Using glass

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Using glass

Using glass

An extensive national survey showed that we are interested in using more glass in our homes than ever before and in more inventive ways. Why? Well I think we live in an age where we have a better understanding of good contemporary design and glass can play an exciting part in creating that. 81% of those surveyed said they preferred lighter, brighter homes, 66% would like some form of glass extension and over 80% said they are more interested in incorporating glass into their homes than they were 5 years ago.

I love using glass. It allows you to connect to the world outside when used in external walls and allows dramatic architectural spaces when used inside in walls, floors and as staircase balustrading.glass1 Glass can also be an incredibly good environmentally friendly material. Most glazing today is made from a large amount of recycled material and after its use in years to come it can be recycled again and again.

Ok, when making decisions about glass you have to be careful to avoid solar gain (too much direct sunlight getting into your home, dramatically increasing the internal temperature to the point where it is uncomfortable which may then have to be mechanically ventilated back out again) and you don’t want to annoy your neighbours at night by causing too much light pollution when all of your indoor lights are on, but this is no excuse for not using glass. Good design can avoid these problems.

On my new place I’ve gone to town. The glazing contractor is installing huge bi-folding glass doors to my dining area so the space opens out directly onto my garden, a glass roof over my kitchen, glass balustrades up the staircase, a clear glass panel within part of the first floor to get natural light down to the darkest part of the ground floor, glass doors to bathrooms, a 6-metre long frosted glass walkway to access the loft bedroom and we have installed huge Velux ( skylights in roof.


I know it sounds expensive but it isn’t. All of the glass in the house is costing less than 8% of my overall budget, which is fantastic value for money.

Glass can transform an ordinary house into a spectacular house. So, well before your builders start on site, if I were you I’d start making some

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Showing 29 comments
  • Amanda Collinson

    HiYa George
    Our house is modern 4bd det and was built in 2000, we live in Dunstable area.
    We used huge sheets of light green glass around our bath instead of using tiles, it cost around 2k and had a company fit it, we had to knock the ceiling out above the stairs to get the glass up there, (My idea) because there was no way it was going back and it looks wicked. Only thing I wished I didn’t use the Bathstore for the sink, toilet etc, not as good quality as you think.
    Moving on to the en-suite next so will probably follow a similar design but would love a wet room don’t know how practical it would be….Just need to paint downstairs first!
    Keep up the good work, we love your show…Amanda x

    • George Clarke

      Hi Amanda…now that sounds like an impressive bathroom! Unfortunately, Bathstore are at the more ‘affordable’ end of the market and I don’t use them. The fittings aren’t good enough when you are spending so much more money in other areas to create a top spec bathroom. Its always tricky when you are juggling your budget and trying to keep in control of the costs but never compromise on cheap sanitary fittings. I always spec mid to high ranges as you need them to stand the test of time. Don’t make the same mistake on your en-suite! Good luck and thanks for watching the show. George x

  • Dave Fevs

    Hi George, enjoying the new series, except for the woman who insisted you moved her kitchen….great design, just wish she was more grateful!

    We are currently in the process of planning to adapt our house so that we can gain downstairs sleeping and en-suite for our disabled son, and are intending to give up our dining room in the process. We are looking to re-gain it by extending on the end of our kitchen to create a kitchen-diner. To avoid the existing kitchen space becoming dark and gloomy, I am pondering whether the extension could be glass. If so, how do you keep it cool in the summer but warm in the winter? Hope you can provide advice. Cheers.

  • Brenda

    Hi – firstly what a briliant show. It is a must see and your ideas are absolutely fabulous!
    Secondly I wonder if you could steer me in the general direction of help with a glass problem:
    I have a glassed extension to my kitchen, south facing, hand made in mahogany 20 years ago (at the same time as the house). It has a a pitched glassed roof (in between wooden struts) and 2 very large sliding doors to east and west.. As you can imagine, it is too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter and to avoid this I currently draw floor to ceiling curtains across the area, thus blocking off about a third of my kitchen.
    I want to reglaze, but I am very confused about the options out there. I want it to be future proof (as much as poss) and have tried some of the websites quoted on the Home show website, especially to do with Worcester Park but they either seem to no longer be available or make me more confused. Can you help me please? I would be so grateful


    • George Clarke

      Hi Brenda….contact a lovely guy called Dave Cummings at CSGS Glass. CSGS Limited, Studio 3, The Old Stableyard, Wood Street, Swanley Village, Kent BR8 7PA, 01322 662006. He did the glass roof at Worcester Park and I’m sure he would be happy to reglaze your extension for you. He’s one of the best in the business. George x

  • vanessa jackson

    George – we are using Express Bi Folding Doors for our 6m bi fold doors for our kitchen diner extension and are incorporating a 6 x 2 metre roof lantern. Is there a particular company that you can recommend ? Thank you.

  • Nikki Jamison

    Hi George,
    As you seem to be the master of the bi-fold door, just wondered if you could advise.
    We are renovating the downstairs of our house and want to fit 2 x 4m bi-fold doors. We want the floors and tracks to be flush and level with the patio, but are worried about rain water coming in. If we slope the patio away from the house and install drains along the width of the openings on the outside, will this be enough?
    Regards, Nikki in Surrey

  • avril hanlon

    Hi George

    We have a flat roof extension to the rear of our detached home. I am thinking of a pitched glass roof to add light and height. Husband is reluctant to change though as he doesn’t feel it would be beneficial to the re-sale of the house !

    Any hints and tips you could give on how to create a contemporary space would be great, especially for lighting the area in the evening. Also do I need to inform the council of my intentions to change the roof?

    Best regards

    Avril Hanlon

  • victoria

    Hi George,

    We are converting our loft, in a townhouse in Brighton,
    We would like to fit bi-folding doors across the whole back wall of the dormer,
    knowing you have a keen penchant for such doors! can you suggest a good reputable company where we can get these.
    Many Thanks,
    ps: really looking forward to the new series

  • chris

    when looking to use bi folding door are there any companies you would recommend? and what do we need to look for?

    what is the best system sunflex?

    • George Clarke

      Hi Chris, Sunflex are good…so are Sunfold Systrms…check out All of these guys are good but prices vary. George

  • Michelle

    Hi George, We have a conservatory at the moment on the back of our living room but we want to take that down a have a small steel structure with glass on one side and glass sliding doors on the and a brick wall on the other side, We would like a flat roof on it. I have seen a design I like it’s Hensol Castle Apartments in Wales. How do I go about sourcing materials etc… and at a good price! Michelle

  • Denese

    Hello George, please can you help? we live in a unique building built in 1936 modernist art deco era, it was built to look like the queen mary.
    But over the years different owners have changed window openings, as the property in comprised of nine individual three storey properties with a briggs flat sun deck roof, as we are north facing we only get sun on the seaward side of the property at certain times of the year, We are open to the sea elements and it get’s quite rough in the winter months,
    we have had various window companies around to quote us for windows, but we feel they don’t understand our situation, with regard to natures forces. can you please advise on windows? we have considered triple glazing but don’t know which way to go everybody tells us something different.
    thank you
    Denese Benn

  • Martin

    Good talk yesterday at the ideal home show! It inspired me to put a thin glass window in our hallway to get natural light from the windows in the room next to it. Its a plasterboard wall, so should be easy to make a hole but how do I frame the glass etc. Would be interested to know how / who did it for you and what I would need to do.



  • Roy James

    We’re at the stage of drawing up the plans for a loft extension and a single-storey rear extension to house a new kitchen. In your last TV series one of the schemes involved a single-storey rear extension with a triangulated glass roof. I remember that there was a problem with the roof, about the size/measurement of the glazing – I think.

    Is there a drawing somewhere on your website, so that I can use it as a basis for talking to our surveyor about whether to include a glass roof within our proposal?

    Do you recommend a company for making up the sheets?

    Last but not least, the rear of our house is north-facing, so the back of the house is naturally colder than the front , Would this deter you from using a glass roof over the rear extension which will be open-plan into the living room, probably?

  • Mr and Mrs F

    Hi George,

    Firstly great series, makes a Sunday night enjoyable even though its work in the morning!!!

    We’re renevating a large grand 1905 End Terraced House and renovating the original features has made the house look great. However in the bathrooms we want to go contemporary, can you reccomend anyone in the North West, we don’t want tiles, just glass for the shower and splash backs etc.

    Mr & Mrs F!

  • Gordon

    I was really impressed by the stunning curved glass extension on the Ice House. We have been looking for ways to expose an archway on a building we are renovating – we want to build a (poss frameless glass) kitchen extension but to get lbc we will need a sympathetic way to open up an archway which has been built over. Can you suggest companies who can manufacture curved framelss glass? Is the heated glass worthwhile?
    Inspiring stuff by the way!

  • Sian

    Hi George,
    We saw your presentation at the Grand Design exhibition on Sunday, really enjoyed it. My 14 year old daughter Gabriella aspires to be an architect and you are definitely an inspiration to her, so she was really pleased to see you!

    We are about to embark on a new extension and love your idea of a glass ceiling/floor panel to let in light that you have in your own home. Could you please advise the best place to source this glass please and any tips regarding this feature appreciated.

    Many thanks

  • jacqui

    Hi George

    Love the programme.

    We are in the process of changing the balustrade in our loft room as the stairway up is quite narrow we thought it would be a good idea to use a glass balustrade as this would let light into the narrow stairway. Can you recommend a company and an idea of cost – we are in central scotland. The length of the balustrade would be around 3/12 meters long and would be L shaped. Ideally we would like it as frameless as possible.



  • Karen s

    Hi George,
    I live in hitchin in hertfordshire and are looking at replacing all our 1940’s original windows – 22 in total. Do you know of any good companies that do upvc replacements. Wood is just too expensive for us and we have seen some types that have leaded glass for a more traditional look. Just not sure of what company to trust.

  • Mario

    We are going through a large project for our family home and are contemplating in getting bi-fold doors, as you are always recommending these in your shows and web site. We are not sure which is the best material for these doors. We are stuck between uPVC and aluminium frames for the doors. What would your advice be?

  • Janice Greer

    Hello George,
    I want to find a company which supply window panes that become opaque at the touch of a switch!! . I am not sure how they work but I do not want to use curtains or blinds in my garden room but I need privacy sometimes. Please help . Thank you (Janice N Ireland)

  • Helen and Wayne

    Hi George
    Your stairs look fantastic! These are the same orientation as we have designed into our renov for access to loft conversion. Do you have any other photos showing your scheme that you can share please?

    thanks H&W

  • Richard

    Hi George
    A lot of my clients want a lot of glazing to their projects when planning an extension which will be open to the existing rooms but I have a constant battle with Building Control over to amount of glazing that can be used to satisfy Approved Document Part L and most projects now have to be backed up with a Heat Loss Calculation
    Do you have any thoughts or ideas to overcome this problem

  • Flynn

    Hi George
    We live in a small converted chapel in a conservation village. During this year we would like to add a single storey extension to the back. I’ve become increasingly interested in a structural glass extension. Are you able to let me know any good companies who can undertake such a build please.

    Thank you for your time

    PS- busy reading your book.

  • Elias Emir Mahmood

    Hi george,

    I really like your designs along side niomi cleaver. Can you recommend any good builders for a rear extension?in terrace is the depth going out only 3 meters?Also i am very found of glass and i was thinking of using it on my banisters how much would it cost?

  • Dimphy

    Hi George.
    First of all I’d like to say that we Love your programme.

    My husband and I have renovated a house of 1905, you really don’t want to know how many treasures we’ve found there…….It was a big adventure, but we loved it from the start. When drawning the buildingplans for the future kitchen it was for us a must to use as much glass as possible, the main reason was to get as many of the outside, inside. Result, we ended up with an coocking area at the old pig stable with a lightstreet, and a dinner area with ten pannels of glass in a circle to get as many profit from the garden as possible.

    The house itself is large, but each and every visitor at our home is sitting in our kitchen, even at the cold winters.

    Take care.
    Dimphy ( Belgium )

  • Sue Cole

    Hi there,
    I’m hoping to install an opaque glass walkway into our new extension (in process of being built) to get more light to the ground floor. The walkway would have a large velux above it and a large window at the end so would be well lit from above.

    We do have a limited budget so I’d like to get a rough idea of cost (it would be no larger than 1m x 2m). With this in mind is there anyone you could recommend in the Surrey/London area?

    All the best, Sue

  • Harry Rankin

    Hi George, Great series! (both). I am converting a Dutch Barge and was fascinated by the couple who created a floating hotel. Specifically the sliding windows they installed. Any clues as to where they sourced them? They would be a perfect solution for my rather ambitious design for a 5 bed, 4 bath house cum photo studio project… Thanks in advance… Harry

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