Extreme glazing choices on a self-build in Sandbach

PUBLISHED: 11:15 28 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:15 28 September 2020

Choosing the right glazing was crucial to the success of the design, and Cheshire's Clear Living created the solution
Photo: Amir Shah

Choosing the right glazing was crucial to the success of the design, and Cheshire's Clear Living created the solution Photo: Amir Shah

© Amir Shah

Kunal Trehan and Thomas Hope have pushed glazing technology to new limits on their new home

Thomas and Kunal in the grounds of their new homeThomas and Kunal in the grounds of their new home

This month, in the third part of our series following Kunal Trehan and Thomas Hope as they progress with their build, we are looking at glazing, doors and drainage. ‘Dull, dull, dull!’ do I hear you cry? Not in the least...

“We wanted a light-filled home with large windows to frame the garden views and capture vast amounts of sky. We pushed the design by introducing contemporary frameless glazing to define the exterior and break up the linear frontage. One entire wall of the house will be glazed, and as well as huge windows on each elevation, we have designed structural glazing to run from the front of the property to the rear, in two locations, cutting through the roof and flooding the house with light.”

Structural glazing isn’t a term I have heard before, but when I see the CGI of the house, I immediately grasp the singularity of this design, and wonder how on earth they came up with the idea.

“The glazing was always going to make or break the exterior design and we wanted to push the boundaries by introducing some elements that may not have been tried before,” Thomas says. “Kunal, once he envisions a concept, knows exactly how to take it to the next level and running glazing from front to rear with no break in the ridge join, was the way to do it. He’s never satisfied with the ‘been done before’ look. The structural glazing runs across the location of the hallway, which is double height in design, so when you enter the house you will be able to see straight up to the sky, giving the most amazing views, night and day.”

This render of Thomas and Kunal's house show the impact of their glazing plans
Credit: Studio HowsonThis render of Thomas and Kunal's house show the impact of their glazing plans Credit: Studio Howson

Kunal adds: “We worked with Cheshire-based company Clear Living for our structural glazing. They immediately understood our vision. If you have experts of this quality on your doorstep you can achieve so much. It’s a highly technical challenge, running glass from front to back through the roof and you have barely millimetres of tolerance in the fit.

“On other windows we took advantage of the glazing technology available. We have some rooms that although we would like to have a view from, we still need privacy, so for these we are using intelligent privacy glass. These go from clear to opaque in just one click. It’s created from running a low-energy electric current through a liquid crystal film placed inside the glass, when you turn the current on the glass turns opaque.”

Catch up with the story so far and find out how Kunal and Thomas have built sustainability into every decision

Kunal and Thomas meet with Ian Grimshaw at the Clear Living showroom  
Photo: Amir ShahKunal and Thomas meet with Ian Grimshaw at the Clear Living showroom Photo: Amir Shah

The views afforded by this beautiful home have driven much of the exterior and interior design, and to make sure they maximised every angle and every drop of light Kunal and Thomas undertook a very unusual exercise.

“We wanted to capture the beautiful sunsets every night from every room so used a sunrise and sunset simulator which showcased how the light would flow and where shaded areas would fall, using the results we moved the position of the house by a few degrees to create the perfect setting every evening.” Thomas explains. “Just a couple of degrees turn made a huge difference.”

The use of structural glazing potentially created another issue – an abundance of guttering and downpipes.

“I really don’t like a downpipe,” Kunal laughs. “They’re ugly and if you have the opportunity to hide them away, you should. It’s very unusual in this country, but in Europe many homes are built with all the guttering hidden and the drainpipes within the wall cavities, leading to hidden ground drainage too. I found a company in Europe that could supply all we needed and were very helpful in ensuring our architectural plans correctly incorporated all the hardware too. It was of course vital that this was all built into the designs before we even broke ground – it’s not something you can go back and do later.”

The clean and clear frontage also serves to enhance the rather magnificent front door that Kunal and Thomas have chosen.

“The entrance hall is my absolute favourite place to design,” Kunal says. “It must have a sense of arrival. Our entrance door was key to ensuring this would happen. My company, Touched Interiors, designed a striking pivot-hinge door in a custom size, 1.4 metres wide, and we had it made by a specialist firm in Italy. It features a metallic bronze finish and a 2-metre long hammered bronze handle. Security is paramount when looking at a front door of course and ours is no shrinking violet with a bullet proof steel frame (this comes as standard, interestingly!) and features built-in state of the art security. Once again forward planning is essential, our door weighs over half a ton so we needed reinforcement over the threshold.”

Every detail considered, every action pre-planned, that’s how you build a house.

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