Award-winning timber Conservation™ windows and doors by Mumford & Wood have been specified by Wide Sky Architects in the refurbishment of a 1930’s Arts and Craft property in Buckinghamshire which is typical of the local vernacular. When purchased two years ago the property was tired, dated and badly in need of total transformation both inside and out but now it is truly a ‘des res’. The property has been completely remodelled: the footprint of the original building retained with the benefit of two and three storey extensions made to either side giving a total area of 420m².
Windows and doors were in a poor condition, a mix of rotting timber and inappropriate, ill-fitting plastic. All were replaced with high performance, double glazed Conservation™ products which not only made an immediate improvement to the aesthetics of the property but totally changed the interior ambiance with style, light, warmth and comfort.
“When we look back at the ‘before’ images of this house, which we both fell in love with, I have to agree that this was a massive undertaking but even after all the hard work we never question why we did it. We definitely made the right decision to turn this into a lovely family home,” says Claire who has been particularly hands-on during the entire build process. “We left a lovely property in Primrose Hill in London where we were very happy but now there is space for the whole family and we are so lucky to have such a generous size plot in a smart town only a short commute to London.” The rear garden has a swimming pool, a beautiful al fresco dining area and outdoor kitchen. Landscaping is complete and there is room for Claire to grow her own vegetables and there are plans to build a smart garden room ideal as a home office, garden or play room.
Claire was introduced to Mumford & Wood by her architect Alison Watts of Wide Sky Architects, Amersham, and several site visits took place before the window specification was agreed and signed off. Hosted by Tom Barfield, regional Sales Director, Mumford & Wood, and Alison, Claire was taken to see a number of completed projects in the area that feature Mumford & Wood windows and doors which helped the couple to clearly identify what style they wanted for their new home.
“We wanted to bring this Arts and Crafts building back to life and retain its clarity of form, use sympathetic materials and traditional construction methods while bringing it up to 21st century standards of performance,” comments Claire. “I did a lot of research myself on architectural style and detail which is when we realised that only casement windows would be right for this house. We were delighted that Mumford & Wood could accommodate our choice of black and white using a dual mixed finish. Tom knew exactly what we wanted to achieve and reassured us with his advice and guidance. There was no room for error; these windows had to be right.” The new dual finish facility allows the frames to be stained in black externally to compliment the original vertical black beam detail above the top floor windows beneath the eaves, and white internally, while the sash leaves have been finished white both inside and out.
“This style is quite typical for the period and in particular for an Arts and Crafts property so for us there was no choice,” confirms Claire.
“This property needed serious refurbishment,” says Alison Watts, Wide Sky Architects, Amersham. “Claire and I discussed her detailed and specific spacial and design requirements and her aesthetic vision for the house.
“The design that I arrived at for both the side extensions, the attic conversion, the studio above the integral double garage, now reflect the needs of modern living and have created successful spaces whilst seamlessly integrating with the original accommodation.”
Alison continues: “Original features have been retained and replicated to preserve and enhance the character of the property both internally and externally. The choice of external materials carefully match those used on the original property and the interior re-modelling and refurbishment of the house have together created the beautiful family home that Claire was looking for; the choice of new doors and windows have been a key element in its success.”
While the 18 month build project was underway the family rented locally so that they could keep a close eye on progress and be available to make quick decisions. Main contractor KD-B Developments Limited, of King’s Langley, undertook the project working closely with the architect throughout. Specialising in extension and refurbishment projects, company director Lee Kirby, says: “We completely gutted the house; the roof was removed, the joists replaced, the floors were stripped out, insulation installed in every conceivable location and underfoor heating installed. Many details had to be repaired or replaced and we also built the new extensions, matching the original brick as closely as possible to achieve a seamless join of old and new. When it weathers it will be hard to tell the difference.
“We’re very pleased with this project and delighted that Claire and her family are enjoying their new home. A great deal of time, love and effort has gone into this re-creation which is testimony to the attention to detail that everyone involved has contributed.”
Lee Kirby’s team installed the windows and doors themselves commenting on delivery, quality of workmanship and operation. “These windows will last a lifetime. Not only do they look great but together with all the other high specification materials and systems we have incorporated into the build this house will exceed even todays’ standards of performance and sustainability.” The property was shortlisted for the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) Central Building Excellence Awards 2016.
A combination of double glazed Conservation™ casement windows, with and without glazing bars, were manufactured in the company’s state-of-the-art facility in Essex. Top hung fanlights feature elegant 18mm ovolo glazing bars while dormer casement windows to the attic rooms, a wonderful self-contained space for guests, also feature glazing bars. Windows in the rear elevation, some in a bay configuration, are complemented with non-bar French doorsets, fixed glazed side panels and non-bar top hung fanlights. The feature staircase window is fixed. The oak entrance door is original and has been restored to its former glory while other exterior doors have been replaced with partly glazed and panelled Conservation™ doors and the boot room has a stylish and functional stable door.
BRE A+ rated Conservation™ products are manufactured to the exacting standards of the British Woodworking Federation’s Wood Window Alliance scheme. High performance, thermally efficient and acoustically sound, only clear-grade, FSC certificated Siberian larch, which is engineered for ultimate strength, stability and robustness, is used in the manufacturing process. Mumford & Wood’s products have a life expectancy of 55 – 65 years or more and a variety of micro-porous finishes – paint, stain or dual-colour – will ensure they look and perform better for longer. Many carry Secured by Design meeting the highest levels of security accreditation and all products carry the BSI Kitemark and are Energy Saving Trust listed.
“I would do it all over again,” says Claire, “but on a much smaller scale. Perhaps we will find an exquisite little cottage somewhere locally that needs love and attention and I can revive and bring it back to life again.”