Originally from London and Lancashire respectively, Ann and Peter have made North Yorkshire their home for the past 25 years. Since 2002, they’ve been living in a traditional stone-built property on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Now both retired, the couple decided to embark on an ambitious extension project that would enable them to enjoy more of the views that their property afforded them.
“The thing about the house,” says Peter, “is that there are spectacular views. But the only room that enjoyed them previously was the kitchen. It wasn’t much use if you wanted to sit and admire this wonderful view. That’s why we had the idea of extending that side of the house, to really open up the views to the valley.”
The couple wanted to create an extension that “looked like it was meant to be there” but that also maximised the views available to them.
“We’re in a designated ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ here, so it’s quite difficult to get planning permission,” explains Peter. “We spoke to Pearce Bottomley Architects who we had previously used to develop a heritage centre at our local church. And he was very good at creating a design that the planners were happy to agree to at the first time of asking.”
Outside the kitchen, Ann and Peter previously had a small patio area – but it was rarely used. Ann explains: “Because of the prevailing winds here, we never actually ventured out there for very long before. We wanted to create an indoor room with those same views, so we could enjoy them whatever the weather.”
The whole project took five months to complete – and the couple’s Centor Integrated Doors now open out onto a new terrace area and an undeniably picturesque view.
For Ann and Peter, specifying fully glazed doors was a very important part of the design brief. “We wanted to maximise the view and bifolds seemed the obvious answer,” says Peter. “They also worked well with our architect’s idea of creating a glazed link in the area beside the new extension.”
The couple first spotted Centor Integrated Doors at the Homebuilding & Renovating Show in Harrogate. Ann explains: “We saw lots of ‘flimsy’ doors and plenty of ‘perfectly adequate’ folding doors too, to be fair. But then we saw the Centor Doors – and they were clearly infinitely better than the others.” Peter continues: “They were more expensive too, of course, but well worth the extra cost! When you see them, it’s really clear that these doors are a top-quality product.”
He adds: “We loved the fact that with the Centor Doors, we could get a really good weather-proof aluminium outer frame and oak on the inside, which ties in really well with all the wood we have within the house already. But we were also very impressed with the integrated arrangement of the blind and the fly screen.
Ann agrees: “We chose a light-filtering shade and that, in particular, has been really useful. Not just at night, but also if it’s a really bright day and we want to reduce the glare of the sun.”
“We do also get some flies and bluebottles around here if the farmer is grazing cattle in the fields nearby,” says Peter. “So the fly screen will also prove very useful.”
The couple are really pleased with the look and feel of their new doors, which take centre stage in the new extension.
“We now use the dining room every day, whether we’re entertaining or it’s just the two of us,” says Peter. “We seamlessly move from one way of using the space to another, depending on the weather.”
Ann adds: “It makes a nice big entertaining space too – we can have drinks on the terrace and then walk in and sit down for dinner. We do quite a lot of entertaining and everyone’s always extremely impressed with the doors and with what we’ve achieved here.” “And that’s before we’ve even fully opened the doors!” quips Peter.
He adds: “I just wish we’d done this sooner. This extension with the bi-fold doors has completely transformed the house. And the surveyor who has since re-valued the property has told us that it’s actually added two-and-a-half times the value of what we spent on the whole project to the value of the house – so that’s a fantastic bonus!”