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!

Putting our money where our mouth is! (Quietly)

It has been over ten years now since we first made a soundproofed garden studio and during this time we have learned a heck of a lot.

The main problem with soundproofing, is that you cannot cheat, the laws of physics will make a mockery of any attempt to cheat, so not complying fully with the laws of physics, will end in a total waste of money.

The laws of physics care not one jot about the laws of economics for anyone wishing to purchase a soundproofed room, so they are expensive, since complying means tons, literally tons, of soundblocking boards to achieve the mass to 'de-power' the sound energy, and many layers of various materials of mixed densities and resilience, as resilience is also required to de-couple resonance.

So after many years and experiments and techniques, we offer 4 specs for 4 different levels of decibel drop.

One thing about the laws of physics is that once you get the results you want, then if you repeat them exactly again, then you get the same results time after time, so at least they can be relied upon.

But each time we want to do better than the last, hence adding different layers and thicknesses to different parts of the building and experimenting over the years with additonal tweaks here and there, to see if the extra expense was justified.

I should hasten to add that all the experimentation was always at our expense and was, in addition to what we agreed to provide, so the client gets additonal suppression at no additional cost, whilst we measure the results and bring them to subsequent buildings if they prove beneficial.

So now we have the 30db drop as the lowest level for the basic single skinned design, 40 db for the enhanced single skin and 45db approaching 50db decibel drop for the double enhanced single skin.

This double enhanced single skinned version is now very close to the full double skinned room-within-a-room with the guaranteed 60db drop, as there is a lot of isolation of the members within the construction itself.

A few more studios need to be gone back to, and measured, before I dare guarantee that all the double enhanced single skinned ones can meet a claim of a guaranteed minimum of a 50 db reduction, though many less honest, would be doing so already. But we put our money where our mouth is, we guarantee to reach the decibel drop we promise, as read by a decibel meter, so we must make sure we attain it.

 

Maybe I am being too coy, what do you think? See the video and judge for yourself.

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Written by David Fowler at 00:00

Songs of Praise!

 

Well Extra Bloggers!

Today we received a truly joyous testimonial. It is so pleasing to hear from another customer who is so happy to have the finished building in their garden ready to use, exactly as they specified it.

So, without further delay, here are the words of a very happy customer in Hampshire…

 

“I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get in touch, but I wanted to sort out the photos of the installation of my garden office. There are a lot of photos!"

"Please pass on again my sincere thanks again to the chaps who did the installation here. They were delightful. And my thanks to you, and the rest of your team, for interpreting my wishes so perfectly and delivering, truly, the garden room of my dreams. Although I could always picture in my mind what I wanted and where, I feared the limitations of the space would mean it would remain just a dream. But from the outset you gave me confidence that "anything is possible!", and proved this by giving me a garden room of the very highest quality that takes advantage of every inch of space, and that sits in the landscape as comfortably as if it had always been there, and the landscape had been designed around it. Again, from my heart,Thank You."

"You'll see from the photos that I haven't yet added the internal mirror doors, but I was lucky to find some gloss white laminated board for the desk, and have added some rugs to the floor for the winter and a whimsical little beach huts blind to the window."

"I spent a very happy Christmas getting it all ship shape, and am out there most days. I've even managed to sit with the double doors wide open on a couple of sunny afternoons, to get a taste of the delights of summer out there. Neighbours and passers-by have all admired it greatly, and I like to think you may receive an order or two from some of them in the future. As for me, I love it. It is exactly what I hoped it would be and it is a joy to be in there and have the room to work and draw (and dream a little).”

 

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Written by David Fowler at 00:00

"I need it bigger if I can get it" she said

This metre of space that must be left as soon as any garden room has an internal floor area exceeding 15 sq metres, can be a bit of a pain at times.

In this instance, it was not just a nuisance, it dictated an extreme shape build, leaving something which was not really so useful and 'hubbykins' would have to do wthout his workshop, and as an avid "man with shed workshop" myself, that would never do, so it was time to think "out of the box" as they say.

The plot was long and thin, and the right hand side as you looked down the garden, came in to a norrowing point at the bottom boundary, about 3.6m wide overall, but 2 metres out of that left only 1.6m..

So I was asked to quote for a building as big as possible, that left the compulsory one metre around the building intact to comply with the permitted development rights. 

The trouble with that was, the far end of the garden room could only be 1.6m wide, if it was to leave a metre of space betwen the side boundaries and the back boundary, and the building itself, under the 15 sq m rule then a workshop 1.6m, is only 1.4m once the wall thickness is taken out, terribly small and cramped 

So what did we do? The lady wanted it bigger and I have never let one down yet on that score!
(Look, this is a blog, there is room for some artistic licence)

So the rules refer to any garden building, yes ok, so why not build two? Then we can build close to the boundary, using a lot of that wasted space, comply with all the rules for each building, just not have one that exceeds the rules!

So that is what we have done; the good lady gets her building just within the "max size on boundary rules", and her husband gets his small workshop at the back, but now at a useful size, accessed through the larger building.

Compliant, and everyone is happy!

 

Here are a few photos to help you understand:

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Written by David Fowler at 00:00

Longest time from deposit to construction - nearly-2 years!

 

Nearly two years ago, we displayed a garden room at the National Home Building and Renovation show. March 2012, I think it was. We took that building down and we still have it as an example at the top of our special offers page. We supposedly sold it straight away to a very charismatic photographer, but the deposit was not forthcoming as intended, so eventually we placed it on the special offers page where it remains at the moment.

Eventually, after about six months I received an apologetic email from said photographer, explaining that the intended house sale for which it was going to be purchased originally, had fallen through, and the secret storage area was not required.

Rather than butcher a perfectly good building we built him another and that was that, he has what he wanted and is a happy bunny. 

Then a lovely lady from near Southampton took a shine to it, and paid a £500 deposit in August of the same year (2012) but told us she needed some land clearance first and would be back in touch as soon as the ground had been cleared and a tree felled.

Months went past and other people noted an interest. After trying to contact her and failing, eventually, thinking, "we can always build her another one", it was sold and duly installed near Brighton.

It had acted as a display building but there was no point in it just standing there forever with people wanting it, so we built another like it, but with Upvc doors and windows as we had changed over to them in the intervening year.

 

I finally managed to contact the lady, Sonia, and it transpired she wanted us to put in a doorway into the storage area inside and remove the secret door outside, plus solicitors were slowing down the boundary definitions on her deeds as she had sold some of her garden, so another delay would ensue. Another nice building to be altered, so we sold that one too!

Then eventually, nearly 2 years after the deposit, I dropped by and met her and what lovely lady she was, and so much garden space!

So finally, a slightly bigger one was commissioned, max size on boundary, 15 sq metres internally, we do max these ones out, to comply (to the letter) with permitted development rights stipulations, they are exactly 15 sq metres between the skirtings, as the stipulations are "15 sq metres internally" in order to be able to be very close or even on the boundary. In effect she had gone from the second item on our special offers page to the top one, but finished to her preferences with a tweak or two. A bespoke artist's studio, finished not in cedar at the front as before but feather edged boards all round, stained in Cuprinol Garden Shades "muted clay" colour.

It was a boggy wet time to install, mud everwhere, but soon grass seeds will be placed and it will be part of a lovely garden, however, we remain the company that installs the fastest, due to our comprehensive pre-manufacturing techniques, including a foundation. It was only a 2 day installation, even at that size and distance, so we coped and were gone again on the second day, leaving a nice building ready to use.

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(If we had built entirely on site, as some competitors without factory workshops do, we would still be there and be wading in mud!).

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So it has taken a while, but no matter, she has is exactly what she wanted, minimum disruption too, the exact building to suits her needs, ready to use as we left site.

That is what we do.

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Written by David Fowler at 00:00

Garden Rooms - listening to customers... responding to wishes and whims.

 

So here we have an example of a building that went to London a few weeks back, and along with another, customer wanted it in cedar but stained/colured in "Coastal mist", so of course, this is what she has.

 

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Not 100% sure myself that I prefer it as opposed to the natural cedar with sun-blocking "Osmo" oil, factor 12 sunblock, but it is nice and crisp and of course will not fade. Sunblocking oil does retard fade by a factor of 12, so a hard stain will last even longer and being water-based the re-coating is like slapping some emulsion on - a lot easier than using gloss, so there are some advantages, so perhaps the customer is right.

 

Here's what it looked like in the workshop:

Garden -Room -Workshop

Over the years, we've responded to customer wishes and 'whims', whether it is for a front facing wall in expensive cedar, charcoal grey uPVC rather than white, one piece seamless rubber roofs etc, even double glazing rather than single (14 years ago!), or really effective insulation, we react to what customers want, we give them what they prefer.

This means as we look at our buildings over the last decade or so, we notice changes in fashion, colour and spec, none of is our idea, but at the end of the day, when you give people what they want and not what it is easier for us then this is what is going to happen, so we expect more of it in the future.

But at the end of the day, we took a decision to do this years ago, it's part of our company quality ethos

I'm sure we'd be a lot better off if we had mass produced, less flexible, standardised buildings, but that would be boring, after nearly 500  garden offices and garden studios over the last 14 years, we still NEVER done two identical buildings yet. We get satisfaction from this - let's face it none of them has gone into the same garden, so why should they look the same?

This is what we are about, versatility and listening to our customers.

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

David Fowler, Founder of Extra Rooms

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