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Brittany 2011

Category: Barn Conversion Journal August 4th, 2011 by mbc

In June we spent a fantastic week in Brittany – Northern France is about as far as I fancy driving at the moment and flying has become such hard-work I frankly can’t be bothered.

From Travel

The cottage we stayed in had an air source heat pump that provided domestic hot water and heating. I’d never seen one close up before so was very interested to see this one – and confirm the similarity in appearance between ASHP’s and air conditioning units. I won’t say it was noisy, but I’m sure I could pick up an almost inaudible hum from it. With hindsight it may have just been the underfloor heating pump. I’ve noticed that I’m very aware of ‘compressor-hum’ – when the wind is in the right direction, the compressor in the cooling unit for the diary farm up the road can follow me around outside the barn like an irritating wasp. But it certainly worked well, didn’t rely on the weather (our solar panels have been pretty rubbish in the overcast but muggy weather we’ve had recently) and was completely self contained so I’m probably inclined to view ASHPs more favourably than I was previously.

The holiday cottage also provided a couple of other inspirations…

Once the weather begins its descent into winter and I start work indoors again, one of my first tasks will be the cabin bed in the second bedroom that I’ve been planning for a while. I want to build a ladder to get in and out of it and I liked the simple but effective design of this one that led up to the mezzanine level in the holiday cottage (or the cabin as my son called it).

From Travel
From Travel
From Travel

I really need a log store (or two) near the barn and this type of simple timber construction would fit the bill. I especially like the use of slate ‘weather-boards’ – the same solution to edging the vertical face down from the roof is used on the gable ends of my barn.

From Travel

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Use of colour

Category: Barn Conversion Journal July 29th, 2011 by mbc

We had a night away at the lovely, Llys Meddyg in Newport, Pembrokeshire a couple of weeks ago. Fabulous weather in a picturesque place, a great meal and I really liked the use of colour and textures in the hotel. Take this as an example:

From Travel

Perhaps we should get a bit bolder with our use of colour? So far the barn is all white downstairs and off-white upstairs. But, it’s so difficult chosing the exact shade that you want…

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Lots of befores…

Category: Barn Conversion Journal July 19th, 2011 by mbc

I seem to have been uploading a lot of before pictures to my Picasa account recently – photographs of piles of soil, holes in the ground, unfinished interiors and unbuilt things.

For most of these there’s already an accompanying after, as I’ve at last been making progress and things are getting finished. Well, maybe not finished – I ‘never’ like to say ‘never’ and there’s always some improvement to be made – but certainly things have changed. I’m guess I’m just not very good at photographing the after, I move on to the next thing as soon as I finish something and forget what’s been achieved.

So, as a prompt to myself and in an attempt to make me start photographing those afters, here are some before photographs, for which I’ll take after photographs this coming weekend to share…

Second Bedroom

Chaos, bloody chaos…

From Barn Conversion 2011
From Barn Conversion 2011

The Yard between the Barns

Soon to be lush green grass…

From Barn Conversion 2011

Land drains around the unpaved parts of the barn

From Barn Conversion 2011
From Barn Conversion 2011
From Barn Conversion 2011
From Barn Conversion 2011

The Kitchen step (half built)

From Barn Conversion 2011

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Eaves

Category: Barn Conversion Journal June 15th, 2011 by mbc

One of my last major tasks during this phase of work on the barn is to box in the gap under the eaves. The eaves had been left open and were a haven to birds, who had nested in the roof, being able to easily hop in an out through the ‘porch’ formed by the open eaves.

From Barn Conversion 2011

I’ve used plywood to seal across the eaves, each length of ply being screwed up onto the existing weather board and small blocks of wood that I placed at the end of each length of plywood, these having been first secured in place with long screws driven in from the front of the weather board.

With the plywood painted and the gap back-filled with expanding foam (the stains of which have lived on my hands for weeks) I’ve then pointed the gap between the wall and the plywood with my usual mix of lime mortar.

The final job, (not yet done) will be the fill the odd gaps that I’ve had to leave – where the plywood changes levels for example, with a black sealant and the ends of the eaves with a metal mesh to allow some air flow.

I expect the mortar to shrink in places as it dries out over the summer, I’ll then either repoint or fill with a sealant, whichever seems most appropriate.

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Hole in the wall

Category: Barn Conversion Journal June 3rd, 2011 by mbc

At the risk of turning this into some kind of badly shot photo-blog, here’s another recent picture from the barn. I think this picture amply illustrates the thickness of the walls – it’s probably about four feet from the internal to the external surface.

From Barn Conversion 2011

The reason for making this mess was to get the cable from the TV aerial permanently into the barn and connected up. I’d previously had a temporary arrangement in place with the cable coming in through one of the velux windows. I moved the aerial itself up to the apex of the roof and reran the cable into the soon to be boxed in eaves, so getting it through the wall was the final piece of the puzzle. I’d tried drilling with a long masonry bit, but that wasn’t long enough – I’d tried bashing through the ‘not-quite-long-enough’ hole I’d drilled with a length of rebar and just got the rebar stuck, so this was my final attempt. I cut through the plasterboard and insulation, then with the help of a bolster removed the outer stonework and some of the rubble inside the wall and then drilled through from there. Even that didn’t get me all the way through, but I managed to bash through the final few inches of mortar with another piece of rebar. I came out about six inches away from where I was ‘aiming’ for so not a bad few hours work. The TV still gets a picture as well…

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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…