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Bi-fold dilemma

Kat739
last month

I am having some walls removed (marked in red in the picture) in order to open up my downstairs living / kitchen area. I am looking to add in a 3m bi-fold along the back of house (in place of the door and middle window where the kitchen currently opens up onto the garden). However I am unsure if I should have a longer bi-fold which incorporates the window in the family room/ study(currently we use this room as a playroom but going forward it will be the dining area.) I think asthetically it will look better to have a longer bi-food (as opposed to lots of small windows / doors along the back of the house), however from a practicality perspective I am concerned that a) we will never fully open such a large bi-fold area as my garden in north facing so the back of the house is quite cold (even in the summer) and b) with the loss of wall space from other walls being removed, having a longer bi-fold will add to this (as opposed to a window where I can at least put storage underneath it). Any advice would be greatly received. Many thanks


Comments (26)

  • rinked
    last month

    Please post a photo of the exterior back and front.

    And are you replacing the kitchen aswell (as it would allow for a splendid mudroom-utility room)?

    I assume the lounge wall is supporting, right?

  • Kat739
    Original Author
    last month


    Photo added, the old boiler cupboard (by the pink car) is going, the brick shed next to the hot tub is staying for now. We already have plans to cut off the end of the kitchen and create a utility room. The bi-fold is going in the place of the large middle kitchen window, my dilemma is just whether to connect it with the current family room window or leave the two separate. Thanks

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  • Ellie
    last month

    Can you put on your new kitchen plan, where units are etc and where you plan the dining table. Once that's done I'd decide where best for the doors. But yes, a large 2 pane slider as in Sonia's pic would look much better than any bifolds or doors/window combo.

  • rinked
    last month

    What was the initial reason to remove the study-lounge wall and not the kitchen-lounge one?


    Here some quick examples:



    Kat739 thanked rinked
  • rinked
    last month

    Let's say the sky is the limit ;)


    Kitchen island with shallow cabinets, no stools. Tall units with appliances flush with wall (as aisles would have been too tight when elongating the hallway wall..). Lower units on the opposite wall for storage. Sliders or french doors outside. Comfy seating area and a low bookcase behind the sectional with a reading chair.

    Bits of wall in the center would of course be a nice column, right now they are remnants for reference.

  • Kat739
    Original Author
    last month

    I love the first idea - thanks! only downside is that would leave us with a huge utility (approx 4m x 3m) with a smaller kitchen than what we’re planning now. Thanks for the layout suggestions - really appreciate it. The main reason for us going open plan is we’ve got young kids and find our current layout a bit restrictive.

  • rinked
    last month

    The first one is my least favourable, as the flow is still quite restricted (passing table, working in kichen with back at light). And where to place the sofa? Do you use the fireplace?


    Our home is just 6x6m but our mudroom extension is 3x3.5m and it really is wonderfull, as our washing machine and fridge are in there, all our shoes, coats, cleaning stuff.

  • Kat739
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks for the inspiration, we’ve been deliberating this all evening! We think the kitchen would work best from the first layout as minimal changes to plumbing etc. plus it backs onto utility. I’d place an island and have the bi-folds across the centre of the rear of the house. Lounge to remain where it is as the front is south facing so nice and warm, the chimney will be removed and maybe replaced with a log burner at a later date.

  • Kat739
    Original Author
    last month

    Is there an app or website you used to draw up these plans so quick? I’d love to draw it to scale and add in the major furnishings etc.

  • rinked
    last month

    I've used a very old Chief Architect version (not free), but there are many online planners. Other users here may recommend some, I hardly ever use them. For kitchens I like ikea's, though they have sofa's and such as well (though not all kitchen cabinet sizes).


    Here's a floorplan in scale, you could print it out, cut out the furniture and play with it. Or use photoshop/gimp if you know a bit of how that works. Each square is one meter. Keep in mind traffic lines require at least one meter, preferably 1,2m. (Or message me, as I am aiming for a new career anyways.)

  • Kat739
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you very much, that’s really helpful :)

  • Kate Burt
    last month

    How about a lovely oriel window? Then you get a window seat as a bonus, keep the storage and it's an attractive feature in its own right...

  • Clare
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I would recommend ‘slide and stack’ doors, 1000% better than bifolds but look exactly the same and only a teeny bit more expensive. We have a four door system and you can choose to have one, two, three or four doors open, no concertina when you open (as they all slide individually and then stack) and you can put furniture either side right next to window.

    We have a system by ‘Panoramic Doors’ but I wouldn’t recommend them as customer service is appalling but we will be having ‘New Wave’ instead, to supply and fit two sets in our new build. You can also get ‘frameless’ styles which look absolutely amazing but are much more costly.

    So worth a look! Xxx

    https://newwavedoors.co.uk/

  • Robert Woods
    last month

    If you want to have a play with your own designs try homestyler. It's a Web app and much easier than something like sketchup.

  • PRO
    Lees Munday Architects
    last month

    The multiple verticals of bifold‘s prevent a true feeling of living in the garden and are always a disappointment, that’s why you never see them closed in advertisements. My recommendation is to always use the widest slider that you can afford where ever possible. So personally I would just open the whole wall up and put sliders in and use the widest panels possible. With minimal frames. But if you cannot afford minimal here’s an example in our portfolio done in timber windows from Lithuania which are extremely economical for such large areas of glass. The company is Langvalda. If structure gets in the way you can create a flashing around the window so that they can mount on the outside of the wall and slide right across any steel support you may put in. The system should ideally be able to slide right across the full width of the total opening.

  • PRO
    Lees Munday Architects
    last month
    last modified: last month

    An example of minimal windows, by iQ Glass


  • Jon R
    last month

    We've just got sliding doors from Maxlight mounted as a window: so they're about 800mm off the ground with a bench (to be commissioned) running along underneath and a space behind the bench (on the ledge where the sliders sit) for plants to be in the window. The locking mechanism was positioned lower down to make it easy to lock/open. They look great and, as several people have pointed out, they are a lot simpler to maintain / less heavy than big bi-folds (which you'll probably open fully about 10 times/year). Slide and stack sounds nice too but I'm guessing is quite a bit more.

  • x1lol
    last month

    Have you thought about sliding pocket doors? You could have them meet at the part where the old dividing wall was (once removed) and then they slide into the walls and disappear. no wind issues. Then you could open either the dining room one or the kitchen one, or both. No static door means a whole opening is achievable.

  • natashahall1
    last month

    I would look at the New Wave Doors. We have them across the back of our property and they are perfect. No need for them all to be open and a 5 panel system would give you so many different options. Ours have been in for 6 years now and no problems with them.

  • sharon daly
    last month

    I Would definitely go for sliding doors, rather than bi folds. Bi-folds you will have more transoms blocking your view. How often, in reality, will you have the bifold doors open fully ??? The bifold door panels stack and look ugly when the doors are open too.

  • Kat739
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks all, sliding doors sound appealing and I do wonder how many times we would fully open bi-folds, given our garden is north facing too! My husband likes the look of the ‘lift and slide’ sliding doors from https://www.expressbifolds.co.uk/our-products/sliding-doors/ - does anyone have any experience of these?

  • Jon R
    last month

    They sure look nice but know nothing about them! The one thing to bear in mind is that the companies working with these kinds of small/minimalist frames and huge areas of glazing will have quite specific structural requirements for installation and they'll almost certainly use their own team. So there is an additional piece of coordination work there: in our experience, they sent us a set of diagrams indicating what kind of base, edge, and lintel was required for them to install, our builders formed that, then they came to take measurements before going away to make the sliding doors and door. So it took a bit longer because they couldn't start making the frames until they had exact measurements. I feel like the wait was well worth it. Photos attached (apologies for the garden which is a total disaster and our next project thanks to the builders, not that they could have done their work out front as we live in London). There's the sliding doors and on the left is a glass door with a fixed adjacent panel since otherwise the door would have been 1500mm wide! This was not Maxlight's smallest frame but we were ok with that as the glazing is expensive enough already.


  • x1lol
    last month

    @Kat739 where are you? We supply & fit lift & slide patio doors and can easily probide a quote based on rough measurements.

  • x1lol
    last month

    *provide

  • PRO
    Katie Older Lighting Design
    last month

    Hi Kathryn, I am a lighting designer if you need help designing a scheme and specifying fittings. Kind regards, Katie

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