This week’s case study interview is a little different from usual. In the hot seat this time is our very own Dan Smith, Minima’s Operations Director. He’s spilling the beans about his own renovation project – an extension to his home in Kent to create more space for his growing family.
The previous owner of our house had lived in it for 30 years, so there was a lot of updating to do when we bought it back in January 2018. We had builders in initially for four months to do internal refurbishments, but as time went on we realised we needed more space.
My wife Anne-Celine, who also works in the company, is from France, and when her family came to stay it was a real squeeze trying to fit everyone into a three-bedroom house. And when our daughter arrived we knew the time was right to extend our home. So we added a side extension which allowed us to create a large, open living space opening onto the garden via black sliding doors, as well as a garage, a separate snug and two additional bedrooms.
Everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong during our building project, so I can really sympathise with our clients about how stressful it can be doing up a house! And if you’re living in the property while the work is going on around you – as we did – it can be particularly challenging.
The first builder we used accidentally put a digger through the gas, electricity and water mains to the property, which was an absolute disaster. So he had to go! And I have to admit living through all the mess of the building work was pretty awful. My wife and I remember going to bed most nights to find a thick layer of dust on our pillows, and the cat kept getting nose bleeds from all the dust!
With all the tricky decisions you need to make when you’re renovating a house, it was a great relief not to have to worry about the doors! I knew the Ultraline sliding door system we install at Minima was going to be the best choice for our project. But I also knew just how good the doors look and how well they perform, having installed so many beautiful sets of doors for our clients.
We fitted two sets of black sliding doors opening from the living area and snug onto the garden. Both sets of doors were 2.45 metres high which gives an amazing, panoramic feel. I’d actually say that height is more important than width when you’re choosing doors because increasing the height increases the light angle and brings in so much more light.
We love it and we’re never going to move! That’s partly because of all the blood, sweat and tears that went into this house, but it’s also down to the fact that we love the new space we’ve created so much. The layout works perfectly.
During the planning stage, quite a few of our friends suggested we make the downstairs entirely open plan rather than creating a separate snug, but we’re so glad we stuck to our guns. It’s great to have another room you can shut the door on when you’re not using it, especially when you’ve got young children.
The space works really well for us as a family, but it’s also perfect for entertaining. When we slide the doors open, the flush track creates a seamless transition from inside to out, so everyone can move easily between the garden and the house.
We’re also really pleased with the colour we chose for our black sliding doors. It’s a soft matt black called RAL 7021 Black Grey. We colour matched the rest of the windows, front door, soffits and guttering to create a cohesive look. And then we added larch cladding stained in a gentle taupe colour for contrast.
All our friends and family have been so impressed with what we’ve achieved here. And our home has actually become quite useful as an extra showroom! It’s great to bring customers here so they can see our Ultraline sliding doors in action in a real home.
I know people will think I’m bound to say this, but go for the best doors you can afford. For a previous extension, we compromised and went for cheap black aluminium sliding doors with chunky frames. We lived with them for two years and hated them! The difference with the Minima doors and their narrow, 20mm frames is incredible. We appreciate it every single day as we look down the garden with a beautiful, uninterrupted view.
I’d also urge people to choose as large a door size as you possibly can. We went for just two panels on each of the openings and took them as high as possible to get that floor-to-ceiling effect which really opens up the view. If we had our time again, we’d actually choose a fixed panel on one side rather than two sliding panels. That’s because 95% of the time we only ever open one side anyway. So I always encourage clients to think carefully about the route they’ll take when heading in and out of the garden so that we can plan the configuration of their doors accordingly.
Need help with the glazing for your building project? Contact us now to find out more about Minima Sliding’s award-winning, black sliding doors.