This is the first post in a new mini-series every Friday that will explore some of the products that in recent years have changed the industry. Those changes might be small, those changes might be profound. Either way, this mini-series will pick apart the products which have changed the way we sell, the way we manufacture and the products that have rejuvenated the sectors they reside in. First off, Ultraframe’s Cornice and LivinRoom.
Born during a dying industry
I have picked these two out as my first port of call partly because of their impressive start during one of the most turbulent times in the conservatory market.
Think back to when these two products were first announced. The recession was still biting hard. The conservatory market was at rock bottom. The industry had pretty much given up hope on the sector being brought back to life. Things weren’t looking good.
However, there were some out there determined to see the conservatory market come back to life, just not in it’s old clothes.
I remember when I went to see the unveiling of these two new products at a customer meeting held at Ultraframe. They were part of a raft of exciting new products all designed to transform the look and performance of the traditional conservatory. The one the UK’s home owners were falling out of love with.
There was the Cornice gutter, the internal LivinRoom pelmet, the Loggia columns and other smaller accessories to go with them, such as radiant heaters, a dedicated light box to attach inside a roof to hang lights from etc. There was also a suite of solid roof products that impressed, but lets stay focused on the Cornice and LivinRoom.
Designed to be substantial
The massive new range of products Ultraframe introduced a few years ago were designed to combat two of the major flaws that plagued the existing crop of conservatories in the UK; terrible climate control and dated aesthetics.
Too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter etc. The solid roof products and to some extent the Loggia columns cured that. The Cornice gutter and internal LivinRoo products helped to take care of the looks problem.
The Cornice gutter was a brand new aluminium cladding which sat over the top of an existing gutter. No longer were mediocre PVCu gutters left to complete the look of the conservatory roof. Gutters could no be turned into a fully fledged feature, bolstering the look of the roof whilst at the same time hiding away the often untidy edges that older conservatories struggled with.
The internal LivinRoom detail addressed the internal aesthetics problems. Older conservatories really did lack impact on the inside. It felt very much like a room added to the back of a house, not integrated. However, as you can see from the example above, this new pelmet product added much needed weight and solidarity to the inside of a conservatory, which helped it make it feel much more like a well constructed room and not a flimsy addition.
The Cornice and LivinRoom products have both been wild successes. Speaking from my own personal experience, I can think of only ONE new glazed extensions we have built in the last three or so years which hasn’t had these products installed with it. Every other one we have built have had them, and the home owners have been highly impressed with the results.
If you speak to Ultraframe or any of their fabricators they will tell you how popular they have become in such a short space of time. Some might even be able to tell you how many linear metres of the stuff they have sold. Out of interest, we are in the finishing stages of one of our own biggest ever glazed extensions, which Prefix and Ultraframe tell me might be the biggest one in the UK so far to feature both the Cornice and LivinRoom products, so keep an eye on my Twitter feed for pictures as we nearly finish that.
However, perhaps the one fly in the ointment is the slow sales of the Loggia product. They were touted as the replacement for brick pillars. Cheaper, more thermally efficient, no need for a builder. Yet, Ultraframe will probably admit that sales of that one in particular haven’t been as strong as they would have liked. I do though remain hopeful. I personally think that the Loggia is a slow burner, and in around five years time their popularity will start to take off as home owners become even more creative with their glazed extension designs.
Why they changed the industry
The reason for these two products changing the industry is a simple one. These two simple, but very effective products have helped home owners to realise that their once tired conservatory need not remain an ugly white block stitched to the back of their home. Be it a new glazed extension, or a refurbishment of an existing one, the Cornice and LivinRoom have helped to breathe life back into sector that was destined for the dust bowl.
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