Apropos Design Feature: The Maples

Published on 26th September 2014

Step into the Surrey garden The Maples; residence of Mr & Mrs Olsen, and you immediately feel as if you might be somewhere else. Where? It’s hard to say, but the impression is not entirely British. It’s not the garden itself which creates this feeling of otherness; with its box balls, immaculately striped lawn and mature herbaceous perennials, the garden is as archetypally English as it is lovely. It’s not the house’s shingled roof, with its pretty dormer windows and thrusting chimney stack. It’s not even the beautifully formed hot tub sitting demurely on the corner of the large paved patio.

 The feeling, rather, comes from the art of contrast. The mixture of old and new is common in architecture; the blending of textures, colours, shapes and materials captures the eye. Here, the view from the Olsen’s garden calls you closer to experience something altogether different.

People extend their properties for all sorts of reasons. In the case of the Olsen family it wasn’t for wont of space; their 20th century abode fully accommodated the family’s spacial needs. Where it let them down was the provision of light. Despite the large, inviting garden, the ground floor rooms boasted very few windows, and those that it did possess were small, allowing little natural light to penetrate beyond their sills. Growing weary of their gloomy interiors, the Olsens commissioned bespoke glass architecture specialists, Apropos, and a ground floor transformation commenced.


While a simple conservatory would have made a pleasant addition to the Olsen home, the family had in mind a rather grander design. They wished for an almost panoramic view of their garden, with doors which could slide back, allowing the air to circulate on sultry days, and yet internally they wanted to retain the impression of an interconnected, yet compartmentalised, suite of space. This was achieved through boundary placement; rather than a single run of flat windows, the extension incorporates a jutting centrepiece; a sittingroom with a wider footprint to accommodate a luxurious seating area, while the recessed rooms to either side host an attractive kitchen-diner and games room – a true suite deal.

The strong aluminium frame allows the building flexibility of form, while the employment of solar control glazing ensures that the Olsen’s extension maintains a comfortable ambient temperature year round, while natural light floods the home’s communal areas.

Traditional now meets modern in the Olsen property, but rather than jarring and disturbing the aesthetics, a welcome impression of enlightened otherness is created. This isn’t an old house trying to be trendy, but rather a family home, moving with the times and doing it incredibly successfully.

Are you looking to something similar to the Olsen’s design? Or perhaps you too simply want to fill your home with natural light? Get in touch with Apropos on 0161 342 8206 to discuss your options or click here to order a free copy of our 2014 brochure. 

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