Tuesday, 24 April 2012

the open day interior photos

Sorry about the delay - I lost the memory stick.
Here are the internal photos of the Essex manor house that we were kindly lent to show prospective clients around a couple of weeks ago.
Beautifully finished, in a style that was very distinctive and yet so different to the usual 'contemporary rustic' I am accustomed to seeing. Such an honor to experience a wonderfully new home built using only the finest materials and craftsmanship and attention to detail inside and out.

A decorative newel feature - a friendly looking (well, I think he looks erudite and wise) dragon
Staircase made by Stuart Interiors, who incidentally worked on a huge house we built for a Russian family in Connecticut about 10 years ago.

Kitchen by Clive Christian

Lovely gallery windows

A pretty bathroom...........

............A manly bathroom (a copper bath, with black granite tiles edged with brass spacers)

One of my favourite interior details were the Border Oak oak doors - three plank doors with reeded beading, cleat nail heads and our blacksmith made latches. beautiful oak figuring and wonderfully made

It is impossible to describe the hall - it's the same size as an entire Pearmain cottage! Tall, grand, spacious, sunny with a floor to eaves window, open fire, extra wide staircase, vaulted ceiling. The lights you see are about 3ft tall.

Another lovely door, the front door this time - based upon our HQ office door. 2 inches thick, arched and beaded. Mmmmmm........
Of the 65 people that came, every single one of them admired the doors and the sheer impact of the hallway, quite incredible.

and finally the dining room.
Hope you have all enjoyed a sneaky peak behind the door of a super smart Border Oak manor house. I have some more photos lined up to bring you the very best of what we do.

have a lovely evening!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

scenes from the Open Day - April 2012

Here are just a few external pictures from the Border Oak Open House day we held last Saturday. 

A team of us left Herefordshire on Friday morning and drove for 4 hours to Essex to set up our 'satellite office' for one day only. 

After meeting the house owners and checking out the fabulous property we headed off to stay at the glamourous Premier Inn - passing Teddy Sheringham's pad on the way. We were all a bit miffed to see that Lenny Henry doesn't work behind reception.

We marveled at the jaw dropping gates that must be the 'in thing' down south - almost causing an accident each time we stopped to take a picture of the fanciest, glitziest, largest and most ornate gates we have ever seen. I know - we are true Country Bumpkins! Twas fun anyway.

After dropping our bags we had a 'strategy consultation' at the adjacent conference centre (Okay, we went to the pub for a drink and some food and tried not to laugh our socks off). After a great meal (for the company and banter, rather than the food) we went to bed raring to get started and show the house.

Luckily the weather was incredible when we woke and so we set off at 8am to 'meet and greet'.

We only had a limited number of slots available for the day and a continuous flow of people came from all over the UK starting at 10am with the last people leaving at 5.30. 

We left Essex feeling exciting and incredibly proud of what we do - we also met lots of lovely potential and existing clients and we all enjoyed the opportunity to spend some time with the wonderful house owners. We are very grateful that they allowed us to 'borrow' their beautiful home for the day, for all their hard work getting it ready, and for taking the time to chat to all the people who came.

We got home at 9.45 after devouring a bag of wine gums and jelly babies on the way.

A huge thanks to everyone who came - we really hope you enjoyed your visit.

I have some interior photos for tomorrow.

P.S Don't eat the veggie chilli at Cheiveley services - it is VERY hot.

The back of the house looks out over London - we could see Alexandra Palace and Wembley. The house is almost completely oak framed, which is fairly unusual nowadays. It also has lots of chimneys (and 6 fires/woodburners internally)

The front was planted up while we were there - amazing! But I only got photos before the planting sorry. The frontage is a classical Border Oak arrangement - but has three jetties (the first floor projection) which is very traditional and a significant part of the success of the design.

The door was almost 2 inches thick and based upon the Border Oak office door.

Herringbone brick panels bring another texture to the house - you could always build this lower section from Brick and block (ie without oak framing) and sit the oak above.

Here is a detail of the jetty - no one does a jetty as good as we do, rounded and champered jetty feet, angled end jetties and jetty brackets (some times called knuckles) with shaped profiles and just the right number of pegs. It is very authentic and therefore always looks right. The devil is in the detail I say, and I would urge any potential clients to compare us on our attention to detail and our exemplary workmanship - we can't be bettered (in my honest, humble and very biased opinion).

I loved the mix of stone and brick - including the brick tumbled shoulders on our chimney. Another detail that is above the ordinary - but very typical for us.

Hope to post as many pics as I can of this house - let me know when I have bored you too much. More Open Days coming over the summer - watch this space.

photos of a lovely Welsh Barn

I might surprise you to know that an awful lot of Border Oak staff have actually self built and live in Border Oak houses/extensions. From our Director (who still lives in the first Border Oak house ever built) to the designers, carpenters, plasterers, project managers, specifiers, builders and even me (did you know I had built a Border Oak cottage? You may have read about it somewhere.........) 

We are all pretty passionate about what we do and genuinely love our product and so I guess  in many ways it is natural that we want to live in a Border Oak home as well as help others to create their perfect home. But I think it is quite unusual to have such a ringing endorsement from the staff - just shows that we believe in what we do and sell........

Anyway the gorgeous photos today are of a house recently built by our QS. He purchased a plot on the Shropshire/Welsh borders, in a remote location with an existing planning approval (that couldn't be changed) and this is what he and his family achieved. Our QS is pretty handy by all accounts and did a lot of the work himself despite falling very ill at work one day and enduring a lengthy recuperation spell. Thankfully he is fighting fit now and enjoying his fabulous new home with his family and back in the office to face the usual banter and safe in the knowledge that he escaped any attempts at Mouth to Mouth resuscitation from his colleagues. 

The design was produced by the previous owner of the plot and was conceived to echo the simple profile of a rural Welsh barn. The front aspect has no dormer windows whilst the rear has two, with large French doors to frame the spectacular views. The roof is Welsh slate and the gable ends are brick - similar to our Halfpenny Cottage concept. The panels are lime rendered.

And the location and views are pretty much unbeatable don't you think? Rolling hills, lined with native hedge rows and a smattering of trees and sheep. traditional and untouched.  Not another house to be seen.

Internally, I especially like the muted colours which pick up on the tones of the landscape. The heritage inspired  fawns, sages, and murky pigments really work with the honey coloured beams too.

Rather than divide the rooms with doors there is an open feel and flow between the three large main rooms.

I really hope you enjoy todays selection of images - photos from the manor house Open Day at the weekend will be coming up later.
The Easter Hols are nearly over so its back to work for me with lots of new ideas, projects and images coming up.
I wanted to say thank you to you all for reading my blog by the way - some days I have more than 500 hits which is amazing and very humbling. It really does inspire me to try and find more interesting stories and beautiful photos - so thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

only a few slots left.........

.........at the 'open house' day this Saturday (14th April) in London (well, Essex/London).
If you have a plot of land or planning approval and would like to come and see our workmanship in the flesh, please contact the office to enquire about one of the remaining appointments.

The owners of this magnificent manor house have generously offered us their home for the day (before they move in next week) to show prospective clients what we do and how well we do it.

The day is invitation only and by appointment, there will be a team of Border Oak people there to show you around and answer your questions.

This house was designed and built by Border Oak

Contact Hannah or Julie for more information - 01568 708 752

ps There are only a limited number of slots for this property left, but we will be holding more 'open house' days at other properties later in the year.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The show review

Thank you to everyone who came the NEC National Selfbuild Show last week. It was especially nice to meet so many blog readers and followers -  I promise to try and find more inspirational stories to repay your loyalty and kind comments. It makes a huge difference to know that people are reading it (I don't believe the blog stats - surely 300 people a day aren't popping by and reading the nonsense I write here??) and also encourages me to not be so flippant or so lazy.
Speaking of lazy, I am supposed to be on holiday this week so don't tell Ben I have been blogging (I am sure he isn't one of the 300)

Anyway - the show was good. We sold the exhibition barn (well we actually sold it twice - Buy one get one free if you like), we sold the Artisan Pod, we sold the planters, we sold the trees........and we almost sold the sofa (but that is another story). So all in all we were very pleased as these shows are very expensive to do. But most importantly we had some lovely enquiries and met a lot of interested people which hopefully bodes well for the next 12 months.

Here is the large barn on the Monday before opening

As you can see, it takes a lot of work (4 carpenters, 4 electricians, 2 painters, one project manager, 5 display and management staff) just to get the show stands ready - and we only have 3 days to build the structures.

The Pod was prefabricated so in many ways only had to be joined together

And people seemed to really like it

The large barn was very impressive and would make a brilliant house (albeit small - 90 sq m) or annex. It is certainly an opportunity to show off our craftsmanship and I personally felt that you could really judge the quality of what we do (in comparison to others) and I was very proud to be working on the Border Oak stand. I know the carpenters who made this barn and the Pod were also very proud.

We had lots of enquiries for the planters, tables, chairs, lights, sofas, oak blocks etc which was encouraging. Someone even stole a large portfolio that I had just had printed (sooooooo annoying - if you wanted it I could have sent you the hyper link!! Please give it back if it found its way into your bag by mistake. I know how easy it is for large professionally printed one off portfolios to jump off the table and into your rucksack without you even noticing.)

The panelling was painted in F&B 'Mouses Back'  - possibly my new best colour

And it really worked with the olive trees and planters (600mm x 600mm woven oak planter £150)

1200mm x 600mm planter £250

And here are some of the Pod interior - my favourite element here was the wild oak desk top -
'the perfect blend of rustic and contemporary' I overheard someone say............

But all in all, a tiring, hilarious (some one actually licked our oak frame?!) and feet ache inducing 5 days. We are all really looking forward to working through the enquiries and hopefully building some lovely new homes for the people we have met.
I'll be back next week with some more blogging - and remember, don't tell Ben I was working.