Frame the sea view ?

How about, as suggested ages ago by Jo Brannan, reducing some of the north, sea facing glazing (glass windows, doors, panels) to have more of a frame on the view.

Yes it’s great to have some rooms where it’s full whack the view, where the end side walls, roof and floor are the frame.

But maybe some other rooms have less glazing. Walls are also much more thermally efficient and cheaper for the heating efficiency of the building.

This extreme framing (ie mostly wall Vs small window) works to amazing effect.

The above photo is from

For this endless ocean view, instead of the windows going floor to ceiling, the designer chose to pull the focus tight by using a smaller window. The minimally framed window creates the look of art on the wall and brings your attention to the balance of sea and sky and the subtle gradient of color.

It seems almost any frame, can end up adding to the view:

A nice post about Accoya wood

I’ve since learnt that (unless it’s changed and the info is out of date or wrong) that Accoya wood is grown in NZ & treated in the Netherlands. So the transport carbon footprint isn’t great. It’s then consequently expensive.

“The downside to this material is that while the trees are grown in New Zealand and the acetylisation process occurs in The Netherlands, it will always be expensive. The raw timber costs three times as much as our standard hardwoods.”

The geographic growing and processing isn’t mentioned on the Accoya website that does cover a lot of other good environmental aspects of Accoya:

Polar bear inspired external wall heating system

Follow the bears

The biomimicry-based technology imitates the effect of fur on polar bears, the individual hairs on the polar bear being hollow and guiding sunlight directly to the skin. As the polar bear’s skin is black, it is able to absorb light efficiently, and convert it into heat which it transfers to the body.

External wall insulation system (EWIS) specialist Sto has brought its StoSolar solid wall heating system concept from Germany to the UK market.

The system incorporates a translucent glass render finish covering tiny capillaries that guide sunlight to a black absorbent layer, which converts solar to thermal energy. The masonry stores this heat and releases it back into the building as radiant heat, reducing the internal heating requirement.

Low sun means high heat

The amount of heat generated by the system depends on the angle of the sun. In summer, when the sun is high in the sky, less radiant energy is absorbed by the capillaries, so the heat generated is greatly reduced. In the winter, the low angle leads to the maximum amount of sunshine being transmitted to the absorbent layer ensuring that most heat is produced during the cold months.

StoSolar integrates into a Sto EWIS and is suitable for new and existing buildings when fixed to a solid wall that is not internally insulated. It will generally use 10-30 percent of a façade’s insulating surface area and be delivered to the construction site as prefabricated units to be incorporated into an external wall system.

You Look Fine (mirror)

OK, so this site is my notes, thoughts etc. as I scoop up ideas, inspiration etc. for the house project.

Spotted this and had to add it.

Wouldn’t this be great in at least one bathroom or over the downstairs loo sink ?

– maybe put up an empty picture frame with the text painted on the wall ?

Side Slot Idea

As an alternative to a corner window for the top floor home office, a different idea, that could make the top half of the office floor look as if it’s lighter, but it floating, is a side slot:


This idea could be extended / used on all 3 floors of the building or just the top office.
– if used on all 3, the slot could be the longest / deepest on the top office floor.

A corner slot would mean less glass, which means better insulation (walls are better than windows for insulation) and lower cost.


(The pictures are from

Corner Window Idea(s)

There is an idea to reduce the bulk / the massing of the top floor by putting a corner window on the NE corner.

So I’ve had a look at corner windows and found these on

In the above building the corner window isn’t floor to ceiling and still seems to massively reduce the impact there would be if there was a solid corner.

A similar corner window would still allow the current block top floor where there isn’t a roof “cap” that extends beyond the walls.

Viewed from inside, this corner window isn’t floor to ceiling.  Neither is the image above.
Both seem to work well.

Looking at another corner window gallery >>

Again, the window isn’t floor to ceiling, but close !

On the top floor this could then have a column, before a (from inside) a, to the floor door that opens out onto the terrace.

Having supporting columns at or near the corner seems to work well too !

Corner columns can also be fine.
Look at this corner from the outside and inside (season shift):

and this corner window, with a corner frame piece on, what looks like an office building.

26 May 2012 Additions:

This image is interesting, not only for the corner window, but also for the lounge where there could be a problem getting triple glazing to the height, so a top window band strip might be a solution.


Cornwall based sustainable furniture

I’ve got some ideas for a table made from recycled wood and maybe recycled steel. The more of the house (build, materials AND furniture) can be recycled:

  • Built in a way that can be recycled in the future
  • Be built from materials that have had a previous life

the better.

So great to come across St Austel based who also have a showroom in Truro.