A garden office blog from Extra Rooms

Welcome to Extra Room’s garden office blog.

We love sharing all our garden building knowledge and stories with you!

Moved and improved!

 

About 12 years ago, we built our first 60db spec soundproofed room and although it was then a huge undertaking and we made a large loss. It was not supposed to be a money earner, it was supposed to be a subsidised experiment, as part of the learning curve just to see just how well we could do.

After much research we built it, and not only achieved our db drop goal of the time but exceeded it by a handsome margin.The customer was overjoyed and it went on to give good service for the next 12 years.

I should say that it survived him trying to burn it down as once he had a candlelit session and a candle set fire to some plastic acoustic foam he'd had fitted. It even spread to more of the same but luckily went out once it ran out of combustible materials inside. 

So when he asked us last year if we could relocate it to a location when he moved house, we visited and wondered if it was possible. We couldn't subsidise it as we had originally, and even at cost, relocating it 12 yrs later cost more than building it in the first place. (The initial bill did not reflect the true cost at all, we just took that on the chin at the time to see how far we could go!)

We never thought we could actually relocate it but we did. Relocating a 60db spec soundproofed room, the "room within a room" type is not an easy matter. Each one of our soundproofed studios, even small ones, has literally tons of sound blocking boards within it. Sandwich after sandwich per room and of course with one room sleeved within another this is a heap of work all doubled up.

It is not just the walls ceiling and floor, it is all the doors and windows too, plus he had a separate singing booth inside.

So we did it all again but this time we had a further 12 years of experience behind us and applied what we had learned, not just in soundproofing but aesthetics too. Gone were all the doubled up timber windows and doors, they were all replaced with Upvc versions, and this time there was no need for soundproofed shutters blanking them off as before, we have overcome this in the intervening years, so he no longer needed to close himself off and switch the lights on whenever he used it to make some big sounds.

This time it was a light and airy music room with a garden view at all times.

So here are a couple of photos showing it as we left it on site all those years ago, with the addition of some red paint (which we thought ruined it a bit) then how it is now in full glory.

An extra side of cedar has been added and it has been updated and improved all round, ready to continue to give decades more good service.

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Written by David Fowler at 00:00

We've been exercising our minds!

 

Have you ever wondered why gym equipment takes up so much floor space? - benches, rowing machines, step machines... they all occupy their own footprint, taking up valuable floor space; permanently.

The technical team at Exra Rooms have come up with a revolutionary idea - A truly SLIM GYM™ taking up no floor space at all. 

We'd better explain!

Often, when our customers buy a garden room, for use as a gym they are keen to be able to use the room for other purposes, such as a play room or kids chill-out room. So the clever team at Exra Rooms have designed a unique gym that fits into the recess of the walls of your garden room, folding away neatly behing a pull down roller blind when not in use.

Just to show you how effective this is, we've taken the trouble to make a short film, which demonstrates clearly how this works and show you more of the features that come as standard when you purchase a garden gym and also buy one of our SLIM GYMS! (already patented with further patents pending).

Take a look... and if you are interested call Extra Rooms on the usual number and speak to one of the team today.

Just telephone: 01159 899 555 and tell them you read this blog post!

Written by David Fowler at 00:00

Pushing the boundaries

 

We do have quite a lot of photos of garden offices and rooms on our website, but as you can imagine, with most of our buildings being finished on the site the same day they arrive, unless it is in midsummer then it is dark by the time it is finished - this is what happened on this occasion.

However, a couple of years on, yesterday in fact, I was quoting for another garden room only 500 yards away and I told the potential customer that there was one of ours close by so they asked me to get permission to show them around.

I eventually found it and asked the ownerif it was ok and they agreed happily and asked me if I too wanted to see it and of course I accepted the invitation with curiosity!

How lovely it looked too, so much better than a bare building like many on our website.

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I remembered how we built it to as big as possible in order to both maximise space but also squeeze behind a tree in their garden. It was a tightish fit (and in fact since then the tree has grown a bit too!)

The customer was especially pleased with it because where it is sited there was just an unused corner with an old tree stump in it and so it took nothing out of the garden by having the building there.

It is always an advantage with the bespoke build of our garden rooms, with the cladding being on the building as it arrives on site. This means we can go really close to the boundaries, in fact nobody can go closer because we can touch the back fence if we have to, most companies have to leave a space to allow them to fit the cladding on site. 

This not only takes time on site, but also robs the customer of half a metre or even a whole metre of space in some cases. In turn this then makes for a much smaller building in many instances, but with Extra Rooms you get the max, more bang for your buck in effect!

Don't get me wrong, it is better to leave a bit of space to squeeze by at some time in the future if you have space to play with, but with us it is not a necessity.

So this building is an example of where you can have a garden building of a very useful size in the corner of the plot and when there is a nice path leading to it and some carefully placed plants nearby, making it an attractive feature as well as a useful one.

 

Written by David Fowler at 00:00

When is a garage not a garage?

 

It was a couple of years or so ago when we did this garden building, but the customer only sent these photos having finally got round to painting some of the cladding black. In fact I think it has all been painted now and looks fantastic.

Theirs was a large building, split into a garage and a large garden office.

We did not put in a floor for the garage as it had one underneath the old ugly concrete garage that sat there before, so we had some fun working out how to deal with the two different floor heights. 

In the end we brought the floor through from the studio section, a metre into the garage, where they could then mount their shelving units. It both simplified it for us and made life easier for them too as the old conrete garage base was wonky but good enough to park a car on. The racking could then sit on a level base protruding through from the room next door.

The whole point of the building was to create a large enough space, so that a growing family with teenage boys could benefit from the extra room and save them from moving house, as they have a cottage which was sometimes a bit cramped for them all.

So everything has worked out really well.

Here's what our customer Nick had to say:

"We couldn't be happier with our choice of Extra Rooms. Not only did they tailor a building to our needs and specifications but they were easy and great to work with. They also understood and respected our budget and worked brilliantly within it. The team who then came to assemble the building were highly professional and courteous. They basically became part of the family for the two days they were here and couldn't have been nicer to have around. The finish on the building, which is a garage and sizeable outside room, is excellent both inside and out. We highly recommended the design and build that you get with Extra Rooms". 

 

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Written by David Fowler at 00:00

Plastered!

 

You just cannot make up for experience when it comes to quality and skills, they have to be honed over time and taught to the workforce so they can be fast tracked to the skill set required for the particular job in hand. This applies to the order in which the tasks are carried out, as well as technique.

When I started making garden room buildings (on my own initially) I brought my experiences as a general builder, quite naturally, to the workshop, what else could or should one do?

Sounds reasonable, sounds logical, but sometimes it was not just wrong, it was wholly inappropriate.

Plastering for example is a case in point. Experience and a few years at it spasmodically as a builder over the decades, had given me a fair amount of experience when added up together, so you would think I would have transited seamlessly to plastering our garden rooms but oh no no, not when you are as thick as a couple of your own scaffold battens!

I trestled out the building, started the plastering with the ceiling and then after it had been polished off I took the platform down and started on a couple of facing walls. 

That is how it is normally done in houses, it made complete sense and it worked.

I did this for the first two years of making garden studios and rooms.

But what a Dipstick! What a Plonker, what a Turkey-brain!

Plastering ceilings is much more difficult than plastering walls of course, since you are plastering above you, you splash yourself easily as you flick water on the plaster as you trowel it off, your arms and shoulders ache as you continually hold the float above your head for an hour or even two sometimes, it is not an easy job.

Eventually, the 'turkey brain' writing this realised that it would be a lot easier to plaster the ceiling panel by panel, so after the penny dropped, this is how it has been done ever since, but with an additional tweak.

Once you plaster a wall or an upright panel, you soon find it is far too easy to load the plaster onto the trowel near the floor and then skim upwards but then you end up with thicker plaster nearer the floor, thinning to the correct thickness as you go higher. You apply it horizontally but then find again it is all to easily to make it too thick at the beginning of each stroke.

You must do both together, plus in curves, this balances it out but near the floor it is a lot more awkward and harder to be consistent.

So spin the panels to horizontal and raise the panels so the bottom edge is above knee height and now the whole panel is comfortably within reach. Why didn't I realise this before?

So now I get a much easier and a better job straight away, no re-applying and balancing skim thicknesses so much.

It just goes to show, experience is key but it can wrong-foot you when your work and circumstances change slightly.  

So now I've adapted, I can teach the workforce from the start

Moral of the story:

Experience and skillsets are really important, but you never stop learning new twists.

Written by David Fowler at 00:00
david fowler extra rooms garden office blog

David Fowler, Founder of Extra Rooms

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