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About this blog

A Blog by Ferdinand

Entries in this blog

Slightly Mad Lockdown Projects

Slightly Mad Lockdown Projects

Buildhub member @NSS is doing a cycle marathon in his bedroom (OK, that's an exaggeration; it's in his shed ... maybe) to raise some money for a favoured cause during lockdown.   I have my own slightly mad cycling project, amongst several others.   I tried to get a local forum going a few years ago, which went exactly nowhere. So I’m trying again with an FB group whilst there are about 5x as many cyclists around ... many going up and down my lane. In adjacent areas great thin
Understanding Corona Virus / COVID-19 - Gresham Lectures

Understanding Corona Virus / COVID-19 - Gresham Lectures

These are two Gresham lectures by the Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer.   Gresham Lectures are free lectures in London, funded by a legacy from Sir Thomas Gresham (1519-1579).   The first was on the centenary of the Spanish Flu epidemic, looking at the history of pandemics.     The second is on COVID-19 Coronavirus.    
Orchestra at Home for Lockdown: Examples and Tutorial

Orchestra at Home for Lockdown: Examples and Tutorial

I posted this video of a "Distributed Bolero" by the l'Orchestre national de France to the COVID Thread, and it seems to be worth posting here, especially as there is an established method of making these videos.     Here's one from a couple of years ago:       And here is a short tutorial (2 minutes):   And a longer tutorial - 40 minutes:     And a place where you can find a template for Garag

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Lyme Park:18C Self Build Mistakes

Lyme Park:18C Self Build Mistakes

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting Lyme Park - an Italianate Country House owned by the National Trust near Disley, Stockport - to rendezvous with an old friend. However, it is not necessarily the best idea to visit somewhere at 800ft elevation in February; it was significantly cold on a day such as the one we selected, which did wonders for the cafe trade in soup and coffee.   Lyme Park was built in the 1720s, after possession by the same family since Medieval times, when th

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Help me define "self-build"?

Help me define "self-build"?

A topic which has been done to death, but student @Lakeside has come up with a short and sufficiently general definition that to me it covers recognised categories of self-builder.     It is quoted from this thread.   (* What does the piccie of 2 cats shooting a cannon have to do with the topic. Nothing. Explosive debate?)

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

A recommended Magnetic Door Stop / Hold Open

A recommended Magnetic Door Stop / Hold Open

I have recently (had) installed on our downstairs doors a set of doorstops that would prevent doors needing to be reopened from behind the swing, and hold them open when they do not need to be closed. Even oak suffers eventually from too many "Open that Door" impacts.   This was needed to help make the house more accessible or an older person, who sometimes used a wheelchair.   So the requirement was:   Something to hold an open door, open. That would catc

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Adapting a House for People who are Frail, Elderly or Disabled

Adapting a House for People who are Frail, Elderly or Disabled

I have written a number of articles about adapting a house to be more suitable for use by people who are frail, older or disabled.   This is a list so that anyone interested (or not interested) can find them slightly more easily.   Converting a Downstaitrs Bathroom into an Accessible Shower Room   Cost for this was just over £2k, including about £1k for the Fitter Labour and £250 for a shower seat and grab rails etc. A full replacement would have cost about £2500, w

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Taking a break from Buildhub

Taking a break from Buildhub

I have this hankering to start a standalone blog, and maybe write an e-book. It needs thinking time.   Back in a month or so, though I will keep an eye on messages.        

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Accessible Ablutions 6 - Costs and Components

Accessible Ablutions 6 - Costs and Components

This is the last post in my series, with details of a couple of finishing touches and details of what I bought and what it cost.   Summary   For drive-by readers, the total cost came to just on £2200 including VAT, or about £2500 if the project had replaced everything - I kept the washbasin, vanity unit, storage unit and mirror.   There is also potential to reclaim VAT on the approximate £200 spent on specific accessibility pieces such as the shower seat and grab ra

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Accessible Ablutions 5 - 3d Printing

Accessible Ablutions 5 - 3d Printing

This post is a brief interlude in my "Accessible Ablutions" mini-project, and will be followed by one more post reporting the costing and sourcing detail of the project.   I found that I needed to hold a hinged shower screen firmly in place against a slopoing ceiling, and needed a custom part.   Through the good offices of Buildhub and @Temp, that was able to be done in a few days to the custom design required. This is a short description of the process, taken from the thread

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Made to Make Your Eyes Water

Made to Make Your Eyes Water

Something I ran across today, relating to Grand Designs S 12 Ep 6 - the conversion of a Recording Studio in W11 (Holland Park). The full programme is embedded below.   The project was done in around 2008/9-2011 (ie probably before the recession) by a couple who are a fairly senior City Trader, and an Interior Designer,  Jeff and Audrey Lovelock. They bought a ground floor studio flat in Holland Park, which came with a 3000-4000 sqft ish basement, including an .. er .. squash court.

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Accessible Ablutions 4 - Finished Photos

Accessible Ablutions 4 - Finished Photos

Here are a few photos of the refurbished bathroom when done, including the 'ease of use' items such a shower seat, except for a few finishing touches.   (There are a couple of 'before aids added' photos which I have left in.)   There is one more post to follow in this series, which will talk about a couple of final touches, and detail the costs of the project.   [Edit: Added bonus video from the "Recommendations for Bathrooms for Elderly / Disabled" forum thread cre

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Accessible Ablutions 3 - Half Way Photos

Accessible Ablutions 3 - Half Way Photos

This project has now been going for a week, and should be finished with just under another day of work.   Tiling and grouting has been done, and it is now just to fit the shower, the loo, and install shower screen and those grab handles etc that we have obtained so far. Then it will a case of experimenting and putting the final touches in as the shower is used.   Here are a few slightly rushed  photos taken at this stage.   Two runs of pipe installed for the future

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Accessible Ablutions 2 - Ducts for the Future

Accessible Ablutions 2 - Ducts for the Future

At the end of day two ... the shower tray is in. I was planning a moulded non-slip shower tray, but these are proving elusive without a special order so I have gone for a normal one instead and will add a full size non-slip mat.   The only other point worthy of note is that the UFH manifold-and-gubbins are under the stairs, but that a lot of other gubbins is in the garage at the other end, so I am putting in a couple of runs of water pipe in case they are needed later. These will be se

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Accessible Ablutions 1 - Strip Out

Accessible Ablutions 1 - Strip Out

And so it begins ... the refurbishment of my downstairs bathroom to be a shower room.   The self-builder who added an upstairs and extension to the bungalow got a few things wrong, and one of them was that he put a bathroom downstairs, and a shower room upstairs; exactly the wrounf way round for when a frail relative or disabled visitor needs to have downstairs facilities.   So this summer both bathrooms are being overhauled - starting with the downstairs one this week.

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Checklist for Dodgy Media Articles

Checklist for Dodgy Media Articles

Inspired by *this* piece in a newspaper by Rupert Jones, I am compiling a Checklist of Items for testing the dodginess of an article.   1 - Is the author a specialist in the area being reported?   2 - Does the feature image actually relate to the content of the article? Is it giving a false impression?   3 - Does the Title represent the article accurately? Is it sensationalist? (The title is the snippet that will make Twitter).   4 - Does the "hook" (proba

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Supervisory Cats

Supervisory Cats

For a reason or reasons unknown to me I am about to pen a short piece about cats.   I think it is mainly because @AnonymousBosch posted a picture of his supervisory cat, here.     Now, that cat is a lot of things, and whilst allegedly Jellicle (ie black and white), is not so. It is clearly a Rum-Tum-Tugger - particularly given a penchant for using 'playbites' as a slightly abrupt management tool.   It is also the fault of whoever did not tell me about the

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

2019 Design of a High End HMO

2019 Design of a High End HMO

I thought this might of interest to Buildhubbers. I have been sent this as material to inform the redecoration / minor makeover of a student house in the summer.   It is some pics of a recent 'Co-Living' (= HMO for Professionals) development designed by Comfort Lettings, one of the most forward thinking Lettings Agencies in Nottingham. It shows how these developments are evolving. It is a careful refurb of a largish terraced house roughly 15 minutes walk from Nottingham City Centre.

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Saving Stamp Duty on Derelict Properties

Saving Stamp Duty on Derelict Properties

This is potentially relevant to Buildhub users who have purchased, or are purchasing, existing properties (derelict or habitable), in order to repair or replace them. It concerns whether you pay the Residential Rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax, or the Non-Residential Rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax (which are lower).   (Gird your loins - slightly - for this, and get a cup of whisky plus a couple of Jaffa Cakes.)   This post is General Information only, and does *not* constitute advi

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

In a renovation install your ASHP early - here's why

In a renovation install your ASHP early - here's why

If you install an air-source heat pump (ASHP) to heat your property, it will attract a subsidy called Renewable Heat Incentive, which is a payment to you based on how much CO2 emissions are saved by the installation of the system.   The calculation is done on the basis of the guestimated CO2 emissions numbers in your (less than 2 years old) EPC Report, taking potential savings by loft and cavity wall insulation (which you can often get done for free) into account. Naturally that means

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Bathroom Refurbishment Project (2) - Proposed Design

Bathroom Refurbishment Project (2) - Proposed Design

My bathroom needs a refurbishment because a whole line of tiles has cracked, I think due to moisture-induced movement in the subfloor.   In my last article, I posted some photos of the current arrangement, and possible ideas. This is just thinking out loud about a couple of possible layouts. As ever all comments are most welcome.   Here is the current layout, which shows the plan but does not include the full set of posh bits (eg shower here is a wetroom area with showers bot

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Grand Designs Gravenhill - Budget vs Reality

Grand Designs Gravenhill - Budget vs Reality

This post is a record of the initial Estimated Prices, and stated final cost of the 10 self-builders featured in the Grand Designs - The Street, about 10 of the first houses built at the Gravenhill Self-Build development site at Bicester.   Watching the first episode, the 10 property street is starting to remind me of the Homeworld 1981 / Future Home 2000 exhibition, which is now Coleshill Place, Milton Keynes. The featured picture is of that exhibition site as it is now taken from Goo

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

10 steps to Cut your Energy Bills in an Older House

10 steps to Cut your Energy Bills in an Older House

These are 10 steps if your Electricity Bills are out of control in a house which has not yet been renovated. They are the "low hanging fruit". The aim is to get you started and seeing good results in a short period without too much long-term work.   If your house is currently not insulated, and you have not optimised your electricity bill, savings of 40-50% or more may be achievable.   Here with go with the first 10 steps, which can be done then left alone for some time - ign

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Bathroom Refurbishment Project (1) - Comments Please

Bathroom Refurbishment Project (1) - Comments Please

This summer I need to have my upstairs bathroom refurbished. It was installed 12 yeas ago by the previous house owner, who also did the self-build addition of an upper storey to the previous bungalow. The bathroom has lots of lovely features including electric ufh, and a long crack all the way down a row of tiles.   I think the room pretty much needs gutting, as the problem is probably under the floor, which is a huge pity because the fittings are so pleasant. I think, however, that I

Ferdinand

Ferdinand