Jason Orme's renovated family home, Staffordshire
Jason chose VELFAC composite aluminium / timber glazing for his new home, specifying the system for a range of reasons but also ‘because many of the architects I interview say VELFAC is their first choice. They particularly like the system’s slim frame and uniform sightlines which mean that every window looks the same whether triple or double glazed, opening or fixed,’ he says. ‘It’s the type of detail self-builders rarely think of, but which can make a real difference to the overall appearance and performance of your home.’
Having fitted timber-framed windows in a previous project, Jason was keen to specify composite this time around: ‘Composite frames are worry-free,’ he says. ‘We plan to stay in this house for a long time and don’t want to have to repaint or repair wooden window frames, as we did in our previous home.’ Jason installed triple glazed windows in the north and east facades, with double glazing on south and west facing walls to benefit from passive solar gain. ‘Triple glazing is not yet a ‘mainstream’ product for many window manufacturers,’ he notes, ‘but VELFAC has its own manufacturing facility which makes triple glazing relatively easy to specify.’ And although noise control wasn’t an issue, given the home’s semi-rural location, ‘the glazing’s acoustic protection is an unexpected benefit,’ says Jason, ‘and the house is certainly very peaceful’.
Think about windows right from the start
As part of the renovation Jason was keen to increase the amount of glass installed in every façade: ‘At HB&R, we’ve noticed a definite change in the ratio of glass to wall in self-build projects, and this was the same for us. To achieve exactly what we wanted we thought about windows right from the start of the planning process, which gave us the freedom to specify the different sizes, styles and functions to suit our relatively unusual floor plan,’ he explains. New architectural features include a striking window ‘tower’ which brings light into the stairwell, and differently shaped windows and patio doors installed throughout the home. ‘We obviously thought about the look of each window in every room, but we also considered the view beyond,’ he says, ‘making sure, for example, that the windows in the tower also provided good views of the countryside.’ Jason recommends this proactive approach to all self-builders: ‘Involve yourself in window choice rather than leaving it to your builder, as your windows are just as important as your kitchen or flooring,’ he says.
‘As window are such a vital part of the façade, frame finishes should be chosen with care and to last a lifetime,’ says Jason. ‘We opted for Arts & Crafts-inspired dark grey external aluminium frames, which also provide a contrast with the handmade York brick and timber cladding on the façade, and with the slate roof. Internally, we chose white painted timber frames to complement our neutral colour scheme.’ The quality of VELFAC accessories was another benefit, he adds, ‘with details such as handles and trickle vents all designed to look good’. The windows were installed by a VELFAC Approved Joiner, with ongoing technical support provided by the VELFAC team: ‘The Approved Installer was very helpful and provided lots of advice,’ says Jason. ‘We struggled with dimensions and opening sizes when it came to ordering, so we did need help - self-builders should seek advice about window installation as it can be a fraught process without professional help.’
‘Would I recommend VELFAC? I already have!’
Jason and family now live in their new home and appreciate the benefits delivered by the VELFAC system: ‘The open plan interior design is comfortable all year round, and low VELFAC U-values deliver excellent insulation - we have no cold areas in the house and a very consistent internal temperature, even on sunny days.’ So would he recommend VELFAC to others: ‘I would,’ he says, ‘and I already have!’
Sector: Renovated 1960s home
Homeowner: Jason Orme, editorial director, Homebuilding & Renovating
Photographer: Jeremy Phillips