.