Project description

Tucked away in a rural village based in Norfolk, Mr and Mrs Wheeler found a house that was destined to  become a home for themselves and their growing brood of chickens and pygmy goats.

When Mr and Mrs Wheeler first moved into Racecourse Farmhouse 22 years ago, it was clear a lot of work was needed. The farmhouse is believed to date back to the late 1600s, though due to a parish fire the records are uncertain. Since then, it passed through the hands of various farmers and became a holiday home for a London based solicitor before landing in the welcoming hands of Kim and Sue.

Kim, who is currently part of the committee for re-opening the community pub which has been running successfully for 3 years, set to work on getting the house into working order. ‘There was no central heating when we moved in and even the curtains felt cold or damp to touch’ he commented. Once work began on the heating and opening the fireplaces, it became clear that the wooden windows were not up to parr.

The original windows were draughty single glazed timber which Kim added PVC panels to as a temporary fix in order to keep the house a bit warmer.  ‘The condensation would run down the windows and form puddles at the bottom!’ he said. Clearly this was not going to be a viable long term solution and eventually the couple looked to replace them.

One thing they knew for certain was that the material had to be timber and double glazing was a must. Reaching out to a member of the George Barnsdale’s Approved Partner network, the couple began the process of choosing their new wooden windows and decided to implement the project in three phases starting in 2018 and finishing in 2021.

‘We had quotes from around 8 different suppliers including local carpenters and we weighed up all the options but it was so hard to compare.’ Sue, a former deputy headteacher, commented on the process.

The decision to work with George Barnsdale came down to the bespoke nature of the designs; each window is a different size and elements of the house are slanted meaning that each window is unique in shape and size. ‘We chose George Barnsdale due to the really good value they offer, the quality of the product is great and the finish is so lovely,’ Sue said, ‘the key factor was the product arrived completely finished and painted which was something the local carpenter didn’t offer. The process was so smooth and the fitters were incredible!’

Phase one of the project included two sets of wooden french doors and two casement windows finished in white RAL 9016 paint and the foundry collection black cottage and monkey tail handles respectively. The french door sets open to the beautiful views of the pond and patio area adding to the relaxing nature of this beautiful home.  

The following phase included seven flush casement windows, some including the flying mullion feature, also finished in white with foundry collection monkey tail handles. Finally , they completed phase three earlier this year with four casement windows and a stable door also finished in white with the foundry collection furniture.

The much needed double glazing incorporated black warmedge spacer bars so as not to draw attention to the glazing allows the wooden windows to blend seamlessly with the traditional nature of the farmhouse. The acoustic performance of the windows is an added bonus, stepping inside is now a world of silence while outside the farmers continue with harvesting crops in the fields just the other side of the garden fence.

Wanting to keep one of the window shutters that was an original feature, the Approved Partner removed and restored the wooden shutters so they were in working order again. These became the perfect frame for the George Barnsdale casement window.

‘One of the rooms originally had a bedroom above but the floor fell in, so the previous owner turned it into a mezzanine landing which is beautiful but meant the fitters had a challenge to reach the window. The effort they went to was unbelievable.’

Now with the added security of the entrance doors and French door sets which are all security tested to PAS 24 and are Secured by Design, the couple are enjoying lower insurance premiums, offering cost savings in the long run too.

Summarising their experience with George Barnsdale and the Approved Partner network, Mr and Mrs Wheeler added, ‘The products are high quality and the service was professional.’