From time to time we ask our customers to write for our blog. Here’s Mr W on his family’s new orangery has made a difference to their home;
Our house was built in 1970, so there’s not a lot of history to it. Similarly, the original architecture was very plain - there were no outstanding features at all. To top is off, when we bought it, it was quite dilapidated; it definitely needed some doing up and TLC.
On the other hand, this presented us with a unique opportunity; the house was a blank canvas for us. Our first move was to have new windows fitted, and we chose Georgian style windows in order to inject some character. Then we knocked down some internal walls to create open plan spaces, and we put in lots of wooden flooring.
We decided to expand for a couple of reasons. Although our kitchen was already very spacious, we wanted to expand it out to include a seating space so that there would be somewhere for guests to congregate whilst we’re entertaining without being under our feet.
We also wanted to add another dimension of interest to the rear of the house; although there was originally a small single story room extending from the back, it still looked quite nondescript, and we felt that an orangery would make the facade more visually interesting.
We looked online at a number of different companies and we didn’t really find that any of them were designing anything that we liked quite as much as Westbury. The images on the website are just lovely, and the case studies were helpful - we could see that they had done lots of projects which would be similar to ours, and that gave us confidence as we could relate to Westbury and the sort of company it is.
Our next step was to go and see the Westbury showroom and factory in South Woodham Ferrers, and meet Jonathan - the founder. We really gelled and his enthusiasm and keen eye for detail further assured our decision.
Of course, there are lots of companies which can build extensions more cheaply, but our priorities were quality and longevity, and we felt comfortable that Westbury would provide both. When we looked at the factory, we were really wowed; it look like a really clean, professional operation - and Jonathan’s passion and eye for detail were clearly evident.
When it came to designing the space, our priority was ensuring that it could be usable all year round, and therefore it had to be cool in the summer and warm in the winter - difficult when it’s south facing, as ours is. However Westbury met this objective perfectly. We have underfloor heating which keeps the room at a constant temperature, but if it does start to heat up in summer, we have electric vents in the roof lantern, which are very efficient and easy to operate. When open they create a lovely breeze through the room - especially if the doors are open too. We actually tend to use the space most in summer; the glazing means we have beautiful views of the garden and the big doors make it easy to move from inside to outside, and vice versa.
Aside from providing more space internally, the new extension also really does add new dimension to the architecture of the house, and makes the rear of the building a lot more interesting visually - just as we wanted. One extra point which has made all the difference was Jonathan’s suggestion to change the roof on the original room which extended out from the house. Originally it had a sloping, flat tiled roof. Jonathan suggested changing it to reflect the roof on the new orangery. Along with new doors so that the old and new elements matched, it has transformed the room both inside and out.
Even though we have only had it complete for four months or so - once our plans were drawn up, the build started in April 2015 and was completed in August the same year - it already feels like it has been there forever.
During the build, everyone who we dealt with, from Jonathan to the builders, were very good, and had great attention to detail. We’ve found that the aftercare has been excellent as well - we have already had some follow up calls to make sure we are happy with everything. It’s lovely that Westbury has been proactive in their aftercare. In fact when asked if we would recommend Westbury, we had to admit that we already have! One of our friends saw ours when it was still being built, and is now having one herself. A testament to a truly quality product.