The Long house

‘Traditional form with contemporary style’ is how architect Rob Statham, of Hayward Smart Architects, describes the Long House, an innovative self-build home in a rural Oxfordshire village.

VELFAC Case Study, The Long house

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Working closely with owners Jan and Diana Thompson, Hayward Smart Architects have created a house which reflects local architecture – including pitched roofing and stone walls – while delivering impressive low energy performance and modern design. As part of this, VELFAC triple glazed aluminium / timber windows and doors provide excellent insulation, increase daylight, and emphasise the beauty of surrounding woodland views.


The Long House features an ‘upside down’ floorplan, with VELFAC windows – in a variety of shapes – installed throughout, together with hinged and bi-parting patio doors in the partially sunken ground floor rooms. On the first floor, large VELFAC units combine to create two impressive glazed screens, one fronting the opening plan kitchen and living space, while the other brings drama and daylight to the master bedroom. The triple glazing supports an impressively consistent internal temperature, all year round, with extended eaves helping mitigate the impact of solar gain.

‘We recommended VELFAC for the Long House because we had used the system in other projects – including our own office - and knew that it was both very neat and high quality,’ says Rob. VELFAC windows and doors met a wide range of performance and design criteria, including excellent U-values and air tightness (important as the house is built to Passivhaus principles) and durability: ‘Jan and Diana were moving from a draughty 17th century house with windows which needed regular maintenance,’ says Rob. ‘The concept of draught free windows which would never need repainting was therefore very appealing.’


The uniformity of the VELFAC frame construction, and its slim design, was also important: ‘A slim frame increases the glazed area, in turn improving insulation and daylighting,’ Rob explains. ‘The uniformity of VELFAC sightlines across every window and door, plus details such as hidden hinges, also delivers a minimalist and coherent finish which ties together every element of the build.’


The option to specify different finishes, inside and out, was another advantage: ‘We chose anthracite grey for the external aluminium frames to echo the seamed zinc roof and the veins of the local ironstone used in the front facade,’ says Rob: ‘It also provides a contrast with the white rendered walls and Western Red Cedar cladding. As oak is an important theme throughout the interior, inner VELFAC timber frames are finished in a clear lacquer,’ he adds, ‘and the slim, natural wood finish also acts as a ‘picture frame’ for the beautiful views beyond.’


Jan and Diana moved into the Long House in 2018, and in 2021 it won the Build It ‘Best Self Build Home’ Award.



Sector: Self-build

Owners: Jan and Diana Thompson

Architect: Hayward Smart Architects

Specified for:            

  • Quality
  • Composite aluminium / timber construction
  • Minimalist, uniform frame design
  • Low maintenance exterior
  • Low energy performance