Stuart and Rosie Treasurer have chosen Accoya, a world-leading modified wood, to be used as the standout feature in a radical transformation of a modest 1960s bungalow to create a stunning, contemporary UK family home. Supplied by importer of wood-based products James Latham, 8m3 of Accoya was used to transform the couple’s wooden home to enable the pair to build a unique design with a unique choice of materials.
The far-sighted renovation of Stuart and Rosie’s ‘ugly duckling’ dormer bungalow, lying in a leafy suburb in the Wirral, Merseyside, hit the headlines when featured on TV’s Grand Designs programme in November last year.
In an ambitious 12-month building project, Stuart and Rosie’s home was stripped to its ground floor walls, with the first floor being completely reconstructed as a spectacular rectangular wooden box, with raw Accoya boards – or ‘pickled wood’ as the modified wood has been described - used for external cladding and fine-sawn boards for internal decoration. Around 8m3 of Accoya was used for both the external and internal cladding.
The project was masterminded by both Stuart and Rosie, who share a passion and fascination for wood in all its forms. The couple run a wood-crafting personalised gift business – Cleancut Wood – from a workshop in their hometown in the Wirral with Stuart, as a designer himself, specialising in creating beautifully-designed wooden products ranging from kitchen and giftware to large pieces of furniture and bespoke installations.
It was this lifelong affinity with wood which inspired Stuart and Rosie’s home renovation project, and led to the, initially reluctant, choice of Accoya for the external cladding of their two-storey home. Stuart explains: “From the start, we wanted to build something which was going stand out as a high-quality example of contemporary design. We also wanted to create a very natural and bespoke look, which needed to be long-lasting whilst being environmentally and financially sustainable.”
Stuart admits that Accoya, well known in the trade as a high-performing and consistent wood product, wasn’t the obvious choice. However, following a visit to the factory in Arnhem in The Netherlands earlier this year, he was shown the rough-sawn Accoya wood in its natural form, and was convinced by both its looks and durability.
“The end effect is stunning,” he says. “The Accoya has a style all of its own with each plank of wood displaying its own characteristics, creating a genuinely unique overall look and design.
“With our home overlooking the Dee Estuary – a large estuary by means of which the River Dee flows into Liverpool Bay – with wind, rain and salt water whipping in from the Irish Sea, we also wanted a product that was durable and would weather well. So far, Accoya has delivered excellent results, with a very subtle weathering adding to the individual and distinct character of the building.”
Stuart and Rosie selected Accoya to also be used for internal facings and cladding, producing a smooth, homely effect for the refitted kitchen and living areas. Unlike most wood types, the UV stability of Accoya enables the fine-sawn interior cladding boards to retain their white colour rather than turn ‘orange’ with time, helping to retain the contemporary look.
“The internal timber acts as a natural contrast to the outside of the building,” adds Stuart. “It’s surprisingly smooth, and creates an overall effect which makes people want to run their hands over the boards and make a connection with it – showing off Accoya’s aesthetic qualities to the full.
He adds: “We have been so pleased with the look and feel of the raw Accoya that we are developing new products for our business using the wood – such as outdoor signage, garden furniture and other homewares, which can be left untreated to create a natural look.” Taking just over a year to complete, Stuart and Rosie’s radical bungalow renovation project has created a five-bedroom and four-bathroom home for the couple and their two children, delivered on a budget of less than £175,000.
Manufactured by Accsys Technologies, Accoya is produced using a proprietary acetylation process, creating a modified wood product which exceeds the high-quality and aesthetic attributes of tropical hardwoods.
For John Alexander, Sales Director at Accsys Technologies, Stuart and Rosie’s Wirral project shows a very different use for Accoya, but one that is nonetheless impactful and effective.
“Using both raw and fine-sawn Accoya boards for individual home renovation projects is a real one-off project for us,” he says. “But the results speak for themselves, and demonstrate the huge potential of Accoya for bespoke home design, appealing directly to consumers. “This was also a realistic project, delivered on a sensible budget which shows that Accoya, although regarded as a premium product, can be very cost-effective, especially in its raw form. It also has the huge advantage to customers of being low maintenance, exceptionally stable and long-lasting with an above-ground guarantee of 50 years.”
Accoya has proven popular with architects and joiners across the world, especially where quality, stability and aesthetics are important. Compared to competitor wood products, the use of Accoya has been proved to reduce shrinkage and swelling by at least 75%. Offering exceptional durability and stability, Accoya is an attractive wood product which is perfect for a variety of uses from windows and doors to external cladding, structural projects and decking. Accoya also boasts excellent environmental credentials by using wood sourced from FSC-certified, sustainable forests and Cradle to Cradle ‘Gold’ certified.
Stuart and Rosie’s selection of Accoya for their Wirral renovation has created a stunning natural effect for the couple’s new family home both externally and internally.