A Quick Round Up

Putting the Love In is 13 months old and I thought as the summer is coming to an end and we’re all still trying to pretend that autumn isn’t quite around the corner, that I’d do a recap on some of the most popular topics I’ve covered. By far the most commented post was The Shed Roof Project Part 1.

Green Roofs are a topic that seems to mystify people. I had someone ask me what stresses and strains needed to be calculated for the construction of the roof. Over a large area this would need to be taken into consideration, but the company you buy the substrate from will have this type of information and your builder will know how far apart the joists need to be – and what weight of timber to use – to support the additional weight. It isn’t as scary as it sounds. My advice is to ask questions of the suppliers you’re considering. If they share information readily then you will feel supported – and that you can go back to them if a problem occurs – as was my case in April this year.

The roof went on in September. The Riefa Boards were well moistened and the sedum wildflower turf was laid on top. Then we had the wettest winter on record and my garden smelt appalling! The boards and turf were so waterlogged that they had started to rot. We took the front up stand off to allow drainage and then almost overnight the sun came out, the temperature rose and my roof was suddenly parched and crispy! Having been told that I would never need to water my roof I was completely confused as to what I should be doing.

dried out sedum

Apparently removing the front up stand had caused the roof to dry out very rapidly, I was advised to put it back on, but not knowing what to expect of the weather was nervous that the boards and turf would rot again. So we left the up stand off and took the decision to water the roof when the weather was dry. I didn’t water every day, but probably got up on the ladder with the hose every third. The roof has coped well with this method (the boards do seem to have shrunk a little though, perhaps if the up stand had gone back on this wouldn’t have happened) – but I acknowledge that with a bigger, higher roof this would be difficult – and all the bare patches from the early summer have now been filled in. The birds love it as do the butterflies and bees. Big tick!!!

Nearly a year on my green roof looks wonderful, the shed is nicely insulated, not overly hot in the summer and not at all damp; fabric stays dry as does wood. I feel really happy with the results, but it isn’t the straightforward approach to re-roofing, so expect a bit of trial and error!

Next on the list was Glass Half Full which suggests that glass is still a strong contender for refurbishments. As I said in the post, do your homework. Research the suppliers you want to use and ask questions. If you really can’t get the look you want, talk to an interior designer who is experienced in working with glass. Most will consult and offer guidance for a fee. But don’t forget, if you haven’t commissioned them to oversee the project, the responsibility is yours.

glass insert and balustrade

glass insert and balustrade

When working with glass it is sensible to pay the extra so that the job is handled by experienced suppliers.

Then we had From Lampshade to Hamper a post about repurposing a car boot sale find. It’s only in looking back that I’ve realised there was interest in this – so watch this space – more hand crafts to come.

Lampshade Hamper

I’ve come to understand that writing a blog is as much about the sharing as it is about the content and in the last year I’ve had great advice and wonderful sharing from people within the blogging community. Kimberly, editor of AO at Home was very generous with her advice and as someone who both edits and writes her own blog (http://www.swoonworthy.co.uk) it was like a training session with hand holding. The perfect balance of ‘man up’ and believe in your content, it really got me motivated. Selina Lake, stylist, author and vintage lover was kind enough to retweet my post Moving Outdoors for Summer and gained the blog its biggest viewing audience to date.

afternoon tea

I’ve also had several sponsored posts and been a contributor on other blogs (handcrafts and interiors for Londonmumsmagazine http://londonmumsmagazine.com/category/mums-tips/get-creative/page/4/).

Autumn looks busy, I have new clients to work with and new projects to talk about on the blog, including reconfiguring a studio flat into a one bedroom home. It’s been great to take a little break over the summer, here’s to recharged batteries and all things creative.

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Clear View

Several weeks ago I posted about using glass as a construction material or feature finish in your home, in the post Glass Half Full. We’ve now finished the work on the stairwell and I thought I’d show you what we’ve achieved. I mentioned that we had some frustrations with this project, but I’m so happy with how it looks – and so are the clients!

glass insert and balustrade

glass insert and balustrade

vision panel - or wall?

vision panel – or wall?

The feature wallpaper isn’t green but it seems to pick up the colour of the glass. On the landing, because the light is directly overhead it is the mushroom/stone colour that we expected – but the balustrade is 12mm thick and so the green tint is very dominant. You can get glass without the tint, its called low iron glass and is a little more expensive, but if green isn’t your colour, it’s worth considering.

Luckily the clients like green and it’s one of the colours that comes up in the stone they’ve used on their kitchen floor. Now that the room is linked to the stairs with the glass insert, I wanted to be able connect the spaces visually and the glass tint helps with that.

handcap and handrail

handcap and handrail

Because so many developments use glass on their balconies, I really wanted to stay away from that ‘sea-side feel’ and because we’ve used oak elsewhere in the interior, I was keen to use this to finish our balustrade. We could have left it without a hand-cap, but that too could have looked rather more commercial than domestic. I did want to achieve that balance of modernity within this home, but given the way people naturally run their hand along a balustrade, glass doesn’t really lend itself to being held and as the balustrade is formed of two panels, there is an air gap of 10mm between them which would really hurt if you caught your hand on it, hence the decision to use a hand-cap on the balustrade and a handrail on the opposing wall.

air gap between panels

air gap between panels

balustrade and handrail

balustrade and handrail

What’s really nice is the tunnel effect that the handrail and hand-cap create. At the top of the stairs, you’re in bright light and at the bottom in much more subdued conditions, but the glass and the handrail lead you down. They create that visual link and because the wall has been replaced with the glass insert, the kitchen borrows the light from above and now feels lighter and less enclosed than it did.

Despite the problems that using glass can throw up, it gives the most wonderful finish, increases light and updates the style of your home all at the same time. This is the sort of refurbishment that will add value, it’s unusual, stylish and practical, just the sort of thing that estate agents like to push as a key feature on a listed property. Because of this, give of a lot of thought to how you spend your money when you start doing refurbishments. If you are mindful of your property’s resale potential – and with the way London house prices are rising right now, it’s hard not to be – its important to remember that bathrooms and kitchens don’t really add value, but something that ticks boxes like light and practicality will.