‘We shape our buildings and then they shape us’


Commissioning a new building is an act of profound optimism – for those that do so, often the most significant undertaking of their lives. We work regularly with clients for whom building is a once in a lifetime event, we have self built ourselves (both individually and as part of a collective group) and we understand both the joys and the tribulations that accompany that commitment.

Ultimately we judge the quality of our work on the sense of delight promoted by our buildings in the people that use them. We try to work with a quiet reverence for the materials with which we build, the place where we build and the planet on which we build in a way that reflects the optimism and passion of the people that commission us.


Ian Dewsbery Bath Street Collective Custom Build Director and Resident

John led the self-build process for the collective over a period of nearly 4 years. We were involved from the early stages and although it was totally new territory for us, working closely with John and having him pretty much ‘on hand’ to provide clarity to elements of the build process that were incredibly daunting to us was crucial to us having confidence in the process.

Working with John on our ‘shell’ flat interior was a great experience. We had reasonably solid ideas of what we wanted to achieve and worked alongside John to get our ideas into an even better ‘form’. John facilitated these design meetings well but not so that we lost sight of our vision. It just became a better vision.

Self builds are extremely rewarding but hard work and often stressful, however we always felt in safe hands with John’s calm reassurance.

David Cooper and Gica Loening Bath Street Collective Custom Build Residents

We are residents of the block of flats built recently by Bath Street Collective Custom Build Ltd. The inspiration for the concept of the build came from John and we and the other families committed to seeing it through, with John employed to be the architect for the project.

Throughout the several years that it has taken from that point to actually moving in to the completed flat, John has proved himself to be thoroughly professional and competent.

A project of this nature inevitably demands that the architect has to guide a largely inexperienced group of diverse people through often very complex decisions. John showed himself to be at all times very patient and clear in his explanations. The degree of detailed thought that he put into the design of the building was very impressive, but he was always ready to explain and discuss even at this level.

He was also very adept at protecting our interests during the build process, when dealing with the companies carrying out the work onsite.

We have no hesitation in recommending John Kinsley as architect for your project.

Martin Reynolds Head of Marketing and Advertising at Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games

John designed our one and a half storey side-extension – a tiny plot of land to the side of our 1930s semi-detached house, where a rickety garage once stood, and where, at the start of the process, we seemed to want to accommodate an endless list of functions and utilities: more entertaining space, a larger kitchen, a better relationship with the back garden, a study, two new bathrooms, a utility…

Unfazed by the wish list, John set about understanding how we lived in and used the house, and very quickly came up with a design that suited us and the house itself: a wonderful wrap-around side extension, clad in slate, roofed in zinc. It’s an unbelievably impressive use of a relatively small space and has transformed how we live in and enjoy our home.

It’s a bold but sympathetic design and we love it. He’s patient, steadfast, unequivocally committed to the project, and firm on the priorities when you start to dither mid-project. He was a continued support throughout the build and we can’t recommend him highly enough – for both his design and his approach.

Brigid Charlton, Choreographer and Pilates Instructor

Working with John was an absolute pleasure from start to finish. We asked him to design our garden studio and he did a beautiful job. Not only did he take on board everything we were looking for but he was also willing to work within the strictures of the Feng Shui consultation we had also undertaken: a consummate professional! He led us through the process by way of very clear drawings and 3D software models, making it easy to present ideas to our neighbours – all of which was very much appreciated. I would recommend anyone to work with him.

Euan Stirling, Investment Director, Standard Life

We had known John and his family for a few years before deciding to embark on a significant domestic restoration project. We asked him to help us with ideas and drawings at the outset in order to help us establish the scale of our ambition. He gave us the confidence to think big and backed that up with technical expertise and building-industry contacts to make sure that we were on the right track.

Together we put together a plan which involved the removal of significant parts of our house, to be replaced by a more open living environment. This had significant structural, drainage and access issues and so we asked John to take a full role in setting the parameters of the project, organising tenders and then overseeing the subsequent building work. At the time it seemed like a significant increment to the cost of the project, but now enjoying the benefit of hindsight, it was money very well spent.

The build was not without its challenges, but having selected an excellent building firm at a competitive price, John helped establish a relationship with the builders that saw us through any difficulties in a constructive way. The result was a transformation of our living space which we continue to greatly appreciate.