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About this blog

A Blog by Ferdinand

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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.
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
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

Get rid of those awful downlighters...

Get rid of those awful downlighters...

Bored of your downlighters? Why not replace them with bulbs to give a different appearance to your ceiling?   Just an idea that I happened to see in a house in Kent a couple of weeks ago.   GU10 bulbs are available in shape other than downlighters, for example  candle bulbs:          It is far netter not to have done it in the first place, but at least there are ways to mitigate the damage.   (No, GU10 downlighers are not my favour

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Scaffold Tent over 16C Barn - An Example

Scaffold Tent over 16C Barn - An Example

A scaffold tent is a shelter completely encompassing a build, or part of a build, to allow 'indoor' working whatever the weather.   Recently a ran across a 16C barn inside one when I was taking the scenic route from Canterbury to Lewes to buy scaffolding.   The project was a builder restoring his barn, after a Planning Process that had taken more than a decade.                  

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

 

Ferdinand's New Blog

I'm following the lead of a few others, and starting a blog on my own platform.   It is called "This New House", and will let me reuse some content from the 10,000+ posts I have on various forum sites from the last 10-12 years, and also let me comment on questions beyond the scope of Buildhub.   This is the blurb:     The new website is here, at This New House.

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

How to Conceal a Door in a Wall

How to Conceal a Door in a Wall

I spotted this inside a local cafe this week.   Liquorice Allsort chic is not quite my taste, but the door is not as obvious as could be the case.   It is an a sample of how to incorporate an element into a stronger pattern than the outline as a means to de-emphasise it. Here it could have been further concealed by choosing a different handle, or concealed hinges.   It could also have been made full height.  

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

What about a Modular Loft?

What about a Modular Loft?

This week I came across a team installing entire sections of loft on a house-build with a seriously large crane.   Really quite interesting, and an opportunity to indulge in some doggerel.   As I was planning for my toft I met a man with a Modular Loft Windows were installed and tiles With insulation, floors and style Windows, Lift, Loft, Tiles Make an instant ancient pile! A extraordinarily transportable loft -  But do I want one for my tof

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Diversions whilst Laying Laminate

Diversions whilst Laying Laminate

A varied, and educational, long weekend laying down laminate flooring (one of the Uniclic range from Quick-Step) to help an acquaintance improve his house in London.   The task was to lay about 3 rooms-worth full of Uniclic Laminate (28 packs), and moving a lot of furniture around - the killer reason for needing two people.   My protagonist in laying the laminate, and moving all the furniture, is a detail-of-finish man, and at one stage was whittling away with a multitool for

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Scale : 1 inch to 6 feet

Scale : 1 inch to 6 feet

Clearing out a little, I have come across a cache of material from my father's Architecture Course at Sheffield University in the late 1950s. There is also a brochure from the GRP products he was offering around 1983 from one of the original Raleigh Buildings in Nottingham.   Lots of interesting projects - this is one for a "Country House", and I can see the stripped down style of the period, but there are also quarters for a maid. And a lot of illlustrations done in watercolour. 

Ferdinand

Ferdinand