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About this blog

A Blog by Ferdinand

Entries in this blog

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

Today we went to meet the Planners...

Today we went to meet the Planners...

Some things are irresistable.   This prescient 1903 painting by C. M. Coolidge shows Planning Consultants meeting the Council, even though it is supposedly called "A Friend in Need".     With apologies to any highbrow art people on the forum ... this is very much the 1890s version of the Jack Vettriano niche.    

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

One way to fix a wonky shed

One way to fix a wonky shed

Like the best magazines, this article consists mainly of pictures - as it is nearly Bank Holiday weeking and I am heading off to a Camping Barn near @recoveringacademic's place with friends.   The problem is straightforward.   About 5 years ago on moving to the current house I had a 8' by 8' shed constructed in a corner of the garden which consisted of (perceived) well-packed rubble from many years ago. We used a base of concrete fence-posts laid flat to allow some minimal gi

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

 

A Domain Name for your Self-Build? Try .uk

I came across this conversation about having a domain name for a self-built house between @ProDave and @vivienz, and thought that the new .uk domain names are potentially of interest and would be worth a brief comment.   These are domain names which link straight into the uk's top-level domain - so you have dunroamin.uk rather than dunroamin.org.uk or dunroamin.co.uk. That seems to me to be more suitable for a house which is inherently neither a non-profit 'organisation', nor a commerc

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Sweat and Detail in Self-build

Sweat and Detail in Self-build

I am annoyed this morning.   Once again my washing-up water - the first hot water I have used in the kitchen today - is running warm then cold then hot. And the cold water is running warm then cold.   This probably means that the last people, who renovated the house, did not insulate the water pipes where they pass through the zone where there is underfloor heating, and the water standing in the pipes has heated up.   A small annoyance due to lack of sweat a

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Protect your Fence Posts with a Postsaver

Protect your Fence Posts with a Postsaver

A video I made whilst we were putting Postsaver protective sleeves on part of the stock of fence posts.   It is a really excellent product, which should more or less double the length of life of a fence post, and takes little more than a minute to apply once you are set up.   But make sure to buy direct from the manufacturer, because retail outlets will gouge you comparatively. The starter kits are particularly good value.   And they do trade accounts if you have a

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

 

Do Not Appeal (sometimes); apply for a Variation on a Planning Condition

There are different views about Planning Consultants, and whether they should be used.   This is a short example of a Planning Consultant offering superb advice, that most of us self-builders would perhaps not think about.   The Problem   I have just received a Planning Permission, after 3 months of engagement with the Council. It is a commercial Change of Use but the lesson applies to self-builder permssions. We received our permission, but on the last morning the

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

 

Case Study: Water stains on a brick wall

A perennial problem with walls is water or other staining.   Yesterday I was walking past a fairly new wall, built perhaps 15 years ago. There are an interesting number of white stains now running down the wall.   What is the cause? My candidate is probably the weep holes, and also the 'shadow' from the road sign (which should be a few inches further out). I wonder if it also cheap bricks, or an insufficiently considered design. In any case, if stains show up this prominently

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

The Perfect Bin Store

The Perfect Bin Store

I know there is no such thing, but this blog is supposed to be about Details.   How to build an attractive looking bin store to deal with dustbins that breed like Statutory Consultees in the Planning process?   Here is one option used locally. They have used traditional perforated blocks that we are all used to from the 1970s.     Here is something similar from Kevin McCloud's The Triangle development, using Gabions.   (Photo Credit)  

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

 

An Excellent Modern Terrace Plan

I thought I would post a plan of a terraced house I ran across recently.   The small estate of houses was built in 2004. Typical but pleasant modern houses, but this 2.5 storey terrace has a notably efficient layout.   In the overall footprint of 5m by 9m (including external walls) includes 1047 sqft, and includes:   Large lounge 12' x 16'. Dining room 8' x 10' attached to 10' x 7' kitchen Three double bedrooms (one ensuite) Family bathroom

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

 

Sydney Street Furniture I

This is the first in a series of postings I will be making whilst on holiday in Sydney and Melbourne, mainly about architectural details which may be of interest to Buildub readers.   My favourite way to meet a new city is to do what I call a random walk, followed by a random journey back to my starting point on public transport.   I will be posting photos and descriptions of anything I find of interest, whether internal or external.   Cycle Locking Point  

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

 

Space Efficient House Means Cash Efficient Budget

Having seen and debated Calvinmiddle's 120 square metre 2 bedroom bungalow, I was musing on how large a dwelling actually needs to be in floor area - intending no particular critique of Calvin's decisions here.In these days of £1500 per square meter build costs and soaring energy prices, should we take Occam's Razor to all those (possibly) extra bits we are adding to our self-builds? Rather than learning creating larger rooms and learning to do that one extra building trade ourselves, to save bu

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

 

Solar Loft: A Perfect Place To Grow Tomatoes

I've just run across the concept of the "Solar Loft", as proposed for a new 'Eco' development at Bickleigh Village in Plymouth, by Bill Dunster's ZEDProjects operation and Social Investment Company Cornerstone.This is a space outside the superinsulated perimeter on the top storey of a house, with insulation in the floor, and polysolar panels for the roof. These are less efficient than traditional solar panels, but also let a proportion of the light through, and have been suggested elsewhere as a

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

 

Houses are for Living

I think that the pleasure of living in a house is at least as important as its design and performance. The ability to get that right in advance from mere conversations with a client seems to me to me to be the core skill of a good architect.This ebuild blog is a conversation around this theme, named for a famous quote from Ludwig (really) Mies van der Rohe.My conversation starters will be details of buildings, but also details of how things are built, that I find interesting or attractive. My ho

Ferdinand

Ferdinand