John Lewis moves into construction industry to offer customers home extensions

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It sells you everything you may need to furnish your home but now John Lewis could build it too.

The upmarket firm is offering extensions costing up to £200,000 and promises a host of stylish makeovers, including loft conversions, sleek Scandi kitchens and glamorous bathrooms.

The radical move is part of a wider drive to sell lifestyles to Middle Britain rather than just products for their homes.

It follows the purchase of design and building company Opun, which is being integrated with the John Lewis Home Solutions service finding trusted trades-people for customers.

The retailer aims to benefit from the struggles many householders face finding good builders when splashing out on their homes.

By contrast John Lewis, which is owned by its staff, has a reputation as a trusted business charging fair prices. The firm’s famous promise of being ‘never knowingly undersold’ does not apply to the home make-overs although it insists costs will be transparent and ‘right’.

Opun was acquired by John Lewis in June 2018 and will offer a full home design and improvement service backed by a 12-year warranty.

Its website shows a wide range of stylish, large and often expensive transformations of homes.

Projects include a stunning two-storey extension to a property in Surbiton, Surrey, which added 40 per cent more living space, a ‘dazzling contemporary kitchen’, custom home bar and landing space.

Design features in the kitchen include broken-glass countertops, industrial chic pendant lighting and a glass splashback featuring the New York skyline.

The website suggests such a project would take eight to 12 weeks and cost from £150,000 to £200,000.

A more modest creation was a sleek ‘Scandi-style’ kitchen for an apartment offering ‘cosy Nordic living in the city centre’. It features a black forced air oven, a ‘zone flexible’ induction hob, marble dining table and red vintage chairs.

Such a kitchen would typically cost £20,000-£25,000 and take up to a month to create.

Another project was a ‘big box’ kitchen and living room extension in Clapham, south-west London, costing £50,000-£75,000 with a concrete island, two stainless steel ovens, grey cupboards, mini-bar and sliding glass doors to a patio.

A ‘Natural & Zen’ bathroom was built for £10,000-£15,000 featuring a bath in the middle of the floor with lots of wood and shutters.

Opun has been using some John Lewis products but it seems likely more of the retailer’s designs will feature in future. Sean Allam, director for services at John Lewis, said buying Opun showed ‘our ambition in the home services market’.

 

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