The Rolls Royce of modern roof lanterns? Well, it is certainly a fair analogy, and not just because they share the same sounding name. Readers of a certain vintage will recall that, back in the 1970s through to the nineties, the Korniche was the ultimate badge of motoring excellence, oozing great design, classical good looks and impeccable performance.
When long-standing aluminium fabricators, Made for Trade, decided to become involved in the manufacture of domestic roof lanterns, the Korniche was a very obvious choice to brand their new range…and, what’s more, unlike its car counterpart, you wouldn’t have to break the bank to own one. It’s a point certainly not lost on vehicle enthusiast and general builder, Robert Hind, who remembers being intrigued by the name when he first encountered the Korniche at a trade show three or four years ago.
He recalls: “I’m old enough to remember the great motor cars from four decades ago, and the name made me stop by on the stand and take a closer look. I watched all the components going together in a matter of minutes, and what impressed me was how much thought had gone into every detail. This is a company which clearly listens to the guy at the sharp end and tries to iron out all the problems before it gets on site.” Continues Robert: “I went away determined to give it a go on the next flat roof extension that came up and get the customer on board with something they may have previously thought was beyond their budget.”
Since then Bob has gone on to fit Korniches to four other properties around his home village of Much Hadham in rural Essex, ranging from the smallest one by one metre to a bespoke 6m long one on an enormous extension for a well-known footballer. Professional Builder paid Bob a visit on a more typical project involving a three by two metre lantern on an extension he was undertaking down the road in Little Hadham.
“I’m glad you’re here because you can remove all the bubble wrap,” chivvied Bob. “The very first time I ordered one to site I was amazed how much thought had gone just into the packaging to give the best possible protection to the aluminium profiles. Too often I see things just thrown into a box and lost or broken items are my biggest bugbear. Everything here is pristine as the moment it first left the factory,” he adds. “The smallest ones I do on my own, but anything this size is a two-man job because of the weight of the glass, which is delivered separately.
“Once you’ve laid out all the bits it’s a case of fitting the frame to the upstand. This is actually the only bit that requires silicone, because it is impossible to offer a universal fit for every kind of upstand. I find that if you bed it down on a good-quality upstand with tramlines, and then screw it down through the pre-drilled holes, it won’t go anywhere and, more importantly, won’t leak. Initially, I was intrigued by the cable ties, which seemed a bit Heath Robinson, but these are temporary fixings for the corners, and certainly help hold it in place if you are on your own. These are then snipped off when the screws are tight.
“Fitting the rafters is just a question of tightening bolts and snapping on the capping pieces. The tapered bushes make sure the screws are centre on the host thread, so there is no gaps in the frame components. The glass panels then just clip into place with no need to mess around with packers or silicone and sit perfectly on the silicone rubber seals. It really is that straight forward for the builder but, more importantly, the reaction from the customer is always really positive. They know they are getting a really bright property, and a life enhancing space at a price which they almost certainly did not think possible at the start of the project,” enthuses Bob.
What was once a very niche market, the modern highly engineered roof lantern now looks set to bring home the ‘Korn’ for years to come!
For further information on the Korniche Roof Lantern from Made for Trade visit madefortrade.co/korniche-roof-lantern/
Made for Trade has commissioned a series of videos to demonstrate how a Korniche Roof Lantern project comes together. To access these visit korniche.co.uk/videos/