Category Archives: Schools

I’m converted: your unique hideaway

10 Feb 15
Michelle Gaffaney
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Have you ever dreamed of having your own private bolthole? Maybe you want a private haven at the end of the garden, or think you could break up your workplace with an enclosed meeting room. We’ll help you create a unique hideaway with charm and style.

1. Choose your structure

The first step is to choose the structure for your new bolthole. The sky’s the limit with this – it could be an old bus, a railway carriage, a freight container or an old boat; or maybe you want to build something new from reclaimed materials. It could be a treehouse, perched up in a sturdy tree with beautiful views, or an old caravan given a new lease of life.

2. Get the basics right

Here’s where our design expertise is at its most practical – you’ll want your bolthole to be warm, damp-free and easy to look after. We’ll make sure the basics are right by installing the right insulation and materials to keep your hideaway just the way you like it.

3. Decide on a style

Your unique hideaway will work best if you make a personal imprint on it. Maybe you have a collection of old cameras that could be put on display, or some beautiful rugs and paintings left to you by a family member? Juxtaposing vintage style with modern comfort is what it’s all about, so we’ll twin antiques with sofas and beds in cosy, flouncy patterns.

4. Select magical lighting

For enchanted summer evenings and cosy winter mornings, lighting is crucial to making your bolthole a success. Candles, lanterns and fairy lights will help you get into a chilled, reflective mood. We can help you find the perfect lights to give your converted space a magical atmosphere.

For more great ideas, take a look at Distractify’s gallery of cool conversions, including some amazing converted grain silos!

We’d love to help you make your conversion a success. Get in touch on 01706 813777 to tell us about your unique hideaway plans.

External cladding: Larch and lime

10 Oct 14
Michelle Gaffaney
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Now the straw walls of our eco-classroom at Castle Hill School have had their first coat of lime render, it’s time for the cladding.

We’re using Scottish-grown larch boards – a durable hardwood which will naturally mature over time to an attractive silvery grey.

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A ‘truth window’, created so that users of and visitors to the building can see the material behind the cladding.

Other parts of the building have been simply rendered using traditional lime, a material often used on straw buildings. Lime is a carbon neutral building material, created by burning limestone. When lime is applied to any surface, the carbon dioxide released during the burning process is re-absorbed as the render dries.

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Cosy cob reading nooks

09 Oct 14
Michelle Gaffaney
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One lovely feature of our straw bale eco classroom is the creation of two cosy reading nooks.

They’re made from cob, a mixture of clay, straw and aggregate (more on cob here) and are specially designed so that children can curl up inside with a good book.

They’re not yet finished, but these photos show the raw state – a simple wooden platform and cob casing.

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Arthur, our plasterer, tries it out for size.