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A walk in the woods…

Category: Barn Conversion Journal February 1st, 2011 by mbc

TRF and I went for a walk in the woods on Sunday. It’s been a while since I’ve been there, except to dump ashes from the fire.

From Barn Conversion 2011

TRF told me that the brambles have been placed there by dragons – must be to keep us away…

There is plenty of growth in the hedgerow that needs to be removed to allow light in and for me to start to replenish my dwindling stock of firewood. That gives me a job to look forward to at the weekend, if I can get my chainsaw started. A job to get done before the tree sap starts rising and spring arrives. It would be nice to feel some warm from the ground again.

The ash logs that I get from my little patch of woodland need to be split to season properly – the unsplit logs that I cut last winter, despite residing in a nice warm metal clad shed all summer have sizzled as they’ve burnt…

There are one or two large branches that have fallen over the winter – a bounty of wood that doesn’t need to be cut!

From Barn Conversion 2011

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Cornwall 2010

Category: Barn Conversion Journal October 12th, 2010 by mbc

I picked up on a few ‘nuggets’ of inspiration on our recent trip to Cornwall.

From Travel
From Travel

I’ve got quite a lot of raised beds to build both to the front of the barn and in the garden at the back. I’m toying with the need for solid breeze block or brick backed structures against ‘looser’, less permanent dry stone structures. These lovely raised beds, photographed on my phone (so apologies for the quality of the pictures) at the Eden Project sway me down the dry stone route.

From Woodland

I thought it worth taking this picture of a hurdle – I’ve plenty of ash and willow that needs tidying up and maybe I could ‘lash’ some of these together from the smaller branches with the larger stuff going for firewood.

From Travel

Not one for the barn, but this living roof took my eye (after dragging it away from the beautiful estuary in the background). Although I worry about leaks, having a living breathing roof seems like a good use of an otherwise ‘dead’ space (unless it’s crammed with solar or PV panels of course!). The wall and gate are pretty special as well, although the wall is too perfect for the barn – a little too neat, tidy and precise – too correct – it would both show up and look down on my more ‘organic’ dry stone walling.

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Building Progress ~ September 2010

Category: Barn Conversion Journal October 4th, 2010 by mbc

Seems like I’ve been repointing for ever…

Back in August I said…

I’m not sure that I’ll hit my end of September goal, but if I need a few more days in October then so-be-it. It’ll be a lovely feeling to get it finished and move onto something else (the to-be back garden is top of the list if the weather holds).

As predicted, I’ve not managed to complete all the repointing by the end of September, HOWEVER, I have completed the front wall — Horray! Photo’s to follow soon as I’ve not yet seen it properly dried out and therefore not had the opportunity to photograph it. Just the back and the gable end to finish in October (maybe more than a few days but I’ll get there). I think simply using a ladder to reach the top of the walls should be okay. I had considered needing scaffolding of some description, but the small amount of work I needed to use the ladder for at the front was fine – even more comfortable than my usual position at the top of a step ladder.

I did manage to drag myself away from the wall for an hour or so the other weekend and ventured into the wood to discover much to my disappointment that many of the trees I planted earlier in the year have died. I think a post-mortem is called for, although I suspect that not enough sunlight was reaching them.

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If only all the new houses…

Category: Books September 24th, 2010 by mbc

This quotation from Roger Deakin’s last book (or rather the book assembled following his death from his unpublished writing) ‘Notes from Walnut Tree Farm’ raises a thought provoking point regarding the building materials we currently favour and the contrast between buildings ‘seeming’ to be vernacular and ‘truly’ being vernacular.

 

If only all the new houses in our villages were being built of timber and cob, locally grown in working woods, and the cob dug to form new ponds, which would soon fill with water and life. Think of the dragonflies and newts, the frogs and toads. And think of the beauty of the houses, and how naturally they would fit into the village landscape. The materials are the important thing. There is no reason at all why the designs of these houses should not be far more modern and innovative and original. The problem is that the planners have focused their attention on design, instead of on materials, and have missed the point about the truly vernacular.

The happy loop between buildings leading to life filled ponds and locally managed woodland also paints an attractive picture of a simple, happy, sustainable life now mostly lost.

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Bowsaw

Category: Books August 26th, 2010 by mbc

I get laughed at when I insist on using a bowsaw from time-to-time instead of a chainsaw. I’m glad to read that I’m not the only one who appreciates the rhythm and relative silence of this method of cutting wood.

From Woodland

I worked with a small triangular bowsaw. It is surprising how much you can do with one in a day. Bowsaws have the supreme advantage of being quiet and allowing you to work at your own human pace. The manic dictatorship of the chainsaw seems to deafen you to all reason or judgement. A chainsaw is ideal for mechanical jobs like cutting up logs, but deprives you of the greatest pleasure of working in the woods: the opportunity to listen to the natural sounds around you.

From Waterlog: A Swimmer’s Journey Through Britain~ Roger Deakin

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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…