The outdoor room is often an ambiguous space. Contemporary outdoor living generally consists of areas that could happily fit into the traditional concept of indoor living, while simultaneously being a part of the wider outdoor living area.
That ambiguity is created by developing a space that can either open up completely to the elements or be closed off entirely, leaving only a view to the outdoors if the elements mean protection is required. “For many people who create these ambiguous spaces, what we hear from them afterwards is that the ‘outdoor room’ has become the most popular and well-used area of the house,” Louvretec’s Rebecca King says.
Generally, they’re placed off a main living area or kitchen, and with the addition of this outdoor space, the house itself becomes functionally larger. “It’s a way to maximise every available bit of space on a property, while potentially increasing value and functionality,” Rebecca says.
Traditionally, outdoor rooms have been protected by way of operable blinds or louvres, allowing for the space to transition depending on the elements and level of protection desired. There is now an alternative to these methods with this new product that allows for unobstructed views and complete protection.
Louvretec introduced the Sunflex Frameless range of sliding glass doors to the New Zealand market about 12 months ago. These have been a great success and now have begun manufacturing the German-designed products in New Zealand with local glass, making the range much more accessible and faster to obtain for a wider share of the market than was previously possible. Manufacturing will commence in Australia next year with product supplied from New Zealand in the meantime.
The range incorporates two styles of sliding doors, the Sunflex Frameless SF20 Glass Sliding Door, and the Sunflex Frameless SF25 Glass Slide and Turn Door.
So far, they’ve seen most popularity being installed in conjunction with Louvretec’s opening roof systems, where they work to create a room that can open entirely to the outdoors or be completely closed off, essentially becoming part of the interior spaces. They’re also being commonly specified for deck areas where the requirement is to shut off or provide protection for one particular end or part of the decking space.
“The SF20 sliding doors have a pick-up function that means when the first panel is opened, the others will follow, making them very easy to open and move,” Rebecca says. “But because they don’t have vertical frames, what you achieve is an unobstructed view to the outdoors when they are closed and a level of protection that wasn’t possible before in an outdoor space.” Suitable for heights of around three metres, the panels are each up to 1200mm wide.
The slide and turn doors work slightly differently, with each panel able to be individually moved to allow for different options for opening or closing and sheltering of different parts of the outdoor room.
“Each glass panel can be opened and turned to park in a narrow stack at the side of the opening,” Rebecca says. “When completely open, the panels stack away in the manner of which a bi-fold door does at each end of the opening.”
If you’re interested in adding to the amount of functional space in your home by creating an outdoor living area, get in touch with Louvretec on ArchiPro here to discuss the latest range of options available.