What is a shadow gap?

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

A recorded episode of Grand Designs introduced me to shadow gaps. Apparently the gaps had cost £10,000 in the house in question. One of the patrons questioned the wisdom of this architect led spend and that left me wondering, just what are shadow gaps?

Well, it turns out they are a grandiose term for a space between two surfaces. For example between the frame of a set of shutters and the window frame / wall against which they are installed (as in the photograph below) or between a plastered wall and a door lining. By leaving a narrow gap, the two surfaces ‘float’ apart rather than being butted up tightly together. The gap will usually be in shadow and when properly executed is both attractive to the eye and practical in that it leaves a gap to allow breathing, contraction or expansion. Also, where installing a new surface alongside a pre-existing one the shadow gap introduces a margin for error and removes the need for exact millimetre perfect measuring. This can be seen in the photograph of the shutters I installed retrospectively in the barn below – a relatively quick and easy job, made much easier by the gap between the wall and the shutters frame.

From Shutters

Building Progress ~ July 2011

Update on building progress during July 2011…

I got plenty of work done outside this month…

…The new lawn certainly takes some cutting, first a hack job with the strimmer then a slightly more ‘styled’ finish with a borrowed mower.

…Edging / retaining walls added around the north facing gable end and much of the garden side wall. I also cleaned out and re-established the land-drain that runs around these two sides and refilled it with 40mm clean stone (which is bloody hard work to shovel).

…I finished painting the windows at last, now all undercoated and finished with the final lightish sage / green.

…I’ve concreted in and then lime pointed the kitchen step. It seems to work well as no-one who has used it has noticed it! A step is only something you’ll really notice if it doesn’t work properly.

…Whilst I was away, H the next door neighbour and a hired machine scrapped the top layer of stone and soil from the yard between the barns. Then six tonnes of bought top soil and somewhere around a tonne that I dug out from the ground at the north facing gable end was spread a couple of inches deep to provide a base for a lawn. I then sowed with grass seed and fertiliser. A football pitch for T & T is sprouting between the barns as I type.

Work has further progressed on the second bedroom. I managed to change the hinge on the window with some help from S. The original didn’t open to 90 degrees therefore didn’t allow proper egress as specified by building reg’s. A replacement ordered on the internet seems to fit the bill. I also installed a radiator cover as a step-up to the escape window (we won’t worry about the drop from the first floor onto concrete once you ‘escape’!).

Ventilation slits – detail

On the forum, farmer lydia asked about ventilation / arrow slits:

From Barn Conversion 2011

My partner thought the windows would go on the inside, with a wooden frame to match the rest of the windows but I like the idea of glazing them on the outside and having a deep window ledge.

So I promised some more detail…

As you can see in the close up picture below, the glazed, thinly framed (you can see the narrow black metal framework), double-glazed window units have been ‘stuck’ in place with a mix of adhesives, fillers and wedges. Pretty crude, but effective. Internally, the stud frame and plaster board walling then fits up tight to the glazing. The photo is a little misleading, in that the angle it’s been taken at and the camera flash make the adhesive much more visible than it normally is. You can’t really see the join between the glazing unit and the wall unless you go looking – as you can see in the picture to the right.

Hope that helps farmer lydia?

From Barn Conversion 2011

Lintel fungus

Lintel fungus – not a phrase you hear every day…

A job that fell by the wayside some time ago was to treat the reclaimed hardwood lintels over the new window openings we added into the gable end. That was until I realised that there were various varieties of fungus growing from them…

Three coats of borax and three of a wood preservative have been applied. I’ll finish with a layer (or two) of yacht varnish. Hopefully that lot will discourage further mushroom farming…

Brittany 2010

Back at the start of September we spent a week in a chalet on an estuary in Brittany. Whilst attempting to banish all things barn related from my mind, a couple of inspirations snuck through…

A number of the windows in the chalet are postbox shaped – wide and short and providing a great framed landscape view of the exterior. Something I’ll bear in mind for any future project. These shorter-than-the-norm windows also allow for usable, reachable storage above them and with my mind slowly turning to storage this effective use of space is something to bear in mind.

 

From Travel

The terrace and the clean straight lines formed from decking and planting also caught my eye and made me consider such arrangements when planning our own back garden (once the heavy earth moving has been done).

From Clean Lines