Snug’s story began with a small but courageous property development called Shechem. Snug’s founding director, Paul Bulkeley, had always been entrepreneurial and, unable to get on the housing ladder, determined to build his own house. Instead of building one, he got planning permission for a pair of highly original one-bedroom town houses on a 10m x 10m postage stamp of a site.
It was this entrepreneurial spirit that launched Snug, and it remains one of our defining characteristics. Paul founded Snug in 2003, part way through the construction of Shechem and one year after qualifying as an architect. There was still a lot to learn and that necessitated humble beginnings.
Shechem was one of an exclusive collection of high-quality infill housing schemes in Winchester which pioneered what we call ‘contextual modernism’; contemporary housing that fits its context whilst enjoying all the spatial benefits of modern design. This is why we are called Snug; our work fits people and places snugly, whatever the scale. Shechem was the first Snug project and reveals much of our design ethos. It was a great start.
While building Shechem, Paul and his then builder, Ben Chainey, decided to do a few more developments. It was a great way to learn the business and threw them both in at the deep end. They delivered several of their own property developments and sold their last unit in July 2007. This turned out to be good timing, only a few weeks before the start of the credit crunch. They determined to focus on the now fast-growing architecture business.
In 2009 Ben left the family construction company and joined Snug Architects full time, focusing fully on his role developing the technical disciplines of the practice. After only a few years Paul had built his own home and they had together completed several small property developments. It had given them a great grounding in the pragmatic realities of the development industry and real empathy for their clients.