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!

Somewhere to work, relax AND hide your Xmas presents...

 

We simply can NOT resist a blog on this particular building! Recently completed in London the basic principle of the design and cosmetic aspects are proving popular indeed. In fact, next week we are installing another very similar one.

 

Its not hard to see why people love this type of garden building so much as the secret storage space for bicycles, lawn mowers and maybe one or two hidden Xmas presents is so useful!

We have designed it to be modular so that the secret storage can be placed on either side of the building - total flexibility.

At the moment we are trying to endeavor, when possible, to have one available in stock at all times as this design and size seems to tick many boxes and it has become our most popular model, so therefore we try and keep one in stock.

This is not a hotch botch of disparate or varied buildings at the bottom of your garden but it’s one neat, stylish and practical building to suit any need.

The dimensions of the building are 14ft by 8ft in old money, and therefore guarantees you a good sized room, easily utilised as an office, studio and storage space.

 

Here is an example of the latest one we have installed:

Xmas1

 

The decking to go in front of the building will be installed shortly to finish it properly and professionally. This building will very shortly be on the special offers page so keep an eye out...

Xmas2

 

Written by David Fowler at 00:00

Pick a shape, any shape... it's 'your' garden office

 

A month ago I received this picture from a customer:

Shape1

The black rectangle marked out where he wanted to place his building. Believe it or not the back line of that rectangle is 14ft in front of where the two fences meet behind!

When I saw this photograph I knew immediately I had to make a site visit.

I travelled to Berkshire with my angle finder and tape measure. Having measured up and analysed the area I realised that it could be utilised, with some clever designing, in a much more effective and efficient way.

The overhanging bushes were cut to size and that already made the area look vastly different:
Having finalised plans, the guys began work:

Shape2

 

A made to measure, triangular garden building, that fits perfectly into the corner of his garden:

Shape3

Shape4

Shape5

Shape6

Shape7

Shape8

 

There is no wasted space behind the building, due to the innovative design, and the area marked in the original photograph is now in front and can be used - maximum space!

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The customer now has an extra garden room which is 50% bigger than originally planned. It is also a different design to the stock building (which we recently blogged about!) that he had chosen prior to my site visit, even though it looks identical from the front!

This is just the latest example demonstrating why being completely bespoke is a huge advantage, as it means that whatever your space, we can accommodate and work with it.

Written by David Fowler at 00:00

'The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.' Matthew 7:24

 

These days I visit more customers at their homes than ever before, it’s incredibly useful as I can get a real feel for the space we’ll be working in and the logistics of installation of their garden room or garden office.

One thing I can take a look at is what exactly the building will be sitting on and with regard to this there are always two options...

 

Option 1.

Recently completed in Essex, this garden building sits on the base of an old wooden shed:

Essexbuilding1

Even though we have a membrane under the entire building we always use pads (thin pieces of timber, bed on fast setting concrete) just to lift the building an inch off the flat surface it sits on.

This small but crucial addition ensures that there will never be any rising damp, nothing will rot and the wood is constantly keeping dry through the ventilation system.

Not to mention that you don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds breaking up or destroying a huge concrete slab that actually could be very useful!

 

Option 2.

If, as in many cases, there isn’t an existing slab, patio, or base of an old garage and it is just virgin grass, we create the foundations by hand:

Essexbuilding2

Years ago we used to use a post hole borer which used to make beautiful cylindrical holes with smooth sides, sounds good.....NO!

The symmetry and smoothness of those holes meant that the grab and friction was minimised and now by digging a rather cavernous hole by hand it increases the friction dramatically.

With this method we no longer have to dig so deep as to reach solid soil under compression. The rougher sides and the friction on them means they are so much more effective as the load bearing surface and this process takes only a few hours and provides a stronger, better ventilated foundation system with far more grip!

People often think that they must have their building the exact size of their existing slab but that is not a problem. It can be several feet bigger and we will pile what is not covered by the slab - a combination of option 1 and 2!!

Biblical

So whatever the base for you building may be, we can work with it and ensure your building is strong and will stand the test of time!

Written by David Fowler at 00:00

To paint or not to paint...that is the question!

 

Cedar is a beautiful, classy, smooth looking wood and it’s for that reason in particular that almost all of our customers choose to have at least the front wall in cedar when they specify a Garden Room or Garden Office. This Canadian Western Red cedar really is the best around and not only does it look stunning, it’s very robust and durable too!

To stop it going grey after a year or two we always inhibit it with Osmo sun blocking oil, unless the customer specifically requests not to, but over the past month or so one or two of our customers have asked for the cedar to be painted in a strong colour such as light "coastal" blue. A different look all together but still strong and unique.

The quality of this wood is such that you, as the customer, always have complete flexibility as to whether we paint it or not and it is entriely up to you, having no effect whatsoever on the durability of your building.

 

Before:

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After:

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Picture of the building on site and in use to follow... Watch this space!!

 

Written by David Fowler at 00:00

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
david fowler extra rooms garden office blog

David Fowler, Founder of Extra Rooms

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