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About caliwag

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  1. caliwag

    New house plans...

    Aye, interesting. If you look at the floor plans of the 1900 houses (even the modest ones) they usually servants quarters, separate stairs, and small kitchen/scullery areas. But dining and office spaces were sometimes alcoves with large sliding, pocket doors, and generous bay windows. Of course every room had a coal fire (no central heating), including the entrance/receiving effective living room, just a drawing room for the master. I assume Swmbo was in the garden or hall. First world war slowly snuffed all this out.
  2. caliwag

    New house plans...

    Aye Peter. In our town house/flat, the (so-called) design featured a small narrow kitchen with a sink/drainer under the window. I had to stand on the sink to open the window for ventilation. On my redesign I worked in french windows and a julette balcony with the sink to one side...relative heaven. A small table and stool in the opening window/doors for a friendly chat while I did the washing up or whatever. Not a fan of dishwashers, but they do the job plainly, for busy peeps!
  3. caliwag

    New house plans...

    I agree with Peter W about changes over time...especially family change. and Bitpipe re designing from the inside, and especially from the front door in, towards the kitchen. I reference in my book 'Self build home...the last thing you need is an architect', architects who have written books about design...they generally recommend inside/out and the day by day , week by week, season by season acitivities, especially around the entrance (short term storage, rituals, visitors glimpse view to activities and so on) all too much to summarise here (the analysis/reviews, ferdinand, are all in the later edition, the 200+ pager, not the freebie). Design is difficult, yet it's all in one, and I don't just mean fashion! Consider a big bay window to the snug...what a welcoming difference that would make. Perhaps an oriel work window to first floor need my book (as do all self designers) full of hints and tips for personalising your home...adding value, character and wow factor...internal windows, borrowed light, promise of activity, double use of space and so on. As I say too much to summarise. No waffle and packing. (caliwag) cheers.
  4. caliwag

    self build book

    Thanks both...Will explore...good advice
  5. caliwag

    self build book

    Howdy, my self build book, selling OK thanks, costs quite a lot as an 'on-demand' exercise (£10 printing and binding...maybe a touch more but I have a friendly printer) £3 post + £2 those secure and snug commercial, folding jobs!)...anyway I'm not complaining though I do resent the commercial outfits that don't even reply or acknowledge the free copy for know who you are! much energy or cost does it take to Email 'thanks but no thanks...good luck' ? The realities of the fast moving world...Anyway the point of this blog is to ask for advice on production of an e-book. A member did offer assistance some months ago, but stupidly (or due to a grey moment) I omitted to write down his name, so assistance please, if possible...many thanks in advance. Jamie (caliwag)
  6. JDyer...Go with recommendations. A good architect will bring more to the table, especially in terms of layout and value for money. I guess if you really know what you want (you meaning all the family) then a retired building inspector, for example, will be ideal. If you are still wondering what you'd like the read my book 'self build home...the last thing you need is an architect' No guff or waffle, and few seductive images...just words, Memory jogs for wants, needs and must haves, approaches to design and decision making, reviews of appropriate books (there's not many good design books!) and rejigs of blogs from previous sites, to amplify...200+ pages. for info. Good Luck
  7. caliwag

    Self build in Scotland on a budget

    Solotimberframe produce some good spreadsheets frame only, will organise other works (founds etc ) as required. Mind, they are in the South. you could consider a one/two bed house initially and add a two bedroom pavilion, extension in the future. Make lots of design decisions first (must haves, nice to haves etc) before engaging a designer.
  8. caliwag

    JJ I joists for external walls

    There was a serialisation some years ago, when the Independent was published on paper and had a good property section, about a guy who built a house on a tricky site (a mature tree) using I beam walls with blown paper insulation. The timber work was supplied by this Scottish outfit who may be able to assist. I believe there was a book published illustrating the process and issues. Most interesting.
  9. caliwag

    Grand design on a budget

    Or Explore ' mentioned in an earlier blog...very elegant little traditional rural houses.
  10. caliwag

    Small garden ideas from Pinterest

    I attach some thoughts from Pinterest about small garden spaces. The key is the three dimensional nature of the designs...a clue to success. A clue to garden design is to itemise/list nice to haves, needs and wants, taking into account views, overlooking, climate and seasons, indeed not dissimilar to house layout, and of course changes in fashion, plant growth etc. Another must is to observe sun angles (OK that's climate and seasons) but it's easy to make assumptions. Obviously think about family changes, as you would for house layout.
  11. caliwag

    How respected are Architectural Technologists?

    My twopenn'orth...I trained as a technician, HNC + with IOB exams for 10 years, and then on deciding 'there must be more to architecture than this!' studied and taught architecture and interior design for several years. To be honest, I probably became a better technician, but working with Fosters and Arup. Retired now however (if you can ever retire from architecture!) Never overlook what a good architect can 'bring to the table'. I put a book together (methods, definitions, references, reviews and thoughts called 'self build home...the last thing you need is an architect', plainly not knocking architects but appealing to people, self-builders, custom and bespoke builders and extenders and renovators, to explore their needs, wants, must-haves and all, before the professionals fee-clock starts ticking. Simple as that!
  12. caliwag

    Book mini Chapters

    In a recent blog, I listed some of the chapters on garden design and ways to approach...clue, 'The same way as a house layout'! So it seems reasonable to list some of the chapters and book reviews in my book...'Self Build Design...the last thing you need is an architect', not a sideswipe at architects, but a review of your way forward before the architect/designer's fee clock starts ticking. The book is equally appropriate for bespoke/custom designs, as well as renovations, rebuilds and extensions. There is no padding, none of it put together by Phil Space or Phillipa Page, and few pretty, pretty snaps to make you jealous. Here goes, in no particular order... House on a narrow plot...a tale of some real, narrow houses...with clues. Character, Interest, factor. a reprise of earlier thoughts with a real tale Whither fashion...Some thoughts about the sale of a tired classic design, and the ability to see beyond fashion The Small House...Its Architecture and Surroundings...some thoughts about an early twentieth Century book, written by an Arts and Crafts architect, but very valid for today. The Artistic House...A book review, with reference to Tips from one of the UK's most successful Arts and Crafts architects. The Place of Houses...another review of an American House design team complete with extensive check-list. Solutions for Making small houses feel big...a further analysis of Frank Lloyd Wrights thinking. well illustrated with plans. The Sensual Home. Some thoughts about Ilse Crawford's coffee table work on the impact of a home on our senses. ever since she has contributed to a US TV show the book now retails for over £100...good luck tracking that down...time for reprint I feel! How about a garden to be proud of...My thoughts, along with colleagues, from my spell of teaching architecture. How and Where to start above and self-explanatory Listing of words and descriptions (and their opposites)...used as a teaching method for 'lost' design students. Spatial Excitement...Based on A fully developed response to a question on another forum. Brief and site analysis...the 'must do' part of the design process, and the reason why pre-made plans and plan books are, IMHO, pretty pointless Above is a brief resume of just a few reviews, reiterated blogs and thoughts from teaching days on approach design...its all frustrating sometimes, but great fun. Some readers will know this already. For more info contact Jamie on
  13. caliwag

    Consideration of gardens

    Thanks for your thoughts V. Aye, in one of those listed mini chapters, and touched on elsewhere, is after noting worthwhile views, bleak vistas, overlooking and overshadowing, to say nothing of sun angles across the seasons, consider the garden, on paper, to be covered in stuff, ideally three dimensional planting, shrubs or the trendy grasses and take out spaces for all the things you've listed...fragrant seating area, BBQ, football area or other game activities, fruit growing area, shed, greenhouse, bird-feeding zone, rockery (based on how nature does it!) sun-dial, herb spot and so on, depending on your hobbies and time etc. Ideally at junctions of paths and desire lines. This resists the temptation to plant willy-nilly (after a visit to a garden centre) and at random from one end to another...not dissimilar to house planning. ready made plan so long as your listing is well considered...hence the chapter called 'Survey, Analyse and Propose' Par Gustafsson's sage design advise..used all over Sweden and at Byker development in Newcastle with Ralph of the most complex and IMHO the most successful mass housing redevelopment projects in the UK. Happy Designing
  14. caliwag


    Hello again...a recent Pinterest garden design vision of approaches...if you don't like lawns! Well you've got to pamper them and cut then 20+ times a year
  15. caliwag

    Consideration of gardens

    Just caught a piece on the Today programme (about 8.45am R4. 23:4:18) . This was a brief interview with the Editor of Country Life, gardening section, Catherine Bradley-Hole who is leaving the role after 18 years. Her view suggests that there has been a generational rise in garden design and planting as much to do with the environment, health, food and general well-being often promoted by Radio 4 and TV. I am not a great gardener, but my student and teaching experience with Landscape Architect Par Gustafsson, showed me a new way of viewing 'The spaces surrounding and in between our houses. He always used to suggest (in a school of Architecture, would you believe?) that in any project, the first person to be consulted should be a landscape Architect...well, he would do I guess! However, this all must've rubbed off as in my book "Self Build Home...the last thing you need is an architect!" equally appropriate for custom design, bespoke work and extensions, I attach a list of mini chapters, blogs, references, observations and teachings of Par, on approaches to landscape and especially garden design. The site Site Analysis Outdoor Room Repose The Seasons Threshold and Entrances Survey, Analyse and Propose Courtyards and the spaces in betwwen Transparency and Character National Garden Scheme Garden Design approach Two Gardeners How about a garden to be Proud of? The Bible...A Pattern Language, Chris Alexander et Al Wither Fashion Gardens again Amongst other chapters, I cite these chapters especially as they are about adding value and wow factor to your pride and joy...Happy designing. Email for more info