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!

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

Sorting out the electrical hook up for a studio office and 'best practice'

A very competent sparky has worked for us on many occasions, we met him through a very discerning customer in London about 5 years ago, his name is Arthur Hunt (threecore). Every time we have recommended him to a customer they have given very positive feedback.
Written by David Fowler at 00:00

Relocation, Relocation and other advantages...

Well, we don't do it very often but we did it again a few weeks ago; we relocated a garden studio that we supplied not long before Christmas in Reading, over to Windsor.

To be fair the customer did tell us it was on the cards, so rather than piling as usual we just placed it on some breeze blocks, cut flat into the ground so as not to have to dig up the piles later.

One great advantage we have in making our buildings the way we do is that all of them except the double skinned soundproofed rooms are fully relocatable.

If we were tempted to get away with some cheap plasterboard we couldn't plaster the buildings in our factory and then transport them ready plastered. So we have to accept the higher cost but it does make for a far sturdier building, since ply is so much stronger than plasterboard or even O.S.B. (oriented strand board). We did try O.S.B. but it shows a slightly textured pattern when plastered, so we stick to the good stuff and it certainly makes our buildings extremely strong and long lasting.

The first garden room we built over 12 years ago is still in daily use and is not even a fifth of the way through its life.

So here are a couple of photos of the same building, once near Reading now in Windsor. The different surroundings and angles the photos were taken from make it look a different building but I assure you it is the same one.



Another great advantage of making garden rooms relocatable is that if you come to sell your house, the new buyer may try to suggest they dont really need it (and certainly don't want to pay much for it). This is when you can say "Ok, we will take it with us then" and of course if you want to, we will relocate it for you, but once they are aware that they could lose it, they renegotiate because the results speak for themselves. Out of 400 buildings, five relocations is a small number, the rest went with the house when they sold.

So it pays to have a building that is truly relocatable, even if it stays put, because it needn't, that is the reason!

Written by David Fowler at 00:00

The Curious Incident of the Artist, the Hinge and the Landscaper in the Night

We are supplying more and more of our garden studios with grey upvc now as opposed to white, they seem to be taking over at the moment and they do look quite nice.

We were kindly permitted to drop in on this one a few weeks ago so had an opportunity to take a few photos in the daylight. (For most of our installations we rely on customer photos as we completed under cover of darkness!)

Upvc -garden _room

The customer is retired now and besides cycling quite seriously every day to keep fit he wanted an artist's studio so he can paint - he'd wanted to for years but never had the time in his job as a trouble-shooter for an oil company.

Anyway, he ordered his garden room last September but then decided to wait for the landscapers to get their work done first, (despite my advice to the contrary) so having just started his building we set it aside and got on with other buildings.

The reason I had originally suggested to him that he get the garden building done first is three fold:

First, landscaping can suffer completion delays as customers often add on extra work as they see the initial project developing.

Secondly, once a garden room or studio is installed in a garden then it becomes more apparent how it sits in its surroundings and often different ideas on landscaping will come to light. If this happens before the landscaping is done, then fine, it can be re-worked but afterwards it is just too late.

Thirdly, the weather. It causes delays for landscapers more than most, as they cannot stay out of the elements so sometimes have to come away from site and sit it out until the weather improves.

With only a couple of weeks to go until Christmas, he decided I was right and the building was to go in first and so we transferred a team across to the site and we just managed it in time!

3 months later we received an email with a few photos - the hinges on the upvc doors had pitted with the start of rusting. Of course, we went back to our suppliers to figure out what had gone wrong.

Meanwhile, I arrived in Winchester to take a look at his hinges, they had indeed pitted. The door handles were fine but the hinge caps were not, so we tried to order some stainless ones. NOT AVAILABLE! So we are sending another set on the assumption that the first ones were just a bad batch, since it has not occurred with any other customers near the coast before. We shall monitor - so watch this space! (We will make sure it gets sorted one way or another).

Meanwhile, I of course had a chance to admire the completed landscaping... NOT!

They haven't even shown up yet!

Upvc -garden _room1

Written by David Fowler at 00:00

Magic Skylights - Garden pods continue to delight customers


Well my father was an architect and designed many attractive buildings, but I did not want to follow in his footsteps, preferring to be more "hands on" and to be involved in the actual construction, not just the design.

So I have never really claimed to be a designer but with the tremendous response we had from showing a barrel building/pod at the Housebuilding and Renovation show recently, I am not writing myself off as a designer so much now.

Here show some examples photos from the show exhibiting the pod.

Garden -pods -show

Garden -pods -show -2Garden -pods -show -3Garden -pods -show -4

Garden -pods (1)

The reaction was highly complimentary and the pods were well met. Only the other day a previous customer sent us this...

"Although I had imagined that there would be some interesting results of the mirroring of the skylight walls, not in a thousand years would I have imagined results like this".

Garden -pods -skylight

Garden -pods

The customer says that as the clouds pass over, the patterns brighten then dull and then brighten again, and as the sun tracks across the sky the light patterns swing across the ceiling making a constant ever-changing display.

I am proud of myself, as these skylights, are entirely my own design and they really do add to the magic of these lovely buildings. I don't think I will ever achieve a design that betters this, so I'm obviously at the height of my design prowess!

There is more magic to come, as each one we have made has a slightly different angle for the mirrored side walls of the skylight, so this will have a bearing on the patterns created in each individual pod.... We shall see as each pod is installed, which angles make the richest or most attractive patterns on the curved ceilings below.

Then of course, there is the exciting question of what happens on a clear night when the stars and moon are out.

I have not slept in one yet, but they do lend themselves for use as 'glamping' pods or stand-alone units to live in full time. When you lie on your back in bed you will be able to see the stars directly, as well as the patterns the moon will make on the curved ceilings as it tracks across the sky.

The skylights are nearly as tricky to make as the pods themselves, but as you will have read in my previous post, the extra rewards are worth it. Not having one of these skylights in every pod now would be unthinkable.

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

David Fowler, Founder of Extra Rooms