Monday, 31 May 2010

some new houses.......

Every now and then the project managers (the men in charge of the building sites and who organise the build schedules etc) will send me some pics of houses 'under construction'. I love this as I don't often get to visit the far away houses - and it helps me decide if I need to take professional photos later on. I thought I would share some of the photos I received in May.

The first illustrates the garden buildings we have provided for a show garden at Majestic Trees, nr St Albans. As one of the foremost mature tree nurseries in the UK, Majestic will be showcasing their design and landscaping skills at this wonderful new garden they are creating at the HQ - including, of course, lots of big trees - and an equally humungous lake by the looks of things. It will be open to the public so you can all pop along and see the gorgeous Border Oak garden buildings and buy a tree. Don't rush there yet though, still a bit of work to do..........

Ben found this photo on the internet - it's an extension we built last year. Would make a brilliant studio/playroom wouldn't it?

This next one makes me giggle - can you see the dinky bungalow to the right hand side? Well, I am guessing that as the new house is virtually complete the rickety old bungalow's days are numbered! I wonder if houses have feelings? This must be the equivalent of your husband leaving you for a younger, fitter, prettier woman. Awful. But at least the new house will be warm.......
Really looking forward to seeing the landscaping and interiors of this house as I already love the way it looks - a bit of glass, smidge of brick, lots or oak, painted windows, not too ostentatious, lovely plot.........uh oh, 'House Envy' alert.

And the house below is definitely on my House Envy radar - it is not too far away from here but I am too afraid to go and see it as I know that it is going to be nicer than our house. How do I know? Well in the weatherboarded barn section you can see here, there is a beautiful vaulted cruck frame, open to the rafters.........imagine the parties you could have in such a great huge room. And I LOVE the dark grey windows. It reminds me of the undercoat you often see when shop fronts are being repainted -and I have always been a tad peeved to see the top colour conceal the grey. The Border Oak showhouse will have dark grey windows like this too.

And finally this is the other side of the Bungalow Buster. Looks good from all sides I think.

Will post again in June - JUNE!! Where is the year vanishing to? Lord above, I will be 40 in the blink of an eye at this rate (well, 7 years to be precise). Can someone please slow things down?

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

More of the cottage

As promised, here are some more photos of the Border Oak cottage we are building - just for fun!
When it is finished we will definitely have an open weekend so everyone can come and see the dinky little thing (actually it doesn't feel that small now the rooms are screeded and more proportional).
My next task is lighting - now here is the (my ) problem.........
My own natural leaning is towards semi industrial/reclaimed/nautical looking lights or perhaps fine hand crafted porcelain - both of which, of course, are expensive. Now, the cottage will probably be sold at some point and it's not my money I am spending so who is to say that the eventual owner will even like or appreciate my choice in top end British made lights? Therefore do I do the sensible thing and go for inoffensive, run of the mill stuff (ie not -at - all- expensive) and just get over myself? Hmm.......dilemma.

Monday, 10 May 2010

a des res for a dove or two?

You may remember my cousin, who made the marvelous Border Oak model whilst recovering from breaking his leg? Well he has started making some amazing 'mini' frames and other bits and bobs, using his fantastic oak framing skills and left over oak - including this beautiful bird's house. He has made a brilliant version based on the Pearmain Cottage porch, which has proved to be very popular (I will get a photo and post here) and also some useful oak plant tag things (you know, oak thingys you stick in the ground to identify the plant).

The Birds Houses start at around £380 and the plant things (I will remember their name at some point) are about £9 for 5 I think. Let me know if anyone is interested, all are made to order and are beautifully crafted, even with oak shingles on the roof and pegged joints like a real Border Oak house - nothing at all like your typical garden centre job.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

the key

The key on the topper is the actual key to my parents house - I know, it's ridiculous really. About 9 inches long and as heavy as Minerva, it's not exactly something you can pop in your pocket - but the good point is that its hard to lose.
Mum and Dad's house was the very first Border Oak home, built more than 3 decades ago - which makes Border Oak the oldest oak frame company in the world. Dad prefers to say 'knowledge and experience' rather than old. They still live there but now, thankfully have a much smaller front door key.

This year we are all celebrating Border Oak's 30th anniversary and I will hopefully bring you various 'vintage' snippets over the next few months as I rummage through our old photos and press cuttings - I think I even have a pic of Princess Anne at a Border Oak show somewhere.

Chedham's Yard - a new visitor centre

Did anyone watch the 'Restoration' series on the BBC last year? It was a fabulous series where various 'at risk' buildings across the UK competed to secure an incredible £1 million prize fund to pay for their repair and restoration. Dedicated and resourceful volunteers were filmed putting forward the unique architectural and social history to a panel of experts and then the public voted for the overall winner in a Grand Final.
The fantastic 2006 winning project was Chedham's Yard - an untouched blacksmithy and wheelwrights shop run by generations of the same family from a collection of barns, in Warwickshire. With the tools and materials still lying seemingly where they were placed the day the last of the Chedham's retired, it had an evocative atmosphere of a by gone age of craft manufacture that must have resonated with the viewing public - beating more grand and obvious buildings that were in peril.

Any way, the point of my ramblings is to let you know that Border Oak have been lucky enough to be awarded the contract to build the new visitor and education centre for Chedham's Yard, which has delighted everyone at the office and is a really exciting project to be involved in. We will be building a weather boarded barn so that the original workshops can be repaired and retained and the indescribable ambience can hopefully be preserved.
I can't wait to take my little ones to see it and promise to keep you updated of the progress.