I never placed any importance on windows until it came time to start choosing my own – for a while there it was pretty much all I could think about! After spending so much time living in our dark, pokey cottage before beginning the design, we knew windows would be central to opening up the house and taking full advantage of the day long sunshine round the back while also accessing the amazing views.
Working with our architect we decided we would have as much window space as possible both in the living room and hallway, this decision was twofold – the large expanse of windows would allow maximum daylight but they would also increase our solar gain heating both the living room and hall.
Originally, we opted for a corner window with a floor-to-ceiling sliding door in the living room and for normal-sized windows down the hall. But as the project evolved, we decided to make the hallway windows as big as possible, allowing for internal low-level seating with storage under them.
Our only prerequisite was that the windows wouldn’t look plastic and we were prepared that we might need to pay extra for this. We justified that spend to ourselves by saying of everything in our home we probably would never change the windows again, so we wanted to get them right from the start!
When it was time to do our research we started at the Self-Build show in Millstreet, where we got to see big brands like Munster Joinery and Senator Windows, we also met a few of the smaller brands too – this experience gave us good grounding in what we did and didn’t want.
I had been chatting with a friend who had mentioned a window company they had visited called Eco Window Concepts who had a product called Internorm, an Austrian manufacturer. As it turned out, ECWC was only down the road from us in Bagnelstown Co. Carlow. So next we visited them one Saturday morning in their showroom.
To say we were impressed is an understatement. Internorm’s windows were amazing, and Michael, ECWC’s owner was equally as good. His knowledge of the product and the honesty of his service was refreshing.
During our research window frames had become a bug bare of mine, many were very heavy and dominated the look, with Internorm the Aluclad frames were great quality but minimal, the glass being the main attraction. Internorm also manufacture one of the biggest single pane, triple glazed glass windows in the country which was great as meant our sliding door could be floor to ceiling and almost 4 metres wide without breaking the panels up, the door also had a soft close feature great for little fingers.
We left ECWC excited but also unbelievably fearful of the cost! Could we have just seen the windows we really wanted but probably couldn’t afford?! We weren’t wrong.
Disappointed we moved our search to Dublin visiting four different suppliers there including Rational and Velfac. Each of these companies was great but we kept returning our thoughts to Internorm – to us it felt their quality couldn’t be beaten but how could we make their price fit with our pockets?
Literally we went back to the drawing board!
We decided to look at ways to bring down the cost. We took out the corner window, changing it back to a single pane of framed glass. This did the trick financially, also allowing us a little extra to spec the oak wood finish internally.
To be honest, one of the best things about working with Internorm was the service. Not only did they liaise with our timber frame company without needing input from us but also, a few months after it was installed, we had one issue with the door – within two days we had one of their service guys out to fix it. And two weeks after that we had a follow-up call to make sure everything was working well.
Now as I sit in our living room on spring evening, the sun just setting in the far corner of the field, I’m so happy with the decision we made.
Monica grew up with a screwdriver & bulb in her hands before she started to 'hassle' the boss! After gallivanting around the world & getting an education she worked in all areas of the business, and was a natural fit for developing Willie Duggan further. She does her best thinking struggling up a mountain, hiking a trail or beating herself up in the gym!