An alternative Hot Tub

I’ve thus far been considering a Dutch Tub hot tub:

  • I think they look cool
  • Their water volume is “only” about 650 litres, so not too much to heat up and keep walm. Also not too much weight.

BUT their size does mean while they are super comfy for 2 people, as soon as you go over that, it gets a bit of a squeeze. (the bottom of the Dutch Tub tubs domes up).
Look at these 2 pic’s of 1 and 2 people in a Dutch Tub (there is only one size). Click on either pic and you’ll get the full size version where yu can see toes at the other side of the tub and arm spans etc.

dutchtub-2_people    dutchtub-1_person

I’ve just found Cashen Hot Tubs. Their tubs are 100% made from timber from local (Cornish) forests. Mostly from Dutchy controlled forests less than 6 miles from their sawmill.

They come with a wood burner heating option that looks the same as the hot tubs I was in at last years (2012) Nova Festival:

Wood fuelled hot tub at Nova Festival 2012


The 1.7m diameter Cashen hot tub is down as suitable for 4-5 people. It’s about 400 kg empty, so add the 1,800 litres of water, the burning fire and a few people and you rapidly get to 2,500 kg or a bit more.

  • The inside depth of the tub is 920mm, outside height is 1090mm. They have said they can make a shallower tub to make the most of your sea view. But will that mean cold shoulders ?
  • They can also add a filtration system to the wood fired hot tubs.

Below are some photos and other info from the  Cashen Hot Tub Website and some emails from them (so accurate early 2013):

Wood Burner Hot Tubs (Elec heated a bit more £)
1.5m (4.5ft) dia. 1,600 litres seats 3-4 people £3,125
1.7m (5ft) dia. 1,800 litres seats 4-5 people £3,475
1.9m (6ft) dia. 2,500 litres seats 5-6 people £3,725

The tubs have an “inside depth of the tub is 920 mm, outside height is 1090 mm. If you were interested in a shallower tub to make the most of your sea view, this could be accommodated.”

Prices include our eco-friendly underwater wood-burning heater and integral seating as standard.

The stove is made from marine grade aluminium. They can be replaced at £800.

Hot Tub Optional Extras
Wooden Steps (I assume external to get in and out !) £195
Lift off wooden cover £265
Lift off custom made insulated cover £350
Pipe work screening
– which it looks like the Nova Festival tubs had. The Cashen photos below show tubs without a cover over the pipe work.
Filtration system £515
Stainless steel finish for chimney £180

Water Temp & Stove Size

Reading elsewhere, hot tubs tend to run around 36° degrees. The stove needs to be sized to not over or under heat the size of the tub.

Hot Tub Placement & Maintenance

The more they are not left the better.

“Use it and wash it regularly, another important thing is to make sure the is adequate air circulation underneath the tub. There is no problems using sea water in the tub as the stove is a manufactured of marine aluminium, the actual barrel itself works better with salt water as it keeps the moisture better and it slows down the dry out process.”

Photos from the Cashen Hot Tub Website:









From another Website:

wood fired hot tub - schematic


In addition to the main front door having a flush inset door mat (see below), this probably also makes sense for the entrance to the boots & coats room





For general floor mats, these “eco mats” look good:

Eco barrier and door mats to keep your home clean and looking great. We’ve got fun door mats, mats for dogs, for keen gardeners and for doing your laundry. Super absorbent and durable, the mats get softer the more they’re washed and are made of 100% recycled materials by UK manufacturer Hug Rug.



Bamboo Flooring

I have some samples from

Bamboo flooring is one of the hardest natural materials available for flooring and is an excellent alternative to hard wood flooring. Bamboo has a higher fibre rating than any hard wood, which gives it exceptional hard wearing qualities.

bamboo is a rapid growing grass and not wood, it can be harvested every 3-5 years, unlike 15-25 years for most wood. This makes bamboo a very environmentally friendly product for flooring.

BambooFlooringCompany - 01


Also get samples etc. from

Thermal Scanner

There are a lot of conversations on the GreenBuilding Forum:

That include using a thermal scanner for during and post build use of thermal scanners to check for thermal efficiency (leaks, bridging, U-values).

Wait for the heating to be working, so that it’s warmer inside than outside by 8C or more (so probably winter !) and start using a scanner.

From inside, to look in all directions (floor, walls, ceiling) and from as many external aspects as you can. You could find where (for example) insulation in the wall has perhaps sagged and left a less insulated section.

Yes you’ll possibly find problems when it’s too late (ie not during the build) but better late than never, as you may still be able to improve where these problems are.
– if it’s during the build, but post final hand over, you can get the builder(s) in to sort out the problems.

It’d also be interesting to 2, 3, 5, 10, 20 years on to do the same and see how the building has held up.
– yes it’d be good to also get an air test several years in.

Cost Implication / Problem

One problem with this plan is that an air test is about £300 at the moment. That’s a lot, unless you believe there is a big reduction in the building efficiency and you want to check, to confirm (and if the case) resolve what has failed over time.

FLIR Thermal Image cameras start at around £1,000 and what training / learning do you need to use one properly?


FLIR i3 / i5 / i7 camera model comparison


 FLIR i3 FLIR i5 FLIR i7
Thermal image quality:
60×60 pixels
Thermal image quality:
100×100 pixels
Thermal image quality:
140×140 pixels
Field of View:
12.5°(H) x 12.5°(V)
Field of View:
21°(H) x 21°(V)
Field of View:
29°(H) x 29°(V)
Center spot Center spot Spotmeter, area with max./min. temperature, isotherm above/below
Thermal sensitivity: 0.15°C Thermal sensitivity: 0.10°C Thermal sensitivity: 0.10°C

“Modern” kitchen elements


“Contemporary” typically means of the moment or current, the design of right now. “Modern” refers to a specific design style from the early to mid 20th century that broke with the traditional styles of the days before the Industrial Revolution.

When I think of modern kitchen designs, I think of frameless cabinets, sleek and simple hardware, strong horizontal lines and a lack of ornamentation, with the natural beauty of the materials shining through.

Looking at the Houzz page on Contemporary kitchens, I’m biased to their definition of “modern”.

Back to the Modern Kitchen look and feel:

Flat panel door style (aka slab-door)

modern-kitchen_flat panel doors

Full overlay door, ie the door overlays the cabinet box.

modern-kitchen_full overlay door


Lack of ornamentation. ie no patterned tile shapes or multiple materials with textures. So sleek hardware, full height glass splashback. No patterns or veining on coutertops.

Emphasis on horizontal lines.

The picture below is also from Houzz.  Long clean lines.
– but on the detail, I want the hob elements on the island, not the sink. It’s more social to cook around the hob and putting the sink on the back wall means dirty dishes and dishes that are drying are more out of sight.



The picture below is from the Remo Alabaster Linear Second Nature kitchen. They have Falmouth and Wadebridge offices.

Slate and bamboo floor inspiration


Chinese slate floor tiles span the first floor. “We wanted to use the most irregular floor surface we could find. This room is used a lot, so we wanted to have a rough floor that we could walk on without worrying about damaging the floor,”

Chinese irregular slate floor tiles - 01

Chinese irregular slate floor tiles - 02

Chinese irregular slate floor tiles - 03

and the very small unit bamboo element wooden floor:

bamboo floor - 04

bamboo floor - 03

Bamboo has good eco credentials in terms of sustainable growth.
– but you need to check this.

I’d be biased towards bigger “elements”, so that it looks a bit more like wood until you look at the detail.

I’m less certain about the Chinese slate. Some comments suggest less than ideal extraction and transport etc. But I do like the idea of the rough textured surface and the size of the tiles in these examples.

Double Sinks

A whole bunch of double sink ideas from Houzz:

One benefit of a double vanity is the extra storage gained beneath. Lots of drawers and shelves mean a clutter-free bathroom and never missing a clean towel or a roll of toilet paper.

I seem to like those photos with tile floors, white sinks and light wooden units / drawers / shelves.

double sinks + storage


bathroom wood etc


double sinks + storage - 02

In terms of how the sinks are plumbed in, the sinks below have the pipes in through the sink unit (not from the wall).

But I am biased towards a single handle to control the flow rate and temp, coming out of a single outlet.

double sinks + storage - 03

Clever storage ideas

From &


Hidden sponge storage in front of the sink. Sponges are unsightly; why clutter up sink-side space with them? This use of the often wasted space in front of the sink is genius.

hidden sponge storage

kitchen storage - 01

kitchen storage - 02

Have openings in the counter top or the doors so can more easily drop recycling into the recycling bins.

Also see if there can be a can crusher to make them take up less space.
– perhaps in the utility room not the kitchen.

kitchen recycling containers

Two dishwashers!

I first heard this idea from Olivia. I’ve since seen it on Houzz. With two dishwashers not only are you covered for a party, but day to day, you can take clean dishes straight from dishwasher to table, a luxury that you have when you don’t need to empty the dishwasher in order to refill it with dirty dishes.

Elsewhere I’ve read sense to put the diswasher by the sink, as this is where you’ll already be taking the dirty dishes.

two dishwashers close to the sink

Wardrobe / Bedroom

girls shoe storage

Utility Room / Bedroom

For sheets (Store Matching Sheets Inside of Their Pillowcases):

Store Matching Sheets Inside of Their Pillowcases




Cold water tap temperature

I was pondering the temperature of the cold water tap!

To get hot water, a domestic hot water system needs to take the cold water up to around 50 degrees C.
– I know there are also considerations to periodically take it above 60 degrees C to prevent the Legionella bacterium growing in the water system.

Looking at the chart below from


Seasonal variations in domestic hot water energy requirements


I assumed that the mains water pipes were deep enough to cause less seasonal variation in the output temperatures, between 4°C in the winter and up to 20°C in the summer.

I’m not sure why the graph has a lower summer temperature for domestic hot water (DHW).