Tuesday, 30 November 2010

No 3

The kitchen was made by Sambourne Kitchens to a Border Oak design - it is fully integrated with a dishwasher, washing machine and fridge behind the doors. We added a small dresser/larder for storage. The oak shelf was made by my cousin to my design as I didn't want too many wall units.

My cousin also made this pin board I designed - I have used one of my many antique sheets (that usually sit in a cupboard somewhere so ben won't moan about me buying more old sheets that aren't for making beds with - he finds it very confusing. I knew that I would find a purpose for the antique linen one day!)
The Shaker boxes are from Border Oak and similar chairs can be found at many of the antique shops in Leominster, Ludlow or Hay - I think this was about £100 - miles better value than a new chair I think.

I especially like the landing. Here we rejigged the floor and balustrade to create a few extra square feet - not much I know but it makes the landing feel completely different. And originally the ceiling was flat but it seemed a shame to hide the oak frame, so we added a velux roof light and a handmade eco wall light (made by local potter Yen Robinson) and now the landing is bright, full of texture and interest. It is also big enough for the bathroom door to open onto the landing , making the bathroom more spacious.

I love this bed! I bought if from Tinsmiths about 5 years ago and it has served Min well - Gabriel will now sleep in it and the cot can be given away..........the baby days are officially over I guess? Boo hoo!
Anyway, the star garland is easy to make and the box file was from Llewellyn and Co in Hay. The rabbit lamp was from........um.........I have forgotten! sorry. And the cowboy picture (in honour of my father who likes cowboys - not in a Brokeback mountain sort of way I must stress - more in a leather chaps sort of way, which is not much better is it? Lets just say he has wanted a cowboy outfit for a while, oh lord I am making him sound like one of the Pet Shop Boys.....I will leave this subject now - oh dear) anyhoo the picture is by Belle and Boo.
The tatty old box is just one of my 'finds' that other people can't believe I actually paid money for. I have a lot of tatty stuff - which is different to tatt.

Ad here is a view from one bed to the other - lovely.
External photos and floor plans to follow.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

No 2

This is the back door - painted in F&B french grey. I really like the painted timber against the oak and lime render and hope the stainless steel handle avoids any 'olde worlde' trap?
The wreath was made by a local lady - her company is called Bare Blooms - and cost a mere £15!! I usually make my own but don't think I could have found anything as pretty for under twenty pounds.

This is probably my favorite view, from one end of the cottage to the other - and I think is illustrates how using a simple palette throughout the house can give a continuity and harmony (the sofa is the same colour as the kitchen units and we used Linnet White by Dulux everywhere else, even the ceilings).

The woodburner was salvaged from another derelict cottage - but with a spray of paint and some new glass it was good as new. I made the butterfly picture using the love letters I sent to ben when we were younger - I think the sentiment was lost on him!!

You can just see the patio garden through the beautifully wide French doors - I designed some raised oak beds with an oak bench built between and then planted the beds very simply with large box balls and two conical yew trees. It made a huge difference and looks very smart. I planted white flowers and shrubs everywhere else with box hedging lining all the paths and a run of lavender along the back.

The hallway worked out very well in the end - I was so worried it would feel claustrophobic but by leaving the kitchen door off, lining up the wc wall and setting the stairs back it actually felt roomy and inviting. There was actually plenty of space for a desk and somewhere to hang coats and put on wellies too. Behind the oak door is a loo. The mirror on the desk was made by my cousin to my design - I bought some 'antiqued' glass scraps when I went to see my bestest ever chum last year, then found a warped bit of carved and painted wood at a local reclaimation yard. Having a carpenter cousin is very handy and I think he is used to my strange requests and always does a great job. He also made the desk for me too. The handrail was made by the Border Oak blacksmith - we got it right eventually!

Friday, 26 November 2010

teeny tiny cottage - installment 1

So, I studied (very carefully) all your thoughts and considered your recommendations most seriously and it transpires that your most requested requests were:
1. More small houses
2. More interiors
3. Information on the items and products within

And so I proudly bring to you a diddy little house with lots of interior shots of which I will let you know where the stuff came from! Now that should cheer up your weekend - snow or no!

Here is installment No 1............and beware, there are quite a few photos to come (I will nudge you to wake you up some time on Sunday)

Sitting room - special features = extra wide french doors, rounded fireplace sides, oak floor. We found fabulous reclaimed flags with rounded edges for the fire hearth and used handmade bricks laid with lime mortar provide texture.

Kitchen - open plan to the hallway (which helps both rooms feel larger and less partitioned), matt granite work tops, eco friendly down lights. I used oak boards throughout the ground floor to streamline the view through and avoid any thresholds or change in levels. It is around 110m square in size so every trick that gives the impression of space is crucial.

Front bedroom - vaulted ceiling and handmade painted windows finished with fabulous silk blinds (the blinds throughout were made by the marvellous Marina - a past client who now makes all sorts of soft furnishings - these are the best Roman blinds I have seen, and believe me I have seen a few).
Main bedroom - both bedrooms are very generous doubles, which I thought was better than have three pokey rooms. I love this space as it is symmetrical and the exposed oak is just right. The photos here show the oak as a darker shade than real life - but we styled the photos on a VERY dark day so the light played a few tricks on us.

Simple classic white bathroom suite with 1930's style rectangular tiles. And although the suite is simple the room was far from - we went through about a zillion possible layouts and couldn't quite fit a shower in but in the end it worked very well. The best decision was probably swapping the door so it opened onto the landing rather than into the bathroom. I have a bit of a 'thing' about the way doors open - sad but true.

Well as I said, installments of more photos coming to you throughout the weekend with details of the products in the main pics. Enjoy.

panorama drama

A client very kindly sent us some lovely photos of his oak garden room and porch and also added a clever set of panoramic photos of two Border Oak cottages we are building next door to him. We often find that our projects come in clusters like this - seems the Border Oak word spreads like a panoramic lens...........

The cottages are a Halfpenny with glazed lean to (thats the woody one) next to a Suckley type Pearmain Cottage (a bit like mine) and I think they make a really good pair. And the plot looks fabulous doesn't it? Can't wait to see these two once they are finished.

p.s The porch and garden room look great too don't they?

Thursday, 18 November 2010

drum roll please........

So firstly a MASSIVE thank you for all comments, suggestions and general all round niceness.
It is great to know you like the blog and even better to know what you would like to see - I will aim to please!

And so enough of that, I really should just get on with the important news - announcing the lucky, randomly selected, winner of the Border Oak goodie box...........so without any further prevarication..........here is how we came across the winner........ha ha ha!

I wrote all your names (including those who who emailed me at work) onto some slips of paper, folded them and put them all into my beautiful mixing bowl (it says full, half full and empty in typewriter font which I think is adorable and makes the bowl, well, a pleasure to mix in) sorry, where was I? Oh yes, all the names went into the bowl and Minerva (who is dressed like a slightly mad old lady because she is poorly and our 'sick day' rules include wearing whatever you like and watching Mary Poppins as many times as you can while eating chocolate biscuits under the cashmere blanket and no chores - lucky children eh?)

Anyway to build the suspense here is a picture of Gabriel - who didn't get to pull out a name but did get to play with the Kitchen Aid and lick the bowl..........

And here is my wonderful niece Willow who popped by just as were picking out a name and had no idea what we were up to but so wanted to pull out another name - therefore we have a 'runner up' who will also receive a little prize (congratulations Alison!) But the first name out was...................


Min's reading is getting pretty good but neither of us could pronounce this name! She, however, was very very excited that a rabbit had won our competition.

So if Alison and Sacarleysrabbits could send me a message with their addresses I will pop your parcels in the post.

All of your ideas were useful and interesting and I will now make sure that I blog about all the bits and bobs you mentioned. Some of the ideas (self build diary, photo case studies etc) will make their way onto the Border Oak website. Here on the blog I will put more effort into smallish houses and making sure you get a regular bit of oaky eye candy and info on where to find the 'stuff' that creates the "Border Oak Look". It's going to be fun - thank you!


We would love to see lots of prospective house builders at our open day - a development of three bespoke oak houses in a courtyard complex, with air source heat pumps, oak outbuildings and lots of interesting features.
We don't hold many open days and so this is a great opportunity to come and look at our work and get some inspiration.
Call the office to book an appointment and leave your details.
We will have mince pies and mulled wine so you can linger whilst browsing our portfolios.

See you there!

ps later tonight - the winners of my first ever give away -it's so exciting I can barely breathe!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

last chance saloon

Just a reminder that there are just two days left to leave a comment and enter the draw for a bag of goodies - I will randomly select a name on Wednesday to win a selection of treats (including a limited edition Border Oak mug - I know, I know, so exciting you are all jumping around your kitchens as I type!)

All you need to do is leave a little comment about what you would like to see on this blog and hey presto you could be a winner - it could be you!!

And to keep you going, here is a little teaser of next weeks blog.........the long awaited teeny tiny cottage I have been building with my dad (well strictly speaking, he paid for it, I chose stuff for it and other people who have 'real' skills actually built it).

enjoy your weekend!!

ps if you can get a friend to comment I will add your name in to the draw twice (but make sure they let me know who told them about the blog) easy!

Monday, 8 November 2010

reader survey

I just wanted to thank you all for reading my blog - I know I am sporadic, unfocused and that the post are all a bit samey (too much oak framing?) but it is wonderful to think that people like Border Oak houses.

When I started it I really had no idea just how many of you would bother to check back in each week. I am really touched that somewhere, in the techno ether, there are people reading about the houses, and about Border Oak and my family. Ben found the blog stats on the weekend and it has freaked me out a bit to know that anyone actually reads it but I promise to try and make it better and more regular now that I do know. Apparently I have quite a following in the Ukraine (well 2 readers) and also a regular visitor from Afghanistan too (hello to you all!) which is exciting.

And so to say thank you to you all for your interest and loyalty I am holding a 'giveaway' (that's what real bloggers do yes?) and if you leave me a comment and let me know what you would like to see more of on my little blog I will enter you into a draw to win some Border Oak goodies (well, maybe some 'normal' stuff too- it will be lovely I promise). I will keep the competition open for a week or so. I love reading all your comments and your thoughts so please let me know what you like and don't like and what I need to do more of to keep you all happy!

Thank you so much.

some sunny skies........

The weather here is officially rubbish - and so I guess this is the beginning of many bad hair days for me (think Michael Jackson from the Jackson 5 era).

It was bad enough at the village bonfire party where I wandered round a muddy field in the rain looking for Ben and Minnie for nearly an hour - only to find they had decided to go back home without us - but by that point I looked like a cross between King Charles the Second and a boufant poodle. And the school run this morning in torrential rain, gale force winds with a push chair and an umbrella was not a good look. I almost thought about phoning school and saying Min was a bit 'under the weather' (see, not really a lie but more of a difference of interpretation?) but decided my own vanity shouldn't scupper the education of my children..........that is my dedication to motherhood.

Anyhoo - here are some photos with lovely sunny skies to remind us all that we are a nation of distinct and beautiful seasons. Which reminds me - I have taken the last of this years photos (and yes the weather was rubbish then too) so will post the new pics here sometime this week. And then hopefully I can concentrate on the new website (I have decided to be firm and maybe a tad pushy to ensure that the site is up and live in a reasonable time - ie before 2012) If any of you have some favorite websites that you think really work, or look amazing, or push the boundaries (in a good way) do let me know. All ideas gratefully stolen - I mean 'borrowed'.