A touch of glass in north London

Replacing old, tired windows with new timber-framed and double glazed versions can breathe new life

Replacing old, tired windows with new timber-framed and double glazed versions can breathe new life into a house - Credit: Archant

Ayrton Bespoke are ready to help north Londoners get warm, dry, secure homes without sacrificing the period style they love

The company can work with even the most complicated window designs

The company can work with even the most complicated window designs - Credit: Archant

Property in north London has become a serious business in recent years. As prices soar and the market becomes ever more competitive, what was once a simple family home is now most people’s biggest investment. As a result, every single element of your property needs to be just right and maintained to the highest possible standard, including your windows and doors. Robert Ditcham, managing director of Ayrton Bespoke, who opened a showroom in Crouch End last November says: “We’re focussed on replacing the lovely old windows and doors in London’s period properties.

“Many of them have had their best years with single glazing letting in noise, cold and damp, and old timber frames sometimes rotting.

“Often period property owners just love their beautiful original windows so our focus is to give a client back the same windows that they loved but that they need to replace.”

From its roots in south west London, the company has expanded north of the river to better serve north London’s vast array of period homes, from Georgian sash windows in Islington, to Edwardian bays in Muswell Hill.

Ditcham’s passion for his trade shines through when describing the various projects the team can tackle.

“Typically every street has got a particular take on an era’s style because a builder would build half a street with his own signature look and then move on wherever they were next contracted. I see windows in Crouch End that I’ve also seen in Southfields, but north London is an incredible area for products that are similar to each other but distinct at the same time.

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“What we like doing best is original windows that have got curves or complicated glazing, which shows off what we can do.”

This all-important expertise is not limited to matching the design of a new window to the other houses on the same street though; Ayrton Bespoke also have detailed knowledge of the varying regulations governing work on listed buildings or on unlisted property in a conservation area, which can vary from borough to borough.

“We offer advice on the dos and don’ts, what’s possible in your area and what isn’t, and help people through what’s quite a scary list of things to get right. If you get it wrong, you’ll have to change it, which will cost a lot more money,” says Ditcham. “We’ll even help customers match the predominant paint colour in the street.”

Within these constraints there is a world of choice, however, from door handles in polished chrome, brass or antiqued finish. Then there are the fitch fasteners; glass options; different paint treatments for the wood; colour choices; and security features that will disable locks to enable a delivery or alert you to an open window.

As a result, Ditcham is keen that homeowners visit the showroom to source every single item relating to their door or window purchase.

“The reality is that you don’t often buy windows so I encourage people to visit the showroom and look at all the constituent parts. The number of variables is amazing.

“I recommend active involvement in any big refurb. Your architect will have a broad overview but if you want to get the best out of the experience, come and talk to the experts.”

A visit means you can decide on the glazing spec, the ironmongery choice and even the sash stops spacing.

Replacing windows is not an inexpensive exercise. Ayrton Bespoke’s average order value is £8,000 and if you need to replace the front sash windows of your house with, say, ground and first floor sash bays and a single sash above the entrance, the bill is more likely to be about £10,000 to £15,000 (including fit and VAT) depending on the period design details.

A front door could cost £3,500 plus VAT and can soar to £10,000.

And if all that can’t convince you to pop in: “We’ve got very nice Monmouth coffee and a friendly welcome,” says Ditcham.

The Showroom, 61-63 Tottenham Lane, Crouch End, N8 9BE

0208 877 8920