Saturday, 26 April 2014

Earth, Marble & Stone ( Milestone, of course! )

Ey up my faithful blogworms, sorry I've missed for a couple of weeks but we've been away working and last week away with our campervan for a bit of R &R. 

This week is all about Bathrooms and some surprising tit bits of info that you may not know for all our Eco minded followers 

 Below are some pics of a bathroom we've just finished creating. Natural materials very much the theme to be used and to make it as eco friendly as we could was our mission.

The brief was to use all natural marble for the walls and floors, create a false wall to enable us to put a bath one side and the shower at the other, use a high level flush w.c. with a 6 litre flush to save water and to install a free standing vanity unit for two people.

OK, the sharp eyed amongst you will probably have spotted something missing in the top left of the first picture .... we were waiting for the mirror to arrive when I took these photos. !! 

But even we've been surprised at the amount of eco boxes we could tick while putting this project together cos let's face it .... when looking at this style of bathroom .... eco is usually the last thing on your mind !.

Those of you who are familiar with the range will have spotted Fired Earths involvement here with the bath, the vanity unit, the framed mirror and the shower door all being of their supply. Fired Earth have surprised me with their current Eco thinking with regard to their materials sourcing and are much more eco friendly than I realised. I really feel that in these environmentally conscious times they ought to shout more about this. As you would expect from the brand we found the quality to be superb of the items they produce. The shower door, for example, is probably one of the best I've ever fitted ! fiddly to set up but perfect when done.

The marble for the floors and walls was from a great importer in Tockwith, ( in the York area ) Terzetto, and they supplied us superb Marmorex adhesives and grouts that are all eco friendly in the formulation, contain none of the toxic nasties usually found in these items, very low VOC content and have a high recycled content in their mixes. 

Not only that but the results using them were very good indeed ... a big up to Marmorex called for I think !

The stud wall between the bath and shower was built using FSC sourced timber products with recesses both shower and bath sides to stand your usual array of bathroom products on / in to keep them to hand when needed. Funny, isn't it, there's never anywhere to put your soap !!

The purpose of the doors in the end of the wall are to give access to isolation valves for the shower unit and bath taps ( something which I find are woefully lacking in most bathrooms ) and to allow us to place the wiring for the LED lights that illuminate the recesses in the walls. The lights that you see in the flyshelf over the vanity unit are the new low energy Led COBB lights I mentioned in an earlier blog and as you can see provide a fantastic light right in front of you when using the mirror .... the perfect lighting set up !

Another bonus is the extra storage space they give for things you don't necessarily want on show in your bathroom. ( see pics below )
Something were particularly pleased with is that every single piece of kit that water comes out of has it's own isolator, so all the items can be switched off individually should problems occur, without affecting the rest of the bathroom.

I even made the little boat sat in the recess (bathside) out of bits of the crate the tiles came in, I've recycled the pallet that the bath arrived on into staging in my wifes greenhouse at home and made the doors & the frame for them in the false wall out of recycling the skirting boards that we took off when stripping the room down initially.

It just goes to show that even the most glamorous bathrooms can be pretty Eco friendly if you have the will to do it and a little bit of creative thinking. 

Do check out people like Fired Earth, Terzetto and Marmorex and view them in a new " green " light, they're trying more to work the rest of us now and take climate change a lot more seriously !!

As ever, Jules

Full set of pics here


Saturday, 5 April 2014

Drinks, Memories & Campervans

Ey up my faithful blogworms, more this week about how you can recycle discarded or broken everyday items into something unique, fabulous & functional.

It was William Morris who said " Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful ! " I couldn't have put it better myself, function should definitely come before form but there's no reason why it can't look fantastic too if designed right.

The two items I'm showing you today, made by my own hand, in my shed ( where all the best things are made ! ) tick all the form and function boxes you would ever wish to, but are made completely by recycling other stuff. That's what I think Morris would have added today !.

I know this has nothing to do with eco kitchens but it sort of does really, it's to do with our kitchen in our campervan which, itself, I made from recycling oak floorboards.

We've decided to start a sort of 'tradition' of our own when going out in the campervan with our good friends in theirs.

Arrive at site, set up the awning, get unpacked, have a drink. That's the sequence. That's where these fab little boxes come in. I've made us one each, ours has a picture of Pandora, our bus on it, and theirs has a picture of Poppy, their bus, on it.

Ours is made entirely from recycling a wooden framed swing / hammock that my mum had & enjoyed right up untill she passed away a few years ago. So it great for us to think the a little piece of my mums memory goes with us on every trip we make. It holds 2 Gin & Tonics, perfect for us and we've got other spirit miniatures for our kids to take with them when they, in turn, take their kids away for a campervan trip.

The second box took a whole load more making than ours as the design challenges were more difficult. It's for our really good friends, Tracy & John from Liberty Campers , a camper hire company based here in Ilkley, it holds two beers and is made in the colours of their bus 'Poppy' who's red with a white roof.

Modelled on a Westfalia pop top roof, it's the only "Westfakia Pop Top Beerbox" in existence, made from recycled plywood, recycled mdf and recycled curtain linings for the pop top fabric.

Using a small hydraulic piston, the pop top opens automatically when you undo the catch and you just lift out you bottles of beer. The fabric lower edges are on Velcro so they can be released to clean out the box if necessary and to let you replace the piston if it ever stops working. 

Completed by the addition of a picture of 'Poppy' on the lid & the number plate on the front, should Tracy & John ever sell Poppy ( god forbid ) the box could be repainted with a new pic on the lid and it's ready to go with a new bus. !! Simples.

Well, there ya go, isn't recycling wonderful, a few bits of discarded material, a bit of lateral thinking and a whole new campervanning accessory is born. 

A positive heirloom that can be passed down the generations of future guardians of our wonderful vehicles !!

See ya next time, Jules