Wrapping your home in a warm duvet

External insulation go onHere’s my largely inaccurate history of house building.

After all that wattle and daub stuff, someone invented the brick wall. In the 1930s someone else invented the cavity wall, which trapped an insulating layer of air, but was still cold in winter. More recently someone realised injecting the air cavity with an insulating foam was even better.

In the last few years, about 30 year after the rest of Europe, the UK Government finally adopted building regulations to require proper home insulation in the first place! Continue reading


So many taps, so many shades of white

White paintWhen Procol Harum sang ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ I’m sure they weren’t envisioning the vast range of ‘not quite white’ shades of white paint with which manufacturers bewilder us today.

Now the end is in sight for our smallholding’s eco-makeover the focus firmly on the interior fit out and finishes. We have even set a date to move all our stuff in. Continue reading

Would you like weedkiller on your toast?

breadOne of the big disadvantages of leaving Bristol is moving away from the amazing artisan Mark’s Bread. One of the things we are looking forward to at The Secret Acre is learning to make bread ourselves.

There’s a very good reason why we won’t eat non-organic white bread from a supermarket. Not just because real bread like Marks tastes amazing, but because two in every three loaves of bread sold in the UK contain pesticide residues. Continue reading

Four Months In: Windows, Doors and Sedum

Our windows going inAfter seeming to wait around in June, for the underfloor heating screed to dry and for the windows to be delivered, we finally got watertight in July as windows and doors arrived along with the sedum green roof.

Now it really does feel like the beginning of the end as the second fix gets underway. Continue reading

I can see Green(ly) now the Roof has gone!

Sedum roof tray stackThere was one thing we were clear about when planning The Secret Acre’s eco-makeover. We didn’t want to be looking out from our new bedroom over 60 square meters of grey roof extension.

And it turns out that installing a green roof is amazingly simple.

In fact most of the hard work had already been done by the farm in Wiltshire who grew our roof in self-contained modular trays that arrived stacked on a lorry. Continue reading