Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The Artisan House - NEC 2011

Here are the photos of the completed Artisan House that we built at the NEC in 5 days. I thought you might like to see it.
The concept is pretty simple - a contemporary cottage that uses prefabricated 'cassette' panels to wrap around the internal green oak frame, insulated with recycled glass and incorporating a home office/studio for 21st Century Artisan's. We clad ours in kiln dried oak with a brick plinth laid with lime mortar.
The underlying aim was to make it highly thermal, natural, pragmatic and affordable so we up scaled the insulation, made it as airtight as possible, eradicated any thermal bridges, avoided any petrochemicals, toxic, or overly processed materials and used timber (all FSC certified), lime, clay and other natural materials that could be reused and were not environmentally harmful. The cost of a three bed (1400 sq ft) home (as pictured) is £112,000 fully built - but if you add in kitchens, bathrooms, decoration etc and all the renewable technology we used I think the COMPLETE house cost (ie ready to move in) would be about £160,000. That is pretty amazing for a home that meets CfSH level 4 and 5 I think.

We would love to hear your thoughts - things you like, things you are not sure about, what other features would you like to see in the expanding portfolio etc etc?

Anyhoo - here are some pics. I haven't added the photo of me being interviewed by Croatian TV - think Borat but with a lady (who asked me if the people lived in our houses with sheep and cows inside too). But maybe if you leave me enough comments I will post that picture too (don't get excited - its not that funny).

front  - the solar panels provide domestic hot water and the air source heat pump fires the underfloor heating

The oak pergola (or is it a verandah?) was a big success as it gave depth to the back elevation and was beautifully made. You can just see the PV panels in the middle - for electricity.

The projecting gable enabled us to have a family bathroom with space for a bath and a shower. The ensuite bathroom was huge so could be divided into dressing room/ bathroom. The jetty over the front door provides visitors with shelter and also adds projection and interest to the design.

The interior is light and simple - with just enough oak to give you the 'border oak' essence - without dictating the room.

Kitchen by DeVol - lights by Screwfix!

The woodburner was optioned as a back up heat source for our EPC /CfSH rating. We can get the house to level four (depending on plot specifics) or 5 (by using triple glazing and a few more renewables) but the basic fabric of the standard house is rated exceptionally well.

Painted windows in muted heritage shades, galvanised guttering, beautiful bricks, lime mortar and a rustic/modern edge are becoming some of Border Oak's trademark features.

And so I hope you like it - even if its not your cup of Earl Grey I hope it illustrates our craftsmanship and workmanship, and our commitment to building the finest sustainable homes for all sorts of people. Exciting times!

ps don't forget our Open House Day - April 22nd 10 am- 3pm.

Monday, 4 April 2011

open house day

Here is the invite to our 'open house' day on Good Friday. I do hope some of you can come.
We will be opening our house (based on the Pearmain Cottage) and the pretty oak framed cottage I blogged about for months - so you get to see a variety of cottages, new and old (well our house is 6 years old - does that equate to 'old'?) large and small (well, ours is about 1600 sq ft and the other house about 900 sq ft).

All you need to do is call the office (01568 708 752) and book a slot - Hannah will take your details and then send you directions.

We will have portfolios and brochures and a team of Border Oak people on hand to answer your queries.

Can't stop to chat though - I have a house to sort out!

Friday, 1 April 2011

farmhouse fantastic

I have some lovely friends who have recently completed their beautiful Border Oak home - and if you buy Ideal Home magazine this month you too can have a look at their wonderful oak framed farmhouse.
I have added some of the photos here, but there are lots more in the article itself. It has a vibrant, homely ambience that really jumps off the page - someone who visited their house recently even remarked to us that 'stepping inside was like being embraced in an oak hug' - high praise I believe! And even more wonderfully a baby is now on its way - thus proving the magical properties of a Border Oak home (I think that is a claim that requires independently verified scientific support - of which I have none). 

 The design is very classical Border Oak - one wing in full oak framing with a jetty (the sticky out upper level with lovely shaped feet and brackets), the other wing is SIPs and oak with a brick outer face.

The kitchen is arranged as a large living, cooking, eating space which works so well for families (and for entertaining I imagine - I have the same layout here but we never have people round, because Ben is not a social butterfly and finds it all a bit of a faff (aka as talking to people) , but my resolution for 2011 is to have lots of pals round and to drink lots of wine. Just to make sure that the open dining/cooking/living arrangement works of course - all in the name of research).

The hall way is open to the sitting room so both feel larger and less formal

Clever cupboards built into the eaves..........leading through to a posh en suite. My en- suite is just being painted (don't worry, by a professional not me) - so hopefully it will look clean, if not glamourous. Not sure is ANYTHING I have ever done could be called glamourous - maybe in the next house? I doubt it.

I like how the house is full of personality and fun - and I love this idea of a wall full of family and friends

I also love the big bold brave fabric choices - it works so well with the granite and the grey painted units.  My gorgeous new roman blinds by the ever amazing Marina (hello!) are ridiculously timid - stripes, plains and spots - all in grey, beige, cream etc. The nearest I got to crazy was a bit of floral - in french grey. I need to experiment.

Splashes of aqua thread the interior together which is furnished with a mix of inherited pieces and ebay finds - layers of textures, with some patina and resonance really work well with the new oak and natural materials I think.

And the plot is, quite simply, spectacular - on the edge of a beautiful village, large, with mature trees and surrounding farmland  = J-E-A-L-O-U-S

Rush out and buy yourself a copy of May Ideal Home - I shall be testing you all with a multiple choice exam.

The next post will be about the Border Oak open day (at my house and a nearby cottage) on Good Friday. And I also have a post to do regarding the NEC show - when I get the photos. And the website is crunching away (I think) along side our magazine/newsletter. So many balls in the air as usual! And I was supposed to be on holiday this week..............