Making the most of panoramic views

Balcony’s stunning curved patio doors and Juliette balconies complement traditional features in a new modern home with spectacular views.

Challenging is the only way to describe the project undertaken by Princeton Homes at Bowden Hill, Lacock, Wiltshire. The brief was to build a high–spec detached home on a plot previously occupied by an old four bedroom house which had been extended at different times in a mixture of stone, brick and block. The old house was to be demolished and replaced with a timber-framed property, constructed using eco-friendly technology and the latest materials acceptable to planners in a conservation area. The client wanted the property to make the most of the spectacular 180° views over the Wiltshire countryside. On a clear day you can see as far as Bath and the Mendip Hills to the South and Wales in the West, so Andrew Turner, Owner and Managing Director of Princeton Homes, drew up a concept design.

Looking over the National Trust village of Lacock

The design called for a lot of glass – never popular with Conservation Officers in planning offices. Although the property is in open countryside, with only one near neighbour, it is in a conservation area. The land in front belongs to The National Trust and the house overlooks the National Trust village of Lacock; all factors to be considered when applying for planning permission. After several months permission was granted to build a traditional stone front with slate roof, and to the rear an ultra-modern expanse of glass, with four curved patio doors and two curved Juliette balconies from Balcony Systems, set into a stone faced timber frame construction.

Combining the traditional with the sustainable

Once the concept design was approved Andrew had detailed plans drawn up by an architect (who?). The project was given the go-ahead and work commenced in March 2009. It was recently completed in March 2010. The finished design is complex as it makes use of both traditional building methods and the latest energy saving techniques. Rainwater harvesting, solar panels and air-source heat pumps have to fit comfortably with both traditional and the modern. The curves of the patio doors have to blend into the square slate roof.

Balcony’s curved patio doors are a key feature of the build. Two are set on the ground floor in the living room/kitchen and the snug, and two are upstairs in the master bedroom and second bedroom where they transform the rooms with the changing light and panoramic view. The Juliette balconies are installed on the first floor doors for safety when the doors are open.

Stunning curved patio doors

When it came to choosing the stunning curved patio doors Andrew turned to the internet. He asked for quotes from eight companies, but Balcony was the only one to respond, presumably because of the complexity of the project. Impressed by Balcony’s response as well as their products, Andrew Turner visited Effi Wolff, Managing Director of Balcony, and with his help ordered two curved 10 metre and two curved 5.8 metre VisioGlide 100 patio doors, with two Juliette balconies for the bedrooms (see the technical panel for details). The handrails are in Balcony’s own Royal Chrome anodised aluminium. The doors are 28mm double-glazed toughened Low-E glass, with a high weather rating (essential in an exposed location), their energy efficiency fitting in well with the eco-friendly ethos of the project. The living room/kitchen door has six curved panels, four sliding and two fixed, while each of the others has two sliding and two fixed curved panels. Specially made for this project, the order was delivered on time and fitted in alignment with the required time table.

Rising to the challenge of a complex project

VBS Ltd, Balcony’s sister company specialising in balcony and balustrade glass installations for large projects, fitted the curved patio doors and Juliette balconies. As it was a complex project – “a leap of faith for all parties” as Andrew puts it – an engineer from Balcony was on hand to advise on the installation. The timber frame company Allwood Buildings Ltd was extremely helpful, cutting and fitting the necessary steelwork into the wooden frame. The roofers, A L King, also rose to the challenge, bringing together the curves of the patio doors with the square traditional slate roof. Although the architectural features made the installation more complicated than usual Balcony products are designed to be easy to install. Everything went smoothly and Andrew is delighted with the end result.

Curved patio doors for clear uninterrupted views

The curved patio doors allow uninterrupted panoramic views from the house. They make a stunning statement from outside and inside the home. The curved Juliette balconies fitted on the first floor mean that the patio doors in the bedrooms can be opened and the views enjoyed in safety. The minimal hand rail, with glass reaching from top to bottom and no clamps between panes mean there is nothing to distract the eye. Both floors of the property benefit and the overall effect is one of original use of light and space. Careful planning and co-operation between the contractors and Balcony meant the project came in within budget and on schedule. The property is valued at around £1.5 million.

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