Room for improvement
When it comes to extending your home, a garden room or orangery is the easiest way to gain an extra room. Kate Hamilton reports.
A single story garden room can make a huge difference to your home – and to the way in which you live in it. Whether you want a playroom for the children, a home office, a dining room or just an additional space in which to relax, then a garden room certainly ticks all of the boxes.
But such an extension has numerous other benefits too. Firstly, provided that you haven’t already increased the size of your homes original footprint, then you are very unlikely to need planning permission as it should fall within your permitted development rights. Do always check to be on the safe side however!
Secondly, and this is perhaps the biggest attraction, garden rooms can be supplied as a complete entity by a range of specialist firms
Over the past 30 years, Conwy Valley Windows has supplied and installed a wide range of PVC-U windows and doors throughout North Wales. However, in recent years, the company has become renowned for its conservatories and garden rooms as they really make the most of the North Walian scenery.
In fact, when local couple Gavin and Sim Baldwin bought their new house in Llandudno Junction, they knew that a garden room would really make the most of their beautiful outlook.
“It had taken a good few years and a fair number of house moves, but we figured we’d finally found our forever house,” explains Gavin. “The trouble was, although it was almost perfect, it was just missing one thing – a second reception room.
“While the downstairs portion of the house was a good size, with a family kitchen, reasonable dining area and nice cosy lounge, we lacked an additional reception room that would allow the five of us to spread out and do our own thing, on the days and evenings that required it,” he continues. “I also wanted a room without a television that had views of the wonderful garden we loved so much.”
The Baldwin’s decided to invite Conwy Valley Windows around, plus a couple of other companies, to get an idea of what they could do.
“Conwy Valley were great. Rather than telling us what we should do – build it here not there, make it like this not that – Conwy Valley simply listened, advised when prudent to do so and then showed us how best to realise our dream,” says Gavin. “They provided excellent designs of what would become our garden room, allowing for numerous changes to the specification and finish, and never once making us feel rushed or bamboozled. It was a genuinely enjoyable experience.”
Conwy Valley provides a one-stop shop for its garden rooms and conservatories. Everything from the initial designs and advice, the foundations, the bricks and mortar and the roof, right through to the windows, the doors, the plumbing, the electrics and even the flooring are all provided if that’s what you want. Gavin and Sim found that the peace of mind that such a service provided was immeasurable.
“The finished garden room is now everything we had hoped it would be – and a great deal more,” adds Gavin. “It fits seamlessly alongside the rest of the house and is a delight to spend time in every day of the year.”
Of course, had the Baldwin’s opted to build something similar 20 years ago, the result would probably have been very different indeed – not to mention a great deal more expensive. Advances in materials and building methods now mean that homeowners have the option of a room that is integrated into the rest of the house.
Solid roofs on these type of extensions are increasingly popular too. They look like expensive slate tiles but, in fact, they’re a lightweight, manmade material.
Snowdonia Windows is another company that can offer its customers beautifully bespoke designed orangeries and garden rooms.
Established since 1976 Snowdonia Windows is a leading installer of high quality windows, doors, conservatories and orangeries. From its showrooms in Mold and Caernarfon, this three generation family-owned company is proud to offer the best possible service for homeowners living throughout North Wales and surrounding areas.
“Today’s orangeries are elegant extensions to a home with light flooding down from the lantern roof and through tall windows,” explains xxx of Snowdonia Windows. “They are more substantial than conservatories as they have side elevations constructed from traditional building materials, so whether it’s a lounge, luxury kitchen or a child’s playroom, it will become a stunning addition to your home.”
But if you already have a traditional conservatory, but pine for something more substantial, then fear not as Snowdonia Windows is now able to replace your existing conservatory roof for a solid roof system.
“Here at our showroom we have an example on display of this new conservatory roof to show how easy it is to transform your existing conservatory into a room with a completely different look and feel,” adds Barbara Wheatley.
Retrofitting an existing conservatory might also mean that you are unable to tap into you main central heating system, meaning that you will have to find an alternative heating solution.
But, with the help of North West Heating’s latest electric heaters, you can now enjoy your conservatory 365 days of the year and, more importantly, on those days when it is too cold to go outside.
“Having a conservatory fitted to your home provides an extra room for you to relax or entertain, therefore, you should have the added benefit of being able to use this valuable space all year round,” comments David Lukeman.
North West Heating’s energy efficient electric radiators use advanced ceramic core technology. The special fireclay material at the heart of its system means that the radiators heat up very quickly so you can be guaranteed of a reliable heat source you can depend on.
“This advanced core is also much more slimline than its older relatives at just 20mm deep or 40mm for areas that need high heat output but have low wall space,” continues xxx. “This core has also been tested for its water resistance. A water-resistant core gives protection against the UK’s cold damp climate.”
Each radiator has an individual, accurate, thermostatic control, giving you the benefit of all year-round comfort. With a range of custom sizes and being genuinely slim-line, these energy efficient electric heaters are perfect to fit under even the lowest windows and with a huge range of colours, they can blend well with your existing décor to boot.
Another major consideration when either building a new garden room, or giving a new lease of life to an old conservatory, is which floor covering to choose. Practicality should be your main objective here, as your garden room or conservatory will likely be the main route between your house and the garden. With that in mind, tiles are the obvious choice.
“It is important to make sure the flooring in your room can be easily cleaned, can sustain heat and is moisture resistant. In addition to this, you want it to look good!” explains Abbie Parrish from Global Tiles in Mochdre. “Porcelain tiles can ensure you a beautiful, easy to upkeep room with style. Ranging in colours, shapes, textures and patterns, you can achieve it all exactly how you want it.”
Tiles can provide a natural stone look-a-like without the hassle of a sealant, but also offer the same beauty and same resistance properties. A simple opus pattern can transform your room with every tile varying in pattern and shades of colour, or why not try a colourful patterned tile to really create a feature.
“Here at Global Design Studio/Global Tiles, we can measure your room and assist your choice in a tile perfect for your preferences and aesthetic goals,” adds Abbie. “We aim to provide excellent customer service and guarantee a stunning finish. Not only do we offer measures, supply and a fitting service but underfloor heating is also an option to guarantee warm feet on a cold morning!”Which, after the winter we have had, is a vital consideration – no matter what kind of extension you’re planning.