Jacqui and her husband moved to this home in Holmbury St. Mary three years ago having been in their previous house in Weybridge for almost 30 years. Jacqui explains, “We moved to that home as we were starting our family and it was a lovely house and place to live as our two sons grew up. After they moved out we started to think it was time for a change and started to look for somewhere new to live.
“Weybridge was getting busier and we liked the idea of moving out to the countryside, not too far, just somewhere quieter but still well connected. The Surrey Hills area really appealed to us so that’s where we started looking.
“After much searching we found the ideal property. It had the three/four bedrooms we wanted so our children and grandchildren could stay over, was situated on a one acre plot in a lovely quiet location with a large garden and peaceful views, and it didn’t need any major work doing to it which really appealed to us.”
The couple moved in three years ago and were really happy in their new home that they hadn’t planned on doing any work too beyond decorating, but about a year later they started to talk about potential plans to extend and improve their living space.
“I think the catalyst to our initial conversations on doing some building work was the conservatory that led off the existing living room. We came to realise after living here for a while that we never used it to its full potential. We could see the opportunity to use its existing footprint and change it to an oak built extension.”
The project became a labour of love for the couple. Together they came up with design ideas for an oak framed build, full of tall windows so the garden would feel like part of the space, and also made plans to do most of the work themselves. “Once we had a really good idea of what we wanted we got an architect involved to do the final technical specifications and help with the planning application. That all took about a year and then we could get going, entering into the trepidation of doing most of the build ourselves.”
As the new building started to take shape the couple began to see the potential to make changes to the existing living space to really bring the two rooms together. “By adding a few more steels into the build we could actually open up both sides of the existing wall to create a lovely flow between the two living spaces.
“Another change we made as we went through the build process was taking out most of the garden facing side wall of the existing living room. There was a door to the garden and a small window here which really did obstruct the lovely views outside and we could see that by removing most of this wall and adding more oak into the design, and full height windows, it could be such a game changer to get the garden connection and natural light into this space too.”
The couple soon started to think about flooring. They wanted to find a real wood floor that would work across the entire space and blend effortlessly with the exposed French Green Oak that featured in the structural design and windows.
“We did some initial looking around, ordering a few samples and visited a local flooring shop but nothing seemed to be right and we wanted to be 100% sure on the floors. They would be so important to the overall feel of the design. We asked our architect what he thought and he suggested we get in contact with a floor fitter he highly recommended, D Williams Flooring, for advice so we did and he was quick to suggest we take a look at V4 Wood Flooring.”
The couple visited the website and were delighted to discover they had a large showroom in Surrey.
“The showroom had just re-opened by appointment only after the first Covid lockdown and we were made to feel so welcome at our appointment. We were wowed when we entered the showroom, not only by all the floors, but the overall design and feel of the space. It really spoke great design and high quality to us.”
“We’d already narrowed down a firm favourite floor on their website and it turned out this was installed on an upper level in the showroom where the offices are so Richard was happy to show us it in situ. We loved it. That was all we needed, to see it installed and standing up so well in a busy space. It really was that simple, we were ready to order.”
The couple selected Alpine Oak Rustic Oiled wood floors. Minimalism is key with this charming board, where the rustic oak surface is simply smooth sanded, buffed and sealed with 4 coats of UV cured natural Danish oil. The resulting surface has a rich lustre and subtle natural sheen, which is hardwearing, stain resistant and easy to care for, whilst preserving the tactile warm hardwood appeal. It’s a perfect oak floor to blend with the more characterful oak that features in the room’s design.
The couple ordered the floors from online V4 approved retailer Oakwoods Flooring for delivery direct to their home before their installer arrived to complete the installation. The floors were laid over a new concrete subfloor and underfloor heating in the new garden room, and ply was laid to the existing lounge area before the floors were completed in this space.
A small step down between the new and the old room has been neatly finished using the Alpine planks and matching nosing. “I actually really like this transition down from one space to the other, it creates a little bit of natural zoning, along with the double sided fire place facing into both spaces.”
The finished open plan room is stunning, full of natural finishes and soft neutral dressings. “I felt that the oak floors and timbers really do a lot of the talking and connect beautifully to bring the colour of the garden into the home, so I intentionally looked for furniture pieces that felt quite soft and neutral in tone.
“I can’t express how much we love the finished room. Sitting here and just looking out of all the large windows feels like you are at a retreat. It’s incredibly peaceful and beautiful. I won’t say it wasn’t hard work as we chose to do so much of the design and build ourselves, but it was all so worth it and the little changes we made along the way to the original design have worked so well. The room is so full of natural light now too. We love all the extra glass and that we decided to open up the old chimney wall so it all flows so naturally between the two spaces and out to the garden.
“The floors have been everything we hoped for. So easy to live with and keep clean. We’ve put a rug down in the lounge area, just for winter, but for the garden room I’m keeping it just to the wood floors as they really are too nice to cover up with anything.”