A cottage , glass walls & the copper roof

Written by:

Philip Wadge


In this blog post, we will follow the construction progress of an exciting contemporary extension to an Oxfordshire cottage with all glass sliding walls and cantilevered copper roof.

Once planning permission was granted in November 2018 after a straight forward application, we moved straight onto the detailed design phase. Our initial design for a ‘floating roof’ supported on just 4 delicate steel columns to be located at the sliding glass intersections, was realised by the ‘anything is possible’ approach of Henley engineers Centre Space Design. The steel frame had to be stiff enough to resist the roof loads over the cantilevered corners, where there are no supporting columns at all.

After obtaining Building Regulations approval in February 2019 from Owl Building Control Solutions, a period of design refinements and modifications to the planned internal refurbishments to the main cottage, Ben Morgan Builders were appointed as main contractors in September 2019, and preparation works were started in October.

December 9th Update

We attended a site meeting with Adam from Sightline Aluminium Systems, the glazing manufacturers, to check the steel frame and requirements for the sliding glass fixings. Ben, his building team and the steel manufacturers, Wise Steelwork, had all collaborated with a crawler lift to fit the steel frame in the rear wall of the cottage. The whole frame was lifted and bolted in place within 2 hours, a fine example for pre-planning and teamwork. The frame, some of the beams weighing up to 950kgs provided an almost instant indication of the extension’s future form and with the tolerance measured to the mm, ready for the glass order and the complex roof makeup, which is intended to have a green sedum roof hidden behind a perimeter of sloping copper – I can’t wait to revisit!

March 6th Update

We had a fun morning yesterday in the rain, being part of the sliding glass wall installation and photo shoot for Sightline Aluminium Systems new brochure. The Sightlines team slotted in these large minimalist frames within their tracks with relative ease. The sliding glass units offer just 20mm wide sight lines and have been designed to disappear into the brickwork of the house. Ben Morgan, the builder, has done a fantastic job here, cutting the bricks to cover the frame behind, but allowing the glass to seamlessly fit into the wall.

This, together with the decorative soldier course of bricks and flint above the wide opening gives a beautifully natural and artisanal backdrop to the transparent extension. All that is needed now is the copper roofing and the hidden green sedum roof behind – oh and the underfloor heating and seamless floor tiling running from inside to out. In fact the list of exciting elements goes on and the following visits are only going to be more exciting as the work reaches its climax!

21st August 2020- Update.

Recently I've visited our glass and copper extension project just one week after Phil and Sue had

moved back in, and although there are minor elements to finish, the extension is complete and truly

splendid. It may be a strong architectural statement, but it sits at one in the most wonderful garden.

The shiny copper, finished by craftsmen from JE Gibbings, will start dulling down within weeks and

heading towards its next colour phase: brown, before years later finishing its life as dull green.

The sliding glass walls by Sightline Aluminium Systems, open from the corners, where you realise …

there are no corners! It is all cantilevered and the effect is fantastic. The glass just runs into the walls

behind where the builders have reconstructed the brick and flint wall with great care as a feature to

enjoy from inside the garden room and also from the garden itself, where the transparent extension

joins, but does not cover the existing cottage behind.

See my chat video with Phil and Sue sharing some thoughts on moving back into their newly finished

extension as well as their internally remodelled home. With a few finishes to be completed, I look

forward to having another excuse for a final visit to enjoy this fabulous project and where we will

take a peek inside. for more pictures visit our Showcase.

20th November 2020 AUTUMN UPDATE

Revisiting in Autumn it was clear how well the now natural weathering of the copper is blending with its environment. Although it was largely complete in the summer, there were many finishes around the home to behold and enjoy! It was nice to see the infinity pond with water in, a great feature running right up to the glass. It was also great to hear how well the sliding glass was working, capturing the suns lower autumn rays and maintaining the room efficiently warm, whilst effectively allowing sitting out in the garden.

With the kitchen now finished, the main open plan living space looks fantastic! And has been finished so well. Other great features such as the bespoke copper rod staircase, rooflights and vaulted ceilings in the master bedroom, sun tube lit landing, oak framed fireplace in the snug, the list goes on; a lovely house for lovely people.

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Tel: 07919 161912

Email: info@philipwadge.co.uk


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