Tag Archives: Garden Studios

Garden Room Ideas

studio-infinity-deck

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.

garden-studio-pool-bargarden-deck-sunken-seating-areajapanese-designs-round-doorGarden-room-bridges

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Garden Studios in 1878.

Garden Studios in 1878.

Historical garden studios research has uncovered another little known garden studio worker.  The Murray Scriptorium Studio space was purpose built in the grounds of a school to complete a singular massive project of literary importance; commissioned by James Murray, editor of the new English Dictionary from the Oxford University Press.

Already a member of school staff, Murray was invited to capture every word in the English spoken world, encompassing all shades of meaning.  It was a daunting project and would require a concentrated effort and determination over many years to source words, meanings and begin the compilation of a single volume.

In preparation for the work, Murray built a shed in the grounds of the School, called the Scriptorium, to house his team of assistants as well as the flood of paper slips (quotations explaining the use of words to be used in the dictionary) which started to flow in. As work progressed on the early part of the dictionary, Murray took the decision to give up his job as a teacher and become a full time lexicographer.

In the end, the school erected a more permanent structure in memory of his feat, called thereafter, The Script’.  It is now used as both an IT centre and a study space.  Sounds like an inspiring place to work!  What a great opportunity for the pupils.

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Garden Studios Save Crowded Houses in Britain.

The Daily Mail rarely comment on garden studios but their recent story seems to pointedly ignore the obvious solution, claiming that a third of us don’t have enough space to live but can’t afford to move.

‘Twenty-nine per cent say ‘their property is too small to accommodate the size of their family’ – rising to 40 per cent for those 34 and under’.

Many families will resonate with the randomly strewn children’s toys on the floor scene in the living area. Or the bantering of the children doing homework at the kitchen table. Nothing wrong with that. When combined with the need to work from home, things can get confused and stressful.

Property analyst Samantha Baden reports ‘Affordability remains a key issue for families, with the average cost of a three-bedroom home around £193,000. Very few can afford to buy – or to rent – a property of the size they want and in the area they desire to live. As a result, they are often forced to compromise on one or the other.’

Grown-up offspring who cannot afford to leave the family home are also adding to the problem facing families in this unusual squeeze.

These factors combine, perhaps explaining another element to the growing garden studios market. Those who cannot afford to move can remortgage or invest to improve with a rapid build home extension or detached garden studio suite.

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Garden Studios – A Growing Business 2011.

Studioni Ltd has released trading information for winter 2011. Turnover from sales of garden rooms rose by 70% on the same winter trading period last year; Oct-Jan.
Studioni accounts for 2010-2011 showed a significant turnover increase. With a minimal IT investment and no company loans or debts, profit also increased by a further 3.1% on the former year. That leaves Studioni well placed and in profit to meet demand for the coming year 2012 after bucking the industry seasonality trend.

Our managing director reports: “Our business is diverse and outperforming at a top and bottom line level. With a quiet cross border market in the Republic of Ireland this past year, the best performance remains in the UK with increased interest from western European countries. I think when you look at the kind of results our competitors are lodging, it’s a solid performance. Revenues are massively increased and profitability is growing. “

“We’re attracting both regular and many more larger projects and finding that the personal service we give allows us to aggregrate our projects, producing turn-key solutions for clients. Our diversity with design and resources means we can add value to customers, sourcing exactly what they want.

“Our value proposition is a good service, reliable quality and bespoke design”. The Consumer Protection Association report for 2011 shows great customer ratings for Studioni Ltd can be accessed on our News Page.

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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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