London Property - Home of Super Prime

Real Estate and Sustainability at The Other House with Naomi Heaton group CEO

January 10, 2024 London Property - Home of Super Prime Season 10 Episode 7
Real Estate and Sustainability at The Other House with Naomi Heaton group CEO
London Property - Home of Super Prime
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London Property - Home of Super Prime
Real Estate and Sustainability at The Other House with Naomi Heaton group CEO
Jan 10, 2024 Season 10 Episode 7
London Property - Home of Super Prime

 In this episode, Farnaz Fazaipour welcomes Naomi Heaton, founder of Other House, a sustainable living concept blending long-term rentals with hotel-like services. They discuss the sustainability journey of Other House, focusing on renewable energy, smart building technology, and conscious material choices. Naomi shares insights into upcycling, using recycled fabric, and the importance of educating guests on sustainable practices. The podcast aims to provide valuable insights into the latest trends and developments in the London real estate market.

The London Property Podcast is your go-to source for navigating the complex and ever-changing London real estate market. The digital marketplace offers informative content, including podcasts and videos, covering various aspects of the real estate experience, such as buying and selling, finance, law, tax, construction, design, and more.

Maximize your property wealth with London Property. Turn challenges into opportunities. With expert knowledge and reach, we tackle the complexities and inefficiencies of the property market with you.

Show Notes Transcript

 In this episode, Farnaz Fazaipour welcomes Naomi Heaton, founder of Other House, a sustainable living concept blending long-term rentals with hotel-like services. They discuss the sustainability journey of Other House, focusing on renewable energy, smart building technology, and conscious material choices. Naomi shares insights into upcycling, using recycled fabric, and the importance of educating guests on sustainable practices. The podcast aims to provide valuable insights into the latest trends and developments in the London real estate market.

The London Property Podcast is your go-to source for navigating the complex and ever-changing London real estate market. The digital marketplace offers informative content, including podcasts and videos, covering various aspects of the real estate experience, such as buying and selling, finance, law, tax, construction, design, and more.

Maximize your property wealth with London Property. Turn challenges into opportunities. With expert knowledge and reach, we tackle the complexities and inefficiencies of the property market with you.

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Welcome to the London property podcast, your go to source for navigating the complex and ever changing London real estate market. Our digital marketplace provides informative and educational content from industry leaders. Through podcasts and videos. We cover various aspects of the real estate experience, including buying and selling finance, law, tax construction, design, and more. Join us as we delve into the latest trends and developments in the market and gain valuable insights from our panel of experts. Hello, and welcome to London property, the home of super prime. Today we're in conversation with Naomi Heaton, who's the founder of other house, a dream build with sustainability at the core of the concept. Welcome to the show. Thank you Farnaz, it's an absolute pleasure to be on the show again. So we'll do a quick introduction for our listeners who may not have heard about your incredible experience in this space. So just quickly tell us how you came to be the founder of the other house. The other house was born out of my other company London centre portfolio, LCP, which specialises in long term rentals, acquiring, renovating, letting and managing. And over the years, I could see how tenant demand was changing how they were looking for location versus space, looking at better and more aspirational interiors, and ultimately wanting service on demand. And I felt that there was a real opportunity to provide the equivalent of a hotel for long stairs. And at the other end of the spectrum, I could see how people who lived in hotels had a lot of service, but they didn't have that sense of place, they didn't feel like local. So what I wanted to do was to fuse together, the best of long stay, rental living with the best of hotel living and provide a complete hybrid model, which disrupted the market, and hence the other house was born. And it's called the other house, because it's meant to be your other house for as long as you're in town. And you can stay here for a night, a week, a month or a year, whatever it takes your fancy. And it's a combination between club flats, fantastic public areas with a bar and a cafe, and a private club, which all our residents can enjoy for as long as they stay, as well as being open to locals for membership. Thank you for that. And obviously, our listeners can head over to our channels where we've done extensive videos about the features that it offers and how people can use it for short term long term. So thank you for that. But today, we want to talk to you about sustainability. And obviously, it's a subject that's very much at the forefront of everybody, especially in real estate. I mean, I don't know, you know, better than I do. But I heard that 40% of the waste comes from property. Absolutely right. That is a statistic that's quoted, that property contributes 40% to carbon into the environment. And so it's something that really does need to be attended to. And if we do it better, we're going to make a big, big difference. And when you started with the projects, obviously, when you bought the building, and you did extensive refurbishment. So can you just talk to us about your sustainability journey from the beginning how you address it, and what was the thought process behind it? Well, we were lucky enough to find an investment partner, my company LCP we found an investment partner, APG, which is one of the biggest pension funds in the world, for whom sustainability is an absolute core element of everything they do. And therefore, it was always a part of how we were going to approach the other house, it was never an afterthought, or, or tygon. It was there right from the beginning. And of course, where we're really fortunate is that we are the owners, we are also responsible for the development, and we're also the operator. So we have every lever at our disposal to be as sustainable as he possibly can. And that means that we can build better, and we can operate better to, to deliver the best possible sustainability result we can. And also to continue to measure what we're doing in order that we improve as he goes along. And obviously, technologies are going to get better. The way ways that you can build will get better, the ways you can operate will get better, such that we continue to make our mark in making our planet a better, safer place to be. So some of the things that you've used here Yeah, that other listeners can learn from in the real estate sector. Can you tell us about that? Well, in terms of the refurbishment, and this was an old building, it's made up of this building that we're sitting in, in South Kensington is made up of 11 Victorian townhouses, it was actually renovated in the 1990s, early 1990s, but not not well, and in an outdated way now 30 years later. So we were able to start again, essentially, we have this beautiful facade, but we immediately made a decision, obviously, to use electricity or not use gas, to use renewable electricity wherever we possibly can to use air source heat pumps, which is one of the most efficient ways that we can generate our energy to ensure that our insulation was absolutely top grade, so that we were able to minimise heat loss within the building to to say, develop a smart building. So that means, for example, that when people are not in their club flats, they, we cannot break the lighting, or turn off the lighting, and not back the aircon to be the most optimal level. And then when they walk back in, it comes back to where they set it. So all of these kind of areas of wastage that many hotels would suffer from, because they just don't have those kinds of controls, we do. So it's how do you generate a smart building right down to the app that we've developed, people can actually see how much energy were consuming. And if it's more than we would expect to be consuming, they can alter their behaviour, if they so choose, so that we can provide that information. Within the club flats, we will never use single use plastics, we will use reusable containers for our liquids and shampoos, we will use both the packaging and what we put in it will will have been completely sourced to be sustainable, we go to great efforts to look at our supply chains, everything that we put into the property to see what they're doing, because it's not just a question of what we're doing. But you know, what is their labour policy? How are they bringing their goods in and so forth. And that is actually requiring a lot of due diligence to get to the right suppliers. And of course, you can't do everything and we can't get everything right, necessarily. And certainly, we obviously have to think about the experience of the consumer, and the guest that's here. But we are trying to go down that pathway to refine everything that we do to make sure that we are sustainable food and the food that we use, sees no food, no single use packaging, all of those elements add up to a better result for the planet. So from personal experience, I've I've seen that online travel agents like Airbnb, booking.com, etc, when you're adding a property that asks you a host of sustainable questions. So obviously, it is something that is very important for the consumer. And what what questions do you get faced with? And What expectations do the travellers have when they come here, from a sustainability point of view? Well, that's an interesting question. Because you clearly get a mix of people you get those people who are really buying into sustainability, really want to make a difference to the planet understand that we've got to modify our behaviour in order to make a difference, and they just completely buy in to everything that that we do within property to be more sustainable. And then that we have the other segment of our travellers who don't really get it and don't understand that we have to modify our behaviours if we're going to have a legacy for future generations. So it's it's quite polarising in a way between those people who are really there on the journey. And those people who haven't even started on the journey. And therefore the for the people that haven't started on the journey. There has to be more education, more explanation. But there are certain things that we believe in passionately, and that we will continue to push out as part of our brand offering. And obviously, when you're operating in this sector, and you are having sustainability at the core of of your decision making process, you must learn things from from you know, how you've done things before and how people are using them. So are there things in the future that that maybe weren't available to you at the time that you did this development that you think you're going to introduce in future houses? Well, there are areas which may have been available, but we didn't necessarily think about first time around. So for example, most of our furniture was made either in the UK or in Europe. And, in fact the furniture both the or the fitted furniture like the blanket seating, and the fit fencing club flats and the loose furniture was mainly made in Leeds, that was a conscious decision to use local suppliers. But one of the furniture suppliers actually was sourcing from Europe which we discovered the British company sourcing from Europe. So that was something we were not aware of it at the time and in Europe is obviously not a great carbon footprint compared with other places. But what I want to do is throw our French to be British made for Covent Garden got our next asset that we're developing is Covent Garden, and we're just seeking transmission for third asset in Belgravia fabric, there's a lot more recycled fabric available, the choice still isn't great. The choice is better for for things like velvets, and planes, velvets, and tweeds and planes than anything, which is kind of interesting from a kind of real design perspective. But in Covent Garden, we are pretty much everywhere, using recycled fabric, very, very small amounts that aren't. So there are those kinds of things that we can do better, and that we are learning about in Covent in South Kensington, for example, we measure the energy of the total building in Covent Garden, we'll be able to measure measured the energy consumption of every single flat and be able to communicate it to our guests. So there are definitely things that we can be doing better. And I suppose you become more aware as you move on. And also just being much more sensitive to what all our suppliers doing, and how we select our different suppliers. That's interesting that you're going to be doing them by room, because that also then actually teaches those guests to be more conscious. Yes, exactly. And I know there's a story behind the paintings that you've used all over the house. So tell us about that. Yes, so we've done quite a lot of upcycling in the house. And obviously, that kind of suited the house because it's this kind of mix of old and new and flamboyance and colours, but with the paintings, the brief was to buy property by paintings with wonderful frames, but the actual oil painting was not have very great significance. And we gathered together all these oil paintings, which are very much kind of Victorian amateur art, which would have been chucked in a bin, and we saved them all we salvage them all. And then what we've done is we've disrupted to bring them and make them feel more contemporary, and also hide a lot of the kind of amateur elements of the painting. But basically, we've taken things which would have got destroyed. And we've used that for our art. And indeed, with with the, the art in the club flats, we've used paper and fabric samples, which we've framed. So all of that is to do with using things that already exist, we have a lot of it here in the library and elsewhere, a lot of vintage bits and pieces, which just would not have had a future people probably didn't really understand them, or wouldn't see them in their own homes. But we'd have a perfect place in this rather idiosyncratic environment. So art is something that we feel particularly proud of what we've done in terms of of upcycling and making sure these things have gone not gone into the tip. We also have a lot of old books, you've got wonderful curated books as well by Pandora sites. But we've also bought a lot of old books, whether it be Charles Dickens, or Robinson Crusoe, or whatever it is. And they all have, they're all in the club flats, and they're down here. And they will have a wonderful history because he was stealing from the library or they want to preschool price or it was given us a wedding celebration present. So all of these books have these stories, nice history, and they would never otherwise have another life. But they do and they work here. So all of these stories are part of the fabric the other house. Well, you're certainly setting an example for people to follow. And we really look forward to continuing this conversation with you as you develop the other sites. Brilliant. Thank you very much. Thank you for talking to us. Thanks for tuning into our latest episode of the London property podcast. Head over to our website where you can browse our exclusive network of top experts driving the market. As a member, you'll have direct access to our experts and their networks. Our award winning content will help you choose the right professionals for your needs, and make informed decisions about your investments. personal recommendations are a powerful tool in connecting with trusted professionals. Let us introduce you to the right people to help you achieve your real estate goals. 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