Do you know anyone in need of a facelift? Darcy The Wonder Dog says she knows plenty of people but that’s not the point!
We do, however, often get asked to breathe life back into houses and use our imagination and flair to give them a facelift and much more.
That’s why we thought you’d like to see a recent ‘operation’ we performed. It started with a classic mid-1970’s detached property in Whitley Bay. The tiled frontage, side door on the porch with its sandstone surround and generally ‘flat’ look and feel was something the owners wanted to address.
We’d already worked on the interior of this property 5 years ago so we knew the type of style the owners wanted and we set to work giving our recommendations and putting the cogs in motion.
We began by replacing all the front windows, removing the old and tired flat units and replacing them with high quality uPVC double glazing. In doing so, we changed the main lower ground window and built a fantastic bay window with a lead roof.
The interior space and air this provided is remarkable as is the obvious difference it made to the frontage of the house.
The facelift had begun! Now to start with the really good stuff. This very dated and impractical porch and door had to go. That gave us an opportunity to make best use of the land directly in front of the porch. Why not make it larger to give the owners use of largely wasted space outside and make a feature of it in doing so?
Darcy The Wonder Dog wanted to come and watch us because she spotted a friend lurking in the new bay window we’d fitted. However, safety comes first so she had to remain at DP HQ to ensure the machine keeps running smoothly.
We did get a photograph of her little friend though. Here she is. Say hello to Chloe!
Once we’d all been licked to death by Chloe, we started on the hard work. Down came that sandstone…
Whilst we we doing that we also began working on the foundations for the extended porch.
Then it was time for the new brickwork to start. In this photograph you can see that we have moved the side porch door to the front. It looks likes a very large door opening but that’s because the new door would have two full length windows either side of it..
Looking through the new front door you’ll see the side of the porch – and two new window areas. In addition to the two front windows we built two feature side windows, again full length.
You get a better idea of what the porch was beginning to look like from this angle…
But, we hear you ask, what on earth is going to happen with that roof? This is what!
We pulled the roof tiles back and extended the roof section across the newly extended brickwork. This was in preparation for our grand plan…
We didn’t forget the details though – let’s get rid of that old material under the garage overhang and install some snazzy LED lights. We want to make them functional though so we installed a light sensor for them to come on and go off automatically. The owners pointed out to us that they might want to over-ride that on occasion. Not a problem! We added an over-ride switch inside their hallway, conveniently located to hand so that when they step on the first stair to head up to bed on an evening – the switch is in arms reach.
Now it was time to build the gable roof feature! This was always the plan to transform the exterior look of the house and the woodworking magicians of DP began their work.
With the new gable roof in place, the woodworking magicians gave way to our wizards who began putting the gloss (as we like to call it) on things and the front began to take shape.
The next stage was for the wizards to bring out their star trick – by beginning the removal of all those 1970’s tiles and replacing them with this fabulous anthracite cladding (in addition to looking very cool it also brings better insulating properties to the house!).
Down came the tiles (this isn’t an easy job when there are this many of them!). They also had to prepare the surface of the house for the new cladding to be fitted. That’s what you can see with the vertical beams in this photograph (and if you look carefully you’ll see a huge pile of tiles that had been removed, under the bay window).
Then, up went the anthracite cladding and down came the old lead flashing from below the windows. Oh and we’d also got the porch windows and a lovely matching anthracite door in place, complete with brushed aluminium vertical handle and letterbox to bring it all together…
The observant among you might notice something else – the paving. To give better access to the new frontage we created extended paving in the form of a curve leading to the porch door. It also helps take your eye to precisely where it should be.
Next up are a pair of brushed alumium LED up/down lights and a crescent shaped step to provide good standing and a feature finish to that facelifted porch!
Add a new border on the curved paving, complete with buxus trees to match those that were at the front already, and you can see how dramatic the difference is.
If you’re eagle eyed you’ll also spot that the paving running down the side of the new curve (and it is on the other side of the drive too) was given a darker shade of stone to tie in with the anthracite finish of the front. The contrasting paving is another tiny detail that takes the eye down the driveway and subtley routes your mind to the front of the house without you ever realising.
Incidentally, those up/down lighters were wired into the light sensor and over-ride switch we mentioned earlier. Now, the entire front exterior lighting can be left to react to the conditions outside or be controlled through that single switch in the hallway.
Let’s take a look inside the porch now. Doesn’t look too appealling, does it?
We can soon change that! We began by building a cupboard. A pair of hardwood doors were fitted and the flooring was matched to the existing hall way floor, finished with a black detail line around the edges (and when you open the cupboard doors you’ll find that a set of six LED strip lights automatically come on and light up 6 sections – including one for shoes, one for coats and one specifically built for umbrellas with a rubberised base to account for water that might drip down from the brollies!).
Now we needed some heat in the porch. We installed a chrome finished vertical radiator and if you look carefully you’ll even spot a chrome finished door stop so that the cupboard door doesn’t hit the radiator. You can also see a single spotlight on the ceiling – but there are actually four. Why four and why are they positioned where they are?
This is why! Look above the spiral trees, each fitted perfectly into the full length windows, and you’ll notice two of the spotlights. There are four in the porch on two separate dimmer switches. This means that the main porch area can be lit however the owners want – but they can also light the feature spiral plants to a completely different brightness or only have those lit on an evening at a low level so the trees can be seen from the front at night. Small details with maximum effect (those pots are finished in anthracite to match the cladding outside too).
What does it look like on a night? See for yourself. As you can see, the up/down lighters also have exterior pots placed below them that are illuminated on a night to complement the interior LED lit spiral trees (you can also see the paving colour contrast that we mentioned earlier in this photograph).
The end result is a complete contrast to a previously dated and flat frontage. The owners have even had strangers stop them and ask about the work and who did. We like that!
If you think your house front (or back!) is in desperate need of a facelift, or you want to test our attention to design detail, get in touch!