Charlotte Gilbert’s vision for the design of her ‘forever home’ was clear. She wanted plenty of space for the family, black cladding and lots of wood, metal and glass. The fact she achieved all this and more with her stunning 4,000 sq ft home is even more impressive considering she had no previous experience of the building trade.
Here, we speak to Charlotte about how she designed and project managed the build of her beautiful, contemporary home in the Buckinghamshire countryside. And we discuss why Minima’s Ultraline minimal sliding doors were an integral part of the project’s success.
Our first challenge was trying to buy a plot of land. It’s so difficult to find somewhere to build in this area that it actually took us 10 years to find the right plot! But it was worth the wait because we’ve got amazing views and have had the opportunity to create exactly the home we wanted.
I’d never built a house before, but I drew out the design myself and then got it turned into proper architectural drawings. We wanted to make the most of the lovely views across the fields, so the house is split into two wings, with the open plan lounge, dining room and kitchen upstairs on one side and the family bedrooms upstairs on the other. Then we’ve got a 15-metre balcony that wraps around the upstairs living accommodation so you can easily step outside whenever you want. We’ve got eight large sets of sliding doors from Minima Sliding, so just by opening up all the doors you feel like you’re outside.
I project managed the whole build myself. I didn’t have a main contractor so that meant I had to get all the trades in and run it all. I was on site every day from 8am til late at night. It was very full on! And although we’ve ended up with an amazing house, I don’t ever want to do it again! Also, we went a bit over budget, so while I was busy on site my husband was working hard to earn the money to pay for it!
Because the house is in a private spot with lovely views, we knew we wanted to have lots of glass. So choosing the right glazing company was really important. Before the pandemic, my husband and I spent a lot of time going to building shows and we probably looked at around 30 different companies to source all the windows and sliding doors.
We knew we wanted large, minimal sliding doors with narrow frames. Minima’s Ultraline doors completely fitted the bill. They also offer handleless electronic locking which was perfect for us because we don’t like any fiddly bits on our doors. You press a button on the wall to lock the doors. We didn’t find anyone else offering this feature, so that made Minima really stand out for us. The doors were also very competitively priced and we liked the fact they came in a range of different colours. We went for a black finish which looks lovely and goes really well with the design of the house.
Minima were great to deal with the whole way through; we didn’t have any issues at all. Installation day went really smoothly. All the doors went in easily and they fitted perfectly. In fact, I think the glazing was the part of the build that went the most smoothly out of everything! Which is saying something because it’s such a key element.
We’ve also had really great after service. The team are so professional to deal with. I would recommend Minima to anyone. They went above and beyond to make sure we were happy.
Well, we’ve been in for two years now, so we’re properly settled in and loving it. We moved from a tiny, rented two-bedroom house into this big, open plan space, and it really does change your life. Our teenage boys have their own space downstairs with a games room, so they can be tucked away down there with their friends. And we can have a our little bit of sophistication upstairs! It works really well.
I love opening up all the Ultraline sliding doors on a sunny day. The doors are really sleek and very modern – there’s nothing clunky or chunky about them. They fit in so well with the design of the house. It’s easy to forget what we’ve achieved here, because when it’s your own house you do get used to it after a while. We’ve got birch plywood interiors with lots of metal, concrete and glass. When friends visit the house for the first time, they’re really wowed by it all. And that’s when you remember quite how special it is.
Need help with your self-build? Contact us to find out more about Minima’s market-leading minimal sliding doors.