Looking like a property straight out of a period drama, nestled in the heart of picturesque Surrey looms Albury Park Mansions, a 36,000sq-f former home due to be converted into 12 high specification luxury apartments.
Little did PictureFrame.TV know that Albury Park Mansions’ grand plan would result in the team’s most ambitious project to date.
In the process of transforming the sizable former home into luxury apartments, the project’s AV advisor required the feature walls in three separate basements to be clad with mirror glass, where the centrepiece would be a TV.
So far this sounds like standard procedure for PictureFrame.TV. Complicating things slightly, however, was the fact that two of these rooms were previously spas and one was a gym, and being built in the 1850s, the building’s walls are made of stone and are completely uneven.
This is where PictureFrame.TV’s expertise comes in. Predominantly a manufacturer, unique projects see the team get involved in the installation process. This was one of those cases.
Comprised of managing directors Ketan Hirani and Shanif Habib and business development manager Farayi O’Connor, PictureFrame.TV – whose slogan reads: ‘making technology seem less,’ essentially hides TVs behind an elegant mirror solution or a chosen piece of art, as well as providing a plethora of additional bespoke solutions.
Using the latest technology from Samsung, PictureFrame.TV designs and manufactures all of its products in the UK, offering a range of framing options as well as unique magnet mount systems that can be used to create a frameless recessed look in a chosen room – even catering to kitchen splash-back glass solutions using an integrated TV in a mirror.
“We have seen constant growth in the bespoke TV market – our off the shelf products may well be considered ‘bespoke’ due to the choice of sizes and frames,” Ketan tells CE Pro Europe.
“We have found more recently that there is a bigger trend for extravagance. Bigger glass walls, kitchen splash backs and even more elaborate mirror TVs are becoming more frequent. Our Art TV range has also seen an increase in sales, with every one made using the customers’ own choice of artwork as well as one of our extensive frame options.”
On this particular occasion, the power of SEO brought PictureFrame.TV to the attention of the client.
“The project came about after the AV advisor was having difficulty in getting a suitable answer for taking on the complexity of the role,” Ketan explains.
“Additionally, he was failing to get what would be deemed a reasonable quote. We were simply found online and were called after the advisor saw our previous work in our gallery. He was very impressed!”
After receiving the brief, the team travelled to Surrey to assess the situation, and were instantly taken aback when confronted with the sprawling property.
“Nothing could have prepared us for the sheer scale of the property we were about to visit,” Ketan reflects. “It’s the perfect country retreat for the lucky few.
“There was very little evidence of ongoing works as we arrived on site. However, as we entered the building, there were tradesmen everywhere working on their own areas of expertise. We were taken downstairs in the basement and were shown three blank walls where we were asked to supply and fit full glass walls with hidden TVs and speakers.”
Working alongside fellow Surrey-based Digital Home Technologies, the idea was floated to use speakers attached to the back of the glass in order to project the sound, as well as fitting the heated coils to enable the glass to be mist-free in the spa/jacuzzi areas.
The teams put their collective heads together and drafted designs and ideas on how to execute this challenging project.
The client was very insistent that the glass had to perfectly match the contours of the room, which includes floors, walls and the exposed brick ceiling.
“This was the most challenging part,” Ketan admits. “However, we managed to overcome this and were able to produce the glass and fit it to the millimetre.”
The first task was to make the wall even and flat, which was done by building out a ply-lined timber frame. “Once we were happy, the timber wall was screed,” says Ketan.
“We had to be mindful that these rooms were wet/steam areas, so condensation would have posed a problem. For uniformity we split the wall in to nine pieces of glass and used the centre glass to house the TV. The wall was templated and the glass was made accordingly. We made a special provision so that the centre glass (with TV) could be removed.”
The glass was promptly delivered to the site, leaving the team to plan what went where.
Adjustments were then made to the surrounding stonework to make sure there was no fowling or glass touching stone.
“The three rooms are all of different sizes – and out of all the 27 panels of glass, no two were the same. This required great planning and judgement,” Ketan notes.
Although ensuring that the glass perfectly matched the contours of the room was not the only hurdle to overcome, as Ketan elaborates: “A technical challenge we faced was ensuring that the glass was heated, which required heater elements to be put into the screed behind all the glass.
“However this low voltage system ensures that there is no condensation on the glass. We also needed to ensure the gaps were consistent between all the panels. As a result, constant fine adjustments were required.”
PictureFrame.TV prides itself on being adaptable to every situation. “On large projects like this, because we design, manufacture and install, we were able to have great control of the whole process,” says Ketan.
Crucially, the client and interior designers are thrilled with the results.
“As with most of our Mirror TV projects, it is the amazement of the TV picture appearing through the glass,” Ketan enthuses.
“When off, it looks like a mirrored wall; a stylish feature in itself. Our clients love the simplicity of the look and in particular, that there is no visible TV anywhere. It has been extremely well received by the interior designers of the project, which I must say, was arguably our most ambitious project to date!
“The rooms look absolutely stunning and the feedback we’ve heard has been excellent. They definitely provide the ‘WOW’ factor that clients look for when looking at properties of this standard. We already have a number of similar projects in the pipeline for 2015/16,” he grins.