19th century town house, Kensington

Project: 19th century town house, Kensington

Bespoke period sash windows, designed by specialist manufacturer Lomax + Wood (formerly Ambass-A-Door) have been installed in an early 19th century town house in Kensington, London.  While the property is not listed it lies within the conservation area of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.  The 2001 census identified that the borough is the most densely populated local authority in the UK and with a land area of just 12 square kilometres it is one of the smallest London boroughs.

Originally built as a traditional two-storey, two-bedroom cottage in this sought after location, the property has been modified several times in its history.  A third floor was added in 1978 by the then owners; the current owners, Iain and Martine - serial property refurbishers and remodellers - have recently gutted the property internally, over a four-month build period, transforming it to a three-storey contemporary home while retaining its external appearance in every way.  Iain and Martine did not employ the services of an architect but planned the internal layout themselves, seeking perfection to the last detail, and working only with a structural engineer.

Bespoke sliding box sash windows, operated with traditional cords, brass pulleys and weights, by Lomax + Wood, were specified by the homeowners, partly based on word of mouth and recommendation, and partly because the company is locally based.

The open plan ground floor kitchen and dining room leads to a bedroom and bathroom complex that occupies the entire second floor.  A further flight of stairs leads to a stunning top floor lounge and a beautiful roof garden that overlooks the surrounding roof tops.

“The main window to the ground floor front elevation has introduced a lot of light into the dining room cum study end while two beautiful box sash windows to the rear provide light in the busy kitchen work space,” says Martine.  “We had some concerns about noise levels, not only from the infant school opposite, and the road, but mostly from the overhead flight path to London Heathrow.  We needn’t have worried.  The timber frames quite literally absorb sound from entering the building and have tremendous acoustic qualities.”  The couple also found the building chilly during the winter months and the single glazed windows were in poor condition and very draughty, but the thermal performance of the double glazed Lomax + Wood windows has overcome any discomfort and contributed to reduced heating costs.  “We were really cosy last winter in the most extreme weather conditions, even for London, which is very important in a large space with open staircases.”

As with many properties in the Borough, space to the rear is impacted with reach-out-and-touch-me neighbouring garden rooms.  “We enjoy our neighbours but their privacy and ours is very important,” continues Martine.  “Lomax + Wood introduced us to a densely opaque obscured glazing option which is extremely effective; there is not even the faintest of shadows – we are totally private and cannot be overlooked.  Our neighbours are equally impressed and there is no detrimental effect to the aesthetics of our new windows.”

The company excels in providing a full suite of beautifully designed products of exceptional quality which are ideal for both new build and heritage refurbishment projects.  Lomax + Wood use only sustainably sourced European pine which is naturally slow-growing and robust.  The comprehensive Kensington & Chelsea range includes single and double glazed sash windows, flush casements, external French doorsets, bi-fold and custom-made entrance doors.  Products are delivered direct to site, factory-finished with three coats of high quality, durable microporous paint or stain, which is available in a choice of fashionable heritage colours.  An optional dual-colour facility is also available.

Unlike mass produced timber windows and doors, Lomax + Wood do not use Swedish grooves on joints.  These were introduced for mass production and are considered by many to be unsightly, breaking up traditional sightlines.  The company takes great care in designing their made-to-order joinery to ensure traditional detail is not compromised to meet commercial production techniques.

“Security was also a concern, especially on the ground floor, but Lomax + Wood use these perfect Angel restrictors, to match the architectural hardware, which gives us total confidence and peace of mind,” confirms Martine.  The couple are now considering expanding the property with the introduction of a basement which will provide additional accommodation.

The recreation of historical details in Lomax + Wood window and door designs is achieved without a Swedish joint.  These were introduced to enable faster output by mass produced manufacturers.  “We manufacture using flush joints which have been tried and tested over centuries,” says Chris Wood, managing director. “In some instances the Swedish joint can have a detrimental effect on the longevity of the frame for if not sealed correctly, or maintained, their design leads to a quicker deterioration of the joint.”

Lomax + Wood are members of FENSA and the British Woodworking Federation and is proud of its 30-year manufacturing history.  The company’s HQ is based in Cromwell Place, South Kensington with offices and showrooms in Ingatestone, Essex opening this Autumn.