it’s a family affair when it comes to designing and building ‘outstanding’ care home provider, Colten Care’s, new homes. CHP caught up with the group’s construction and interior design team at their new ground-breaking, £10.5m Bourne View care home in Poole (Dorset) to find out more.
Development and design has always been in the DNA of leading south coast care home provider, Colten Care.
The business grew out of a housing development business more than 30 years ago when the opportunity to build its first purpose-built nursing home became available through identifying a site for both a nursing home and retirement cottages.
Today, the company boasts an expansive selection of in-house teams covering all aspects of care and development, including its own construction team led by George Colwell, son of Colten Care co-founder, John Colwell, and an interior design team led by George’s wife, Georgina.
Over the years, Colten Developments has developed 21 unique care homes, four of which are rated outstanding and the rest ‘good’, with the latest, the striking art deco themed Bourne View in Poole.
“Bourne View is our most expensive project to date and has created a new benchmark standard for every new project,” George told CHP.
The unique art deco build posed a number of challenges for George and his team.
“This was our toughest build in terms of working with the subcontractors, the new materials and the timescales,” George told us.
The site includes an area of protected woodland as part of the wider gardens to the home, which is now maintained by Colten’s home gardener and supporting arborist and ecologist. However, the sloping nature of the land, posed some major construction obstacles with George and his team initially having to build into a hillside to establish the home’s foundations.
“There were a host of building challenges we had not encountered before,” George reflected.
“We had to cut 5,000 sq metres from the ground. It was a big hill. The earth removal alone took two weeks.”
Project manager Steve Pinder explained how the home had been built into the land through a king post retaining wall.
Having decided on an art deco design, the build also had to incorporate a number of eye-catching, statement features, including its entrance staircase, which cost £40,000 in balustrading alone, as well as a roof garden and more than 50 sqm of fully planted Living Wall. The site allows for some unique outside spaces such as pergola walkways, a tropical water feature garden, a sunken courtyard and a fruit and vegetable allotment.
“We also have a highly experienced in-house team that handles the facilities and estates management of all our homes, together with the design and construction of both our new homes and refurbishment of existing homes,” said George.
“Our teams are very closely linked so that we are able to constantly feedback and respond to changes in design arising from our operational expertise.
“Having everything in-house means we can react very quickly. In terms of the interior design, this is our residents’ home, so we have sought to make it both homely and welcoming. Having taken on board feedback from residents in our other homes, we have created hubs where the communal spaces are easily accessible and offer many points of interest.
“That’s been hugely successful. We have the mezzanine two floors so everyone feels involved in what’s going on.”
CEO Mark Aitchison added: “It’s a stunning facility and raises the bar to another level in terms of what care homes can offer. Everything here has been thought through from the residents’ perspective and reflects our 30 years’ knowledge of building and operating care homes.
“I am confident this amazing home, together with the handpicked team led by manager Sohail Daniels, will join our other homes in becoming a beacon of care excellence.”
As well as working on new builds, George and the team also continually carry out an extensive refurbishment programme. Colten spends in excess of £2m on refurbishment annually, as well as a similar amount on facilities management and maintenance.
“Our directors carry out annual reviews of our homes,” George told CHP.
“We are always looking at ways of enhancing our existing homes for the benefit of our residents – their feedback is invaluable. We are constantly mindful that the homes we build are our residents’ homes. Projects could include converting a room into a café, creating a roof garden, remodelling the lounges and dining rooms or refurbishing the kitchens and laundries.”
Notable design innovations at Colten’s homes include two artificial beaches with SAD therapy lighting.
“These are the sort of ideas we constantly strive to explore as a group,” George told us.
“We often find competitors copying what we do!”
Strong relationships with local suppliers support the ongoing adaption and bespoke design of each new home.
Having achieved a stunning design success with Bourne View, never ones to rest on their laurels, George and his team look forward to setting the benchmark higher again with their next project.
Giving their industry leading reputation, it should be well worth waiting for.