Windows to the World: Velfac Press, Case Studies
Updated: Sep 4, 2019
Building a new home often includes more windows than walls these days so choosing the right frame both inside and out is probably one of the most important design choices you can make.
I opted for Velfac, composite, triple glazed windows with Anthracite powder coated aluminium frames externally and white painted timber internally. Read why on Velfac's website at www.velfac.co.uk under Domestic, Inspiration, Case Studies, Gamekeeper's Lodge.
Why did you opt for composite glazing for your project and why choose the Velfac system?
Obviously being a new build it is important to achieve a low U-value, I was aiming for minimal heat loss and a really well-insulated home. In designing Gamekeeper’s I wanted to make the most of the views over the lake at the front of the house and the woodland at the back of the house so I included windows on both the East and West elevations of the large open plan living space. Since we are sitting at the top of a hill 350 feet above sea level, which can get quite windy, to say the least, the quality of the windows and more importantly how they seal into the walls was key.
As such triple glazed, composite windows were ideal:
· Timber internal frame acting as a thermal break to warm air leaving the house
· Triple glazing keeping the inside of the window at a more comfortable temperature
· Aluminium external frames being durable and low maintenance
What finishes did you select and why?
Internally, the Velfac windows look sleek, they maximise the view from the windows with no internal dark grey metal interrupting what the eye sees. So I opted for a white timber frame to allow uninterrupted views of the lake and the Warwickshire countryside beyond.
Externally, I chose anthracite aluminium frames to contrast with the cedar cladding and to tone with the dark blue bricks used at the base of the house and in the lightwells. The balcony frame is exposed anthracite grey steels so again the Velfac windows complement this industrial look well. In do love the fact I could have had any RAL colour I wanted though, maybe on the next project.
Virtually every room has floor to ceiling sliding doors, double glazed doors to lightwells or the bridge and fully glazed single doors to the outside. The windows for the large lightwell in particular are impressive with two 4m long, floor to ceiling windows sitting above each other.
What contribution do you think Velfac windows will make to daylighting, energy performance and acoustic control?
Having such large windows means the house is always filled with light, even the lower ground floor feels light and airy despite the back of the house being built into the hillside. This is helped by having floor to ceiling glazing on three sides of a lower ground lightwell which is open to the sky above and internally opens into the home gym, the master ensuite and along the long central hallway.
I am hoping all this additional sunlight which warms the porcelain tiled floors and is retained by the triple glazed composite windows will reduce the heating bills. Acoustically our house is in a very quiet location but I’ve already noticed that wind noise is definitely reduced.
Which room our you most proud of and why?
The open plan living space has really tested my design skills. Its 15m long by 7m wide, with a 3m vaulted ceiling along the length and with the floor to ceilig glazing on both sides it is a very exposed space I wanted to maintain the flow and light but I also wanted the kitchen, dining and living to feel like they were each sitting comfortably within their own area.
I achieved this by breaking the ceiling up with two contemporary oak and steel trusses which split the room into equal thirds. Then I used the kitchen island and a feature log burner as a further break on either side of the dining table. It’s a stunning room to enter and nothing detracts from the view of the lake through the Velfac windows.
How did the Velfac team support you during the design and installation process?
The design team were excellent. I was recommended to use Velfac by my architecht and since I had chatted to the sales team at various shows such as Grands Designs at the NEC before I agreed. I actually bought my windows six months before we started excavating, it was such an obvious decision. I went to the showroom in Coventry to look at the options with one of your sales team, Carey, she really knew what was required and we had a productive two hour meeting and discussion where we made managed to choose doors and windows for the whole house.
After that I was passed to the installation team to make sure we had all the measurements correct and my contact, Chris was patient and helpful. When it came to installation I went back to Carey and she recommended a Velfac fitter, who were price competitive and efficient when it came to getting the job done. There have been very few snagging items but every time I get to talk to Chris or Carey who have worked hard to solve any issue. That level of customer service would make me recommend Velfac again and again.
When it comes to glazing what is the most important advice you can give other self-builders?
Glazing is part of the external structure of your house, but unlike the walls which will be plastered and concealed you will see the finished result from the inside too. Consider how you want both internal and external aspects of your windows to look is important in the early design stages.
Think about where the light comes from, how you like to live and very importantly security. I only have two doors with keys, everything else locks simply from the inside.
Our build time was 14 months. Being able to order the windows from our architechts drawings due to the quality of work from our main contractor, Sibbasbridge and have them delivered to site ready to fit really speeded up the start of first fix enabling us to achieve such an impressive build time.
Would you recommend Velfac to your friends?
Absolutely, yes. They are just my design style: contemporary, refined and elegant.
Gamekeeper’s Lodge is located in the Welcombe Hills, Stratford-on-Avon
Project : A new build home, contemporary lodge of two floors, built into the hillside with living space on the upper ground floor and bedrooms below.
Architecht: Hayward Smart
Interior Design: Sarah Farrington Interior Design Ltd
Keywords: Contemporary design, floor to ceiling windows, stunning views and design detail.