Conservation™ timber windows and doors by Mumford & Wood have been architecturally specified for a masterful Georgian-style new-build home in a pretty rural Wiltshire village. Owned by a London-based professional couple, Dominic and Kate, with little free time to search for the ideal location of their new home in the country, they brought in and briefed a property finder to do the leg-work first. The agent found a one-acre site occupied by a 1970’s bungalow, with permission for a replacement property, which was perfect in terms of size and location.
Planning took some consultation and the couple employed a leading Wiltshire-based architect, Alex Oliver of Alex Oliver Associates, to help lead them through the process. This lovely location is not only within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a conservation area, but a World Heritage Site as well. As the original land owner had plans to build eight dwellings on the site the proposition for a single property was far more attractive to local planners.
This impressive and elegant house with symmetrical front elevation, classical portico, shallow pitch roof and eaves detail typical of Georgian architecture is equally grand internally with a double-height entrance hall, sweeping staircase, 3m high ceilings and beautiful architectural detailing throughout.
“Everyone loves Georgian-style homes but so few self-builders, and even experienced renovators, manage to get the style details just right,” says Tom Barfield, regional sales director, Mumford & Wood. “Designers get Georgian wrong in several ways but the easiest to spot are the windows, for three reasons: they are usually the wrong size and shape; they are positioned incorrectly; and they are rarely even sash style. Window choice is critical: they must have thin, refined glazing bars and deeper than standard reveals – the way the window is inset against the wall; in too many modern houses it is almost flush.”
Not everyone has the time and desire to take an intensive course in Georgian design principles but as a specialist manufacturer of period style windows and doors Mumford & Wood use the Golden Ratio. Tom continues: “This is where mathematics meets architecture and has been used for centuries to help architects come up with pleasing proportions.
“The principle behind the Golden Ratio is that the larger number divided by the smaller number is also equal to the sum of the two numbers together divided by the larger number. Let’s do the math together. For example, take two numbers, 16 and 10, (so 1.6). Add them together – 26 – and divide by 16, and you again get 1.6. So a classical proportion for a sash window using the Golden Ratio would be 1,000 x 1,600mm.”
The Mumford & Wood timber sash windows that Dominic and Kate chose fit this design requirement. “They’re also very well balanced and easy to open and close,” says Kate, who chose the 17mm glazing bar option for extra elegance. “It’s amazing how many decisions you have to make with a project like this. Everything needed our call, or a referral back to Alex, in order for it to be right. We’re delighted with what we have ended up with, particularly considering we hadn’t really thought about building our own home at first. The house is much warmer and less draughty than the type of house we might have bought instead, and it looks like it has been here for centuries.”