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Guy Fawkes night (+1) 2010

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

A week last Saturday…

Emergency, emergency….

From Barn Conversion 2010

It’s OK – 2 year-old firemen were at hand…

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nothing gives me more comfort or more anxiety than fire

Category: Books October 22nd, 2010 by mbc

Nothing quite draws your attention like an open fire…

Fire: nothing gives me more comfort or more anxiety than fire.

The fireplace has been subsumed by the TV, pushed out of the nest as by a cuckoo. People now comtemplate the TV, not the fire.
A fire only really comes into its own when it is genuinely needed – when the weather is so cold that you come in shivering, preferably red of nose, blue of cheek and perhaps white of toenail.

Life revolved around the fire and the kitchen range, and the coal cellar or woodshed. Think what we miss when we press buttons or flick switches or adjust thermostats – a whole world of mystery and delight.

Fire is by no means silent; it crackles wheezes, whistles.

Roger Deakin in Notes from Walnut Tree Farm, page 12.

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Future Fuel

Category: Barn Conversion Journal February 5th, 2010 by mbc

As I’ve mentioned earlier I have plans to start work this year on managing the small amount (I’d guess at around half and acre) of woodland that I have. As all our heating depends on either the sun (solar thermal water panels) or our stove (multi-fuel burner with boiler) the need for a dependable source of fuel is a constant one especially in the grey winter months (in fact it becomes a bit of an obsession). At this stage, management of fuel consists of four threads:

1. Buying in / bringing in fuel.
I’ve been buying in various types of fuel – mainly modern eco-log type products made of reconstituted chippings, saw dust and the like. I’ve found some of these very effective, but would rather not have to go to the trouble of sourcing them or the cost of buying them. I’ve also been lucky enough to have a source of ready felled timber from a relative that just needs cutting, bringing onto site and spliting. The need to transport the wood brings a certain overhead, but such a free resource can’t be sniffed at.

From Barn Conversion 2010

2. Planting new trees.
A two fold exercise, in planting I’ll remove established trees to open up areas of the woodland canopy. Firstly, this provides wood from the cleared trees for burning probably next year. Currently this is mostly ash and so should be burnable green (i.e. immediately) – I’ll try that out, but I’m not sure that is the most efficient use of the wood. Secondly, the replanting provides a future source of wood. Cutting down trees leads us to…

3. Coppice existing trees.
Where I’m removing existing ash trees, I leave the roots and stump in the ground and a don’t plant close by, thus hopefully leaving the opportunity for the coppiced tree to grow back and provide wood over and over again.

4. Establishing a bio-mass fuel source.
By this I mean planting a fast growing combustible resource – in my case willow. I’m currently in the process of ordering some willow trees from a local supplier so more on this shortly.

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It’s cold outside…

Category: Favourite Things January 31st, 2010 by mbc

It’s been a very cold Winter so far…

But at least it’s warm inside!

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Hot water system now commissioned

Category: Barn Conversion Journal June 17th, 2009 by mbc

We’ve got the heating and hot water system up and running!

It took a couple of attempts.

The first time at the start of the month, with the stoked up stove blazing away devouring my wood supply, there was a load cracking noise (sounded like the glazing in the stove doors cracking) and a fairly large puddle of sooty water appeared on the hearth. On closer inspection the firebox was dripping with water that was leaking out from around the doors. After putting the fire out, Jason the plumber, suspecting a leak from the water jacket, cleaned up the inside with a wire-brush only to find no obvious source of the leak. We relit the fire expecting a reoccurrence as the metal expanded, but nothing despite getting the temperature up above the maximum it had previously been. Good news that it didn’t happen again, but a nagging doubt remains. It was overcast that day so getting the solar panels up and running and contributing to the system was out for that day.

So yesterday (16th June) I was really pleased when Jason phoned to tell me that the panels were up and running and we have warm / hot water. At just over 7Kw equivalent of water heated the payback has (slowly started).

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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…