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Case study: Nairn, Highland

02. May 2024
23324 Velfac Nairn 015

When Peter and Kristin Duncan decided to renovate their beautiful Victorian home, they first renewed the fabric of the entire house before adding a strikingly modern extension, constructed almost entirely from full height VELFAC windows and patio doors.

‘The house was very special to us because it had been Peter’s family home for over 60 years. We wanted a home designed for modern living but which retained the look and feel of the original house,’ say the Duncans, who worked with architect Pinny Muir (of LDN Architects) on the whole project. ‘As the property faces a busy road, we also decided to move the living space from the front of the building to the rear.’ This meant converting the existing kitchen and scullery (both fairly cramped rooms with small windows and low ceilings) and so Pinny suggested adding a modern ‘glass box’ extension inset into the rear corner of the building.

Project information

Sector: Home Extension

Architect: LDN Architects

Main Contractor: Darroch & Allan (Joiners & Builders) Ltd

Distributor: ADW Scotland

Specified for:

  • Sleek aesthetic and slim frames
  • Quality construction
  • Range of finishes
  • Excellent insulation - thermal and acoustic
  • Technical support

Frame finish:  External: Brown Red (RAL 3011) Internal: Pure White (RAL 9010)


The Project

‘Whilst I am a RIBA accredited Conservation Architect we want to create structures that reflect current architectural design, rather than create buildings which are pastiche,’ explains Pinny. ‘This approach also means I can utilise the benefits of modern materials to create well insulated, well ventilated rooms, which make maximum use of available space, to complement the original building.’

Given the area of glass proposed (nine full height windows including two triple glazed sliding doors) window quality was vital and so Pinny recommended installing the VELFAC aluminium / timber system: ‘VELFAC windows offer the ideal aesthetic,’ she says: ‘The frames are slim and sleek - not clunky in any way - and work extremely well with different finishes, which in the extension included seamed zinc cladding and roofing, and sandstone walls.’

With so many big windows installed the Duncans were concerned that the extension could become too hot (or too cold) – LDN specified UV resistant coatings on key window units to counter solar gain, while low U values across all the VELFAC units ensured excellent insulation (thermal and acoustic). ‘Trickle vents also provide good ventilation when the windows are closed,’ says Pinny, ‘and are another example of VELFAC attention to detail, as each vent is installed seamlessly into the window frame.’

The result is a beautiful and comfortable space, says Peter: ‘We cannot fault the performance of the room. The extension is beyond efficient, maintaining an average temperature of 21-23 degrees all year round, and if it gets a little warm we simply open a sliding door. Across the house the reduction in our heating bills has been incredible, and the underfloor heating installed in the extension is used during the five coldest months, by and large.’

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Enhancing the distinctive style of the extension, and very much guided by Pinny, the Duncans decided to finish the external VELFAC aluminium frames in deep red which, says Kristin, is typical of older rural buildings in the area: ‘The colour goes extremely well with the original sandstone and reflects local traditional architecture,’ she says. ‘The internal VELFAC timber frames are painted in ‘lead white’, another heritage shade which also adds to the lightness of the room.’

Window installation was handled by Darroch & Allan (Joiners & Builders) Ltd, with VELFAC units supplied by VELFAC distributor ADW Scotland. ‘It took a while to arrive at the ideal specification,’ says Pinny, ‘but ADW were very patient and keen to make sure we got exactly what we wanted.’ Craig Stewart of Darroch & Allan was also pleased with the process: ‘This is the first time we had installed VELFAC units,’ he says, ‘and we were very impressed with the products, and how easy they were to install and operate.’

Having lived in their renovated home for over 18 months, the Duncans remain delighted with the extension, and with the VELFAC windows: ‘Pinny delivered exactly what we wanted, an elegant extension which adds light, joy and living space to the rear of our home with the added bonus of feeling we are actually living in our beautiful, mature garden. The VELFAC windows have performed really well. They look perfect, and the quality is obvious - we know this extension will last for a long time.’

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Topics: Case studies, Design and aesthetics, Energy efficiency, Architecture, Acoustic performance

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