Sarah Beeny Visits Our Eco House

Sarah Beeny Visits Our Eco House

Evening all! We are excited to announce that Our Eco House will soon be seen on the small screen by 2 million people courtesy of Sarah Beeny’s popular Channel 4 TV show, Double Your House for Half the Money.   In fact it is on the small screen tonight at 8pm.  This is our first blog post since our first day of filming that happened back in April, the production company imposed a curfew because they did not want us to give the plot away – fair enough some people are bad at keeping things under wraps.

Certain teller regarding how our build will get cut suggest that we may be portrayed as letting our hearts rule over our minds. Personally I don’t think we have a problem with that, as that’s why we moved to Whitstable and bought a cheap little house. Its all about having a small mortgage, low running costs and as much freedom and flexibility as possible – hang on that almost sounds commercially saavy…

The behind the scenes gossip is that Sarah’s got her head screwed on, family is a priority and and once the clock strikes home time she’s off like a bullet from a gun. I don’t blame her; life must be busy with four children and two concurrent shows to shoot!

Stay tuned for site updates including photos, details on what products have been used where and details of how we plan to fine tune the place.  There are  a number of little projects still to complete – we plan to build a garden room with a bathroom and wee kitchen when we get a chance…


Is This the Light Bulb of the Future?

Sounds like a bright idea… We plan to use LED lighting throughout our scheme, as you can see from this product, and various others out there, they can slot right in where your old bulb was – assuming you buy the right size.

Some advice we got at Eco Build was to double check the lumens outputted, there are some cheap solutions out there (not this one) which are not really bright enough. Assuming you start to compensate buy doubling or trippling, you make limited saving and you are munching the same amount of power….

We want to right a bit about Original BTC, but will do that in a future post, we love that fact that these fittings are still made in the UK, using porcelain and other lovely finishes, coming soon 😉

home iq

In a world where almost anything and seemingly everything can be controlled with a smart phone, there are things we probably didn’t consider. Here is a new one: a light bulb.

Launched as a project on the funding platform KickStarter, LIFX is a Wi-Fi-enabled energy-efficient LED bulb that homeowners can control with a smart phone. It’s rated for brightness exceeding 900 lumens, or about equivalent to a 75-watt incandescent bulb.

“You want smart bulbs to be as bright as possible, because with full control via the app, brightness is your only limit,” says founder and CEO Phil Bosua. “With LIFX you’ll be able to choose from over 16 million colors, control every light from your smart phone, and do some cool tricks like visualizing music just by changing your light bulbs, and all without compromising on brightness.”


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Our Five Favourite Things At Eco Build 2013

Eco Build 2013 at ExCel London

Eco Build Logo

We spoke to Space Shuffle about Eco Build last December, so it was a shock this morning to see a reminder on my phone telling me it had started, where does the time go!  As with all such shows it is claiming to be the biggest and the best, and the exhibitor list and other elements definitely go some way towards supporting that.  We plan to attend on at least 6th and 7th, as on the final day we have a number of meetings with potential suppliers which will limit how much of the educational side of the event we can experience.  As with all conference / trade shows, the ammount of real insight is often hamstrung by a sales message, so our jury is still out on this until we attend, we will report back in a later post which includes photos (wow ooo – exciting huh!)

Key areas we want to investigate include MVHR (mechanical ventilation & heat recovery) systems, combined electrical and renewable solid fuel heating, windows & glazing in all forms, roof finishing, flooring and of course lighting and anything electrical.   These are all likely to represent big parts of our build cost, so any deals that can be done, or any savings made through using new technology will be brilliant outcomes.

Unfortunately it looks like Laura will not be able to make it to the event (you always have to be free with your own Yoga school) but I will do my best of remembering and capturing (on camera) what I see.  I am really looking forward to the attraction elements, particularly the Practical Installer area (live project demonstrations) and The Evolution of Light, a showcase on the future of lighting, how it can benefit both our health and that of the environment.

If you are going along keep your eye out for the ecototem

Watch out for the next post!

Places to buy second hand furniture near Whitstable

Buying second hand is of course part of the very essence of being eco; rather than stoking demand for further production, give preloved items  a new home!  Generally second hand means you have transported “the thing” home yourself (often from near by) and there is no packaging…  This contributes to a lower carbon footprint, and also results in a house or apartment with a bit more character.  Check out apartment therapy for inspiration on how to turn some old, into something new!

Near to our project, there are plenty of places to get fantastic retro and vintage items, Valentines  and the Ribbon (for Fashion) are just the ticket, people like Mick and Karen Stacey really know how to put old bits and bobs together to make them look fab.  However, bargain hunters like Laura I like to head further up the food chain, i.e. buy from the kind of places that the vintage shops source from.

The Ribbon Whitstable

The Ribbon, Whitstable

So far we have checked out Faversham Flea Market which runs each Sunday, Standard Key (where is runs), also hosts Aladdins Loft which is great for Kitchenware, loads of branded jugs from the past and plenty of Le Creuset – plus its open most days.  The Pilgrims Hospice Warehouse in nearby Chartham is amazing for all sorts of bargains, as is the branch in Whitstable itself, last time I popped in I picked up a fab gents brolly for two quid.  Hopefully in future more cool furniture will turn up.  As we find places to source from, we will share links to maps or websites in our Blogroll.

Move in Day

It seemed to take for ever, but the process if buying our first house truly came to an end yesterday when we handed the front door keys by our estate agents.  As you can see from the photos below the old gal is definitely in need of some TLC.  she’s certainly a long way off both passivehaus standards or hosting any kind of party (except perhaps a squat).  Law and I love a challenge though, and look forward to finding an Architect that can help us take our vision forward for this little place by the sea.