Choosing windows for any renovation is a huge decision. Not only are they a large expense, they also have significant impact on the look of a property and the feel of the rooms once inside. I’m a great believer that windows should be sympathetic to the original architecture of the building and the street scene.

Luckily there are many alternative frame options available to suit most styles and budgets, including wood, uPVC, aluminium and steel.

For the period properties I tend to work on, I will try to use wood wherever the budget allows.

However, for our latest renovation, I have had to use a mix of uPVC and wood, in order to meet the budget. Even with the uPVC, I have spent a long time sourcing the best look we can achieve. That includes wood grain effect to reduce the potential sheen of the plastic, traditional sash mechanisms and chrome fittings plus frame design to match the original windows.

Be careful to understand the exact specification of the windows you are considering. For example run-through horns on the sash frame will give a far more authentic look than ones attached separately with an obvious seam.

For the rear kitchen extension I have designed a unit consisting of french doors with a deep sash window either side to give an orangery type feel. To ensure the unit has real authenticity, we will have this built in wood and fit aged brass furniture to complement the kitchen fittings. Whenever I look around at kitchen extensions the default choice always seems to be bi-fold doors, no matter the age and character of the house.

Whilst I understand their benefits in terms of light and connectivity with the garden, at the risk of causing controversy, I am not a fan. For me, windows of this magnitude are themselves a focal point as much as the view beyond.

A well proportioned and detailed window will frame the view out to the garden whilst also being a thing of beauty in itself. All the more important on those grey rainy days we get so many of, where the view outside is not at its best!

A great alternative to wood is steel. Traditional Crittall style windows are now available with double glazing and rust resistant frames. They look truly stunning in the right context and provide a fabulous traditional yet contemporary mix. Unfortunately they don’t come cheap, but I would defintiely consider them where budget permits.

Taps and Knobs


For our latest renovation project we need to keep a reign on the budget for the kitchen and bathrooms, so I’m currently sourcing fittings to give these rooms some wow factor.

First off is metal work. It’s easy to spend a fortune on taps, and this is definitely an area where I would advise pushing the budget to get lasting quality. However, even high end products can often lack any real character.

For the ground floor I’ve settled on an aged brass look, and have managed to find some gorgeous reclaimed taps for both the kitchen and cloakroom. They look great just laid on my worktop so I’m really excited to see them in situ! Taps like these can be sourced from reclamation yards, antique fairs or Ebay, but do ensure they have been professionally restored.

For the utility room we really are going utilitarian and using some garden taps with copper piping. These ones are actually from Amazon and cost just £15 each.

The other metallic feature of the kitchen will be the door knobs. A few years back I stumbled on some beautiful handmade brass fittings and I’ve used them a few times since. These aren’t the cheapest, but they look fabulous and you couldn’t recreate the authenticity with something machine made. These are three variations I’ve used on kitchens and wardrobes.

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