Uninspiring 1920s council house dramatically transformed by Crittall Glazing system

A glazing system from Crittall Windows, pioneers of steel window manufacture for nearly 170 years, has been used as the centre-piece for an intensive make-over project, dramatically transforming an uninspiring 1920s three-bedroom former council house, in Croydon (Hawthorn Crescent).

The brief
The existing house was very fragmented. Little light was making its way into the middle of the living/kitchen areas. The owners, Denise and Ali Ball, had also outgrown the house with two teenage kids requiring more space. Additionally, the fact they carry-out singing lessons around the piano needed to be considered.
Ultimately, the brief was to increase floor area, create separate spaces – maintain light and openness.

The method
The owners worked closely with Jo Cowen, the project’s architect, to extend and re-configure the property to make best use of space and bring-in much-needed light.

To achieve the desired end results, Crittall’s glazing system was recommended by Jo Cowen. It was decided to extend at ground floor level and apply a modular grid to the entire space. The aim was to create separate spaces that align with the grid, using the same modulation through the Crittall screens specified to divide the space. Large amounts of glazing allows continuity of light and views to the garden.

A stunning, modern-looking, exterior was created with large areas of glass, echoing the company’s original steel windows. A combination of double and single-glazed Crittall steel screens using the W20 profile was installed. The slim-line steel partitioning brought elegance and a sense of airiness to the interior living spaces. The largest span to the rear elevation is 8m long x 2.6m high. Stainless steel handles with Anthracite Grey polyester powder coating to the metalwork were fitted to complete the overall contemporary effect.

Main contractor was Buildmax of Croydon.

The result
The end result delighted the owners. They were extremely pleased with the outcome, appreciating the new look and aesthetics, as well as the practical benefits, and the fact the view up to the garden was opened up so well.

Also, they are now able to close doors between spaces without loss of light or sense of volume with the new, distinct, separate living areas allowing privacy with a feel of airiness. They also invested in re-landscaping the entire garden area.

Jo Cowen explains why she chose Crittall glazing system/internal screens for this project:

“Crittall was the system originally installed into the property when it was first built during the 1920s. So there was a poetic reference back to the property’s original style.”

“Crittall’s system offers a unique profile and beading system that looks very elegant, whilst having the quality that comes with a steel frame system.”

The project was seen on Channel 4’s ‘Ugly House to Lovely House with George Clarke’ programme (March 2016),

About Crittall Windows
Crittall is the original manufacturer of high-performance slim-line steel windows – a pioneer of steel frame window manufacture for almost 170 years.

Originally established in Braintree, Essex, over the years, Crittall pioneered and standardised the steel window industry, becoming the dominant source of steel windows/doors internationally, with manufacturing facilities on five continents.

Today, the company has a state-of-the-art manufacturing/production facility in Witham, Essex, and is one of the world’s leading steel window frame manufacturers.

Crittall’s polyester powder-coated, galvanised, steel windows will last 60+ years, not requiring redecoration for 25 – 30 years.


About Jo Cowen Architects
Jo Cowen Architects is a boutique architecture and design firm with a growing reputation for bringing a personal touch and a wealth of experience to every project.

The practice offers a complete architectural and interiors service from inception, concept design, statutory approvals, contractor procurement, to management on site — all the way to completion.

Founding directors Jo Cowen and Chris Wilkinson set out to bring to the domestic market the rigour, high standards and efficiency of large-scale practices, where they both had previously worked for almost a decade.

Rather than enforcing a ‘practice style’, they tailor each brief to the tastes and particular lifestyle requirements of each client — or to the needs of the developer and their target market.

Chartered by the Royal Institute of British Architects, a gold standard in the industry.