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Natural Finishes Enhance This Grand Designs Property

If you’ve watched Grand Designs, the chances are you’ve seen Abbey Orchard.A stunning property situated near the Cathedral and Verulamium Park in St Albans, Hertfordshire.


A labour of love for its owners Chris and Kayo, Abbey Orchard’s unusual design is best described as part Japanese and part Roman Villa. It’s already achieved the status of ‘Architectural Gem’ among the locals and has become something of a landmark in its own right.

Surrounded by 150 trees, Abbey Orchard blends in effortlessly with its 2.7-acre forest location. However, despite the rural setting, St Albans town centre is a mere five minutes away and 20 minutes by train is all it takes to get into the centre of London.

From the water features to the smallest light fittings, everything was carefully chosen. This meant the choice of doors for such a unique property has to be spot on. After all, the wrong colour or look could potentially ruin the whole design philosophy.

The Products

Chris visited the SWR Showroom in Hemel Hempstead for a chat and look through our range. He’d used SWR Installations before so was confident in our ability to help with choosing the right products. In the end, he decided on three Hӧrmann Sectional Garage Doors and two Hӧrmann Aluminium Entrance Doors in terra brown finishes.

Chris said: “I had a good idea of what was needed as I’d purchased Hӧrmann doors from SWR before and had been very happy with them. The quality of their products are excellent and I knew the colours would complement the property.”

Next, we arranged a date for installation. Abbey Orchard was attracting a lot of media attention so photo opportunities were rife. For that reason, SWR had a strict deadline to complete the work.

The Installation

At SWR, all our fitters are manufacturer trained and fully certified to industry standards. Chris was particularly impressed with how smooth installation went and the professionalism displayed by our fitters.

Chris said: “I thought SWR’s installation process was superb. The fitters did a great job and that was the case through the entire order. They were happy to answer questions while carrying out the work and highly knowledgeable about the Hӧrmann range.”

As you can see from the photographs, the journey from choosing the right products to surveying the property then final installation was worth it. The Hӧrmann Garage and Entrance Doors natural fin¬ishes maintain the property’s organic look and feel.

Chris, Kayo and the SWR Installations team are delighted with the results and hope Grand Designs are too when they see our work on any future visits.

“SWR did an excellent job throughout the order. I would have no trouble recommending them to any potential customers.” Chris Meadows - Owner of Abbey Orchard

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