Tuesday, 21 September 2010

do you remember this?

A while ago I added a post about an art studio and office - and boy, it was nice (and I was uber jealous)....do you remember? Well the clients were kind enough to let us send the Border Oak photographer to their beautiful home and here are the lovely pics. And I am still uber jealous.

The inky grey of the stairs and the front door is so striking and fantastic - coincidentally we have just chosen a dark grey paint for the 'little barn' at Border Oak. Dramatic and moody, but surprisingly comfortable too.
With an office downstairs with exposed oak and slate floor and a lofty, light studio above. But it could also provide guest lodgings, holiday lets, a retail space or even a straightforward 2 bed cottage. So many options whirling through my little brain!
The paint splattered trug and pots perfectly reflect the landscape beyond - encapsulated by the country flowers on the table taken from the garden.
A wonderful building, finished beautifully and an excellent blend of purpose and aesthetics. And nice photos too! Like I said - UBER jealous.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

a little taster

Well, I am trying to put together an open day for Border Oak, it just takes so much arranging - which I am rubbish at!

The plan is that Ben and I are going to open our house and possibly our neighbours oak framed farmhouse too. And we are also going to open the doors to the cottage Border Oak have been building about 10 mins away. It's nearly finished with just a bit of landscaping, snagging and carpets left to do. I will do a professional photo shoot there next month too so have to collect (beg, steal and borrow) furniture and props to fill it. Luckily I have found one of our lovely past clients now has a 'cottage industry' (pun intended!) making roman blinds and cushions etc so she is making blinds from beautiful fabrics for us. But to tease you I am posting some pics here to give you an idea of what it looks like. I think it is very pretty and am very pleased with the end result - what do you think?

And when I have the 'real' photos I will post lots and lots so you can see what a difference a professional photographer makes!
I'm really pleased with the kitchen - its a smokey grey with a hint of green in a simple but detailed style and continuous kick board. It also has a matt granite work top and an induction hob....oooh I really want an induction hob in my fantasy kitchen - I thought I wanted an Aga but an induction hob is the way to go- with a boiling water tap and a concrete and rough oak counter.......sorry what was I saying? Oh yes, the kitchen, it has a slim line dishwasher, fridge, washing machine and to compensate for storage there is a dinky dresser too. Very smart.
And there is oak flooring throughout. very very smart.

The outside is sooooo pretty - and attracts a lot of attention from passers by. The windows are lovely and made by a fantastically talented joiner - he made my windows too - who sadly and suddenly he died last month.

Can you see the little oak window hoods? My dad really likes window hoods and so I like them too. And they have been very practical as there are three birds nests in the eaves (see - Border Oak houses are VERY eco friendly) and the hoods have stopped the passers by getting pooped on. Maybe I need an oak bird table to encourage the birds to poop somewhere else?

Thursday, 9 September 2010

thatched glory

Although lots of our work is now quite 'modern' in many ways, we are fortunate to still be commissioned to build a diverse range of traditional homes, and it is probably these homes where people are more prepared to invest in traditional rural skills and craftsmen. It is wonderful to be able to straddle the divide of cutting edge technology and development and the quintessential English craft. We are very lucky.

To illustrate the point - here's a pretty thatched house nearing completion - with a darling little bird on the ridge as a personal marker of the thatcher. And inside the frame will bear the personal marks of the Border Oak carpenter who handcrafted the oak. Ahhhhh........

detour part II

And this is the other house we visited on our way back from Hove.
I don't know if you could really call this a 'cottage' as it is actually quite big - but it has the essence of a country cottage, and all the cottagey features you would expect. I particularly liked the brick work (which is odd as I'm not normally fond of brick) and the roof tiles and also how the size of teh house had been cleverly diminished through the design.

Although we couldn't go inside on the weekend as it was all locked up - the project manager has sent me these photos. And I am pretty sure that once complete it will have beautiful gardens as our clients own a chain of garden centres!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

a gorgeous new house/barn (or three)

Mr A and I took the bambinos to Hove last week. We had ice creams, dipped our toes in the sea, and went to the zoo (I know, I know, I'm not keen on animals in captivity either, but when you are 5 and two seeing a monkey with a bright red bottom is still funny - it gets worse, I had to go on a Thomas the Tank engine train ride and wave energetically to a life size plastic Fat Controller, afterwards Min broke it to me gently that the FC wasn't real, desperately trying not to hurt my feelings. A bit like the time she said very politely that I probably shouldn't go jogging anymore because when I came back I didn't look very well.) so a good time was had by all. And on the way home we took a slight (3 hour) detour to visit some Border Oak projects currently underway. Both houses were stunning and I will share the second when I find the lead to upload pics - here is the first......

I already knew I was going to like this one as the drawings were great - but it was much nicer than even I had imagined.
It is a complex of barn type buildings, designed to look as if they are the outbuildings in the grounds of the house next door. The buildings are actually divided into three units (three beds each). I was particularly taken by the subtlety of the overall scheme but also the brilliant details and quirks that have made each 'unit' quite unique. And we have used lovely materials throughout so it al hangs together perfectly - vernacular but not pastiche.

The brick section will be one house, with an amazing garden room with wrap around oak framing with glazed panels. The weather boarded part is another 3 bed house and has a glazed central hall and a protruding sunroom. The third house sits at right angles to this and is attached by an oak covered walkway.

I know I am utterly biased but the quality of workmanship on Border Oak projects impresses me every time. I really like these little windows, and the bricks, mortar, lead flashing and arch detail make it a real point of interest. Fabulous.

This 'lean to' breaks up the flat and long elevation brilliantly and as it is glazed on three sides it makes a huge difference to the light and interplay with the eventual garden. I love the extra covered bit at the end too - a lovely place to have a chair and enjoy an Earl Grey.

This is the inside of the vaulted, wrap around, oak frame. I think the space will be amazing, and you can already see that the light will stream through and also give a little glimpse of who is coming and going. Perfect if you are a nosey neighbour like me.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

ta da!

Just another small way Border Oak can help transform your house. The infamous Border Oak porch, as seen on Grand Designs, Build Buy or Restore, My Flat Pack Home, Country Living, Country Homes and Interiors, Homebuilding and renovating, The Times, The Telegraph, The Express.................etc etc etc.

Looks good doesn't it?