Sunday, 4 September 2011
First up is this nicely proportioned green oak timber frame extension to a granite cottage renovation near Bodmin, Cornwall. It'll be glazed on all 3 walls including the gable, with a slate roof, and we've worked hard to get the aesthetics spot on to tie in with the existing building beside it. Like the vast majority of our work, the green oak is sourced from Devon and milled by Anton Coaker on Dartmoor...it arrives on Monday - all hands on deck!
The second job for the autumn was due to be rebuilding a waterwheel at a mill near Ladock, sadly this has been postponed til the spring, but the extra time to research and prepare is welcome. Instead I'm building this interesting project that's been in the pipeline for a year now while planning issues have been resolved. It's a departure from the usual green oak construction, and the client has been influenced by a lighter, more contemporary style of timber building, particularly with a nod to the Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima (below) We'll be using Douglas fir and Larch in conjunction with Stainless Steel wires and brackets in an attempt to create a modern, airy and inspiring work space.
This big larch barn is still jointed with pegged mortice and tenon joinery but is otherwise very different from the typical green oak buildings we usually make here in Cornwall. The client wanted a large, light and spacious structure, and proposed to stiffen and strengthen our lightweight frame with internal stud-work. I've recently revisited it to hang 4 doors that I made for him, and the end result is really pleasing. You don't often get a chance to frame with hammerbeam trusses, and this was an unusual but worthy application for them.
The late summer project was a more conventional oak conservatory. Designed and drawn by Matt Robinson www.build-art.co.uk, it features these seldom seen down-turned braces, which add a nice detail. A small and straightforward project, and an easier raising than the large larch barn of earlier in the summer. Lets hope it stays dry for Ian and the second fit team to roof and glaze.
A friend was renovating his house up past Truro last winter...he was keen to have a green oak frame to build the kitchen in, but the budget wouldn't allow it. Instead he decided on some bespoke oak stairs which I managed to do at a competitive price, with some nice English oak boards I knew that needed a home. I don't have the workshop set up to make stairs on a regular basis, but every now and then it's fun to divert from working with big green oak beams and do something a little finer and lighter. The photos don't really do them justice, but I was really pleased with how they turned out.
This client just outside Falmouth has remarkable vision. I'll not guess at his age, but at a time when most are well into their pipe and slippers phase, he's decided to completely overhaul his bungalow. As in, completely. I was sceptical at first, but his experience as a draughtsman and ability to plan and visualise are really coming to fruition. We've now completed 3 separate extensions at his place, and the fourth and final one, a small green oak porch, is scheduled for December.
My girlfriend has long realised that she is with a timber building geek. She gets dragged round all manner of ancient churches, manor houses and architectural antiquities while I crane my neck skywards and enthuse over roof details. Being French, her native country is awash with all things old and wooden, and our road trips there this summer have been interrupted by heavy braking, reversing and unscheduled stops to take in classic old oak timber framed building.
Deep down, I think she quite enjoys it. Usually we end up in some unspoilt place, looking at remarkable craftsmanship, and washing it down with fine food and drink in warm sunshine. Maybe there's a career in this somewhere?!