Timber cladding…

Have just finished the timber cladding on the dining room and side of the kitchen.

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Lots of different stages to get to this point, including insulating, fixing breather membrane to make it all waterproof and fixing first the vertical then the horizontal battens. The existing windows were painted with upvc paint primer then an external grey paint. New aluminium cill extenders were added over the existing cills and galvanised steel downpipes and gutter was fixed.

A real transformation and also much better insulation!

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Project shack: technical building drawings…

I’ve been doing some research into the various ways of constructing the shack and have found a great technical drawings pdf which shows a load of construction details – very useful in getting the order of materials right.

Silvatec Design Standard Details – September 09

Page 12 has the detail for the timber cladding option on timber frame, which right now seems to be the approach we’ll go for. This is intended to be a fully functioning part of the house, so it has to be fully insulated, powered, water-tight etc.

Here are some images of what we’ve let ourselves in for – our existing shed. This is going to make a great ‘before and after’ post at the point it’s all finished : )

At the moment, much of the stuff in there can either be used to construct the new shack or stored in a much smaller metal unit to the side of the house (things like gardening tools).

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Project Shack: dimensions and notes…

So, the first stage has been to work out what we actually want to do inside the shack and what its purpose is. The main things so far are the bedroom space, music, gatherings and art, possibly with a home cinema element thrown in : )

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One of the main sources of materials for the ‘new’ shack will be our existing single-storey bathroom/utility space at the back of the house. We’re going to be using the timber, bricks and blocks from that structure as much as we can in the new shack, while at the same time building building an outside room space in its place, with adjacent vegetable patch, so we aren’t so reliant on travelling over to the allotment.

I’ve just measured the existing shed, inside and out, and factored in the extra space needed. The red colours indicate the finished internal space. The green section is the existing concrete block walls, inside which we’ll use 100mm (approx) of insulation, with plasterboards over that.

On the outside of the concrete blocks, we’ll fix an external weather proof layer, which at this point is going to be vertical timber cladding. So the blocks will form the structural element, with the cladding being the part which is visible. There’s also an idea to use blocks as the base layer of wall up to the bottom of the windows, with timber frame for the rest. This would be more sustainable and could be quicker to build. This depends on the quantities of materials we have and what sort. Whatever we have we’ll use.

So, more soon and roll on the Spring!

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Project Shack: the first piece of the jigsaw…

This the first post in a new series on my blog (drum roll)… I give you Project Shack!

What is ‘Project Shack’?

We are going to build a new shed / shack / lodge at the bottom of our garden, which will give us another space for a whole variety of things which will enhance our lives. This is where I can use my decks and do the mixing which would otherwise be too disturbing for other people in the house. It’s also a space for sleeping and will give us a third bedroom for guests. It’ll be a space where we can create art, sit and read, hold gatherings.

We’re going to do it using only second-hand, used, free, scrounged, reclaimed or recycled materials, with a major focus on natural materials. Some materials may not be free, but they must be previously-used or second-hand. There are two main reasons for this approach.

1) Less environmental impact and a more sustainable approach to building and living.

2) Lower overall cost, which means we can build this shack and still afford to eat!

I want to see how little money we can spend while still creating a warm, well-designed, functional and beautiful structure. I want this project to be an inspiring example for all the budding DIY and frustrated builders out there, who also have limited funds but big aspirations.

So, to underline our commitment to the project and as a first and very important piece to the jigsaw, we have just bought from Ebay two second-hand double glazed windows…

Conservatory windows

These bad boys cost only £40.00, maybe saving £400.

2 x UPVC double glazed Windows

Dimensions = h 1400mm, w 738mm, d 60 mm

‘Two fixed panel windows (none opening). They were left over from my conservatory and are still in the packaging. Just been in my shed getting in the way for around a year so selling them cheap to get rid of them.’

This is a great example of something second-hand but still virtually brand new. Something discarded by the previous owner which wouldn’t otherwise have been used, and in their original packaging. Triple bargain. These are large windows, each 1.4m tall, giving a total area of glazing of just over 2m squared.

I’ll post some of the designs for the shack which we’ve been working on and hopefully will be able to post regular progress reports.

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Kitchen extension ideas…

Some great gallery images of kitchen extensions on http://www.housetohome.co.uk.

All images courtesy of: http://www.housetohome.co.uk/galleries

We’ve gone through just about every possibility of extending our living space, all of which so far have been beyond are very modest budget! My latest idea is to simply use the existing shell of the kitchen and utility area and to just redesign the space into a kitchen / dining room area, with large double French doors onto the garden.

This will mean no knocking down walls, building new walls, moving drains, laying foundations, no skylights etc. It will just mean putting a new pitched and tiled roof on the existing utility room (it’s a flat roof at present) and extending the walls up a bit.

The other main thing will be to insert a load-bearing steel lintel to support the end gable of the house, allowing us to open up the existing space into a single space. This may sound complicated but it just involves propping up the existing walls with removable steel supports then sliding in the new steel. We’d get a builder to do this and the roof and we’re getting quotes right now. Hopefully it’ll be affordable!

The connection to the garden is really important and means we would be able to see the kids without needing to be right by them outside. It would also improve our connection to the seasons and outside, including more light, better views and an improved feeling of space inside.

All the other jobs we can do ourselves, such as getting a new window for the kitchen, finding and installing the French doors to the garden, fitting a new kitchen, painting and decorating. I feel some major Doing Yourself In coming!

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Halo light sculpture…

An awesome light sculpture by Valerie Boy, on the Apartment Therapy website.

Photo courtesy of http://www.apartmenttherapy.com

This uses powder-coated metal which is cut out around the edges of the pattern to produce a halo effect – very detailed work and a great idea!

An easy way to achieve a similar effect would be to cut out multiple stencil patterns which are then stuck on a canvas, with a darker (or non-transparent) paint layer sprayed over. Once the stencils are removed the spaces would let the light through – slightly more rough than this but probably quicker : )

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First fire autumn 2012…

The first day of autumn and also the Autumn Equinox – when the period of night and day are meant to be in exact alignment.

It just so happened that this was the day we got the fire and chimney swept and fixed. The guy took about 30 minutes to sweep the chimney, clean out the stove, replace the back fire brick, fix the turning plates and replace the smoke rope. Bargain.

Claire also applied the stove polish all over it to protect it from rust, while me and the boys got a full stack of firewood in from the end of the garden. So we’re now enjoying toasty wood fires again! : )

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Built-in wardrobe construction…

I know what we’ll do during the wet holiday from work – build a new wardrobe!

The timber frame took me part of 2 days to finish, the plasterboarding took another day and the final wooden edging around all the corners took another part of a day. I mainly used 2×3 inch (5 x 7cm) smooth planed timber, held with a combination of long wood screws and corner metal brackets.

Claire finished off the whole thing by doing a grand job filling the plasterboard joins and then decorating. She also painted the head end wall (previously pink!) and some areas of the ceiling. She also made the curtains from fabric from the big blue and yellow shop (Ikea).

Just have to fit a door for the top storage section and a door stopper to stop the door hitting the side of the wardrobe!

That’s phase 34 of the house renovation (nearly) done…

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Hanging fabric strands…

A couple of images of hanging fabric after its first wash. This will be used for the new built-in wardrobes in our bedroom!

Very exciting!

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Ikea – the home of crazy fabrics…!

Which one to choose? Some very nice fabrics at Ikea and the chips and gravy is the best!

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Fairy light reflections…

A new installation of fairly lights in the kitchen produces some nice effects!

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