Yearly Archives: 2013Ask Questions Online
Ah, Christmas. Here we are again; that fun time of year where the family comes together to eat, drink and be merry, exchanging gifts, playing games and generally being sociable.
Well, that’s the plan anyway, until you suddenly find that your house is unaccountably too small; you can’t fit everyone in the same space; adults gather in diminishing clusters; children depart to their various bedrooms; whoever is cooking is left alone …
Say ‘Drayton Manor’ to most people, and it is not a beautifully restored farmhouse that comes to mind. They will think of noise, crowds, the over excited faces of children, and possibly sticky fingers and the aroma of junk food. In short, there could be no impression more at odds with the reality of the latest project embarked upon by Apropos, and yet it goes by the name of Drayton Manor. That said, there is still something of the dramatic about the project.
Nestled in the heart of rural Northamptonshire …
This week the Head of our Design Team, Brendan Day, took some time out to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Apropos and kitchen design.
Q: Can an Apropos kitchen extension work on a period property?
A: There are few property styles or periods that can’t work well with an Apropos structure. Because our system is bespoke and we manufacture what we need, we can usually ‘manage the architecture’ of the property and either reflect it or …
There’s a phrase that’s frequently bandied around the home improvements block; the continuation of an architectural story. It essentially means that when looking at a property there might be a better way than bulldozing and starting again. Through inventive design and clever construction it becomes possible to transform a space, or a place, without erasing every original feature.
At Apropos we can see the appeal of both approaches and whether you’re adapting the old or beginning anew we can help to make sure that your architectural story has a happy …
Kitchens can be lonely places. They’re often described as the heart of the home, but these days houses are smaller, and while we might still have an idealised image of a warm, glowing room and a family gathered around a table with a nutritious meal laid out upon it, the reality is usually quite different. The modern kitchen can often be a through-zone, …
Moving home is said to be one of the most stressful life events, second only to bereavement, and yet the debated benefits of moving vs improving always roll on – largely because many people don’t comprehend A) what can be achieved with a little bit of imagination, and B) that a large budget isn’t always required for life-changing results.
This week we’d like to show you a few examples of just what you could get for your money if you choose to improve with Apropos.
Thinking outside the box has become one of those slightly hackneyed phrases that we’d normally hesitate to use, but it’s tricky because here at Apropos – it becomes pretty literal!
What is your typical British house? Technically speaking, it’s a box made of bricks. A large stretched cube with a few small apertures and a lightly pitched roof, the average …
Architecture is all about striking a balance, making something beautiful out of the most functional of spaces. But beautiful needn’t necessarily be grandiose; there is an elegance in subtlety, and that is very much in play in the Wells Project.
The owners of the Wells Project, a couple with a love of gardening, had been happy with their redbrick bungalow, but had always felt the need for some extra space. A conservatory had tempted them for many years, seeming like the perfect solution for increasing the footprint of their home …
Q: What connects the moon, your smart phone, sapphires and your Apropos conservatory?
Aluminium is one of the most plentiful metals on the planet (and on the moon, apparently!). It can be recycled more or less limitlessly. It is incredibly strong – four strategically placed six-packs of aluminium cans will support the weight of a 1.8 tonne car. It has a melting point of 660.4°C (1220.7°F), so even the most ferocious of house fires will not bring it down. And with skill, it can be cast …
Chill out zone, or studio? Office space, or lifestyle enhancer? Somewhere serious, or a place to play? If you had an extra room what would you do with it? If that extra room was detached from the house, removed from the noise of the family and the distractions of home, but within sprinting distance on the rainiest of days; secure, warm, bright and connected …
Sun is shining, the weather is sweeeeeet, yeahhhhh;
Make you want to move your dancing feet…
Who cares if it’s winter? The weather is just a state of mind. Well, unless you happen to be caught out in the wet and the wind but, when you’re snuggled up indoors enjoying a centrally heated glow, the gentle patter of rain on glass (safe in the knowledge that said rain is cleaning your clever Pilkington Activ Clear windows so you don’t have to) and watching the storm blow by, …
We’re a little bit happy this week, here at Apropos HQ – we’ve just discovered that we’re finalists in the Best New Build Home Under £500,000 category of the Northern Design Awards!
Although it’s not the winning but the taking part that matters, as good old Mum always says, we can’t help but be thrilled to have made it this far into the proceedings. Our gorgeous little nominee, The Finch Project, has really done us proud and we can’t wait for the ceremony on Friday 22nd November to …
We have a question: How well does your home reflect your personality?
If you built it yourself, probably quite well; you might have a floating staircase, gothic-inspired tower, an eco plant-lined rooftop, or a lap-pool sunk deep into the basement. If you’re not among these lucky few however, chances are that when you cut away the froth and fancy of soft furnishings and paintwork, you’ll find yourself living in a plain brick box, which says more about the people who built it – or the time in which it was …
It can be a complicated business, renovating your home. First there’s the design, then you have the technicalities; what materials should we use; how will we insulate; will it be light/dark/private enough; is it secure. Then you move onto the glass; life seemed simple when the question revolved around single, double, or triple glazing and cost was the main concern. Now, there is such a diverse range available that it …
There’s something about building in glass that seems to restrict the mind. If, over dinner, a friend mentions that they’re considering a glass extension, one’s thoughts immediately turn to the conservatory, or possibly an orangery, a greenhouse – if the friend is horticulturally minded. We mull the logistics of extending outwards, garden space eroded, access altered, and there the notions stop; curtailed by the tops of our heads. But what about building upwards? Now, there’s an …
It’s slightly embarrassing, because we don’t like to brag, but it seems that despite always working to bespoke designs, at Apropos we’re very much ‘on-trend’ at the moment. Folding-sliding doors are all the entryway rage and we like them so much that we’ve been making our own variation on the folding-sliding theme for years now; Aprofold.
Would a door by any other name open just as well? Perhaps, but we think that the Aprofold is a little bit special.
The month is October and the colour is orange. Bright are the leaves just clinging to the trees, fiery the crocosmia flourishing their last in the flower beds, and soft is the sky under the blush of autumn sunsets.
The nights are drawing in, the weather is getting colder, but we care not a jot; we’re snug and warm in our orangery, looking out as the world changes around us.
The reason why everyone associates glass houses with the clement weather of early summer is fairly obvious; glass …
It’s a funny word, ‘conservatory’. While it did perfectly well for the early installations, ‘conserving’ the tender plants the structure was first built to protect, these days it doesn’t really cut the mustard. There is no allusion in the name to the array of styles available, and certainly no reference to the vast number of potential uses that the conservatory presents, apart from, perhaps, conserving the peace by giving your family extra space!
Today there are five distinct categories of conservatory-like glass extensions widely used, although a vast assortment fit …
The Wildhearts called it a ‘hate the world day;’ that feeling when all you want is to be shut away in your own little cocoon, cosseted from the mundane trials of bills and work and petty annoyance.
At Apropos we call it an Atelier Garden Room day, because when the world gets too much, there’s no better place to be.
Garden rooms are often considered the preserve of the home worker, but if you have the space – and with careful planning you don’t need much – a garden …
From the garden, there’s something almost idyllic about the Finch Project. It’s not the materials; made from red brick, render and glass, this is a thoroughly forward-looking project. It’s not the location; despite the manicured garden, the plot is surrounded on all sides. And it’s not the aesthetic; angular and confident, the Finch house speaks of modernity. And yet, somehow, with the steeply pitched roofs, end wall balcony and open facade, there is almost something of the archetypal Swiss chalet about the place; an inviting friendliness which draws one in …
We don’t wish to labour the point, but conservatories have got bit political lately. With its crystalline transparency, you might think that the glass house would be anathema to politicians, but at the recent party conference Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander, forthrightly said that anyone who didn’t understand the aspirational pull of conservatories was not fit to lead the Labour party. Strong, and somewhat controversial, words.
Dead space. Almost every home has some; a cranny, corner, or sometimes area of garden, which is totally unused. It sits there, gathering dust or growing weeds, apparently too small, or awkward to make any use of. It seems maddening for a while, but you get used to a building’s foibles and learn to live with the things which once drove you crazy.
Accepting a room and loving it are two very differing things though, and sometimes small changes can make a big impact; it’s not as difficult as you …
There is a generally held belief in the construction world that if the owner of a modern home wishes for a glass extension the globe is their mollusc, where as with older, period properties horizons are more or less limited to the scope of a sympathetic orangery. At Apropos we laugh in the face of convention and kick sand in the teeth of the generally held belief (or at least we would, if it wasn’t a mean thing to do!). With a little extra thought and a carefully executed design …
For a couple of years we’ve been hearing about the troubled housing market, and although things are now tentatively on the up, your home may still not be ‘worth’ what you originally paid for it. Especially if you purchased during the heady days of boom. While it is widely acknowledged that home improvements can increase the value of a property it is a tricky path to tread – with many unwary home-owners inadvertently spending money to no discernible effect. However, there are ways and means to not just increase the …
There is a theory that to thrive a person’s spiritual and emotional needs to be met as fulsomely as their physical. For some this means seeking religious fulfilment, for others it is the expression of their artistic bent, while yet more take solace from their family and friends.
This is a theory that the vast majority of architects would adhere to; while we know that literally speaking man probably …
There has been an undeniable move accross Britain in recent years towards open-plan living. It’s a more sociable way of life, which increases interaction between family members, allows for more convenient entertaining and invites light and air into the home – making for an enviable lifestyle change.
But, as the majority of dwellings across the UK have a history dating beyond the last decade, it can sometimes seem difficult to achieve the much vaunted ‘open plan’. From 60s semis to Victorian terraces there is, however, a way, and that …
Names are funny things. As Shakespeare said; ‘a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’, and yet we still let them influence us. Who hasn’t been caught pre-judging a person by the moniker their parents gave them? When a Tracy or Dwaine says something intelligent we find ourselves far more surprised than when their peers called Zachary or Evangeline do the same. And the phenomenon transcends our views of people – why else would brand management …
‘To love beauty is to see light,’ so said Victor Hugo and – let’s face it – he had a point.
In darkness, what do we see? The night sky is only majestic for the shining pinpricks of distant suns and planets; where there is only blackness there is nothing to engage our senses, only prompts to spark our inherent fears. Humans are light-loving creatures; we’ve evolved that way, …
It was in 1911 that Frances Hodgson Burnett created her enchanting Secret Garden – with little idea that it would be captivating readers one hundred years hence, and yet, she hit on an idea with universal appeal.
Who wouldn’t want a space that was purely their own? Somewhere to escape to, with a lock and secret key, where tranquillity reigns. Unless you’re lucky enough to possess a roof terrace, an entire secret garden is a bit of a stretch these days, but a secret garden room, now that’s a different matter!
With wages frozen and the cost of living creeping ever upwards there’s little wonder that we’re once more becoming a nation of make-do-and-mend-ers. Wherever you look someone is offering how-to tips on up-cycling, free-cycling, recycling and getting the most from your home for the least amount of cash. But while Kirstie Allsopp and Sarah Beeny make it all look so easy, can it really be that simple to both save …
What does your door say about you? Open and expansive? Sharp and stylish? Or a little bit shabby and cracked about the edges? If first impressions count, then your door is really a big deal.
While we all know that aesthetic beauty is only a veneer, at Apropos we think that a perfectly appointed piece of functional architecture is a joy …
For many, building their own home is the ultimate dream. But the dream isn’t just about crafting the perfect space to suit their needs; it’s about making their mark; creating living artwork; making a statement; and leaving something behind.
For the vast majority of people, a dream is all that it will ever be; few of us have the time, the money, the land or the dedication to do with what we will. It’s a depressing thought, but it needn’t be; a design can still be grand when on a …
The great summer exodus might be well under way, but far fewer of us are fleeing abroad these days than were doing so five or six years ago. The recession has bitten and although ‘green shoots’ are said to be appearing there’s still not much cash to splash on more frivolous pursuits. The staycation, therefore, is becoming a much more prevalent feature of British life. Of course, when you have a beautiful home, staying there is not so much of a hardship!
Our aim, at Apropos, is to help our …
Did you know that there are, on average, 200-300 UFO sightings every year in the UK? Or that there are literally thousands of shooting stars on show every single night? Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are all known as ‘naked eye’ planets because they can be easily viewed from Earth, given the right weather conditions.
Did you know that 596 different species of birds visit the UK annually? …
Although space paucity seems to be the cry which most reverberates when discussing British housing, there is a cranny, a corner, or sometimes even a whole room in the average home which goes unused and unloved.
These spaces sometimes become a dumping ground, sometimes a passageway, but often they’re forgotten, except in grumbling maintenance thoughts. Space, or a lack thereof, however, really is a problem in the UK, so wasting it seems almost sinful.
At Apropos we know that one of the primary reasons for a room to be …
Previously the remit of the apartment-dweller; those fashionable few who lived in lofty spaces of grizzled exposed brickwork and striking steel beams, industrial chic was considered beyond the means of the suburban homeowner, who would have to content themselves with chic of the shabby variety if a design-statement was called for. But why should the urbanites and metro-trendies have all of the fun? Steampunk is in, up-cycling is no longer avant-garde, and industrial chic is for everyone. Not sure where to begin your urban regeneration? At Apropos we might be …
Like all good parents, at Apropos we love all of our children; from the humblest roof light to the most imposing atrium. We craft them with passion, enthusiasm and care, sending them out into the world with a warm glow of pride in our hearts. However, like many guilty parents, we must admit to occasional favouritism and during in the summer months we will always hold a soft spot for the humble yet iconic conservatory.
Not sure why? Take a peak at our favourite five conservatory projects.
1. Lean-to Conservatory.
The swimming pool is perhaps the most aspirational of home accessories. It speaks not only of physical fitness, but of fun, relaxation and, if the weather obliges, decadence. But that’s the snag; the Great British weather. When the sun is shining we have best climate in the world, when it’s not, well, you probably won’t want to be pool-side which is exactly where an Apropos Pool House can come into play.
While an outdoor pool can often be something of an albatross, sitting unused for 50 weeks of the year, …
So, you’re thinking of having an Apropos glass extension?
Adding light and value to your home, increasing functional space and improving quality of life are all within easy reach; you just need to settle on a design. That, however, can be where the confusion starts, not least when it comes to the conservatory/orangery debate.
So what is it that separates these two glass extensions? Superficially, it would seem that it comes down to brickwork, but the story is slightly more complicated than that.
Both the orangery and conservatory started …
Calling all architects looking for industry inspiration – the new Apropos Summer Design Ap is out now!
Packed with all the latest news, products and Apropos case studies, the 2013 Summer Design Ap brings Apropos to your pocket, helping us to help you to help your clients. With bespoke glass structures being our speciality, we have a mine of information when it comes to glass, aluminium, and bringing the two into …
It’s never too late to fall in love with your home again, and a side extension can be the perfect place to start. With Apropos Outdoor Living you can turn a patch of neglected ground into a fabulous and functional space. All it takes is a little imagination.
The first step towards getting the best from your garden room is to decide what you want from it. Are you looking for a rain-proof barbeque area, a sheltered spot for the kids to play, or a luxury room to make your …
Kensington Palace, Kew Gardens, The Louvre- here at Apropos all these and more spring to mind when thinking about beautiful orangeries, but there is now so much more to these historic pieces of architecture than exotic fruit.
The first European orangery was built in Padua in 1545; two hundred years later they were to become the home accessory à la mode in the UK. The original function of the orangery was exactly as the name implies; sheltering citrus fruits in a land where they had never previously thrived and giving …
Have you ever noticed how biased against our bedrooms we are when it comes to the distribution of glass? And it’s not just the bedrooms, but everything above the ground floor of our homes. Downstairs we will lavish light in the form of conservatories, French windows, kitchens with entire walls of folding-sliding doors, and then with the first step upon the stairs we usually ascend into gloom. Even the most adventurous among us rarely move beyond an attractive skylight.
At Apropos we like to think differently; we don’t want do …
Trends come and go in architecture and décor almost as quickly as they do in fashion, but if there is one thing that never goes out of vogue, it is glass. Humans have had a special relationship with the substance since we first discovered how to make it, around 3000BC, it was those clever Ancient Roman’s who worked out how to use it for windows, and we haven’t looked back since.
At Apropos we pride ourselves on being able …
Let’s talk about doors. There’s not a day goes by when we don’t use a door and yet we never really think about them. Wooden, metal, glass, hinged, sliding, automatic; like so many minor pieces of architecture, they are ignored until they go wrong. But at Apropos we know what a difference a door makes. They’re not just things of functionality; a carefully chosen doorway can enhance a space; completely changing the aesthetic of a room and the way we live within it. Therefore, we think that they deserve some …
Summer is such a short affair here in the UK and it seems real a shame to waste it, so although we hate to be party-poopers we thought that we’d let you know that the time is drawing near when we’ll be forced to call ‘last orders’ for summer sun – or at least, for a guaranteed Apropos installation in time for summer.
Whether you want to kickback in a conservatory, get away from it all in a garden room, or gaze at the world from your glass veranda, there …
The human being is a light-loving creature. Natural daylight keeps us mentally healthy and physically well, and yet we choose to live in little brick boxes… Where’s the sense in that?
At Apropos we feel that a bright and airy home is the key to happiness, but while moving is one of the top three causes of stress in modern life, home improvement can bring some of the greatest satisfaction. …
All in all, 2013 has been a bit of a wash-out so far hasn’t it? Snow drifts in April, rain in May and the coldest spring in 50 years; it’s not exactly been weather worth making the most of.
It’s very easy to become inward-looking when the weather is awry, to batten down the hatches, and let the outside world take care of itself. Yet life feels so much …
Have you ever noticed a friends forlorn conservatory; sitting empty and unloved for ten months out of every twelve?
Well here at Apropos we encounter such horrors all too often. For us this neglect always brings to mind the question – do their owners lack the faculties of imagination? Did they make the wrong decision when choosing their build? Or are they simply unaware of all the fabulous …
What could you do with a little extra sheltered garden space?
If this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show has shown us anything it’s that outdoor living is very much de rigueur.
From rustic roundhouses and Japanese garden rooms, to astonishingly striking viewing platforms which double as works of art, the message is clear; the great outdoors is the place to be.
While not all of us …
Keeping up with the Joneses has almost become a national sport for us Brits recently, but honestly, who wants to just keep up, when with an Apropos glass and aluminium structure you can go one better?
Even in this time of economic strife us Brits are not averse to a bit of neighbourly one-upmanship and in a recent survey conducted by Anglian Home Improvements, 31% of British homeowners admitted to doing up their dwelling just to have the best house on the street, while 16.5% confessed to copycat renovations. That …
There was once a time when greenhouses were the ultimate status symbol – if you didn’t grow your own peaches in Regency Britain, you were nobody.
In recent years, however, the popularity of the most traditional of glass houses seems to have waned. Having been unfairly relegated to the remit of the Striped Lawn Brigade, you know the ones; all welly boots and whistling at unreasonable hours on Sunday mornings, greenhouses seem to be losing their cool factor. Perhaps, it’s only natural with so much new competition for our dwindling …
Ah, the Great British summer time; an epoch of sunshine, showers, sandy toes and trips to the local DIY store. It’s a challenge! It’s traditional! It’s probably not such a good idea!
Here at Apropos we take pride in what we do; for more than fifty years we’ve worked to fashion the very best in form and function; beautiful bespoke glass buildings that deliver …
Here at Apropos we tend to think, bias as we are, that our bespoke glass and aluminium structures bring contemporary style and bright open spaces to any home; not to mention the value they can add to your property. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of what we believe to be some of Apropos’ best kitchen extensions to date: our Favourite Five, if you will.
1. First in our Favourite Five has to be a stunning project we undertook converting the dark and dreary kitchen of this Huddersfield …