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!

Long Live Extra Rooms and a big thank you to Norman

 

Phone rang last week, it was an old customer from nine or so years ago, asking me what he'd need to re-coat the roof on his garden office.

We used to do torch-on felt roofs for our garden studios ‘til recently, (we now use single piece rubber E.P.D.M.) which needed re-coating every five years or so with an anti u/v protective "Solacote" to keep the ultra-violet sunlight from damaging the felt) so I told him what and where to get it, but that we could do it for him for what he would pay just for the solar reflecting paint. We used to buy so much of it, we got it cheaper and we still have some. We also pass Hemel Hempstead often, even when we’re not actually working there.

He was delighted that I remembered him at all, and even more so when I offered that! Plus he wanted some other advice too, so I said I would drop in first. Besides I was curious and he was a nice man so it would be good to see him again.

So I called in yesterday and whilst there, I took the opportunity to look at his roof of course. I was half expecting to see the felt had begun to perish but no, it had dulled but was all still good.

 

Anyway, it was nice to take a look at a building I’d actually installed myself with just one man to help me. That really was the early days and here the ‘old girl’ was, still providing good service after her first decade with many more still to go. He then came out with what must remain as one of the best testimonials I could ever have.

He said, “Do you know what Dave? I can honestly say, and it may sound a bit strong, but I can honestly say, that this building you provided for me, this ‘extra room’ from nearly 10 years ago, has proved to be the best purchase I have made in my entire life?"

Well I was gobsmacked. What a compliment!

He went on, "I have used it daily since it was installed, so much that the finish on the laminate floor wore off so I have replaced that.”  

Who can get a better testimonial than that, and after ten years, entirely spontaneously, from the heart?

So first of all thank you so much Norman from King's Llangley near Hemel, bless you for your kind words! The least I can do is treat you (and the roof) to some "Solacote", applied for free by one of my now many trusty workers, (so different from ten years ago!) as a thank you for your kind words, which filled me with pride. One of them will drop by shortly.

So this is all very well, but for potential new customers reading this, what will you experience now compared to 10 years ago?

Well I am still here, and until November when I at long last get an assistant in the office, the person answering the phone will always be me. The chap who started this business will be the one to answer your call, the one that has designed each of the last more than 400 unique buildings, produced over the last 10 years.

If I had taken a different "Let’s standardise designs and mass-produce attitude, or even a "Let’s import cheaply from from abroad and modify, or “Buy cheap S.I.P.S. panels and do modular mass construction”, then we might have made a lot more money, but we would have lost a lot of flexibility.

That is no good for an idealist like myself, fixated on the best he can get produced, the most versatile building, that suits the customer and the garden, the most innovative, the most fit-for-purpose he can devise for every site and customer. 

So the mass-produced, standard-with-a-tweak-here-and-there, is not the direction we have gone. We are about a standard price, plus or minus the odd curved-ball a customer might bowl us, even then we try not to add too much to the price.

So ten years on, we have fine-tuned everything (don’t get me wrong, we’re always looking to see if we can improve!). Even though it seems we’ve got the ideal formula for a modern quality build, it was so heart-warming to come across one of our oldest buildings, a garden studio built using the old techniques and materials, but still giving good service and set to last a good few decades yet!

 Norman2

Norman1

Written by David Fowler at 00:00

Corner posts in uPVC.

 

Now were are almost exclusively supplying our garden rooms with uPVC and we are finding that most, if not all customers, are preferring not to have white, unless their studio is close to the house and needs to match the paintwork.

So black occassionally, but mostly deep charcoal grey seems the preferred option. 

Garden Room Update 011

So now whenever a customer requires a full depth panel window to meet at a corner, we offer them a welded cill and corner post system, so there's no timber between the windows at the corners. We had a similar commission shortly, but with french doors and we are happy that the result will be excellent.

After over 400 garden offices and studios now, and none ever exactly the same, we feel we have taken these buildings as far as we can for longevity. All cladding is heavily tanalised apart from the cedar which does not need it. The buildings all have sub-floor ventilation and never sit on the groud, so won't rot from below.

All buildings are constructed with screws rather than nails, this makes access easy if any one needs to add data cabling or similar in the future, since anything screwed can be unscrewed to gain access to the cavity.There is never any painting for the windows and doors as they are upvc and very secure. Also the epdm roof covering is expected to last 50 years, long enough for most of us!

All the walls and ceilings are properly plastered so can be periodically freshened up or have a colour scheme change on a future whim. We don't use melamine or jointing strips on the walls as some competitors do, since we think is horrible, but it is of course cheaper. All our garden rooms and studios are designed alongside the customer, to suit them and their garden, be it triangular or rectangular, from barrel building to off-set rectangular, trapesium etc...

 

So have we taken garden rooms to the limit?

Don't bet on it, I have designed a new type of building, just watch this space for further details!

Meanwhile here are some more great pics of a recent project (and one VERY happy cat!):

 Garden Room Update 007

Garden Room Update 006

 

Written by David Fowler at 00:00

Lovely Job in Swansea

 

Extra Bloggers - take a look! THIS is what get us up in the mornings!

(sometimes very early indeed)

 

Swansea

A short but very sweet testimonial from a lady customer in Swansea...

"Looks good and we love it"

A simple little garden studio but it was what they wanted and they are obviously very happy with it.

 

Written by David Fowler at 00:00

Location, location

 

So, we just built a garden studio for a customer in Hemel Hempstead, which is good for us, since just north of London is a change from our normal 'hunting ground' which is so often south of the M25.

We received photos of the site and all the questions were responded to fully from our spec sheet so it was 'good to go'.

Progress photos were taken as the project went along and on completion, and so yesterday it was loaded up ready for transport, Google Earth was studied and the journey route was planned.

Just one slight amendment, it had been mentioned briefly before ever it became an order, so at that stage it was theoretical, and that was that the garden room was not for the customer herself but for her elderly father and her sister would take care of the final payments on site.

No problem about that. We loaded it up ready on Monday for Tuesday installation. It was expected to be a one day job as it was not a big building, so comfortable in one day, just a quick run up to Hemel.

That was on Monday.

Now it's Tuesday and they are just finishing as I type this, ready for the trek home. (see below) 

"Trek?" you say, but it is only in Hemel Hempstead.

'Fraid not, it will take them a bit longer to get back too, so where has it ended up?

CORNWALL!!

Hey ho, that is where the father and sister live so that is where they are, at least they found out before rolling up in Hemel!

Cornwall Building

 

Written by David Fowler at 00:00

Soundproof Garden Studio - Fit for Purpose - Video

 

We get many enquiries for our soundproofed studios, but unfortunately a number fall by the wayside based on cost, as often people do not realise just quite how much goes into soundproofing them adequately.

Video proofWell Extra Bloggers - here is the low-down :)

The laws of physics cannot be cheated, in the old days we tried countless times but there is just no way round it, you must have many many layers, judiciuosly placed, to add both density and resilience, and the laws of physics care not a jot about the normal laws of economics we all have to live by!

However, those same intransigent laws of physics, do have a plus... If you do comply with them, and act according to their stipulations, you will get results.

Over many years we have learned new methods and techniques just as with all our garden rooms and studios, we have fine tuned our practices. Having devised shedules and specifications, we can predict the results, as we apply them consistently.

Einstein said, "don't expect different outcomes from repeating the same actions"

Conversely, if we stick to the same construction methods, we should get the same results, and indeed we do.

This is why we are able to give an actual guarantee for the various specifications we do, and the most common is the 40db spec of the enhanced single skin.

Our earliest buildings were full double skinned buildings - one room sleeved within another, and they worked but in some ways were simply too good. We found that not only was it extremely expensive but unnecessarily effective. It transpired that people want sound reduction to reasonable levels or levels that matched the ambient sounds.

These double skinned buildings reduced sounds around 60db. This meant that if someone was making a loud sound of 110 db, we got it down to 50db immediatley outside the studio, below the normal sounds present, and since there were no neighbours standing immediatley outside anyway, it really was O.T.T. in most cases.

An 'aggressive' drummer and heavily amplified bass guitarist might need that, if they intend hitting everything as hard as possible on 'whacky backy' in a teraced house garden at 4 in the morning. If that's the spec for them, we can still build it!

It rained when the men finished this studio earlier this week, so the decibel meter recorded the sound of the rain and spoiled the test, so the delighted customer today kindly made a couple of videos of themselves playing a cello and violin as loudly as they could and forwarded them on to us. You can view the results here and we thank them profusely for that.

 

Sound Proof Studio - The proof, the whole proof...

These musicians now know they can play as loud as they like, whenever they like - their adjoining neighbours reported they could not hear a thing.

This is what we call 'fit for purpose'. Now and evermore, with their soundproofed extra room, they can concentrate on doing what they do best, making music.

Don't get me wrong, it's most likely not the only thing they do together, they do have a new baby!

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

David Fowler, Founder of Extra Rooms

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