No stairway

April 18, 2008

The stair running up the centre of the house is made from a sustainably sourced 19mm Larch composite board. It has a central void to allow light down from the roof light to each of the floors into the centre of the plan.  It’s also held off the walls with stainless steel pins and thus allows more light down around the edges and architecturally separates the stair from the walls making feel more like a piece of sculpture than a stair.  The boards were cut on a C&C machine that cut out each of the component parts to within 0.1mm and then assembled as a kit of parts on site. It was constructed by Tin Tab, based in West Sussex –  The handrail is made by cutting a simple groove in the outer surface that guides the hand as you walk up or down.  We therefore avoided the need for a handrail on the outside/wall edge.   I realised I hadn’t yet posted any pictures of it finished, so here we go.


Building Design Article

March 21, 2008

Here’s a link to a recent article about the house by Tony McIntyre for Building Design magazine.Enjoy. 

We’re in!

January 15, 2008

A bit of a gap since my last update but things have been rather absurdly busy. We’ve moved in with a few weeks to spare before baby number two arrived. He and mum are doing well if not getting much sleep.Here are some photos of it now complete.  I’ll continue to update with how it is to live in along with details of the heat pump and rainwater harvesting in action – there are already a few teething problems (with the house systems – not the baby).                                            Rear living roomStreet ElevationDining room0519luke102.jpg

Windows arrive – but what’s the colour?

April 24, 2007

We were expecting the windows and kept getting told that the German factory weren’t able to give a precise delivery date. In the end they were only a week late but when I saw them on site it was obvious they were the wrong colour. We ordered light grey and they were dark.
Happily they actually looked better if anything so we decided to keep them.
In fact they look great.
Unfortunately the glass roof for the second floor conservatory didn’t arrive which prevents the render going on at the back. Some of the window cills and aluminium trims were still to be made up which stopped the render at the front being installed. The delay in the render delays the scaffolding coming down.
Oh, and half the windows have tiny imperfections in the glazing which needs to be replaced. Thankfully this can be done from the inside and doesn’t affect the programme. And the timber louvres are also still somewhere in Germany.
Ah, the joys of the construction industry.
Attached is a pic looking from the rear at second floor conservatory.

2F rear windows

And one of the 1F bedroom window
1F bedroom window

Where oh where oh where the windows?

March 22, 2007

All was proceeding reasonably smoothly, with the Contractor pulling out all the stops in readiness for the arrival of the windows on Thursday 15th March. Needless to say on Wednesday, chasing up an arrival time I discovered they were not coming at all. In fact there still seems to be no clarity on when they might arrive. It’s the lack of information that’s totally maddening.
Having been awarded the contract on the basis that they had confirmed the delivery date for week beginning 12th March I am less than impressed. The only saving grace is that we haven’t paid them a penny to date so if they continue to mess around we will go elsewhere.
The window are made from sustainably sourced spruce, with high performance glazing and are manufactured in Germany by Seufert Niklaus. Here’s a link to their website:
Latest ETA is friday this week. We will see……
Sample window

Underfloor heating

January 29, 2007

So it’s cold, there are no walls, windows and only a bit of roof – it’s time to warm things up by installing the underfloor heating.
All the pipework for the upper floors with timber floor construction were put in on friday with the ground floor and rear mezzanine to follow.
First the sheeps wool natural insulation was fitted into netting between the joists and then the metal transfer plates were fitted to receive the underfloor heating pipework.
Each loop was pressure tested to 5 bar and left connected to the manifolds carefully positioned at ground, first and third floors. The main plumbing and the heat pump installation are to follow but at least we can now put the subfloors down.

Underfloor heating

Low Carbon Buildings

May 26, 2006

If you are looking to make some sense of energy your house uses and what grants are available for the various technologies a good place to start is The Energy Saving Trust. The UK government has a Low Carbon Buildings programme for grant funding details are available at