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Building Progress ~ November 2010

Category: Barn Conversion Journal December 15th, 2010 by mbc

At last I’ve broken the strangle-hold that pointing has had on me! I’ve also gone back to being late making my monthly updates to the website (this one for November being written on the 15th of December) – swings & roundabouts I guess…

I’ve retired from pointing for 2010, probably in truth falling just a little bit short of the finishing line in relation to my original goals for the year. I have about a square metre to point at the top of the back wall and the gable end (6 or 8 square metres) to finish. We had a major (for Carmarthenshire) deluge of snow on the day that I intended to finish the back wall and the cold weather has put me off ever since.

Beyond pointing I’ve been busy in the bathroom, finishing the floor, mosaic tiling and boxing-in. As previously reported, we started some work on landscaping the garden, first with a digger and I then started to level the patio area by hand with a pick & shovel and plan to lay flag stones on sand in the area shortly. I’ve also started to build a small ‘hut’ around the external tap that stands rather proudly at the front of the barn. My ‘tap hut’ is another victim of the weather as it’s been too cold to play work with my new concrete mixer to mix up the mortar and aggregate mix I need to finish the ‘hut’.

I’ve also got a satellite dish to install, but that’s a job for December and all those Christmas repeats on TV…

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planners have a lot to answer for…

Category: Books November 12th, 2010 by mbc

As usual, I must agree with Roger Deakin…

Planners have a lot to answer for on the commons. Roof heights are all wrong now. The monster executive villas dwarf the older, vernacular language of the Suffolk houses, which all more or less had the same roof height and alignment. Planners have allowed the scale and alignment of the houses round the perimeter of the commons to go out of kilter altogether. So we have lost the graceful natural proportions of vernacular building.

Roger Deakin in Notes from Walnut Tree Farm, page 113.

Another quote of Roger Deakin having a moan-up , but he does have a very valid point – there are far too many ‘monster executive villas’ in Carmarthenshire as well. Personally, I can’t reconcile the huge, generic, colonnaded, brick piles springing up in and around the traditional villages of the county with the strict rules around conversions being ‘in-keeping’ with a disneyesque view of how buildings in the countryside should look.

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Transition Town Llandeilo

Category: News May 4th, 2008 by mbc

Llandeilo has been grabbing headlines recently with talk of launching its own currency under the banner of being the first transition town in Wales. The transition town movement concerns itself with tackling two major challenges, Peak Oil and Climate Change. The approach to tackling these challenges is by broadly applying permaculture principles, considering energy efficiency and methods for local self sufficiency in food, waste disposal and manufacturing. The goals are to reduce the carbon footprint of transition communities and to prepare them to be better disposed to weather any negative effects of a future impacted by reduced availability of oil and oil based products.

The Llandeilo project began in Spring 2007 and has since spawned a number of sub-groups:

* Allotments
* Food and Farming
* Renewable Energy
* Permaculture
* Afallon Teilo – a project to encourage the local production of apples
* ‘Heart and Soul’ – the psychology of Energy Descent
* Diwylliant a Iaith – (Welsh) culture and language

In terms of analogy and comparison, Jonathan Dawson in an article for the New Statesman draws an elegant branch on the family tree of sustainable communities between small transitional communities (ecovillages to use Jonathan’s terminology) and medieval monasteries.

Interesting times and interesting opportunities.

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Gas Pipeline Woes

Category: Barn Conversion Journal June 23rd, 2007 by mbc

A rainbow rose over the pipeline today!

I must admit I loathe the thing. It’s a great example of the way that big corporate culture rules this country and steam-rollers everything in its way, be that our heritage (Roman road found at gas pipeline) or our opinions (Final pipeline protester removed).

the gas pipeline

It is also an example of our governments inability to join any two thoughts together. They talk zero carbon, they talk green then allow this monstrosity to cut a wide swathe across some of our most ancient and beautiful countryside, bringing a dwindling supply of gas to fuel our inefficient heating systems in our poorly designed & insulated homes.
(Aside: I wonder if the same thing would happen across the Cotswolds with its weekend deluge of migratory Range Rovers?)

In relation to the barn, it cuts its way across the countryside all around, making a half circle around us, but thankfully not coming too close, the drone of diggers and clank of machinery a counterpoint to the bird song.

We drove to Warwickshire along the M50 last weekend and there it was, poking its yellow serpentine head towards us a Newent.
(Another Aside: I’m sure as a work of engineering it’s very impressive and a great achievement ~ but what if all that effort had been put into something really worthwhile?)

It’s obvious that there’s no stopping it now, so I’ve resigned myself to it and just look forward to it disappearing beneath the ground and to the landscape being restored (as has been promised). Then perhaps that rainbow could be truly enjoyed.

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Progress

Autumn 2013

Right that’s the summer over with, now I can get on with some real work without the distractions of other things (like holidays and playing with children, all that enjoyable stuff that gets in the way of progress)… With few major jobs (painting, boxing in – nasty stuff!) left inside, mainly fiddly things that need […]

I’m having a moan on twitter… https://twitter.com/barnconversion/status/368427314868396032

A lovely Flemish barn conversion

I love the interior of this conversion and the great use of horizontal slats on this conversion. I retains the essential ‘barnyness’ of the building… flemish-barn-by-arend-groenewegen-architect

Coming soon, my barn conversion guide… Interesting earthship greenhouse project on Kickstarter

I really like this Kickstarter project >> The Farm of the Future: Earthship-Inspired Greenhouse This project is “Prototyping the First 100% Off-The-Grid, Affordable, Low-Maintenance Greenhouse using Earthship Principles and Aquaponics“. If any of those words meaning anything to you you’ll be interested in the project if not, pass it by… It’s already funded so I […]

Barns

Barns Gallery on Remodelista

There is a lovely gallery of barn related inspirational photographs available on Remodelista.

Barns – the Long House

Situated on the North Norfolk coast, this is a building to admire…

Barns – the Balancing Barn

A stunning piece of architecture, although not entirely to my taste…

New fast-track planning permission for the development of barns proposed

The Daily Mail reports on a new fast-track route through planning controls for the conversion of barns…

De-assembled, re-assembled, re-cycled barns

“A bit like a private sector, modernising, repurposing St Fagan’s…”

Design

What is a shadow gap?

A shadow gap – a mysterious dark place between two plains…

Your barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Thoughts on making YOUR barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Building Regulations, Approved Documents Part D – Toxic substances

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents Part D – Toxic substances

Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture

Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part B Fire safety

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part B Fire safety

Architecture

Your barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Thoughts on making YOUR barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

The Stirling prize 2012 winner – the Sainsbury Laboratory

The 2012 Stirling prize was won by a outsider, the Sainsbury Laboratory…

The Stirling prize 2012

I think that this years Stirling prize has some exciting projects on the shortlist…

Our engineers … our architects – Le Corbusier

The efficient, shiny world of construction in 1923…

Design in Storage

When designing a layout it’s easy to forget to plan for storage…

News

Green Deal slow beginnings?

Oh dear! The green deal hasn’t got off to a very auspicious start… As reported in the Telegraph today since it was launched nearly a year ago just 12 homes have taken advantage of the Green Deal with a few hundred more in the pipeline. 71,210 households had been assessed for Green Deal measures such […]

The property roller coaster – planning reform to be rethought

Eric Pickles vague compromise on planning reform keeps the house happy (for now).

Energy policy, smoke screens, fracking, confusion and big bucks

There seems to be only one thing that is certain in the world of energy policy and that is that costs will rise annually above and beyond anything that inflation can currently throw at us. Beyond that, smoke screens & confusion seem to reign. Take the recent news for example… It’s reported today that the […]

Flanking manoeuvres and good design…

It seems that the government are undertaking flanking manoeuvres on the green belt…

Green Deal Launch

The Green deal launched in the UK on Monday of this week. Fanfares? fireworks? a deluge of marketing? … read more …

Plaid Cymru’s Green New Deal promise

The leader of Plaid Cymru has promised a “Green New Deal” to rejuvenate the Welsh economy and help maintain Wales’ position at the forefront of Green policies.

Permitted development extension limits to be doubled

The government is due to announce a temporary increase in the maximum depth of extensions that can be built under permitted development rules.

Lloyd Khan, making shelter simple.

I wanted to share an interview with Lloyd Khan that I recently found…

Just what is ‘sustainable development’?

Sustainable development – with the term now enshrined in planning law, what does it mean?

Sir Patrick Abercrombie – “It is a matter for serious thought…”

While reading up on the response of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) I came across this quote from Sir Patrick Abercrombie…