Month: January 2012

Design pattern implementation – stairs

A discussion over on Reddit prompted me to revisit my thinking in relation to design patterns and their contribution to the design of the conversion of the barn. (For a more detailed discussion of design patterns please see my post on A Pattern Language.) The discussion on Reddit is titled 'Why hasn't Christopher Alexander been more influential for architects?' and linked to an old article on Slate.com that is a discussion of Christopher Alexander's work, design patterns and the lack of attention paid to this work in the current training of architects. My personal take on why architects aren't more…
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Cabin bed build ~ part 3, finishing touches

Continued from Part 1 & Part 2... With the main structure safe and solid it was time to add some finishing touches. I'd wanted the bed to have it's own lighting so went for LED strip lights from the 'large blue Swedish chain store'. Two packs of four lights for a total of eight provided ample to surround the bed on three sides. The LED's were hidden behind boards attached horizontally around the bed a metre or so up from the mattress level. Some extra smaller diameter bars of wood were attached to tidy things up, along the top of…
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Apologies to anyone who may have emailed me…

I must apologise if you've emailed me over the last few months. I know of a least one email (asking for some proper vital statistics related to the barn), that has disappeared down the drain hole of my spam filter. Communications with blog readers has become ever more difficult - the commercialisation of the Akismet spam filter for comments has led to the need to explore other solutions such as the much disliked Captcha I now use - spam email leads to increasingly more draconian email filters. In fact my spam email filters are now so assertive that hardly any…
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Cabin bed build ~ part 2

Continued from Part 1... I was lucky when it came to fitting the cupboard doors under the bed as I'd sized the frame and the doors to fit and for once the plans and reality closely resembled one-another. With hinges fixed to the doors, they quickly and relatively easily screwed onto the frame. I then used twin roller catches at the top of the doors to hold them in place. From Barn Conversion 2011 With the under-bed cupboard doors in place the next step was to add the second end to the bed, the one that would lie in the…
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Building Progress ~ December 2011

Due in-part to the warm, but wet weather and in-part by the desire to complete the work by the Christmas deadline I set myself, December has been dominated by work to box-in the thermal store and build a cabin bed in the second bedroom. These subjects have already been pretty well covered elsewhere - I've drawn up plans and posted about the initial construction of the cabin bed. I'll be writing in detail about finishing the cabin bed soon - there are just a few finishing touches to complete. I also hope to put together a set of generic Sketchup…
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Twitter @barnconversion

I'm really rubbish at self promotion and promotion of this blog... one thread of evidence to that statement is that I've been on Twitter for a couple of years now, but have neglected to mention it here. I have stuck a Twitter link up on the header but never provided any explanation, so to put the record straight... I use Twitter to post irregular updates regarding the blog, progress at the barn or just general comments related to barns, conversions or building in general. I've made 120 tweets or so over the last couple of years, with most of those…
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Planning and control tools – Remember the milk

I don't really talk about project management on this blog. I prefer to focus on my fumbling attempts at labouring, carpentry, landscape gardening and so on. But having decided against an architect and / or project manager way back at the start of converting the barn I've taken on the project management (above and beyond co-ordination of the original building work) myself. I don't especially enjoy project management, it's a part of what I do when in my day job and so isn't new or challenging, more a necessary evil than anything else. However, I have used some tools that…
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Good design is as little design as possible

I've been a fan of the designer Dieter Rams and specifically his Vitsoe shelving for some time. I hadn't realised that the Vitsoe shelving is made in Britain (or Made by Britain as the current government campaign has it). Due to the name and the simple design approach I'd assumed a Scandanavian heritage, so there are few excuses (except for the cost) not to buy Vitsoe shelving. On the Vitsoe website is a list of 'ten principles of good design', that are as good a list of design principles as I've found. Of the ten principles, this one struck a…
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The people belong to the house

Christmas affords me sometime to be able to read, eat and drink. Cookery books allow all three, albeit two of them in the abstract unless augmented. Rick Stein is a favourite and I loved this quote from his latest book 'Spain'. It conveys a sense of home and belonging that most of us seek. Towards the end of the lunch, one of the aunts recited a poem by the Basque poet Gabriel Aresti: I shall defend the house of my father Against wolves Against drought Against usury Against the law The significance of this, they told me, was that in…
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