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When Gillian and her family decided to buy a derelict farm in County Durham, she could only dream about the beautifully appointed forever home it would become.

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Centor Folding Door 01

Image: The 405 Integrated Folding Door is constructed from thermally-improved aluminium

Gillian and her husband pooled resources with Gillian’s parents and her sister and family to purchase an entire farm. The 72-acre plot of land came with a series of run-down buildings that no-one had lived in for 40 years, but the family had big plans…

Gillian explains: “We converted the Dutch Barn into garages and the stables were converted into a home for my parents. My sister and her husband and children had the farmhouse. Because of strict planning permission requirements, they had to build it exactly as it originally was. We took the granary – and were subject to the same planning restrictions.”

As the director of a large construction and demolition company, Gillian is no stranger to the challenges of building work and wasn’t phased by the task of re-building the granary.

The two-storey granary was previously adjoined to the neighbouring barn by a simple corrugated shed, and this ‘non-traditional’ aspect wasn’t subject to the same rigorous restrictions, “In this one space I was allowed to do something a bit different, because it was a completely new structure,” explains Gillian. And she had a very clear idea of what she wanted to create…

Centor Folding Door 02

Image: It features built-in shades for privacy  

“I went to Australia about eight years ago and met up with a friend who had moved there. Her house overlooks the sea and it had two glass walls that completely moved. She could open up the whole ground floor to the outside and it was incredible. I wanted to be able to achieve that kind of inside-outside way of living too.”

With that vision in mind, Gillian and her husband set about finding and specifying a set of full-height folding doors that would enable them to totally open the new lounge to the outside.

“I wanted as much natural light into the living area of the house as I could get,” says Gillian. “Our architect advised us that we would need to get a really good quality door to enable it to span the entire almost 7-metre-wide opening.”

It was at a local home show where they first saw the Centor’s range of doors, “They were showing Centor Integrated Doors, with the insect screen and blind, and were opening and closing them so smoothly. My husband thought they were a piece of art!”

She adds: “We made an appointment to visit our local Centor Dealer to take a closer look – and that was pretty much it!”

Gillian and her husband specified an aluminium 405 Integrated Folding Door which includes built-in blackout shades.

Centor Folding Door 03

Image: These integrated shades retract into the doorframe when not in use 

“It’s the only thing that isn’t wooden in the whole house!”, she laughs. “I wanted wall-to-wall windows and these are just brilliant!”

“We loved the obvious quality of these doors. They are clearly very strong, but they open and close so easily – you can literally push them with one finger. The integrated blinds really appealed to me. I didn’t want any curtains in my house, but I wanted the capability to occasionally block the light out and to close the windows off at night. These blinds are just incredible!”

The resulting conversion has created a beautiful family home, built in a traditional style with a distinctly contemporary feel.

Centor Folding Door 04

Image: With Centor’s engineering excellence panels glide open with fingertip operation 

“We have a true inside-outside existence now,” says Gillian. “In the summer, we can have the doors open and be inside, still getting fresh air no matter what the weather does outside. It’s really nice just to sit with the doors wide open and be inside but feel like you’re outside.”   

She adds: “This is absolutely my favourite part of the house. We got such open living now, inside and out – it’s just lovely.”



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