Expansive glazing can transform buildings, but larger sizes mean extra weight and that can be a challenge to trouble-free operation. This London house project offers a bespoke solution
Extensive renovations to a period home in Notting Hill included the specification of slim profile, generously sized doors with an easy, light-to-slide mechanism.
The owners had considered moving to a larger property when they began to outgrow their home, particularly as it also needed repair work after the poor construction of a basement swimming pool.
However, they liked the area so decided instead to renovate it to better suit their needs. They brought in architect Robert Maxwell, director of Maxwell & Company.
Works included a double height rear extension, which enabled a large kitchen-diner and allowed for en-suites to the upper bedrooms.
The kitchen was extended into the small rear garden with two sets of Schüco bi-fold doors forming a glazed corner.
The three and five-panel doors flood the kitchen-diner with natural light. When the weather is good the back of the house can be opened up to the garden to create one large, open-plan space.
The garden is also accessible via a set of Schüco double doors at the top of the stairs leading to the basement. These fully glazed doors let light into the lower ground floors and provide a fire exit.
'There are a lot of companies making bi-fold doors,' says Maxwell, 'so the engineering is a big differentiator - the way the doors are detailed, the way the hinges work, how the doors close and seal. The cheaper systems tend to fail over time.'
He believes the ongoing investment in research and product development that Schüco makes has allowed it to produce a slimmer profile, more generous sizes and a good locking mechanism, all crucial to his decision to specify.
'The doors in this project are 2.7 metres high; other systems don’t offer bi-folding doors to this height. However, the sliding mechanism ensures they are still light to move, while the runners are designed to stay clear instead of clogging with leaves.'
Other works on the project included a subterranean extension to the basement to bring light into the lower ground floors. This created a generous entertainment space with a swimming pool, cinema, bar, wine cellar, gym and spa.
A wraparound Schüco glazing system was installed around the staircase entry to the pool. This was necessary to maintain the area’s ambient temperature while letting in natural light.
It was important the system was thermally broken because of the temperature difference between the two spaces - around 7 to 8 degrees.
'Sealed units with top quality seals were also required because of the moisture content in the air,' says Maxwell, who chose the Schüco Jansen stainless steel window system for the job.
Interior designers Hesellic Design created an Art Deco look for the project. To complement the theme, the metal profiles of the internal and external Schüco systems were sprayed a specific shade of bronze. Standard handles were replaced with bespoke ironmongery.
The flexibility of the Schüco systems allows for such bespoke elements to be incorporated easily.
Find more on this case study at schueco.uk/case-study/bedford-gardens
Schüco will launch its new bi-fold door later this month with slimmer sightlines and larger pane sizes offering even greater design flexibility. For further information, visit schueco.uk/unfold