Project description

It was a dream that was 10 years in the making for Julia and Mano Nadarajah. Located on the outskirts of Grantham and in the heart of Lincolnshire, you will find a beautiful extended Gatehouse. Steeped in history, restored with love and surrounded by rolling hills and open countryside, the property is built using local stone from the nearby Ancaster Stone quarry.

Built in 1871 on behalf of Frederick William Allix as part of the Willoughby Hall estate, the original gatehouse was used to keep watch for approaching coaches through the small arrow slits that remain a feature to this day. The estate was divided up and sold to several different buyers over the years before the gate lodge landed in the hands of Mano in 1985.

Not wanting to rush the project that was set to become their “forever home together” Julia and Mano carefully thought out every decision they made regarding their gatehouse home. Wanting to keep as many of the original features as possible they decided to convert their 3 car garage into a temporary home while the process began in 2010. Planning for the home was a relatively quick process for the couple, but their commitment to sourcing local trades and businesses with a great reputation took more time.

Over the next two years a phrase would become very important, ‘vigila et ora’ meaning – keep watch and pray, a motto Julia held close to her heart from her days at Bourne Grammar School. Staying true to those words, Julia and Mano watched as their dreams came to life. Taking time to walk through the space and carefully consider every decision they made, from how to efficiently heat their house through to the windows that would best compliment their home.

When starting the process of looking into the windows and doors to add to their vision they knew it had to be a Lincolnshire business that would deliver the finishing touch to their dream. Reputation was crucial to the couple and George Barnsdale answered the door.

‘I knew as soon as I walked into the factory that George Barnsdale was going to be our supplier. Seeing how well presented the factory was and how the team listened to our requests, everything just felt right.’ Julia commented.

After long discussions with the George Barnsdale technical team, Julia and Mano decided to opt for 8 bespoke timber flush casement windows, adding classic black monkey tail handles together with 4 sets of French doors, all finished to match Farrow and Ball Savage Ground

‘We debated it and chose not to have trickle vents added to the windows to help with heat retention, settling for a heat recovery ventilation system. That being said, we’ve noticed there is less dust accumulating which makes cleaning a lot easier.’ Mano, an engineer and project manager by profession, was conscious of every decision that was made for their home renovation, down to the precise details of the windows.

Adding black spacer bars so as not to draw attention to the double glazing, the slim profile of the casement windows, the beautiful views from the bedroom window and you have a picture perfect frame to wake up to in the morning.

The doors of the property were also carefully debated so they were in keeping with the overall theme of the house, fitted with Kirkpatrick hardware and finished with paint to match Farrow and Ball ‘French Grey’ the end result is elegant and understated chic.  

Having been part of the property since its completion, the windows and doors are now 10 years old, still in great condition showing no signs of requiring redecoration. While being low maintenance the owners still take great care of them cleaning them on a regular basis with deionized water and no chemicals.

‘One thing we have definitely noticed is how well the windows keep the noise of the main road out!’ Julia laughed. Being a stone’s throw from the A153 means that often there can be a high volume of traffic, sometimes including lorries, during busy times of day. The added benefit of noise being reduced inside adds to the serenity of this beautiful Lincolnshire home.

Julia and Mano were able to move into their home on Christmas Eve 2012, completing the values that Mano lives by ‘Esto perpetua’ meaning be thou forever, his old school motto that stayed with him from his St Thomas’ College days in Ceylon.

When asked to sum up their experience with George Barnsdale the couple said, ‘the windows and doors are just perfection. Countryside perfection! There isn’t another word to describe them.’

We couldn’t agree more.