29 Sep 2015

Modular magnificence

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As society grows and changes, many homeowners are looking for new ways to bring more space into their homes. This is reflected in the rising demand for modular garden rooms.

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There are many advantages to modular structures. Pre-manufactured construction means the homeowner doesn’t need to worry about creating an airtight structure, but instead they can do the ‘fun job’ of transforming it into a space that works for them.

Lee Thornley, Founder of new modular room brand Bert & May Spaces, explains the attraction of fully functional garden rooms: "Many modular garden rooms are built off site, meaning they cause no disruption to living circumstances whilst being built and there is no need to worry about project management or dealing with builders. These structures can be incredibly quick to construct due to the nature of the materials used to build – for example, many are made using modular panels instead of bricks and mortar – meaning all the homeowner needs to do is add mains connection and decorate it as desired. These advantages mean that within a matter of weeks you can have a new fully functioning living space in your garden, plus if you move you can take it with you. Because of this, modular garden rooms can add value to your current and future property.”

Changing needs

Belgian company, Atmosphere et Bois specialise in the use of reclaimed materials. They have recently launched an outdoor module lodge called ‘Barn Box’ that is the ideal choice for a garden room, home office, den or even spare room. The design includes the use of a range of reclaimed wood that has been prized for its character and beauty. For example, one design sees European grey wood chosen for the module’s exterior cladding, century-old Canadian barn wood features on the interior and French oak flooring – sourced from old railway wagons – which provides a smooth natural floor that already has a sought-after aged appeal.

Philippe Auboyneau, owner of Atmosphere et Bois, comments on why he believes modular garden rooms are growing in popularity: “People’s needs are changing and they are always looking for extra living space. In today’s society we believe that people are increasingly feeling the need to escape the stress of work and a busy lifestyle. The Barn Box concept provides homeowners with the opportunity to have an extra room for whatever their need, but in their garden. It provides an extra private space without having to build an extension. The advantage of the Barn Box is that it is fully prepared in the workshop. When it arrives at the buyers home it is ready to place and use.”

The Barn Box can be delivered as a complete unit or as a flat-packed kit. Both modules include interior and exterior wiring for lighting and power points. The designs have highly efficient insulation that not only reduces environmental footprint, but also creates a comfortable structure. The modular rooms are available in the UK from Holloways of Ludlow.

Rise in demand

Another reclaimed materials expert that has recognised the market demand for modular garden rooms is Bert & May. Known for its antique tiles and reclaimed timber flooring, the British brand has just launched a modular home range. ‘Bert’s Boxes’ are simple, high-spec and affordable boxes for those who want extra space. Founder Lee Thornley continues: "At Bert & May we are noticing a rise in the requests we are getting for people to build external spaces in their gardens. The growth in popularity, we believe, is down to the fact that families are using their living spaces in very different ways. Multi-generational living and empty-nesters seeing the return of their offspring after university means that space is of a premium.”

Designed in collaboration with Box 9 Design, Bert’s Boxes aim to challenge the perception many of us hold of how a space can be enjoyed. The designs come in a variety of sizes to suit any space. Shown on the previous page is the biggest box. Made from aged natural oak cladding, earthy tiles and burnished rust coloured steel windows, it blends into the countryside. Bert's Big Box provides a spacious master suite and en suite bathrom with a fully retractable wall to enable open air showering. A very generous living space with fully fitted Bert & May Kitchen leads out onto a terrace and creates a wonderful space for al fresco dining and living.

The volumetric factory construction allows homeowners to benefit from the certainty of knowing their development will be delivered on time and on budget and at a cost effecting price.

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