As a builder, Mark Collins had many years’ experience creating additions to his clients’ homes, but even he surprised himself when he decided to tackle a large, contemporary extension at his own home in Meopham, Kent.
Here, Mark tells us about the huge garden room he and his wife Julie built, and why Minima’s British-made, 3 panel sliding doors were so crucial to the success of the design.
Well, we’d lived in our house for 31 years and decided the time had come to build an extension. My wife and I are semi-retired, and although we’d looked at other properties, we concluded we’d be hard pushed to find a better location and nicer neighbours. We’re close to the Garden of England in Kent – it’s a lovely area. So we decided to enlarge our bungalow rather than moving.
We wanted to build a large, contemporary extension we could pretty much live in. So the plan was that it would house a kitchen as well as a lounge, dining area and utility room. Even though our home was built in 1967, we decided to go uber modern and create a really open, bright space that would provide a striking contrast with the original building.
I’m a really fastidious person, so I did a lot of research. The main requirement for us was minimal sightlines. We wanted a narrow, handleless frame to create a seamless transition between the inside of the house and the garden.
I’m really fussy, so the product had to be absolutely perfect. We visited lots of different showrooms to look at various door products, but with Minima we were invited to look at the doors in situ at Operations Director Dan Smith’s own home. That was so helpful, and even though the Ultraline doors cost more than we initially wanted to spend, as soon as we saw them my wife Julie and I knew they were the right choice for us.
Dan and the team spent a lot of time helping us work out which configuration would work best for us – both cosmetically and functionally – and in the end we went for 3 panel sliding doors. It works so well. When all the doors are slid back to one side, we can move easily between inside and out.
The extension feels like something from my favourite TV show, Grand Designs! I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved. I have to pinch myself when I look at it! I love the fact that we’ve opened up the view of the garden so much it feels like you’re outside even when you’re inside.
The build was a hard slog at times because I did most of the work myself and we lived in the house throughout the two years it took to complete. But it’s all been so worth it. I couldn’t be happier with what we’ve achieved.
Well, the garden is my pride and joy, so my favourite thing is looking out onto the garden from the new extension. We now have an uninterrupted view which makes you feel like you’re in the garden even when you’re inside.
My wife Julie has ridiculed me over the years about the garden. I’ve landscaped it many times in 31 years. But I just love it! We’ve got a Japanese theme at the moment with water features, a koi carp pond and lots of acers. I love looking back at the extension from the end of the garden. The building looks really modern now and it works so well with the structured garden.
Everyone loves it. When people first come round they’re always so surprised by the extension because you don’t expect to have that much glass in a house like this. It’s a great space in which to entertain because we’ve got underfloor heating which makes it a nice ambient temperature all year round. And it’s really light because we’ve got skylights in the roof as well as the 3 panel sliding doors opening onto the garden.
We completed the extension in December 2021 so we had a brilliant Christmas celebration in there with all our family and extended family. It was absolutely fantastic!
I have to say Dan is really professional and nothing was too much trouble, even though I gave him a bit of grilling with all my questions! The product is fantastic and so is the team.
Yes. Make sure you do your research and know exactly what you want to achieve. If you do enough research about the doors, you become an expert in the subject and when you finally make a decision you’ll know it’s the right one. The doors we chose from Minima are expensive, but I’m confident they are the best product on the market. I’m really happy with the decision I made and if I had my time again I wouldn’t do anything differently.
Looking for 3 panel sliding doors for your building project? Contact us now to find out more about Minima Sliding’s award-winning, British-made sliding doors