Design Options for Loft Conversions Part Two - Balcony Windows
Following on from our recent (Part One) blog examining the design of loft conversions, and dormer and Velux roof window options, our next blog continues with options for Juliet Balconies, Fixed External Balconies and Velux Cabrio fold-away balcony roof windows (and their possible cheaper alternatives!), to help with maximising any views and giving your rooms some desirable design features.
JULIET AND DORMER BALCONIES
Juliet Balconies can be as simple as a small metal railing across an opening where a pair of doors open inwards at their simplest or you could extend that concept further into a railed-off balcony within an extended dormer area with patio doors out onto it (as shown below).
This gives a more sheltered balcony and more privacy for the home owner and restricts the view out to one more directly ahead from the room which may be advantageous in securing backing from Local Authority Planning Officers if that were a concern.
FIXED EXTERNAL BALCONIES
More permanent balconies can be constructed projecting from the roof as we show here to the left (with Velux VFL vertical and sloping elements), but it should be noted that planning permission will almost certainly be required in such cases.
Another option as shown to the right here is to have a larger "dormer" roof giving a picture window of larger amounts of glazing, which then include doors out onto a similar permanent balcony, or perhaps as shown to the left of that, the balcony floor and doors can be set into an opening cut into the roof slope.
FEATURE VELUX BALCONIES
Feature style Velux Roof Windows are another option that can look very dramatic from both inside and outside of the house, balcony wise you could choose from 3 options -
1. VFL Roof Terrace System -
This is where there are 2 window elements, one sloping with either a centre pivot or top hung opening function, and the second with a vertical element which can be supplied either as a fixed or RH/LH hinged opening "door". This means that with a permanent balcony outside its possible to have a good feature inside which looks attarctive and gives good views (and is usable as a normal roof window when required)
These windows can be grouped together in 2, 3, 4 or more to give the overall length of window and balcony you require and are often configured with a hinged door at either end to give easier access when the balconies are wider, but there is no requirement to have more than a single opening bottom element if that is all that is needed. Do remember however that this type of balcony window can only be used between 35 and 53 degree roof pitches.
2. VELUX Cabrio "Fold Out" Balcony System.
This is a 2 pane window system stacked one above the other vertically up the slope of the roof, and the top window sash is hinged at the top and opens up as with a normal top hung GPL or GHL Roof Window. The twist is that the lower sloping sash section of the window is hinged at the bottom edge and can either remain laying flat in the roof slope or can be opened outwards until it is vertical to create a "balcony area" which you can stand into to look out at the views. At the same time as this there are side railings which normally also lie flat at the sides of the windows and when the lower sash is opened they slide down and outwards to form side rails and balustrading to complete the balcony.
You can choose to to have a pair (or more) of the Velux Cabrio Windows side by side or it is also possible to have single or stacked fixed or opening roof windows next to a cabrio on one or either side.
3. VELUX Grouped Window System.
This is a much lower cost alternative to balcony windows but can still be a great design feature both in the room and also looking at the roof from outside. Pairs or groups of windows stacked vertically or sideways (or both) providing great light into the room and great views out. If the group of windows at user waist to head height are specified as top-hung windows opening upwards then it is possible to stand at the sill and get similar views to standing at a balcony rail, but for much less cost!