When my husband and I talked about the key “wants” and “musts” for our house, one of the stand-out aspects (in addition to the obligatory key elements such as a heating solution, new kitchen etc.), was that we wanted to create an element of “wow”. We wanted to ‘notch the house up a gear’. Not only should it provide us with what we want, physically, but emotionally, we want it to make us feel good, proud and happy to live in a such a fantastic space. This could be through various methods, whether it be via innovative design, the latest technology or through the use of creative building materials and concepts.
I have a love for mixing old and new, rustic and modern, shabby and chic, and a particular favourite of mine is exposed brickwork alongside white, clean, unblemished walls. As such, we came up with the idea to incorporate a modern, slick, seamless glass expanse across the whole back of the new extension (roughly 10 metres worth). This would open up the room to the outside, draw your eye out to the garden, and stream light all the way inside to the kitchen and living space. Against the existing red brick structure of the house, this addition could provide a great design contrast.
For inspiration and a guide on price, we visited IQ Glass in Buckinghamshire, one of the UK leaders in Architectural Glazing Solutions. We were blown away by one of their products; Slim Framed Sliding Glass doors, they were slick, minimal and would certainly provide us with our “wow” factor!
The challenge we had was to ensure our extension would be structurally sound in order it could support the bedroom above. With such a large opening and with no structural elements to it, this was going to be tough.
To make this easier for ourselves we decided to add brickwork cornering to the extension which would support the structure better and prevent a sideways movement. This inevitably reduced the width of the glass opening but still gave us a total of 8 metres.
The second measure we decided to adopt was to include two 70mm support pillars to the internal space. Now, there was a lot of debate over where these pillars should go (both from a structural and design perspective), but in the end we opted for two pillars on both ends of the steals which support the bedroom above and close enough to the glass so the room interference is minimal. Similar to the below:
After multiple conversations between our architect and structural engineer, we have developed some final drawings that provide us with what we need (and want), whilst remaining within our budget. Believe me, the more you try and conjure up a radical structural design, the larger the steals required and the bigger the spend!