RK: What was the state of the original building?
GM: The White House was in a poor condition when the architects got involved with the project, and the old bones from the 18th century were damaged, with many floors and walls left bulging. The last renovation was made in the 1970s and, unfortunately, that renovation made the structure worse when the walls were removed, putting additional stress on the old timber frames.
RK: What made you take on this project?
GM: It was apparent from the brief that renovating and restoring the building would take some time and considerable care, but IQ loves to get involved with complex projects of this nature. It was an easy decision for us, discussing with the architects which systems would be best suited to the space and ensuring the original structure of the building was protected at all times. When completing a project like this, seeing how functional the modernised home has become is the ultimate reward when considering challenging projects.
RK: What were the must-haves for the kitchen renovation?
GM: The main aim was to create a light, modern kitchen space for the whole family to enjoy. The homeowners wanted to create easy access to the garden and forge a solid connection to their outside environment from within the home. The main living space on the ground floor was dark and moody, lacking any connection or flow between the rooms. For this reason, sliding glass doors were the perfect choice for creating an indoor-outdoor style of living. Not only do the sliding glass doors create seamless access to the garden, but they also flood the kitchen with natural light throughout the day, making it easy to create an open-plan interior design.
RK: What was the inspiration for this project?
GM: The inspiration was an atmospheric 21st-century, bright and contemporary family home with enough space for everyone. All the areas within the layout were going to have a different character, and the new kitchen used a palette of pink-pigmented concrete, brass, reeded glass and timber. The combination of these materials and textures was inspired by luxury hotel design, with additional elements, such as open shelving, to create a more homely atmosphere. Biophilic design was another influence that inspired the glazing design, bringing the outside environment indoors with a structural glass roof and frameless glazing. The biophilic design inspiration was enhanced further by the use of living plants both inside and outside the kitchen, enhancing the connection to nature.
RK: What was the size of the space you had to work with?
GM: The renovation has changed all three floors of the townhouse and included the entire body of the building, kitchen extension and interior areas. The glass extension protrudes into the garden space by approximately 3m, with a smaller dining space set back about 1m from the sliding doors. For an area this size, it was imperative to utilise frameless or very thin framed glazing solutions for the most effective design.
RK: How did IQ Glass approach finalising the design brief?
GM: We worked closely with the architects to ensure the glazing design was well suited to the surrounding structure, using structural glass as an integral element of the design to reduce the strain on the original restored structure without compromising on minimal, luxury design.
RK: Were there any challenging aspects to the project?
GM: Restoring original features can be challenging, and this requires a great deal of time, patience and care from everyone involved in the project. The structural interventions planned by MW Architects included several bespoke-crafted items explicitly designed for the individual building. The immaculate attention to detail shown by everyone involved in the project helped overcome any sensitive issues.
RK: How did you approach material and product specification?
GM: For such a sensitively-designed restoration, it made sense to use the most minimal designs. The flexible nature of frameless structural glazing meant we could create horizontal and vertical glazed elements without detracting from the restored white building exterior. Ultra-slim-framed sliding doors were paired with the frameless glazing for the most subtle finish, with sightlines of just 21mm to create a coherent design in conjunction with the structurally-bonded glass.
MORE TIPS FOR ACCESSIBLE KITCHEN RENOVATIONS:RK: Are there any products you would recommend to those looking to undertake an accessible project?
GM: Slim-framed sliding glass doors are a great option for accessible projects. The head and base frames can be concealed into the building and floor finishes to create flush threshold detailing in the base track. That feature keeps the surface on the same level and grants step-free access, even to the point where the tracks are safe for driving over with a car. The opening corner configuration is well suited to accessible house designs, thanks to the ability to slide both doors away from the corner junction and leave behind a large open aperture.
RK: What advice would you offer to anyone looking to undertake an accessible design?
GM: Speak to your chosen glazier about flush threshold detailing and ensure you are using an architect with excellent attention to detail. The accuracy shown by MW Architects is what made this design truly accessible, with wide corridors and larger spaces to accommodate every means of travel within the home. Any glass door systems should be designed to be flush without compromising on performance and appearance.