Andrew Sheppard of Chartwell, the Monaco-based company specialising in the construction and renovation of luxury homes, is up-beat about the future. October will see the opening of their new office in St James's in London: "We foresee there will be more interest from the UK at the top end of the residential market in both Monaco and the Cote d'Azur. Our English speaking clientele draw comfort from the fact that they can talk to us with confidence about their property needs." The company, co-owned by Andrew and partner Stephanie, is just six months old after receiving the permission from the Monaco authorities to operate in the Principality. Prior to this, through his former French company, Andrew Sheppard has carried out almost 300 renovation projects in the South of France over the last five years.

With quality properties locally selling for between 10million and 50 million Euros, the size of Chartwell's renovation contracts is generally between three and six million Euros. The Chartwell team, with a wealth of relevant experience in the region, prides itself in minimising much of their Clients' stress, so often experienced during major overseas refurbishments. Andrew Sheppard says: "In the South of France you need to be a specialist. We are successful because we know what we are doing. We fit the right contractor to the right job, and we use the best craftsmen."

Andrew believes the top end of the market has been very resilient to the impact of the recent global economic downturn. "There's plenty of work going on, although currently there's not so much happening at a lower (price) level where we have seen a drop in the number of enquiries. At the top end of the market, where we are very focussed, there is a good level of enquiry and project values are high. Over the years the quality of workmanship demanded of us has risen and the Chartwell Team are passionate about their projects. As the works are often very specialised, they (the Team) get involved in the micro-detail of every aspect of every job. We are proud to say that many of our existing clients come back to us with new projects. We concentrate on quality, not quantity."

"Chartwell provides a full, turn-key operation. We specialise in finding projects and properties, forming working relationships with local architects, obtaining the necessary planning and other consents, project co-ordination, interior design, and fitting-out. We renovate prestigious properties for very discerning clients. If you have a special home, we are the people who will go in and give specialist advice and take care of the total project."

Andrew has a special fondness for the South of France going back to his early childhood. For many years his parents were medical aides to Sir Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine, and the family spent many summers in and around Monaco. Now in their eighties, Ivan and Johanna Sheppard are still frequent visitors to the Principality that has changed so much in the last 40 years. For Andrew Sheppard, Monaco is more than just the base for his business. It's home.

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