Entrance / “boot room” tips

or “8 Ways to Keep Winter Gear From Mucking Up an Entryway“, from http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/5264166/

Create open storage. “Good air circulation is critical with wet and snowy jackets,” says Jeff Murphy, president of Murphy & Co. Design. Open cubbies not only keep the air moving but make it easy to see a jacket or backpack quickly.

Stock up on baskets and bins. Use containers that slide neatly into divided shelves to keep hats and gloves dust free.

Don’t scrimp on hooks. Hooks are inexpensive.


Exhaust air into a hot water heat pump ?

I’ve been sent some info by Cernunnos Homes (“Renewable Energy specialists for the domestic & commercial sector.”) in praise of the  ESP Ecocent system. Peter one of the Cernunnos founders has put this into his own house:

If you not decided on a hot water system – take a look at the ESP Ecocent.

No RHI (exhaust air source is not considered green)

Can be integrated with RegaVent MVHR system (so in the summer the Ecocent can cool the house by recycling the air from which heat extracted back through the ventilation system).

When I got back to them about this meaning that the MVHR system isn’t re-directing captured warmth from air being expelled from the house to the cold air being pulled back into the house, they replied:

“…. normal MVHR is transfering heat out to  heat in.
However in the summer you want heat out and cold in, which is what the Ecocent delivers by cooling the air via the compressor.
In the winter we can either bypass (so extract and expel from the outside and leave the MVHR as a traditional system) however normally people either shower in the morning (before they go out to work), or in the evening (before they go out to socialise) or at end of night (when you want to let the temperature fall in the house). At these points (when the bathroom is over heated) the MVHR then kicks more heat back into the house when one would naturally be comfortable with it not recovering the heat to recycle to space heating, but there is a demand for water heating. So whilst either use (space or water) for the outgoing heat is an efficient use of that heat it can be argued that the water heating (with very low heat loss) is a slightly more efficient use of that heat! It is energy efficiency at the extremes, ie being efficient in the most efficient manner possible!

New “Dutchtub Wood”

The DutchTub team have created a version of their “tea cup” hot tub that is encircled by wood, which might look better for Silver Spray.

I asked and “Indeed, the Dutchtub wood has the same inner shape as the Dutchtub Original.”

The original Dutch Tub can weigh 1400 kg / 3000 lbs when full of water and 4 people. They suggest a small platform under the tub can spread the total weight on more square meters than just the four legs of the tub. ”


  • Length: 170 cm/67 inch
  • Width: 234 cm/92 inch
  • Height: 82 cm/32 inch
  • Weight: 85 kg/187 Ibs
  • Capacity: 650 liter/171 gallon
  • Material: 
    • Glassfibre polyester (RAL 7003, single color option)
    • Stainless steel
    • Preserved wood
  • Additional: This design is developed in collaboration with Feather Down Farm Days®
  • Delivery: The Dutchtub Wood will be delivered with a fire basket for the spiral, a special wok, a fire shield, a turbo connection for fast heating and a fiberglass cover
  • Check out the accesories.

Lights in cross beams (if have cross beams)

Looking at this project on Houzz
– http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/4878646/

I thought that if the proposed Glulam beams are going to drop below the ceiling height, then the way they have done the lights in between the beams looks great.

I think I’m biased to a clean line (no visible beams) though.

It, in part, works because they have lots of beams closely spaced to each other.


How to Place Shower Controls

An article on “How to Place Shower Controls for Bathing Bliss” at http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/4690224/list?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u179&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery14.

With some careful planning, your next shower can be a complete joy to use. No blast of cold water when you turn it on, a controlled amount of water falling from each fixture, water that doesn’t spray out the shower door and a handheld cord that doesn’t wrap around fixtures.

  • Arrange controls for multiple showerheads in an order that would make sense to a guest. eg left hand shower controls on the left, or highest (“rain head”) shower jet controls to have the highest placement.
  • Having the shower’s controls at the opening of the shower makes heating things up easy and keeps you from getting wet in the process.
  • For a handheld shower control, consider the natural arch of the cord. I’ve found the cords want to curve at roughly 8 inches (20 centimeters). Notice the perfect placement of the shower’s handheld cord in this photo. It lines up with the temperature control in middle, and the hose connects to the wall right in line with the lower control valve.
  • Have your tile layout ready if you want the hose’s connection to fall in the center of a tile or on a grout joint. Siting the connection on a grout joint is easier for the tile installer, but most times it looks best to have it entirely on a full tile.

Advantages of a Green Roof

From http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/1708780/list?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u147&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery9

  1. Reduced energy needs. A living roof acts as an insulator, reducing the energy needed to heat and cool your home or building.
  2. Reduced greenhouse gases. Living green plants convert carbon dioxide to sugars, producing oxygen as a byproduct.
  3. Reduced urban heat island effect. The cooling effect of evapotranspiration and the lower Solar Reflective Index* of a living roof result in lower overall heat given off by the roof surface. (*SRI: a measure of the energy a material absorbs, then releases as heat.)
  4. Enhanced stormwater management. Slick, impermeable roofs shed water quickly and efficiently, contributing to both higher and faster peak runoff and flooding in densely developed areas. A green roof’s plants and soil slow both the rate and the energy of runoff.
  5. Enhanced water quality. Plants and soil in a green roof absorb and break down pollutants in rainwater. The slower flow rate of stormwater equals less erosion and subsequent sedimentation downstream.
  6. Added habitat. A living roof provides shelter and food for local birds, bees, butterflies and other fauna.
  7. Improved value and curb appeal. This is a no-brainer — just look at the pictures!
  8. Improved quality of life. Admit it: You’re happier when you’re surrounded by beauty … and I’d argue that most ordinary roofs fall in the category of blight rather than grandeur.


Just saw an article  in this months Homebuilding & Renovating magazine for this stairs & balustrades company.

Apparently they have a great range at good prices.

I’ve had a quick look and they include outside stair cases, which I’ll need.

They also have glass stair railing systems.

– which could look great with these “organic” railings (http://www.eestairs.com/en/292_cells_design.htm) although I was thinking vertical wood cladding to the same style as the bedrooms (see below).