converting the studio

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insulating the new stud wall

seperating the garage meant insulating the wall to keep the thermal envelope intact

So, like much of the country everything slowed down for us over the Easter/Bank Holiday/Wedding fiesta that was the end of April, but it was back with all guns ablazing at the beginning of May, so sorry if I haven’t had time to update this blog as much as I would have liked.

The conversion of the garage to a working studio was high on the list of priorities this month – we have been waiting to hear from Brighton & Hove City Council regarding the planning permission required to install a solartube to bring in some natural light to the converted garage, and also to site the planned solar thermal evacuated tubes on the kitchen dormer roof, but now that permission has been granted – a victory for sustainability in a conservation area.

It’s worth noting that whenever you are making changes to the external surfaces of a building it is worth checking if you will need planning permission. This is especially important n a conservation area, as if you require permission but don’t get it, the authorities are able to make you return the building to its original state – which can cost alot of money.

adding the sound insulation

floating in the new ceiling with its recycled glass sound insulation

So the first stage was to build a new stud wall separating the outside world from the new studio. This wall we installed with 150mm of celotex between the studs and a ply exterior skin to create a useful storage area accessible from the old garage doors – a great place to store bikes, pushchairs, leftover paint etc.. Storage is so important, especially with a young family.

Also the first week of this conversion included floating in the new ceiling with the same MF ceiling system that we used throughout the rest of the groundfloor with 100mm of recycled glass wool – Earthwool – above it to act as sound insulation.

adding the cork insulation

two layers of 30mm cork mechanically fixed to walls offer both thermal and acoustic insulation

During Thursday and Friday the most exciting part of this conversion was the installation of 60mm of cork insulation. It is a sustainable, long life, renewable product with good sound proofing and is free from artificial inputs. As an insulant, it is ideal for saving energy and protecting the environment, whilst complementing modern building techniques. We use a supplier based locally – Environomix – – and although they are extremely helpful, with one simple mistake (forgetting to ship the mechanical fixings along with the cork that we ordered) the result was the pushing of the whole job back by 2 days… which sadly meant that the plasterers weren’t able to get to the job until Monday (we had planned Saturday to give the plaster more time to dry).


you can plaster directly onto the cork with a nylon mesh to act as a key

Just another example how each small stage in the building process can have knock on effects with the programming of later stages, and that even the smallest hiccup can have huge effects so contingencies need to be in place.

allowing inspection

creating the access to the inspection chamber that is in the floor of the old garage

SO – not to dwell on the problems – the plasterers worked hard early week to get the room finished, we have laid the new floor to match the rest of the house – with an access panel built into the floor to access the inspection chamber in case of emergency – something that hopefully will never be needed, but needs to be considered.

And this week we have finished the last of the electrics, and decorated the studio, just the solar tube (for natural light into the space reducing the reliance on electricity) to go…. I’ll update you as we go along…