Beautiful Chilterns Home

The thought of replacing more than 30 windows and installing three terrace doors and a Juliet balcony in one property might have seemed daunting to some but not to Martin and Catherine, who live amid the rolling hills of the Oxfordshire Chilterns.

Eleven years after moving into the house, close to Henley-on-Thames, the couple took stock of the work that would be needed to repair and re-decorate the windows and doors and realised such work would probably be in vain.

Martin, a retired IT services specialist, says: “I retired at the end of January and I had been gearing up to that for about six months. We knew the outside of the house would need re-decorating but as soon as we looked at it we realised that the windows were not of a particularly high quality and if we had got them decorated we would have spent a considerable sum and two years later they would have needed doing again.

“Quite a lot of the wood had rotted, so there would have been a need for substantial filling, for example. Some windows had actually jammed shut. They were on their last legs basically and so had to be replaced.

“Draughts weren’t actually an issue. If anything the issue was that we were not getting enough air into the house. The Jack Brunsdon options we chose offered a number of features at the top and in terms of how you open the windows and doors that allow you to get more air in.”

In all, more than 30 windows, a Juliet balcony to one of the four bedrooms and three sets of terrace doors were installed by Jack Brunsdon, all painted in olive on the exterior and white inside.

Martin adds: “The property was a late 1950s house and the previous owner had essentially knocked out all of the inside and the roof space and then knocked down what used to be a separate blacksmith’s barn to build an extension to link the two buildings.

“All of that work had been done before we arrived. Newer places are starting to be built in this area, but our property was the first in a more modern style.

“There are two separate spaces now. On the left, there is a kitchen and a wide open living space and on the right, which used to be the barn area, half of the space is taken up by two bedrooms and the rest by another large living room, with open staircases.

“There are three lots of terrace doors opening to the garden and a Juliet balcony, although we made the mistake of giving that bedroom to our son, so the balcony doesn’t get used that much. The views over the open fields are quite stunning.

“When we started looking around – including at Jack Brunsdon brochures – we realised that new windows and doors would transform the look of the house and we would get 15-20 years out of these windows and doors before any work at all was needed. Now I’m retired, the whole idea was that the replacements would look after themselves.

“We looked around at three or four companies, but the whole experience with Jack Brunsdon was excellent. We went to the main showroom in Blenheim to see things there and we did a lot of research, including speaking to one Jack Brunsdon client whose installation had just been completed. They were very positive about how everything was handled.

“We had some tricky areas, involving trees and concertina doors, but the Jack Brunsdon team worked hard on getting the technical specifications just right. There were decisions to be made about how to design around those issues, but we got exactly what we wanted.

“The installation process was outstanding. The windows and doors were installed over two weeks in April. We were told it might take three weeks but the two teams of installers – quality craftsmen – were first class and worked prodigiously installing four or five windows each day then clearing up.

“At the end of each day the windows being installed were completed, with the house never left unsealed.

“We have a view from every angle and the new windows have made a major difference to the house. During the summer, it’s been wonderful having all the vents working, letting in lots of fresh air, and also to be able to securely partially open the windows to get a breeze coming through.

“The other thing we like and which has made a big aesthetic difference is the consistent design of the bars on the windows. It is a modern house – particularly inside – and the new windows have unified the property and softened it, helping it blend in with its environment.

“Occasionally we still pinch ourselves because the quality is exceptional and the entire process went very smoothly. We would thoroughly recommend Jack Brunsdon.”

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