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Case study: Elms Brook

17. April 2024
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Seasoned self-builders Sarah and Rob Collard have designed and built not just one family home but two. ‘A few years ago we bought a plot of land, demolished the existing house and self-built our dream home,’ says Sarah. ‘It was featured on Channel 4’s ‘Build the Dream’ programme and we really thought it was our forever home. But we’d always loved another plot, in the same village, and when it came up for sale we couldn’t resist starting again and building our current home, ‘CollardTowers’.’

Project information

Sector: Self-build family home

Windows series: VELFAC 200

Products: VELFAC triple glazed windows and VELFAC Ribo entrance doors

Distributor and Installer: Viewnique, Cambridgeshire

Specified for:

  • Sleek finish
  • Slim frames
  • Energy efficiency
  • Durability

Frame finish:  External: Jet Black (RAL 9005) Internal: Jet Black (RAL 9005) and Pure White (RAL 9010)


The Project

A focus on open plan, low energy living

Although the new plot was smaller it was set back from the road, wasn’t overlooked and had a south facing garden with fabulous countryside views. For Sarah and Rob, building Collard Towers was also a chance to capitalise on the skills and knowledge gained during the first build: ‘Although we loved our home, we knew we would have done some things differently if we’d had more experience,’ says Sarah. ‘So we decided to go ahead and create a more contemporary home with a real focus on open plan, low energy living, with plenty of space for our family and dogs, and with lots of VELFAC triple glazed windows and VELFAC doors. In fact we’d installed the VELFAC system in our first home (having seen VELFAC at a Homebuilding & Renovating Show) and didn’t think twice when specifying it again for Collard Towers. We really like the slim, durable aluminium / wood frame, and we knew the windows would flood every space with natural light, make the most of solar gain to help reduce energy costs, and provide some great views over nearby fields. We also knew VELFAC was very competitively priced.'

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Exploiting VELFAC frame versatility

When it came to frame finish for Collard Towers, Sarah fully exploited the versatility of the composite VELFAC frame construction: ‘Externally, we’ve gone for a black finish for every window frame and door, while internally we’ve specified white window frames in bedrooms and bathrooms, and black frames for ground floor rooms, shared spaces and the five VELFAC doors.’ These statement frames add real impact to the property, not least in the stunning entrance hall. Here, an impressively large black-framed VELFAC window screen rises above a VELFAC front door and up into the vaulted roof space, illuminating both the hallway and a beautiful oak staircase.

Sarah (Marketing Consultant) and Rob (Chartered Engineer) designed and managed the whole project - including window design, specification, and energy efficiency calculations - while also working with a builder and range of contractors, including local VELFAC distributor Viewnique. ‘We found Viewnique on the VELFAC distributor database and they’ve been great from start to finish,’ says Sarah. ‘Everything has gone very smoothly - even the installation of the large windows above the hall - and in fact the company will soon return to touch up any VELFAC doors damaged by other trades while the build was being finished, which is a great level of service.'

The process of building Collard Towers was not without its challenges but Sarah and Rob are delighted with the end result: ‘Coming through the VELFAC front door always brings me such joy,’ says Sarah. ‘I have a real ‘pinch me’ moment when I walk into the house that we have spent so much time planning and building. It takes me a moment to remember that this isn’t a beautiful holiday rental property but all ours and that we live here!’

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Topics: Case studies, Design and aesthetics, Energy efficiency, Architecture, Award winning project

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