Smart Alitherm 300 windows & Visofold 1000 bi-folds.

A new lease of life was given to this 300-year old red brick barn in the Ashford District of Kent, thanks to a conversion project that has seen the clever infusion of natural light through a sympathetic glazing solution designed and implemented by DWL Windows, Doors & Conservatories using Smart Alitherm 300 windows & Visofold 1000 bi-folds.

Owners Lisa and Jack have always dreamed to live in the countryside, but their needs as a family were not being met by the properties they had looked at buying. Lisa is a horse trainer and riding instructor, and wanted to be able to keep her horses close to home. It wasn’t long before the young family of three realised that their perfect property had to be created, rather than found.

Situated in the heart of a beautiful countryside location, the barn was derelict when the current owners decided to take on the mission of converting it into the home they’d always wanted. In a record 4 months-time, the barn has been completely transformed under the experienced hands of Lisa’s father, who has been involved in the construction industry for many years.

He was the one who contracted architectural glazing specialist DWL to deliver a solution that would aesthetically complement the old building, while enhancing insulation and energy efficiency. DWL’s director, Dan Smith, commented: “One of the most common issues with projects of this type is that they come with very small structural openings, and being forced by planning regulations to maintain these unaltered would have resulted in a dark, daylight-deprived living space.

“But saving these buildings from dilapidation is paramount, so flexibility is often key when taking on a project like this. To ‘inject’ the optimum levels of light into the barn and enable the family to enjoy their lovely views across the Kentish fields, we have installed two sets of Smart Visofold 1000 bi-folding doors to the south elevation. The windows are all Smart Alitherm 300, with the slim frames allowing for larger glass panes, and further maximising daylight,” added Dan.

As with any historical building, the barn showed its age at every step of the renovation process. Installing glazing throughout the property raised a few challenges for the DWL teams, who had to deal with uneven surfaces and walls that were twisted and bent on the inside, requiring extensive structural work to be carried out. But the installers’ experience, together with good communication, planning and coordination with the building contractor on site, meant that the project was delivered as smoothly as possible.

For the bi-folds adorning the rear of the property, it was necessary to install steel cavity lintels above the openings, in order to obtain the perfectly square apertures needed for the correct fitting and operation of the doors.

When the first floor was added, it created the much needed space for the master bedroom and en-suite, as well as the daughter’s room, and a family bathroom. There is also a third storey that offers extra space, similar to a loft conversion. Every area will be able to enjoy large light entry thanks to the Smart Alitherm windows now used.

The entrance to the property is grand indeed, with double height curtain walling replacing the central part of the derelict wall at the front, and allowing daylight to fill the hallway, as well as the first floor landing area, which doubles up as an office for Lisa and Jack. It’s no surprise that this part of the house is a firm family favourite. The look was achieved by DWL with a curtain walling structure that uses the Senior Architectural SCW+ system, an energy efficient solution featuring larger polyamide thermal breaks and high performance glass. Thanks to the slim, 50mm aluminium sightlines, the glass integrates delicately into the brickwork either side of the entrance, creating a stunning focal point of the property.

All aluminium frames featured in this beautiful barn conversion have been specified in the modern Vulcan Black colour from Smart’s “Sensations” range, which creates a complementary contrast with the red brick.

Dan said: “The idyllic rural setting was perfect for this family and their lifestyle, and the converted barn is a statement of the high quality and beautiful living space that can be achieved by those who are prepared to take on a project like this.

“We enjoyed working on this barn and helping the owners transform it into the comfortable, light-filled home that it is now. Every Visofold door and Alitherm window has been carefully designed and installed by our in-house team to enhance the building aesthetically, while playing a central role in achieving the optimum level of insulation and thermal efficiency for a comfortable, eco-friendly home,” concluded Dan.


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