Wednesday, 31 August 2011

oak frame garden room or oak framed sunroom?

I'm never sure what to call these rooms. I am pretty sure an oak frame conservatory has a glass roof  but what is the difference between an oak framed sun room and an oak framed garden room? mmm, there is probably a technical definition but I am going to call this a garden room because the couple have an amazing garden (you should see the veg plot!)

And I know that I really am spoiling you with posts this week - I have had lots of new Border Oak photos through recently - but these pics were too good to keep to myself. And I know I keep banging on about the new BBC series (To Build or Not to Build) but this house will be part of the series which starts on the 5th, BBC1 at 11am.

With glass on three sides and huge roof lights you can imagine how bright this space is - which must be amazing in combination with the vaulted ceiling and the large open arch to the kitchen.

This is a Clearview Stove - I have one at home and it is brilliant and we have two at the office (which has no central heating and is entirely heated by oak off cuts burnt on our Clearviews)

A wonderful open kitchen and living space with a great balance of oak framing and glass.

Having an oak truss on the return wall not only explains the oak structure of the garden room but also fills the connection space (between the house structure and the 'garden room') which would be tricky to visually link otherwise.

Isn't it lovely?
I am also trying to find a copy of Country Homes and Interiors as apparently we have a house in there (the little cottage I bored you all with at the beginning of the year) and Build It magazine also carries a Border Oak front cover this month. It seems that Herefordshire magazine distribution is about 3 weeks behind everywhere else, so the search continues!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The Border Oak porch

When Ben and I built our first Border Oak cottage 10 years ago the planners insisted we couldn't have oak framing externally (because our plot was adjacent to a medieval oak frame and they felt people would be 'confused' by a new frame - madness!) It doesn't sound that much of an issue looking back  but 10 years ago virtually all Border Oak houses were exposed oak frames and it was a very popular style (and still is). 
I remember feeling a bit cheated because my dad had revived green oak framing after 200 years and here I was being prevented from building with it.  Luckily Dad invented a whole new building system combining SIPs with an internal oak frame just for us and we decided to be the first to try the system for size. He quickly drew, on a scrap of paper, an oak framed porch to make the Arts and Crafts inspired lime rendered cottage more interesting. The end result was Pearmain Cottage and since then we have built hundreds of bespoke Pearmains all over the UK. 
And the pretty Border Oak porch has taken on a life of it's these pictures show our oak frame porch design works on all sorts of houses. We even sell it as a flat pack for people to add onto non Border Oak houses. Fabulous!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

a self build survey and some TV news

As you may already know self build (well house building of all sorts) is in the news at the moment with the Government trying to increase the number of houses being built, to shape the type of houses we build, to 'ease' and simplify the planning process and generally give Local Parish Councils more say.
If you are interested in self building (a Border Oak house of course) you may like to fill in the quick survey on the Homebuilding & Renovating website

And on another note I have finally got the dates for the BBC1 'To Build or Not to Build' TV series. It starts on the 5th Sept at 11am on BBC (and on iPlayer thereafter) and the Border Oak houses feature on the 5th, 9th, 16th and the 20th.

This beautiful home features in the first episode on 5th September and also in Ideal Home magazine ( I think it is out at the end of September.......I will let you know when I find out.)

Monday, 22 August 2011

bits and bobs from my download files

Green oak frames will shrink slightly as they adjust to the ambient moisture level both inside and outside. This is why the quality of oak, the way the frame is made and the panel is works with are crucial. In fact shrinkage is actually part of the house becoming stronger - as the joints close in on each member and the oak peg. But this also means that there will be some cosmetic 'snagging' required after a certain period of time (usually a summer and a winter with the heating working). 
And luckily if you have a Border Oak house, built by us, you get the wonderful Border Oak snagging service we provide to fill in all the little plaster 'pulls' and other settlement issues associated with a new oak frame.  Dave is the brilliant chap who visits the houses to work on the fiddly little bits and bobs. He is very very good and very very knowledgeable about all things Border Oaky. And fortunately for me rather than having a tea break in the van he nips round with a camera to keep me up to date with the 'just completed' projects. 
While I was clearing up my desktop (I was supposed to be finding photos for the new website - ooh, only a few weeks to go!) I came across these projects and thought (although they are not professional images and are far from perfectly landscaped), they were an interesting cross section of Border Oak projects. 

A large house with a mixture of influences - quite Arts and Crafts really?

I am looking forward to seeing this thatched house in a few months time once the landscaping has taken shape and the personal touches have been applied. A good representation of the flexibility of the Pearmain range

A Halfpenny Cottage on a fabulous plot - views to die for

The rear has a lovely little glazed addition - I love the long vertical glazing bars.

Lily Cottage - sweet and clever how the eaves sweep so low to diminish the volume of the house.

This is the side of the house - a mix of glass, weatherboard, brick, stone and a touch of render. Another Pearmain variation........

........And another.......

and finally a lovely little thatched gem.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Border Oak house love

Whenever new photos come in there is a general buzz around the Border Oak office. We love seeing photos of houses, not just finished houses but ones being built, ones with builders in (no builders bums now though - health and safety saw an end to that) insides, outside - pretty much anything (although even I glaze over at shots of service ducts or foundation trenches).
So I thought I would share a few of our new pics here too. Many of these houses will feature on our new website and in our new magazine (both ready for the autumn) with a bit more background to each of the projects, so I thought I would just tease you with a small selection here........

I would love to know your thoughts and what type of house interests you most - I am missing a good set of maor house images, but this year we have built /or building about a dozen so hopefully I can commission more photos next year to fill the portfolio gaps.

The first image (above) is of a lovely little holiday cottage built in the woods - deceptively spacious inside thanks to vaulted ceilings and other clever tricks

This is part of a weatherboarded barn tucked behind an old orchard - with very funky ambience lightling that turns the whole house blue and pink - a 'first' for a Border Oak project I think!

Hannah and I travelled up to Cheshire see this next house a few weeks ago and help the photographer with a bit of styling/assisting - this amazing plot  used to have a bungalow on it which Border Oak secured planning to knock down and replace with this farmhouse. Impressive and jealous making......

Their kitchen was huge with sliding folding doors at one end creating three walls of glass - over looking a private and huge garden. Why are there no plots like round here (well, none that we can afford, or that are even for sale........)

Although the planners restricted the ridge height (but I guess you could argue they did allow a huge increase in ridge height compared to the original bungalow?) the vaulted ceilings inside give a delicious sense of volume and space.

Next up is a  gorgeous Pearmain Cottage variation - but made much larger with an increased width hallyway, rear extension and adjoining barn (with a self contained annex and large studio room).

It is hard to imagine a time when Border Oak didn't build 'Pearmain Cottage' houses - the first (which featured on Grand Designs) was builtt in 2001/2002. It was my first home and my first as Mrs A - which means I have been married for 10 years next week. 10 years?? How can that happen? But to think that all the other lovely people who have built Pearmain Cottages watched and loved our first home together is both humbling and touching. So a huge sentimental 'thank you' to all you Pearmainites across the UK- you know who you are!

and finally, another star of TV  - this beautiful house featured on 'My Flat Pack Home'. Viewers didn't get to see the completed house, but I can now reveal that the interior is actually stunning and the outside simply amazing. Another incredible plot that I will never find.........

And how sweet is the blue Gypsy caravan to the right of the house. I really want something like this or a shepherds hut or railway carriage. I will add it to my 'I really want' list (which is ridiculously long already)

I thought the hallway was especially architetcturally interesting - just the right balance of oak framing and natural textures without being too cliched or faux medieval.

And I really like their utility room, with the painted stable door, granite work top and clothes airer.

 I have an obession with utility rooms at the moment - my fantasy utility room in my fantasy home that I am fantasy building on a fantasy orchard is pretty fantastic I'll have you know. Maybe we will one day build it and maybe even go on Grand Designs again (if they would have us!) ............??

p.s. the Border Oak face book page is up and running - we would love you to 'like' us if you have time and want to stay in touch with our news.