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we’re just passing through…

Category: Barn Conversion Journal April 28th, 2011 by mbc

There’s an inescapable melancholy about some of Roger Deakin’s writing…

There’s more truth about a camp than a house. Planning laws need not worry the improvising builder because temporary structures are more beautiful anyway, and you don’t need permission for them. There’s more truth about a camp because that is the position we are in. The house represents what we ourselves would like to be on earth: permanent, rooted, here for eternity. But a camp represents the true reality of things: we’re just passing through.

Roger Deakin’s Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees

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the lost soul of the nation…

Category: Books January 19th, 2011 by mbc

In my slow, intermittent, literary stroll through Roger Deakin’s Notes from Walnut Tree Farm I stumbled across another quotation that I couldn’t help but agree with…

I really do want people to come home to a real fire. A nation without the flames of a fire in the hearth, and birds singing outside the open window, has lost its soul. To have an ancient carboniferous forest brought to life at the centre of your home, its flames budding and shooting up like young trees, is a work of magic.

Read more – Notes from Walnut Tree Farm on page 155.

While keeping a fire fuelled and clean can be time-consuming, dirty work (I would have said ‘expensive’ as well, but with energy costs as they currently are I’m not sure that applies any more) I think it’s worthwhile effort to bring some ‘soul’ into the home…

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a mosaic of cut log ends…

Category: Barn Conversion Journal January 11th, 2011 by mbc

Whilst the interiors of this barn conversion in Austria are a little too coldly architectural for my liking, I love this external wall. It evokes a favourite Roger Deakin quote. (It’s also a bit daft that it’s the north facade of the building as the logs will get no sun on them to aid in their seasoning.)

wall of logs

The other thing I always notice with these European conversions is how they would never pass British building regulations – for example, on picture number 10 (the one with a blurry man going upstairs) there appears little if not no insulation in the roof. The budget of 70,000 euros also suggests an ‘unemcumbered’ build.

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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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the things done on not enough money…

Category: Books November 2nd, 2010 by mbc

I’ve been poring over Roger Deakin’s Notes from Walnut Tree Farm again. I feel somewhat chastised for my insistence on oak in the interior of the barn (although there’s also beech in the kitchen)…

…converting old barns with as much oak as possible. Oak represents value now and is like gold teeth here: you have an oak staircase, an oak floor, oak bannisters. Yet I can’t help preferring the things an earlier generation of us did on far less money – the things done on not enough money…

Read more – Notes from Walnut Tree Farm on page 122.

…I told my wife we should have had softwood stairs – I wasn’t trying to be cheap – honest!

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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…