I wrote a week or so ago about my dream extension – which is becoming ever more needed as our house seems to shrink with more toys, books and the such that young children bring!
Earlier in the week I donned a frock and popped along to Crystal Living in Poynton.
I wasn’t too sure what to expect but in the fortnight leading up to the event I was asked to supply floor plans, pictures and measurements of the ground floor rooms in order for the team to work their magic. They had a very limited brief from me. Literally the blog post above as well as the pictures and room measurement details. I guess they may have had a read through some blog posts too to get a feel for us and to try and glean some information about the house and how we use it from there.
We had a short introduction from the MD, Tony Wooderson and a bit of an introduction to Crystal Living. What instantly struck me was that this is, very much, a family run business. There are links right through from the support staff in the show room to the design staff to the builders and fitters. They originally started with windows, but have evolved to offer a complete home improvement service.
We were each assigned to a member of the design team, I was with Sean, and we were given a quick tour of the showroom to give us an idea of the things that they do. Our current home has been a project and we have been keen to restore it sympathetically as we have approached each room. One of the things that I loved a Crystal Living was the array of windows. Originally the windows in our home would have been sash windows and I was excited when Sean pointed out some amazing timber alternative ones – I can see them already in our home and it would totally transform it. It’s not a purchase we can justify making at the moment, but we will certainly be re-visiting for a full quote etc in due course when we need to replace our windows.
After a bite to eat it was time to get on to the exciting bit – the opportunity to see what magic Sean had worked. Our house is a Victorian property and at the side we have a large storage area. This would have been the old outhouses and they have been linked to the house by a previous owner. The space isn’t usable for anything other than storing things and housing the washing machine. It’s dead space effectively and it’s our dream to one day knock through from the kitchen and rebuild the whole area into a larger kitchen-diner.
What Sean showed me was stunning. It really was the sort of thing you’d see on Grand Designs or other home renovation programmes. They had designed the kitchen with an orangery style roof which floods the room with natural light. I could already picture the children and I in there preparing meals and the odd cake or two. I could see it becoming the large social kitchen I crave and I could see the potential it would give for us to go something different with our current dining room. We could turn this into a play room and second sitting room. It would be perfect.
Sean talked me through the whole design as he would any other customer. He explained how he has used the available space and how we could tweak things etc. He also answered my (many!) questions around planning, practicalities and the such. He then talked me through the quote for this work as well as explaining how it’s project managed. It was all really impressive and I was left feeling very confident that if we were in the position to proceed with something like this we would be doing so with a fabulous and very reputable company. I can’t imagine ever seeing them on Rogue Traders or any other such thing!
Whenever we choose trades people it’s always important to us that they are signed up to the relevant bodies eg Gas Safe, Competent Roofers etc. I was interested to learn that Crystal Living are already voluntarily following a new code around building work and that they are really hot on ensuring the relevant building controls and planning authorities are satisfied at all stages.
What I really liked was that instead of just being given an abstract architects plan of how the house would look I was given 3d images of the outside of the house which they can play with to show from all angles. I also really liked the 3d walk through of the new area. It really helps to bring to life the space that we would have and gave me a lot of excitement for what we could achieve.
I was really impressed with Crystal Living and it has given us a lot to think about. We have some decisions over the next 18 months or so, whether we move house or extend this one. I think the big big dream would be to do a two storey extension, but I’m not sure how affordable that is for us at the moment, and it would also mean that the orangery style roof would be a no go in the new kitchen.
For now, we will have to settle for enjoying the wonderful 3d walk through we were given and set about looking at the funds we can (and want) to raise to fund a future project.
Watch this space.