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!

Lovely Job in Swansea


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

(sometimes very early indeed)



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?


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

The plot thickens... how to design for space


Well Extra Room Bloggers - good old Dave talked himself out of a quick sale this week, but it was the right thing to do.

A customer wanted a building fast and was therefore going to have our 14ft by 8 ft stock building with secret storage area, until I received some site photos and realised we could do a lot better.

The building was going to go right at the back of his garden, and it's a really good idea to have a few moments to walk away from your back door of a morning and leave home behind. As you start to walk towards your garden studio or garden office, you can start thinking about the day ahead, then you can arrive mentally prepared, let yourself in and start working out what you must achieve, which tasks are the highest priority etc... All well and good, until the mobile rings of course! 

So, anyway having a garden office as far away from the house is a good idea, so what was wrong with this customer having the building which met his needs perfectly? It was the wrong shape, that is why!

This gentleman's garden boundary comes to a point and therefore a rectangular building, whilst it was going to go as far back as it could was about 3 metres from the crux of the corner, and the sides were going to be close to the side fence at the rear, with the front corners of the building over a metre away from the fences each side.

Well now he is going to have a building that follows the rear boundary accurately, about a foot inside it and parallel to each change of direction. (Including the right hand fence has a bit of a dog-leg in it).

So what's the big deal? Well now he can have the front wall wider for one thing, as he is getting a bespoke building so we can make it any size he likes and being irregular, the front wall will be much wider than the back wall and a lot wider than it was going to be before, giving a lot more space along the front wall than ever before, and believe me, this is the wall to have the space on because of the way we all like to use our garden rooms.

Now, rather than just some french doors and panel windows either side, he can also have a double window to one side and look down the garden as he works, as most people prefer to do, but still have a panoramic view from anywhere in his studio.

His plot lends itself even more to this as his garden slopes upwards away from the house, so from his studio he will be looking down all the way, about 70 metres in his case, down to his house below, so he will be the 'king surveying his castle' and beyond.

All this will be achieved whilst the line of the front wall will now be where his back wall was formerly going to be, so his studio wil entirely occupy the area of his garden that was all going to be wasted behind his building.

So that is a double whammy, he gets a more useful design than just a rectangle, he now gets a beautiful large picture-wall, never mind picture window, one he can sit at a desk at with a window above desk height, and it is all in otherwise totally unused space and he gets to keep virtually all his garden.

This is the photo he sent showing where the stock building was intended to go initially, and what triggered me into realising we coud do far better for him.

Extra -Rooms -Space

This is what is meant by designing a building according to the plot it sits in, and what we at Extra Rooms are about, not just supplying attractive buildings that are fit for purpose, insulated for all year use, but building that fit their environment and yours. We achieve this with planning and good design.

Written by David Fowler at 00:00

The garden office future's so bright, we gotta use shades...

Especially at this time of the year and for many studios that face the south or sun, we are asked about

providing blinds and tinting the glass.

We used to offer solar glass but found that this had some major drawbacks, not least the cost, amongst some other practical difficulties.

Solar glass has a solar reflective tint built into the inner surface of one of the layers of a double glazed unit and it works well. But no matter how large or small the order, there is a one-off delivery charge from the glass manufacturers, of £350 and this is in addition to quite a heavy premium on the glass itself. Plus if a couple of french doors are included in the order, they must be toughened first, so it can all get really costly.

Even if we accepted all that, if one of the units were to be damaged either soon or in years to come (even just a small unit for a top opener costing normally £30 for example) it would be the normal £30 plus £350, so obviously, the manufacturers don't want to handle small runs, they want large orders for office blocks etc, not one-off garden studios etc...

BUT don't panic ExtraRoomers! - As it happens, there is a tinting film available in a bronze tint, it goes really well with the rich tones of the cedar we have on most of our garden offices and garden studios, so this is what we use.

This has great advantages. First of all, we can do it ourselves, so everything is "in house', no third pary involvement, and we keep it in stock now so can do it the same day. Also it goes onto our normal double glazed units and even as a worst case scenario, we may sometimes have to do one twice if there is any damage, but we can live with that.

With the charcoal grey frames, which we are supplying more and more, it complements everything nicely, appearing bronze from some angles and a similar dark grey to the frames from others, don't you agree? (see our lovely pic below!)

Oh, and the cost?

About £30 per double glazed unit or on average £150 per building.


 Tinted Windows Garden Office

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

David Fowler, Founder of Extra Rooms