Category Archives: Industry News

Garden Room Ideas


Returned from travelling, my mind is full of new ways to make timber framed buildings; rigid, durable forms; from my experiences in New Zealand and Efate, a little coral island in the south pacific ocean.  My good friend, also a master carpenter, lives on the island and was keen to show me around and explain those timber framed methods of building which withstand cyclone seasons and earthquakes.
Our UK garden rooms market is a little stagnant at the moment.  I watch companies down grading their studio build quality in order to keep their profit margin high.  Against rising manufacturing and transport costs, it is one option that many have chosen.  I’ve decided not to do this.  I want to offer really solid, durable buildings.  Investments for a lifetime.  If I was creating a garden studio for my own family, I would steer away from the EPS or polystyrene and OSB structurally insulated panel; if it’s not what I would choose then how could I expect clients to be happy with it?  No, clearly those seeking quality like myself want either the tested and approved panel system or something just as strong with added value. My journey has shown me new possibilities in building and allowed time for reflection on how to bring this to the UK garden rooms market at an appropriate price.  
Listening to clients, like I do every working day, I need to tailor products so they are relevant to my customers.  Consumers need innovation to inspire and develop their own plans.  With our company strengths in design and construction knowledge and the opportunity we have of a constant flow of enquiries, I am excited to have developed a robust alternative to our top line, all singing – all dancing approved range of buildings but at a more competitive price.
I’ve added a few personal pictures of various timber constructions from my travels.  Our new range will be online in the following few weeks.


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The Right Way for Garden Rooms?

I watched graceful Richard Moore, charity founder, businessman and peace ambassador illuminate a Dublin university stage to a standing ovation as he entered with the Dalai Lama. Amongst jibes and jokes, the message was eloquently woven to encourage kindness, forgiveness, compassion. Taking basic Buddhist principles further, corporate responsibility by business leaders is the focus of years of research by the spiritual leader.

In terms of business, one has a certain power in decision-making and with experience, the ripples of consequence become predictable. For instance, in our industry the latest vat rise was impressed by suppliers with an extra added price rise. Indeed, very lately, one supplier has increased their base price still further in response to their inflated costs. Such is the way as the supply chain of raw materials and manufacturers catches up with fuel cost increases and knocks on the impact.

Ultimately, if this cost rise is reflected in price increases to the consumer, this means fewer people will be able to afford the best quality product. So there is one consequence, directing the consumer towards a poor imitation garden room, which may show structural defects after 10 years and may fail to produce a return on the investment it represented to its owner. So by taking price changes and other decisions mindfully, one can keep value and quality as high as possible and prices lean and fair.

All people are heavily inter-dependent, with our global economy and environmental matters being obvious examples. Working with a conscious sense of responsibility in practice, means good waste management, anti-paper office and general waste management and digital media promotion. In this industry, it also means encouraging the excellent and very slick remote site-survey above travelling to visit clients.

With intelligence and a warm heart, working towards taking care of the well-being of others brings tremendous trust and friendship. Openly communicating with the consumer also aids co-operation and trust: transparent pricing, clear specification, nothing hidden, nothing underhand, no empty intimations of latest technology or high quality. So, with renewed determination, confidence and hard work we will collectively work through our country’s economic difficulties.

Garden rooms give families more opportunity to spend time together and with their valued friends. As garden offices, they succinctly help business owners consolidate and survive through hard times and with the new vat-free scheme* can prove to be business assets which keep on giving, year after year. My hope is that more and more business leaders will take this wholesome line rather than continuing their focus on their profit alone.

*Contact Julie for details at  Studioni Ltd: 02890 425538.

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New Lodge Design Launched

January 2011, is proving to be an exciting and happily hectic month in the industry.  As far from a seasonal slump as possible, we welcome the launch of  the first of our new designs for 2011.

Our contemporary pitched roof garden rooms have been very well received.  Throughout the past six months, we have surveyed our customers about their preferences between our old and preliminary new designs.  The new lodge design has generated 100% preference amongst professional clients, looking for a building for commercial, educational or personal use.

Although we have limited the web pages to a discreet array of sizes, any size is available to order, including buildings which require planning permission / building regulations. The added value of this design is its easy adaptability to serve as a sunroom or reception area addition to existing properties.

Having continually developed a range of pitched roof lodges since 2001, raising the thermal properties and lowering the carbon footprint of the lodge was a priority for the design team.

Our old design originally used timber joinery which required regular maintenance and was inefficient, requiring more energy to heat and cool the room.  Our trial with pvcu had its own problems, being a high carbon product.  The high quality, thermally broken, more eco-friendly aluminium frames we have chosen, together with superior glazing, elevate the calibre of this range.

We have developed a more thermally sound building and chosen more environmentally conscious materials.  In part, this has contributed to the clean lines of the design.  All in all, a much-needed upgrade, we think, which reflects the contemporary style of Studioni.

Future news: Studioni will be launching its new Studio design in the Spring 2011.

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Studioni Rooms – Construction Images.

Images speak louder than words, so what better way to answer all those technical questions than with a stream of, ‘How do they do that’, construction pictures. The highest quality garden rooms are made from deeply insulated polyurethane sips panels, in a special sips press.  A few companies out there now have full BBA (British Board of Agrement) accreditation for their panels, ensuring they will not warp, twist or de-laminate over time.  This accreditation is a result of rigorous testing and significant investment on the part of the manufacturer.

Studioni studios are either delivered in a kit flat-pack form and assembled on site or provided ready-made on a steel frame.  The flat pack is assembled by a team of seasoned carpenters who have valuable experience in timber-frame house and garden room construction. The biggest benefit of these panels is their life-time environmental credentials.  A large chunk of carbon emissions comes from heating, cooling and lighting our homes and offices (accounts for 40.5% of all carbon emissions).  Directly addressing this, this particular type of construction, insulation and glazing provides a very high level of thermal efficiency – significantly reducing the carbon print of the building’s entire lifetime.  It also means that customers save money and energy on electricity.

Insulated Floor on Foundation Pads

Fixing First Wall Panels

Taking Shape

Shell Complete

Cedar Cladding and Sedum Roof Planting in place.

We have been called perfectionists but then we want our products to be excellent.  Any questions asked about technical specifications, we give straight answers and detailed explanations because customer empathy drives our service standards.

Our eco-options can be added to the garden room so that your new studio remains carbon neutral or negative.  You can ask us about the latest, locally engineered technology in solar panels and wind turbines or consider our other eco options like roof planting, alternative heating, rainwater harvesting and composting services for bath/shower rooms.

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Hampton Court Show June 2010

A big happy well done to the excellent Chelsea show gardeners who achieved medals this year and a hearty congratulations to my favourite who received a coveted gold!

Hampton Court Show is coming up fast, opening to the public on 8th July 2010 (6th Julyfor RHS members).  There is always a wealth of innovative ideas at Hampton and exhibits are traditionally extensive and luxurious.  This year my eye has been caught by a therapeutic garden, designed by Fi Boyle Garden Design and built by Cirencester Civil Engineering Ltd.

This garden has been designed to be used by ex-Service personnel undergoing rehabilitation for PTSD and other psychological wounds of Combat Stress.  The design is gentle and flowing, with honey-coloured paths complementing the dry stone walling.  It embraces the specific needs of its users: the benches are safe, with clear lines of sight and no space for hidden threats such as bombs or ambushes; there are areas for contemplation with reflective water; and the planting is robust yet soothing (no red or orange), with a mix of evergreens and perennials for year-round interest.

The centrepiece is a young oak tree purchased by veterans to replace the one felled at Combat Stress’ headquarters, where the garden will be installed after the show.  A very thoughtful piece.  This year, I won’t make it to Hampton as Studioni are fully booked with garden studio installations and my help is required in the office.  A good thing – I’m not complaining!  Best of luck to all exhibitors, hope the sun shines!

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Studioni News.

Photo credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

Our Garden Studios are being used as extra family space and as work space by a huge variety of professionals.  Some are working full-time from their studio, some are working there half their week but however they organise it, it appears to be successful. Our installation team is very busy, especially around London at the moment and our level of enquiries from London and the home counties continues to grow.

From personal experience, the city commute in unbearable summer heat on buses, trains and especially the tube is exhausting and seems to have been a deciding factor for many to choose the alternative of working from home.  With due consideration of the severe winter weather disruption and lost revenue, it certainly makes sense to set key staff up with home office facilities to keep businesses ticking over.

Our London installation team is especially busy at the moment and we are determined to continue with our popular policy of transparent pricing and our Best Price Promise to beat any other price for a like for like building.  Increasingly we are being asked for our free design service and have created garden rooms which are unique, well-proportioned and aesthetically pleasing while showing a contemporary edge and remaining competitively priced.

Our recent designs have opened up our standard studio and lodge ranges, showing new viewpoints and pleasing angles set off with new materials and finished with swathes of our ever-popular sustainably-forested cedar.  We’re very excited about these new designs – created to satisfy our client’s compulsions to have something different, modern and classic  – and anticipate managing their installations over the coming months.  It is one of the most enjoyable aspects of our work, so if you aspire to have a garden room made just for you, suited to your garden and built to last, we’d love to hear from you.

The preferred commute.

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UK Garden Rooms and Buildings Market 2007- 2010 Published by AMA Research.

This report concentrates  on the modular, timber framed, high quality garden rooms market which homeowners use to maximise their living space in their gardens.  The future looks bright.

The estimate of 200,000 garden rooms already installed is modest as 15million gardens exist in the UK and two driving forces are mentioned: sustainability and home working.  Development of higher standards of fit-out, better insulation, higher security and sustainable energy sources ensure an optimistic volume growth and continued expansion as the growth in knowledge and acceptance of the concept expands.

2008 did show a slowdown in growth rate due, largely, to reduced economic confidence but increases of 6-7% per annum are predicted in this report which forecasts until 2012.  Product value is expected to exceed the growth in unit volume and consequently, the UK garden rooms market which was worth £100m in 2007 is estimated to reach £139m in 2012 accounting for clients upgrading to higher specification buildings.

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