Vanessa Ferrett and her husband bought their Grade II-listed late Elizabethan cottage in Kent in 2021. The restaurateurs, who own Lime Wharf Cafe at Bodiam Boating Station near Rye in East Sussex, then quickly set about designing an oak-framed kitchen and living room extension with large frameless sliding doors opening out onto the garden.
The property dates from 1601 and is a traditional tile hung house with a Kent peg tile roof. As a result of its listed status, we had to apply for planning permission before starting work on the extension. The new part of the building is connected through a glazed link but is detached from the original house and the local planning team were happy with the design. It’s very easy to tell the old from the new—and that’s what’s important.
The single storey oak frame extension measures approximately 12m by 5m and effectively doubles the size of the house. It has a steeply pitched roof which is covered in tiles reclaimed from a Victorian school and sourced via a local reclamation yard. From the outset, we were adamant that a key component of the characterful new building would be glass sliding doors. We knew we wanted to have the largest glazed opening possible.
An architect worked on the first set of drawings for the house and the project was then taken on by an oak-frame specialist to build out. True to the traditional building methods, no metal is used in the structure which is pretty amazing to think about. Fortunately, we aren’t strangers to projects having built a timber house previously and designed and built a restaurant. This is the first time we’ve used such a lot of glazing though.
We knew we wanted to go as big as possible with the glass but otherwise didn’t have a clue as to the size of the frames or the types of glazing required. So, we went to talk to the team at Minima Sliding in their showroom. We got on well and they were able to advise on both the frameless sliding doors we wanted and the glazed link between the old house and the new extension. We didn’t look back from there.
Great. After some discussion, we chose to have three glass panels—when viewed from the outside, the right end one is static—which together measure 7.86m by 2.155m. It means that when the doors are fully pulled back, the opening is approximately 5.2m wide. Minima also supplied a fixed window, in a profile that matches the sliding doors, for the linking corridor into the extension. It floods this area with natural light.
The experience of working with them was excellent. They came over shortly after installation and put our minds at rest over an early drainage concern while the new doors settled in.
We live in the room and rarely spend time in the rest of the house during the day. It’s also ideal for gatherings. The last element to arrive was our bright pink L-shaped sofa which was delivered on Christmas Eve. We then hosted about 20 people the next day and it was the perfect space as some sat at the table, others at the island and others on the sofa. It never felt too crowded.
In the summer months, the sliding doors are left open so that family and friends can spill out into the garden. We are a very sociable family so we always tend to have a houseful of people. To create the seamless transition between the inside and outside, we used the same limestone floor tiles in the kitchen and the terrace. This together with the flush floor track of the sliding doors helps to dissolve the boundaries, making the most of the garden terrace when the weather is warm and sunny.
As the extension is well insulated through the doors and walls, the only source of heating during the winter months is underfloor. It means this room is the warmest part of the house. The glass is standard coated which is effective at reducing solar gain and has a u-value of 1.2 so in the summer, it never gets too hot. There is a door on the back wall which we can leave open to create an airflow through the kitchen and the limestone floor helps to reflect the sunlight. The space works really well.
Need help with your new build house or kitchen extension? Contact us now to find out more about Minima Sliding’s award-winning sliding doors.