After living with a poor quality conservatory they’d inherited with their house, Peter Bradley and his wife Sue decided to replace it with a contemporary glass box extension to maximise their views of the garden.
Here, we speak to IT executive Peter and his wife Sue, a retired doctor, about their ambitious plans to transform the rear of their Watford home.
We had an old uPVC conservatory that came with the house. We’d lived with it for 24 years and it was time for a change. It had chunky plastic frames and a low roof which obscured much of the view of our beautiful garden. It was also a really difficult room to use because it was boiling hot in summer and freezing in winter.
So we decided to create a new space which would open the house up to the garden. We didn’t want to see frame, only garden, so we designed the new room with hidden steel pillars, a cantilevered roof, and as much glass as possible. The finished garden room has four 3.2 metre high glass panels across the back – two of which slide open – and two panels at the sides.
A lot of the glazing companies we looked at couldn’t do the size of glass panel we wanted, so that discounted most of them straightaway. We wanted to go to a height of 3.2 metres to maximise both the views of our garden and of the lovely oak trees in Cassiobury Park which we back on to.
Some companies took days or even weeks to respond to an enquiry from us, and it was clear they weren’t on top of all the technical details we needed. However, Dan at Minima Sliding always gave us prompt and confident answers to our questions. We soon realised he had the expertise we needed to create our glass box extension. With Dan, we bought into the person as much as we bought into the glazing company.
It was really important for us to see the doors in the flesh, and when we visited the Minima showroom, the team were able to demonstrate their system really well. Because our project is all about the view, we loved the narrow frames and quickly realised this was the right product for us.
It all went like clockwork and the installation was completed in just one day. About six guys turned up with a robot that lifted the panels from the truck and placed them onto little trolleys. We were a bit concerned about how they’d manage to get such large, heavy pieces of glass down the side of our house because the side gate isn’t all that wide. But they rolled them along on the trolleys and then lifted the panels into place by hand. The team were so efficient and it all went brilliantly.
It’s definitely the views of the garden. Because of all the glass, you feel like you’re in the garden even when you’re sitting inside. We have open vistas of the trees that we’ve never had before and we see so much wildlife coming and going such as woodpeckers, sparrowhawks, foxes and badgers. It’s just a really nice place to be and walking in there every morning really does brighten your day.
We completed the new garden room in June 2022, and it’s been lovely entertaining friends and family in the new space. We had lots of BBQs in the summer enjoying all that lovely weather. When we open up the doors we now have a 4.4 metre opening whereas before, with the old conservatory, we only had a 1 metre opening. It’s such a huge improvement and the 3.2m high panels that weigh 260kg are actually pretty manageable!
The other great thing is the reaction we get from our visitors. When people step from our hallway with its original oak panelling through to the incredible glass garden room there are always lots of open mouths! The contrast is so unexpected – especially in a 1920s house like ours.
Yes, and I’ve actually already recommended them on a number of occasions. I had some friends pop round the other day to look at our doors, and I think they’ll be in contact with the team at Minima Sliding very soon!
Need help with your glass box extension or garden room? Contact us now to find out more about Minima Sliding’s award-winning sliding doors.