Monday, 31 March 2014

The end result

So the NEC Homebuilding Show is over for another year. Here are some pics of our stand - a 4.5m x 10m hand crafted, cruck framed barn style structure full of lovely pictures, old fashioned printing press posters (my new obsession) rustic/industrial lights and possibly the best sofas ever.

We also re erected the garden room originally exhibited at RHS Chelsea - both the garden structure and barn are now for sale - £5000 for the garden building (would normally be in excess of £10,000 and has oak joinery) and £15,000 for the barn (would usually be £30,000). And we also have last years stand for sale - a gorgeous one and half storey oak barn (5m x 10m) which is a bargain at £15,000 (worth about £40,000!!) Clearance Bargains of an extraordinary nature - for more details contact Border Oak.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014


This will be a super quick blog post........we are crazy busy getting ready for the National Homebuilding & Renovating Show at the NEC next week. If you haven't got tickets yet please call the office for free e tickets 01568 708 752.
Anyway, we have a completely new stand thus year which is both thrilling and nerve-wracking. So many things to order and plan for a frame that you haven't seen.......
We have had a few ideas and hope to meet as many of you there as possible to chat about self build and how Border Oak might be able to help.

 One of our more frivolous/fun  ideas includes making posters of the delicious quotes about Border Oak from the TV shows that have featured our houses recently - Grand Designs, Restoration Man and Building the Dream

And printing new postcards and new brochures
We have new designs to showcase, new products and new photos to display as well as a lot of new furniture to share.....come and flop on our gorgeous new sofas if your legs get a little weary.

And a quick cottage windows are in

 Extension is being weatherboarded

Garden walls and steps have been built and lime rendered

The interior has now been insulated and also plaster boarded

A timber stud wall has been erected to take a radiator (rads a right nuisance I have discovered - underfloor heating is miles easier!)

And the windows have all been glazed and completed

Next week the extension is glazed and uncovered

And I had better start thinking of planting the garden.......maybe after the show though??

If Border Oak were to keep the cottage and offer it for holiday lets would any of you be keen to hire it? It is within a few metres of an award winning shop and tea room and so hot croissants and fancy coffee would literally be on your doorstep, if that helps persuade you? Would love to know if there was interest in a holiday let such as this as it might mean changing the plans for furniture etc.

But anyway - see you at the show!!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

another cottage update

So work is cracking on with the Victorian Cottage renovation - it is getting to the exciting part now.

So not much has changed in the sitting room - although the electricians and plumber have no started 'chasing out' to hide all the wires and pipes.  We are complete re wiring and have installed central heating, new boiler (there wasn't one) and connected to mains gas. Boring jobs but essential.

The new extension has a screed floor now, which is level with the existing floor - so feels a part of the old kitchen, not so much an 'add on'. We made the opening as wide as possible (hence the red steel) so that it gave a feeling of being all one room.

The DeVol kitchen ( has been ordered and will run along the old brick wall (where the yellow cable is) and in an 'L' shape across the back. We have kept it simple and streamlined which means we don't have any wall cupboards and therefore have limited storage and so will look our for an old battered cupboard/armoire to go in the new bit to hold glasses, plates etc etc. I am having a deep shelf along the entire width of the brick wall and three reclaimed metal factory lights as feature lighting.

The bathroom is taking shape - we have shortened the window so the loo can sit underneath without exposing yourself to church goers. And the big immersion heater cupboard is out so there is room for a bath. The basin will stay in this location (above)

The porch - this photo was taken before the roof was tiled - makes a huge difference to the look of the house but also the feel of it. So simple and yet so effective, and it looks as if it has always been there.

The extension is now tiled and with three roof lights so the next stage is fitting the joinery.

The external landscaping is also coming on - this is what you will see from the new extension and the upstairs (and others will see it from the back) and so will hopefully become a little sun trap and also good for wildlife and generally prettier. I'm thinking viburnum, white cosmos, Japanese amenomes, buxus, olive trees etc. The location of the cottage is wonderful - beyond the orange netting is the church yard and a little path to Pembridge's fantastic shop and tea room. And from the front steps you are literally stumbling distance from the New Inn..........

New front door - I was thinking of painting this  very dark, inky brown or dark grey but for now it is the Border Oak pale greeny/grey. Might get brave and experiment once it has been fitted.

And here are the beautiful replacement windows - exquisitely detailed with curved and lipped mouldings - ready for glass and Border Oak's blacksmith made hinges. The windows have been hand made locally by Border Oak's wonderful joiner and have been painted in situ (all of these windows are different because the windows they replace are all different. We couldn't use 'of the shelf'). The other clever thing (and I can't take the credit for this) is that we are getting the glass fitted before the windows are installed so that we don't have to use scaffolding - less expensive and easier too. Like I say - I can't take the credit for ideas like this as the project manager, Mark, is doing all the brain work on this job - but that is exactly why the Border Oak project managers are so valuable to any project - they bring so much experience, knowledge, practical skills and forward planning, and much of this you won't even know they have done for you. I know for a fact that I couldn't do all the creative stuff without someone taking control of the actual work.
More updates to follow but also some planning news, show news, brochure news and new project news coming soon.

Monday, 10 February 2014

cottage renovation update

Work has been racing ahead on the cottage renovation this week

Upstairs is now completely cleared and ready for electrics, radiators, patch plastering, carpets etc (but the windows need to be fitted first)
The windows are being made by hand and then painted at Border Oak before being installed next week, if the weather holds

I was going to retain the floor boards (painted white) but most of them are patched and also there are a few we are now going for seagrass upstairs.

the base for the extension was installed last week, in between the showers/storms and to be able to do this we had to install new drains and also move the electric metre (both of which are a bit of a nuisance and also expensive - but hey ho it needed doing)

And then on Friday I popped round to measure up a fence.........and opened the front door to discover this! A great big hole in the wall (don't panic - it is supposed to be there).

The amount of light that now floods through is incredible - when I took these pics it was a dark,dank day but the new kitchen space is remarkably bright.
It also makes a huge difference to see the church beyond straight from the front door
Everything feels so much larger too.

So, the sink will be where the yellow tubing is - the cooker will sit on the wall with the concrete blocks
It is a really great space now, and so much easier to see how the space will work as an actual house. Before you had to go into the sitting room to be able to get to the back door via the corridor like kitchen. Now we have a hallway leading to a generous kitchen which looks onto the garden and the church, with full length glass and an independent sitting room.

So this is from the sink area to the stairs

The garden and the church beyond - just thinking of some landscaping ideas at the moment

 Upstairs the old water cylinder cupboard has come out giving us some more room to play with

And then this afternoon I drop in to see what else I needed to organise and saw that the extension was pretty much up! It looks brilliant and it is quite exciting to see the volume of the space that will be created by something so simple.
It is also exciting to see that oak framing really does go with everything!
New windows next week and then the fun can begin inside.
Better crack on with bathrooms and kitchens and flooring and lighting and paint colours.........