Wednesday, 27 June 2012

old and new

Border Oak are 32 years old - so I guess we really can say, and prove,  that our houses get better with age. Not many houses from the 1970's and 1980's look as good as ours do (in my unbiased opinion of course). 

Much of this is to do with two things:
1. exceptional vernacular design - not necessarily a ye olde copy - but close attention to and understanding of proportion, scale, mass, pitch and architectural detail.
2. exceptional vernacular materials - slate, stone, oak, lime, clay, thatch etc . All of these weather beautifully and also suit one other in both traditional and contemporary designs (perhaps throw a bit of glass and metal in for contemporary? Or maybe use the materials in the 'wrong' place, eg cover a wall in slate? or use vertical boarding rather than horizontal?)

And this week these two pics have landed on my desk showing you a bit of old vs a bit of new

This Welsh farm house was built for David and Pat Austin - the inspirational creators of David Austin Roses - I think about 12 years ago. We later built the David Austin showroom and tea room in Albrighton, and later added a swimming pool barn to the left of the farmhouse.

All Border Oak clients are sent David Austin Roses by Border Oak as a house warming gift.

And this frame is currently under construction just down the road from the office, so is brand spanking new. The planning approval was granted after a lorry drove into the family home one evening, making it structurally uninhabitable. Luckily we helped them secure planning approval for a beautiful new replacement home, in a new location on the farm (away from the road - phew!). This is a good example of a complete project - design, planning, manufacture, construction etc etc - all within 10 miles as well.

I will post more pics of this house as it grows - and as it grows old too.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


You can really tell that I am awaiting the new 2012 Border Oak photographs - because I have nothing very interesting to share with you (hence the quiet blog - sorry). 
So I thought I would share with you some pics from a folder on my computer called 'random'. In theory the folder could contain recipes, pics of my children, possible holiday destinations etc etc. But, hey, guess what? it only contains photos of houses. And a few gardens, furniture, lighting and other home bits and bobs. How tragic.

As I was looking through I thought I should chose my faves and show you what my fantasy home might one day look like....................................this is just a small selection, but I didn't want anyone to drop into a coma.

This photo is either from Arne Maynard or Jinny Blom - two amazing landscape designers - showing beautiful trees and attention to detail. We actually do have some (well, 5 to be truthful - hardly an arcade) pleached hornbeams here (they provide great structure and privacy) but this type of tree/hedge/wall combo really inspires me.

I found this on whilst stalking houses that will never be mine, in counties I will never move to. Some people find that odd - I find it therapeutic. It isn't nosey, it is research. Anyway I like the organic collection of interconnecting barn buildings, the stone roof, the different ridge heights and the drive way and fencing. I also like the grain store window on the left.

This is the kind of drive I like - but I would have orchard either side and maybe a run of trees to line the loose gravel tracks.

I don't need to say anything about this photo -  this house should be MINE.
(I didn't find this on, no one in their would sell it . Arne Maynard designed the garden.)

This is a beautiful project by architects - I wish I had other photos to show you as the whole house looks incredible. It is very similar to the 'dream' barn I keep sketching (no, I don't have a plot, or planning permission, or funds - small, insignificant details my friends) and pretending that we will build. But if I did have a plot, with planning approval and some money, this would be what I would like to aim for.

And my fantasy house will have a fantasy pond that beautiful ducks and rare dragonflies will want to live in and pale pink water lilies will grow whilst my children dip their feet in from an oak jetty.........

The outside view of that McCleanQuinlan project - mmmmmmmm! The roof is a bit big though?

And finally (I told you it was 'random') is this gorgeous old wall with a door and a view beyond.

P.S Don't worry guys - new Border Oak photos are on their way!!!
P.P.S If you have built a Border Oak house and want to enter the Homebuilding Awards just let  me know if I can help - the prize is a weekend at a Hotel du Vin, so worth a go??