Testimonials from Architects and Clients throughout the years

"The RIAI Simon Open Door is a wonderful cause and we are proud to be involved again this year. It is a galvanising experience to be part of, with the money raised going directly to the Simon Community in their effort to support the homeless.
Although the 2020 event was online, we got a great sense of the potential for each of the properties we consulted on. In many instances, our clients sent us on photos and completed questionnaires to help give us a better sense of their requirements. The fact that our clients were at home allowed for a more immersive experience for all. We looked at a wide range of property types in housing estates, town streets as well as challenging accessibility issues on a hillside location. How to approach the extension of a house was a recurring discussion for many of the consultations, with the topics of orientation and daylight the key areas of interest for our clients.
Fortunately for us, one of our consultations has led to a full commission for a local house extension. We are currently at the tender stage for that work and excited to be starting our first local project on site this Spring.
It will be interesting to see if this extended lockdown has given people more encouragement to re-engage with the design of their homes & work places to better suit their lifestyle. "

Ciarán Molumby & Laura Carroll (Islander Architects)

"I couldn’t speak more highly or more strongly recommend Ciaran Tobin (OAS Architects, Oranmore). His advice and guidance has completely transformed our project and essentially upgraded us from life in a dark box to the home of our dreams.
We had a consultation with him through the Simon Community donation initiative. He kindly allowed us to send over lots of pre-consultation information to give him a better understanding of our project so we could make the most of our time. During that initial call we were both surprised and delighted with the amount of consideration and thought Ciaran had clearly put in to the information we had sent. His experience and direct style was exactly what we needed to get our somewhat flailing project back on track. From seeing what his input could do over the course of one consultation we decided that we simply couldn’t proceed as we were and engaged Ciaran to fully come on board the project.

His obvious passion for the work and simple elegant taste has been the driving force behind the evolution of our plans. However he never forced his identity on the project just revealed options and improvements that we would not have seen. All of this has led to an elevated end product, that both feels like us at our best and is ready to adapt with us as we grow our family. From what the sun will look like at 3.30pm in May vs 3.30pm in September to future family plans and TV time watching preferences Ciaran’s meticulous attention to detail gave us total assurance that our home will work precisely for us and is totally bespoke. "

Claire Moroney, (Client)

OAS architects "Just a quick note to thank share my experience with the Simon Open Door scheme. The consultation with Ciaran Tobin at OAS Architects was outstanding. Ciaran couldn't have been more helpful. He provided such insight which really got me thinking about how we are designing our extension and renovation. Going through every room in the plans with such detail, he provided excellent advice and was very generous with his time. I will certainly recommend the Simon Open Door scheme and in particular Ciaran Tobin at OAS architects. Such a great cause and the value is unquestionable."

Fergus Donnellan (Client)

"Colin Eaton Architects were delighted, once again to take part in Simon Open Door. We have been doing this for several years now and find it an excellent forum for members of the public to meet an architect without much formality or commitment, whilst at the same time supporting a very worthy charity. Many people might feel it would be too expensive or their project is too small or insignificant to engage an architect. We are always delighted to meet people no matter how small their project and invariably we can show that it is actually too expensive not to get expert advice when planning work to the home. No matter how small the extension or job it is actually the entire house, (and its overall value!) which will be either improved and enhanced or destroyed and compromised. Simon Open Door therefore provides to the public a wonderful taster of what dealing with an architect is actually like and most people find during the hour consultation that like a restaurant they are free to choose the level of input they require. We hope to continue our involvement with Simon Open Door for many years."

Colin Eaton (Client)

"We participated in the Simon Open Door scheme in 2016 with a view to extending our Dublin 5 three bedroom terrace. While we thought we had an idea of what we could do with the house, Michael Mohan Architects turned all our ideas upside down and were able to give us an idea of what the true potential of extending would be. I would recommend the scheme to anyone who is considering a project on their home as the value for money achieved in spending an hour with an architect will reap benefits to our home for many years to come. Its great to know that the fee is going to such a great cause as the Simon Community."

Sue B, Dublin (Client)

"We were delighted to be able to participate in the RIAI Simon Open Door 2015 in Cork. The variety of projects presented was very interesting, from people seeking advice on how to remodel their kitchen, to how to approach a designing a new house. Very often people were seeking a second opinion on how to address their design queries, thus, it was great to be able to offer design advice during the consultations. Overall we found it to be a very rewarding experience and all the more worthwhile knowing that we were supporting the Simon Community. We look forward to participating in the RIAI Simon Open Door Day in Cork again in the future."

Seán Antóin Ó Muirí, Fuinneamh Workshop (Architect)

"In 2012 we decided we wanted to modernise our 1980s bungalow. I thought we knew what we wanted to achieve but after a meeting with an Ennis based architect through your scheme ours eyes were truly opened to the potential of the house. We had two follow up meetings before engaging a builder and completing an open plan living space. After my experience I cannot emphasise the importance of the architect. Her knowledge, attention to detail and our budget needs were impressive."

Thanks for all Paudie (Client)

"It was through this very worthwhile Simon Open Door campaign, that I met Gary Mongey of Box Architecture. He was very generous with his time and gave me excellent advice. He shared some really creative ideas including considering the use of polycarbonate plastic sheeting as an inexpensive, efficient building material. Gary had also given me the important advice, that the less you alter the existing buildings, the lower the cost generally speaking. Long may your worthy campaign continue."

Natasha (Client)

"Simon Open Door initiative is a way for ordinary people to get to meet an architect in a fairly informal setting while helping a really good cause. By meeting architects people get a chance to see what help an Architect might be able give with their specific problem and what the possibilities are to improve their home. It also lets them see the work of an Architect. Over the years we participated in Simon Open Door at least 10 times and I feel we really helped many people if only in a small way on the day. Many people later came back to us with a project months or years later, knowing that help was available."

Robert M Cummins,
Cummins + Voortman Architects & Urban Designers (Architect)

"Just wanted to drop you a note about my Open Door experience. I met with Mark from CBA Architects in Cork. The whole thing couldn’t have been more positive. He met with me for the full hour and during that hour he listened carefully to what I was saying and gave me some excellent advice. His ideas for my kitchen were fresh and modern while still respecting my own aesthetic. I’m so happy I did it."

Jennifer Mullally (Client)

"Architexture participated in Simon Open Door for the first time last year, 2013, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It is particularly satisfying to speak to people who may not have thought to seek professional advice otherwise and to see them excited about ideas they hadn't even considered. A number of those consultations have developed into full projects for us and are currently ongoing. We look forward to meeting more people this year and guiding them in solving their design problems and challenges, all while helping a very deserving charity."

Sheeran, Architexture (Architect)

"From the architects point of view the Simon open door is a very challenging, exciting and enjoyable weekend; the array of issues raised is broad and last year I helped those whose house had rooms that were too dark and disconnected to function, I helped a couple decide whether to revamp or just move as the kids had left and the house was too big, whilst another couple had to reorganise their home to suit their retirement. I found that there is always a creative solution discovered through listening and challenging the client & the fact that the meeting is non-committal actually encourages brutal honesty on all parts. There is no question that such a good cause is well worth giving up the weekend for."

David Moriarty MRIAI (Architect)

"Just to say I found the whole thing great. It allowed me to initiate a project that I'd be thinking about for ages. The architect had wonderful ideas and there was absolutely no pressure to follow up on it.About a month later I contacted him again and we are working on what I call an urban garden.Definitely to be recommended.
Best wishes."

Stephanie (Client)

"I really enjoyed participating in the 2011 RIAI Simon Open Door and seeing how as little as an hour's consultation with a client can really improve the quality of their house by finding simple ways of bringing in more light and make money for charity at the same time. I look forward to participating again next year."

Susan Leahy Architect (Architect)

""My wife & I met with our Architect to get advice. I cannot praise them enough. They were extremely nice & helpful even though our project was a very small one. We were with them for over an hour, offered a nice cup of coffee and discussed every aspect of the project, we felt very at ease and they did not mind us asking questions. We got very good & clear advice. I would strongly recommend the RIAI Simon Open Door; it is a great way to get advice on a project. It is such good value and it is for such a good cause. I would have no hesitation to taking part again should I ever have another project."

Aidan & Mary. (Client)

"Our experience with Simon Open Door was incredibly positive from start to finish. The idea of the Open Door consultation is fantastic; we were exploring ideas for a first build and thought that even if we got basic information from the consultation, it would be worth it because the fee was being donated to a very good cause. The consultation with our Architect surpassed all expectations. He listened very attentively and engaged in a very creative way with our basic idea. In the hour, he generated several ideas for us to consider, gave us information about energy efficient methods of construction and encouraged us to consider some options that we had not been aware of.We were extremely pleased with the consultation and can't quite believe that we had access to such high quality professional services for a very reasonable donation to a good cause."

Cliodhna & Denis. (Client)

"What a fantastic idea the Simon Open Door scheme is. This is the kind of forward thinking we all need at the moment. We wanted an extension on our home and had plans drawn up, which were very good and we would not have really considered using an architect. Reading Sunday Times article I was intrigued and signed up online to the scheme and met with a talented architect a few weeks later who really got us excited about our extension. Now there are two words I would not have put together in a sentence before. Everyone is a winner on this one, Simon gets a much needed donation, we get a visionary extension, and architects and construction sector hopefully get some business."

Francis (Client)

"I signed up for Simon Open Door on a whim. There was a guy talking about it on the radio and he was so enthusiastic. I felt it was a good charity. Whatever generosity was involved in our donation, it paled in comparison to the generosity that we received. The architect that we met bowled us over with his time, enthusiasm, creativity. Most importantly he resurrected for us the passion we initially had for our project that lay buried beneath the stresses of a house build. Take a small section of a project and go for it, anything can happen."

Claire. (Client)

"My wife and myself had a Simon Open Door consultation in Galway this year. We found the discussion most helpful and our Architect was most thorough and courteous and generous with his time and expertise. Suffice to say we are following through with our Architect and we hope to be in a position to proceed with our project in the near future. My wife and myself admire the work of Simon and wish you continued success with your excellent work."

Nóirín and Tony (Client)

"We found the opportunity to bounce some ideas off a good architect over a cup of coffee extremely helpful and we have been inspired now to take matters further – we received a great “return on investment” and would recommend this initiative to anyone who is in the gestation stage of a project.We wish Simon Open Door every success in the 2011 initiative – hopefully we will have finished our entire project by then!"

Tony and Maura. (Client)

"Many thanks for the excellent initiative of Simon Open Door. I found my meeting very helpful and the organisation of the event was very efficient and professional. The online booking website was very user friendly, the text message reminders were useful, the request for information from the architects prior to the meeting ensured the best value out of the session and the follow up thank you letter updating on the funds raised was very much appreciated. All in all, an excellently organised event."

Claire (Client)

"We availed of Simon Open Door and were really impressed with the variety of views we got from three different groups of Architects. Congratulations to the RIAI for their ongoing participation in such a good cause. With all the woes in the construction industry I hope the project proves to be a good shop window for them. Certainly we went looking for ideas, got plenty, but also came away with the view that when we proceed with our work we will employ an architect, hopefully one of the guys we met through your project."

Dan & Margaret. (Client)

"I was initially drawn to the Simon Open Door 2010 project as an innovative and imaginative way to support a most worthwhile charity. I spent a very interesting hour with my chosen architect, discussing a project which I had been developing for the last year. She was extremely helpful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and I left with the confidence to finally realise a dream. I would thoroughly recommend anybody with plans to build, to take part in this wonderful initiative."

Simon (Client)

"We signed up for the Simon Open Door when we were stuck in the planning process on a house renovation and extension project. We got some very helpful suggestions from BKD which we gently introduced to our Architect who made some amendments at the Additional Information stage. I have no doubt the ideas we took from our one hour session were instrumental in us getting our permission from An Bord Pleanala. We now have the work done and we're delighted with the results."

Duncan (Client)

"I arrived at the Architect's office, nervous about might happen. I was seen by a very friendly young (to me!) man. He was a bit taken aback when I produced drawings and a couple of quotes from builders and then asked him for his opinion of my ideas. But he made some excellent suggestions, really listened to what I was trying to achieve and proffered his opinion on it all. He contacted me a few weeks later, as agreed. No - I still have not bitten the bullet - but found the opportunity of an hour of an expert's time really valuable - well done Simon and all the volunteering architects!"

Emer (Client)

"Participating in the Simon Open Door Day over the past three years has been a great experience for our office. It is marvelous to see how during the hour long consultation people who may never have considered using an architect start to see the advantages of doing so and begin to appreciate how it can actually save them money. It has lead to new work for our office which is to be particularly welcomed in the current climate and at the same time we are helping with a good cause by supporting Simon."

Vivian Cummins Architects (Architect)

"The day itself was great fun and seeing so many completely different projects in the day was a real challenge. I wholeheartedly recommend the day to both architects and potential clients alike and it's great to feel you given something back to society"

Mark Stephens (Client)

"Galway is bound to throw up another interesting range of projects to discuss this year. House Extension and Refurbishment projects of all sorts were shown to us for Open Day over the last couple of years. It was very enjoyable to go through them all while helping the Simon Community."

O'donnell architects (Architect)

"Thank you for the opportunity provided by this fundraiser to tap into expert advice whilst at the same time helping the Simon Communities of Ireland. Every aspect of Simon Open Door 2008 ran smoothly and I received an excellent service from Lester Naughton in Galway, over and above anything I could have expected. With such goodwill I believe all the participants will benefit from the experience. It's a win/win."

Catherine (Client)

"I would just like to thank you and your organisation, thanks to this wonderful scheme I have met an amazing architect and I hope to continue to work with him, I will certainly be recommending open door to everyone. I also want to commend your organisation for the wonderful work you do and I will certainly be making future contributions as and when I have the funds."

Sylvia (Client)

"It was a pleasure, Eimear. I donated to two different architects; David Moriarty, Collis Sands House, Tralee. Brian & Barbara Carey, in Tarbert. Both were excellent in their advice & personal interest. It was a hugely valuable experience, thank you so much for facilitating this possibility."

Anne (Client)

"We got a lot out of our meeting with architect Alleyn Chambers. To be honest we were not sure what to expect but Alleyn was great and had lots of ideas for our extension and as a result of our meeting we think we will go with one of his suggestions. Alleyn spent the full hour with us and really was brilliant. So thank you very much for facilitating the meeting, we would not have met with an architect if it was not for your campaign."

Ali (Client)

"Just to quick note to say what a great initiative. I got superb value out of my hour consultation with RKD during Simon Open Door 2008 and was delighted I was able to contribute to a worthy cause!"

Loretto (Client)

"Thank you - we enjoyed meeting Barry Norman on Saturday and noted his good advice. It's a worthwhile scheme for everyone, I think."

Patricia (Client)

"This is a brilliant initiative and we have and will wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone we know! We gained a lot from our discussion with Ronan Rose Roberts. Good luck for the future with all the hard work you do for the homeless."

Helena (Client)

"My sincere thanks to all who organised this event. I benefitted hugely from it and am only too happy that the proceeds are going to the Simon community. I admire the work you all do and wish you all well."

Angela (Client)

"As always our session was more helpful and the architect very generous with his time and input. It's a great scheme, keep it going!"

Jennifer (Client)

"We got some great information from Noel, and found him to be extremely informative and helpful. We were also delighted to support the Simon Community, we greatly admire the services you provide."

Raphael (Client)

"I was thrilled to have got the opportunity to partake in the Simon Open Door 2016. I thought it was such a brilliant idea and so worthwhile,while at the same time giving and helping to a great cause. Our consultation went well, we would have loved more time but got a few good tips from the architect. Good food for thought overall! I would definitely recommend it to anyone thinking about renovating or building in the future, or just to get some wonderful ideas."

Caitriona (Client)

"I would like to state that we at Regan and Associates Architects found it to be an extremely useful and productive exercise both from the point of view of the client and the architect. It affords the opportunity for the Architectural profession to interface more easily with the general public on small scale domestic projects. We would greatly look forward to being invited to participate in the scheme in the future. Many thanks."

Eamon Regan B.Arch. MRIAI. (Architect)

"Architexture participated in Simon Open Door for the first time last year, 2013, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It is particularly satisfying to speak to people who may not have thought to seek professional advice otherwise and to see them excited about ideas they hadn't even considered. A number of those consultations have developed into full projects for us and are currently ongoing. We look forward to meeting more people this year and guiding them in solving their design problems and challenges, all while helping a very deserving charity."

Paul Sheeran, Architexture (Architect)

"Every person we deal with is different, so it’s a constant challenge, and this keeps us on our toes. We try not to be fickle – we’re the ones looking to settle down into a steady relationship. Although it’s really all about that one hour, and giving people a taste of what they can achieve, or letting them down gently if they expect us to do it all there and then; remember, there is only so much that we can do in 60 minutes, as every working person can attest! (and we expect to go on few dates before going that far!) Yet we can’t begin to predict what the next person through the door, or through whose front door we cross, will want in that hour. The only constant is to keep drawing, prompting, suggesting and hope that we can help in some small way – and knowing that we are doing something at the same time for the Simon community."

McIntyre O Shea Architects, Kilkenny (Architect)