Mandy and John Gannon and their daughter Jessica have lived in their house in Edgbaston for just over four years. The house, which is Georgian with two Victorian wings, is stunning and the couple fell in love with it at first sight. Mandy is a homemaker and John a management consultant who works from home, so they spend a lot of time in the house and wanted to create a special environment.
The couple, who moved from Harborne, were considering moving somewhere larger, but didn’t imagine it would happen so quickly.
Mandy says: “John saw the house on a website and wanted to buy it before we’d even been to view it. Once we saw it we knew it was for us. We loved that the garden was south-facing and really liked the space it offers”.
The orangery and new kitchen are the first major project the Gannons have taken on with the house and they are thrilled with the results.
“The orangery was built a few months ago. We decided we wanted one as we had a very small kitchen and a large conservatory. They were separate rooms, so you couldn’t see the garden from the kitchen.
“The conservatory wasn’t very well built and it was leaking, so we thought we’d knock it through and take some of the courtyard too, to create one big room.
“We decided to have a brick-built orangery rather than a mainly glass conservatory because, as it is south facing, we didn’t want it to be too hot during the day.”
The whole effect is one of light, airiness and space. The muted colours – grey and white – and the natural materials of limestone, wood and granite work amazingly well against the backdrop of the garden. The kitchen is a dream workspace and the perfect place to spend time as a family.
“We chose a Smallbone kitchen because we loved the design and they came up with some really good ideas. We looked at three companies and took elements of the Mark Wilkinson design into the kitchen. The knobs, for example, are from the Mark Wilkinson Cook’s Kitchen.
“Overall,” says Mandy, “we liked the Smallbone design best, but there were a few things we wanted to incorporate from the other design. The kitchen is so new and we’ve only been using it for about a month, so we haven’t yet found proper homes for everything.”
The kitchen is painted in Fired Earth’s Granite and the walls are Bone White from the same range. “We had an AGA in our previous house and there was one here when we moved in, but it only had two ovens and our last had four. We felt a 2-oven wasn’t big enough, so we wanted a 4-oven with a module. We had a green AGA in our other house and really liked it, so decided to have another green one here.”
As well as the AGA, the couple have a wood-burning stove and underfloor heating to ensure the orangery is cosy all year round. The floor throughout is a soft limestone and there is a roof lantern above the kitchen workspace which gives great light within which to work. The couple are obviously thrilled with the new space, which is both large and impressive.
“We’re very pleased with it. It came out even better than we expected. Timber Windows were great to work with. They were clean and tidy and made sure the project came in on time and on budget. The builder and Timber Windows had worked together before and knew each other, which was really helpful as we didn’t have to act as a go-between. They also both worked really well with Smallbone.
“Having the orangery has changed the way we spend time in the house. We practically live in here and when we get some more comfortable chairs we’ll spend even more time in here."
“My favourite time of day to be in here is in the afternoon,” Mandy adds. “ The sun is really beautiful then. But we’ve only been here for a month, so it’s early days.”
“I like it late at night,” John says. “When everyone else is in bed, it’s really peaceful in here.”
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