- Owner: Colin Leech
- Location: Warwickshire
- Property Size: 6m-diameter
- Build Time: 11 months
- Total Cost: £52,000
- Value: £650,000
More than twenty years ago, Colin Leech and his wife, Norma came across a photograph of a circular conservatory in a magazine. They really liked the idea and cut the picture out and stuck it on their fridge.
Then in 2002 Norma’s parents passed away, bequeathing the Leechs a dilapidated house on two acres in Kent. The decision to knock the house down, rebuild and sell-on prompted Colin to get in touch with an oak frame building firm. Welsh Oak Frame was top of their list as they had seen them at the Homebuilding and Renovating Show a couple of years earlier.
"We really liked the style of Welsh Oak Frame houses so we hired them to supply and erect the oak frame for this new house"
“We looked at that photo for two decades and daydreamed about how we would enjoy the room one day,” says Colin.
“But we weren’t in a position to build it back then.”
Fortunately the planners were in agreement with John’s design. Their only concern was how the circular building would attach to the Leechs’ Grade II Listed 16th-century cottage.
In preliminary talks some twenty years earlier, the planners wanted the sun-room to spring from the gable end in a truncated cone shape. This time the sun-room had to stand away from the gable end, and be attached to the house via a short passageway.
In 2007, Colin and Norma decided to build the conservatory, and they didn’t hesitate to contact Welsh Oak Frame again. They showed designer, John the picture of the round conservatory and explained this was what they wanted.
The Leechs were really impressed with the way Welsh Oak Frame listened to them and found the firm easy to work with.
"They didn’t impose any of their design ideas on us, and they gave us one price with no extras"
The design was agreed as a 6m-diameter shape with twelve sides and nine windows. It was up to Welsh Oak Frame to make the curved frame roof
that would sit on top of the walls. It was a novel project for them so they were careful to do a trial assembly before they shipped the frame to site.
Colin says when it was craned into place the frame fitted perfectly.
“The lads who put the frame up worked on it in the workshop so they knew who had made which piece. This was a real testimony to their attention to detail.”
It took four-and-a-half days to erect the frame, but sadly, soon after it had been completed, Norma passed away after a long-term illness. Colin says she was really pleased to see the lovely sweeping curves of the new room take shape.
The sun-room was finished in spring 2008 and brings Colin a lot of pleasure with its 360° views of the garden. A log-burning stove keeps the room cosy in winter, while a fan, built into the lantern light at the pinnacle of the ceiling, cools the room in summer.
Colin says after all the years of thinking about how the sun-room might be used one day, the daydreams are finally coming true.
“Norma and I had talked about how lovely it would be to sit here in winter with a cup of coffee listening to music and watching the snow drift down outside. Last winter I had that moment to share with my chocolate labrador, Emma, and it was marvelous.”