Meet Tom Bowthorpe, Director at Abode Studio Architectural Services, talking to us about his career path that began in product design and eventually ended up in architectural services and project management.
I’d always wanted to do something creative. After my degree in Industrial Product Design I fell into construction with a friend in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, renovating Victorian terraced houses. From there I spent most of my twenties working in and out of London and travelling abroad. People are building everywhere in the world and construction workers are always in demand. I laboured on building sites in New Zealand, renovated old stone buildings in the French Alps and in the Pyrenees, returning to London and the west country in between adventures knowing that I would always find work there.
Not long afterwards I started a small company in London which, to begin with, designed and fitted kitchens and bathrooms. This progressed to whole flat renovations and eventually to larger scale residential projects such as warehouse conversions. The skills I’d learnt at University helped me to do my own design and drawing work whereas the trades I’d experienced on site gave me a better understanding of how a construction project unfolds, hopefully making me a better project manager.
I had a few short spells working for Architects firms in London but soon realised I needed the buzz of having my own clients and being on site again, surrounded by and working with all the other tradespeople a residential conversion requires. With the encouragement of friends who were Architects I honed my skills and experience to be able to offer a full Architectural Design service, whilst also being able to build.
London served a purpose for me but I eventually moved back to the West Country and to Cornwall, where I continue to offer Architectural Services for residential clients. I am also a landlord, I project manage for clients and I still work on residential construction sites. On site I find that I am always learning something new whilst spending time with other tradespeople, professionals and friends. Construction has given me a very varied and rewarding career, it has enabled me to travel, and it has given me the chance to be creative.
Director at Abode Studio Architectural Services