The evening of The International Design Awards

Firstly thank you for all the emails we received from all our past and present clients, suppliers and friends in response to our notification that we had been shortlisted for the 2012 International design awards. It was a fabulous evening and very glamorous. Sitting amongst some truly amazing designs and witnessing really how a very small percentage of the population lives is quite something. Both good and bad. The award for ‘best beach house’, the award for ‘best ski chalet’, ‘best spa hotel’ and ‘residence over £20 million’. To see the images of the contenders flash up on the big screen was jaw dropping to say the least. Then we came to glass houses over £50k. By that point in the evening, the table we were sat at had already scooped two awards in other categories. I thought surely there couldn’t be a third. Alas I was correct, and we did not win. However, I was extremely proud of our work as it was flashed up on the big screen in the presence of designers of the Corinthian Hotel London and The new bar in the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong. So I was happy.  But – and there is always a ‘but’. The design that won our category was beautiful and worthy – but is it practical? A complete glass building on the back of a house will look amazing, but I liken it to a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes. Beautiful, but for the majority of us – implausible and impractical. Or so the girls tell me! My observation is, we are more Nigel Slater than Heston Blumenthal....

We’ve been shortlisted for an International Design & Architecture Award

WE’VE BEEN SHORTLISTED FOR AN INTERNATIONAL DESIGN AWARD! We’d just like to take this opportunity to tell you that Oliver James Garden Rooms has been shortlisted for the International Design and Architecture Awards 2012. We’ve been shortlisted for the ‘Best Glazed Extension’ award and will attend a prestigious awards ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel next week. Reaching the shortlist of such a prestigious award truly illustrates the high quality of our projects and the superb abilities of the team. Although public voting is on offer, at: http://thedesignawards.co.uk/designandarchitecture/voting-2012.html we’re not asking people to vote for us. We know that the voting and registering process takes time and involves providing contact details which may or may not be used to bombard you with e-mails, advertise and sell to you in the future. So, instead, we’d just like to say, think of us on the evening of Friday 28th September and wish us good luck. Times are tough and if you do know anyone who is thinking of a garden room extension, please mention us to them. Thank you for being a small part of our success and in your own way, helping us to reach the shortlist in these prestigious international awards. James King Founder and Owner of Oliver James Garden...

International Design & Architecture Awards 2012

We entered these awards after thinking to ourselves that we produce rooms as good as the ones shown on the previous years shortlisted and might blow my own trumpet and say we even match the winning entry. It seems the judging panel agreed and we have been shortlisted and have to attend the ceremony at the end September at the Dorchester. I am now thinking that there’s no way at this point I will fit into my Dinner Jacket !! An incentive to shed a few kilos, Oh No James INTERNATIONAL DESIGN & ARCHITECTURE AWARDS...

Are conservatories the new bidet?

Research at Cranfield University has shown that the average south-facing conservatory reaches a comfortable temperature for only two hours a day, unless energy is expended on artificial heating or cooling.  Home owners are tiring of their ‘too hot/too cold’ conservatories. I’m getting several calls a week from people who say they’d never buy a house with one again. They’re telling me that they’re left with a room that they just don’t use! Due to environmental concerns, building regulations have stated since October 2010 that newly-built conservatories must not connect to any heating system or be controlled by a thermostat. Rather than offering an open plan solution, they must also be fitted with lockable thermal doors to separate the conservatory from the rest of the home. With our unreliable climate, is a conservatory a sound investment? Garden Rooms: The all-year-round solution for modern living So what’s the answer in the world of home improvements? It’s all about creating a more modern look that is both beautiful and functional. Clients want to integrate their rooms seamlessly, not have to close them off from the elements. Our unique Garden Room designs offer homeowners the ability to combine rooms into stunning living areas, whilst highlighting their outside space at the same time. We offer the complete package, from initial design drawings to building regulations calculations, right through to build and finishing. As the newest addition to your house, your Oliver James Garden Room will almost certainly be more efficiently insulated than the rest of your house. You can enjoy it for 365 days of the year! Is the conservatory the new bidet? Tell us what...

Cat Flap at Number 16

This past week I was having a discussion with one of our clients about her lovely big fat cat and the cat flap/door. This reminded me of a past client who had a similar situation. The past client was instructed by his wife to ask us if we had considered the cat flap. Picture the scene. A group of builders having their morning meeting (tea with loads of sugar) and the husband/client has to inform us that we need to consider the cat and it’s exit and entrance. The poor chap really wanted to ask a builder question and join us in our progress meeting (tea drinking with lots of sugar, discussing last nights game). We did ask if this was a serious request in the diplomatic way only a builder/football authority can. Our current client who’s a woman who deals with guys in her work enviroment and is not a football fan painted a picture for us wise old boys. ‘The cat needs to get in and out whilst I’m away at work all day. I do not want a cat litter tray in my lovely new garden room and want to know the cat can get in for it’s food.’ This has made me realise that requests as odd as they seem to us wise-all-at-one-with-the-world builders and authorities on the beautiful game, need to be considered and actioned. So we have now designed a cat flap that comes through the wall and numbered it 16 C; and yes the first client did also get the cat flap and joined us in the morning meetings even though he...

Conservatory Tax and Conserving Customers

I have been drawn to comment on the news recently about the government considering legislation for home owners to make their homes more eco friendly by way of legislation and tax. We have been carrying out SAP calculations (heatloss calcs) since we began creating our rooms. I can say that in almost every instance our clients are well aware of energy costs and employ numerous forms for decreasing their energy output; increased loft insulation, higher rated windows and boilers, water harvesting all spring to mind. Our rooms conform to the latest building regulations and we have no impact on the energy requirements of the existing house. One simple regulation that could help reduce energy output in an instant, that the wise ministers should employ, would be to make conservatories conform to building regulations and to not deny that people use these as habital rooms. It really makes me wild that slick sales guys sell these products and avoid telling the whole story of the conservatory. Customers are left with a room that they will eventually turn off and close the doors to when they get their latest quarterly meter readings. To my mind customers are way ahead of the government as energy costs increase. The last government dogged the issue of conservatories in the last round of building regulations. It seems the lobbyists from the conservatory companies had another escape. Customers do not need legislation to save energy they need knowledge and legislation that protects vulnerability. As an aside, to carry on this I have linked in these guys AECB who talk a great deal of sense when dealing with...
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