Tag Archives: garden studio

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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May Garden Studio Splendour.

Garden Studio for life, with integrated garage and art space for painting, designed by Studioni Ltd.

Garden Studio Rooms for Life.

August may feel warmer, October more mellow but May is bursting with blossom and hope.  The may pole has been well and truly circled in our village, celebrations held by all, the birds are singing and Chelsea looms imminent.  Garden studio enquiries get more and more interesting as clients become adventurous with their designs.  The air resonates with the feeling that summer is coming and we are compelled to get our gardens ready to impress and enjoy.

The edges of the fields are embellished with underskirts of hawthorn blossom, whitebeams and formal rowans are in their fullest costumes, I marvel at the greenness of the grass.  My window frames a scene that looks like a Photoshop image with the vibrance turned up full.  I’ve allowed the native plants in my garden to ramble right up to my garden studio.  The ferns have to be my favourite.  Their browning fronds have given a canvas to the frost and snow all winter and spring.  They now dominate with spectacular spirals of luminous freshness, ancient in form, magnificent in design.  Against the cedar of the studio, the contrast is heart warming every time I catch it.

This month, I will be staking my sunflower seedlings.  This year I have opted for a contrast between the darkest chocolate and the lightest ice varieties.  The bluebells, in all their colours, have naturalized and created another full layer of interest along my driveway.  Against the developing lady’s mantle and solomon’s seal, they provide a misty hue to the border.  My lilacs are sweetening the air, after rain, and the sage plant I grew from seed has outdone itself this time.  Having quadrupled in volume, it is about to explode in a purple frenzy.  It’s closest neighbour, the hanging rosemary is in full bloom again but tends to retain its modesty more.

With strawberries ripening, the summer is surely just around the corner.  My garden has rakes, trowels and brushes to hand these days as I take 10 minutes to further the tidiness throughout my working day.  The growl of distant lawnmowers pervades the air and reminds me to do the same.  If your garden requires a little help to entice you out this summer, maybe a garden studio is just the thing to consider.

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Studioni Loves May Hay Fever in Northern Ireland and Wales!

hay festival literary garden funThe 23 year-old Hay Festival is coming around again, set to kick off on 26th May in the small Welsh village. As a celebration of writing, it has attracted workshops and lectures by Alans (Bennett and Aldberg) and Stephens (Poliakoff and Fry) of fortune and fame.  This year, the celebration is expected to stretch its streamers and organic tendrils all the way to Belfast, quite the hub for poet laureates, novelists and illustrators, young and old. Attracting, “The most inquisitive, exacting and free-thinking”, crowds, according to the Sunday Times, how could one resist!

A writer’s working life tends to be a rather solitary existence. Researching, developing and forming the complexities of character, setting and plot takes as long as it takes – months, years, decades or a lifetime. I think of the many busy intelligences tapping away in their garden studios (no longer the crumbly wooden shed at the bottom of the garden); coming together for a wonderful week of sharing and general fun.

This year’s Hay heralds the sounds of Sir Bob Geldof and the Afro Celt Sound System; lectures by Philip Pullman, Iain M Banks and the Royal Society (From Here to Infinity).

For details: http://www.hayfestival.com/portal/index.aspx?skinid=1&localesetting=en-GB

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How to Find the Best Garden Office Designs for Your Budget.

Garden StudioThere exists a comprehensive range of garden office designs on the UK market today.  From the lower price range bursts a variety of sheds with plastic window panes and pitched and flat roofed log cabins.  For under £8000 it is possible to achieve a space to work in reasonable summer comfort.  I like the colourfully painted sheds which sit very well into a cottage garden, highly planted with tall wallflowers, foxgloves, dalias and rambling roses.  In this way, landscaping around your shed with appropriate plants allows it to really fit in.

Middle price range garden offices tend to be constructed with polystyrene insulation sheets and clad with horizontal shiplap board, stained to your colour preference.  Windows may be PVC and double glazed for a little extra warmth in the autumn chill.  Traditional pitched roofs are common with this design, as is the popular feather-edged cladding for under £15,000.  This style holds its own in a rural setting and can be expanded into larger structures, suitable as farm shops or showrooms.

Best quality garden studioUpper range garden office designs are usually very contemporary.  Cedar cladding with aluminium or chrome trims and sharp boxy lines emanating from almost-flat roofs send this set of designs into the £22,000 – £40,000 bracket.  Some variation can be achieved with thermally broken aluminium glazing options and integral decks.  Best structure for this money has got to be BBA approved SIPs panels with professionally pressed polyurethane insulation:  rigorously tested for all year round comfort, cool summer working, warm winter comfort and the longest verifiable durability.

Glasshouses and oak framed buildings meet in this upper price range too and can easily exceed £40,000.  The building technology for oak frames tend to be traditional with a lower thermal performance than the SIPs structure mentioned.  The glasshouses need to be displaying very low u-values to be suitable as a working office.

garden office music roomIn conclusion, one can achieve a garden office from £8,000 to £40,000 and the price increase usually reflects an increase in quality.  Using this guide, you are justified in expecting certain quality standards for your money.  A wary word on SIPs panels – many companies claim to use the latest but make them in a poor back-yard fashion using polystyrene and various glues.  The result is an over priced product with shortened life and poorer insulation qualities.  Ask for a garden studio independent thermal value calculation or certificate number.

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George Clarke writes on Choosing a Garden Studio, for The English Garden.

With the current fashion for garden studios reflecting lifestyle aspirations, garden studio rooms can transform the way you use your home by providing extra, detached living space.

Needing a contemporary design company to contrast the extensive traditional options for their readers, The English Garden magazine contacted Studioni about inclusion in a feature written by the architect George Clarke, from ‘Restoration Man’ on Channel 4 and author of ‘Home Bible’, published by The Orion.

George advises clients to consider with care the detailing, proportions, scale and integrity of their proposed garden studio as it reflects their personal taste and views on traditional or modern design.  When dealing with garden studio specialists, he writes, ‘The design consultation will often be part of the service, and it gives you some peace of mind that the company has a record of delivery and build, so it will come in on time and on budget.”

Ecologically, few companies have really embraced the concepts of sustainable buildings but there are more eco elements coming through in terms of options for clients and public details on how environmentally the companies operations actually are.  PU SIPs structures provide strong, durable FSC timber studios but some companies compromise on glazing and frame quality to compensate for the expense of the SIPs panel.  Depending on your ground conditions, tiny concrete pads are usually a sufficient foundation, but have it properly assessed by an experienced groundworker on behalf of the company.  Damp-prone sites may require a raft foundation.  Some pre-formed concrete feet foundations have to protrude beyond the edges of the room and remain a permanent visible sore all around your studio, difficult to disguise.  Other systems allow your studio to be neatly and directly finished to the ground with cedar plinths.

Enhancing the surroundings must be a consideration when choosing a design or having a design made up just for you.  The appeal for working closely with a design from scratch is that it will be the only one in the land, with your own ideas incorporated.  An exceptionally well designed and made garden studio can be life enhancing and are worth the investment when uncompromised, ready for return when you come to sell.

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Which garden studio is most cost effective?

Comparing the quality of garden studio buildings is a tricky process, especially when companies withhold their u-values or only publish some of their better ratings. Studios that are cost effective to run have lowest u-values. In other words, they keep warm with ease in winter and stay cool in summer, costing you less money and energy to heat and cool the space. If you want a garden room without the need for planning permission, it needs to be less than 30m2 and under 2.5m high. (There are other parameters but for the sake of argument, let’s keep it reasonably simple to reflect the bulk of our clientelle).
The height limit is where the panel size becomes important. Many other companies expand their roof and floor panels to offer a reasonable U-value but then encounter a height problem because their panels are too bulky to comply with the 2.5m maximum height rule. This problem is regularly tackled by imposing extra ground works on clients: digging the building into the ground at extra expense, effort and mess or removing the design finesse of recessed ceiling lights and recessed window blind systems.

Needless to say, we never have those problems as our panels are slim and extremely thermally efficient. As you can see from the comparison table, we can out-perform building regulation standards, between our excellent glazing and high performance structures, even though we do not have to comply with most detached garden studio projects. In the circumstance where the standards must be met, we easily exceed them.  All projects have the option of upgrading their insulation to the maximum.  So your Studioni garden studio actually is better than a new build home after all. For comparison with other companies, check out the independent survey by the garden room guide.

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Annie Lennox’s New Album, Recorded in a Garden Studio.

A Christmas Cornucopia, on sale 15th Nov.

On 15th November, A Christmas Cornucopia will be released, with all income going to help HIV/AIDS sufferers in Africa.  Her 6th solo album is a collection of seasonal songs, largely played by Lennox herself.  The album was co-produced by Mike Stevens and recorded in his recording studio, at the bottom of his garden. The album also involved recording various choirs for added texture and a vintage feel.

“The Island team were so enthusiastic, and so excited to be working with me, and I was blown away that they felt like that. It feels very energized, and fresh and new. And that’s a great feeling for me.”

Designing and building a music recording studio in a garden is a true delight for us, and we have been commissioned to complete several to date.  The success of the acoustically optimised space depends very much on the design inside.  If you need recording space, we have compiled a brief guide which we hope will help your thought processes along.

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