Sunday, 16 January 2011

the open day from December 2010

I have finally sorted through the photos of the open day we held in hampshire before Christmas. It really was a lovely day (although I felt a bit strange as I had wisdom tooth trouble and the antibiotics were a tad strong!) and we met some great people - some new friends and some old chums.

The project we were lucky enough to borrow is complex of three cottage/barns arranged in a courtyard, each with a different look, as if a range of old outbuildings had been converted/remodelled into houses. Although not entirely complete on the day (the previous two weeks had been hampered by the snow) the properties looked beautiful. It was very kind of the owners to let the Border Oak team (and more than 110 potential customers, including some lovely blog readers - thanks for coming!) look around their properties. We will be hosting a whole range of open days in 2011 and hope to see you at one of them perhaps?

The back of one of the houses shows the vernacular mix of materials we chose to give the project an organic softness - the brickwork was especially admired on the day. The low eaves make this property similar to a bungalow, but with a projecting gable to improve the head height upstairs - so it doesn't look like (or feel like) a bungalow.
 The corner unit is the largest and had lots of interesting features - one of my favourite features was the large oak frame with glazing for the hallway section as seen here.  I also liked the idea of the passage to divide the properties (planning restrictions wouldn't allow 'detached' houses, so this a clever idea and gives access to individual garden spaces to the rear)

The owners will sell these two properties (they have had several offers already and hope to market the barns in the very near future) and their daughter lives in the third.

There are two separate cartsheds for garaging, which looked amazing - much better than having a patch of tarmac divided into the requisite allocated parking spaces you normally have to provide for multiple dwellings don't you think?

A great example of an inglenook fireplace that protrudes into a room rather than sits on the outside of a house - this is between the two larger barns. I am quite geeky about inglenook proportions and was therefore delighted/relieved to see this - simple but just right (and so easy to get wrong - trust me!)

The corner of this house was glazed - the oak part is fixed while the white joinery is two sets of sliding folding doors - bright, contemporary, beautiful and unexpected (and very popular with visitors).

I liked this bit so much I came home and redrew the plans for my fantasy home (what? don't you all have sketches of your dream home? I have floor plans, furniture layouts, material spec, landscaping plans, fabric/wallpaper samples - everything bar the plot or any money. Don't worry, it's not as sad as it sounds - oh, Ben tells me that it is tragic rather than sad). But just look how lovely all that oak and glass is. And because the oak frame isn't plastered everywhere else in the house it really has impact when used like this.

The other end of the same room - just enough oak frame to make sense - lots of space and further enhanced by a utility room and large walk in cupboards/pantry too.

and the outside of the kitchen is here - and you can see the mixture of materials here , oak, glass, weatherboard and brick. getting this right is crucial and I think it is something Border Oak do really well. These materials will all weather beautifully and will work well with the gardens once planted.

Anyway what do you think ? Were you there on the day? Would you like to come to one of our open days? And what kind of property would you like to see? Just drop me a comment and I will do my best to serve!

I have posted some of our amateur photos here but have also just commissioned professional pictures (if the sun ever returns?) so will post those here too (or maybe on the new Border Oak website - which, at long last, should go live in March. Just in time for the NEC show where we are building an entire house in 5 DAYS - yes, that's exactly what I thought when I heard!) You HAVE to come to the NEC National Homebuilding and Renovating Show to see if we pull it off. No seriously - you HAVE to come. Otherwise all the work, grey hair, wrinkles, not to mention money, would be pointless.
5 Days to build a house - even the Germans would laugh in their leiderhosen at that schedule.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

2011 - a win win year for Border Oak

I do hope that you all had a peaceful and relaxing festive season and that the New Year has treated you well so far. I had a deliciously lazy holiday with my wonderful family and fabulous friends - and did absolutely nothing for the longest period I can ever recall, which is why I have been a terrible blogger (not that didn't want to 'post a post' for you but more that I hadn't got anything interesting to tell you). Please accept my deepest apologies (that is if there is anyone still loyal enough to be reading this!)

But 2011 has got off to a great start work wise with the amazing news that two of our projects have won prestigious awards and January sees us with Front Cover features in both Homebuilding and Renovating and Build It! AMAZING!

 Do you remember me spouting on about this barn conversion / remodelling / new build / extension / restoration project? Well it was awarded Best Conversion by The Daily Telegraph/Homebuilding and Renovating Self Build Awards and features in the HB &R issue that is on the shelves right now. I am so very happy for the owners who have worked hard for many years, with dedication and vision to save a building from the rubble (and they were great to work for too - a pleasure!)
 And when you look at the views you can see why the new oak and glass extensions were needed - a plot that most of us can only dream about I guess........

And we also heard, just before Christmas break, that the pretty cottage below has also won an award in the Federation of Master Builder Awards and will now go forward for the overall national prize at a ceremony in London in March  - hosted by Phil Spencer (it will be interesting to see if his 'energy' is quite the same with Kirstie by his side?Who will boss him around or tell him what to think?)

This lovely oak framed  house ( a three bedroom cottage in a Shropshire market town) is much more 'typical' -  the plot was part of the owners garden and they opted for a complete build package by Border Oak.

So it just shows that both sides of the self build coin can deliver remarkable - hey, lets blow the trumpet "Award Winning" - results (that is if you chose the right company to help you of course!)

I can't wait to bring you more Border Oak news throughout 2011 - and I will never leave you for so long again (well maybe next Christmas perhaps)

Well that is enough of the celebration news (ie boasting) I will sign off now with goodwill and my very best wishes for The New Year  (if it wasn't 3.20 in the afternoon and I didn't have a school pick up to orchestrate and some brochures to redesign I might have cracked open a bottle of fizz and toasted the new year and awards with a few glasses of bucks fizz........I really shouldn't.........should I?)