Creative exploration

Remote inspiration

Working remotely in a building project does have the odd advantage. At the end of my day job hours, if I had an idea, there was space and time to explore it.

It’s not like the neighbours are near enough to complain about any work-in-progress noise-making or music – happy days!

a beautiful way to start the day
a beautiful way to start the day

I had roughly divided the Small Mission Hall interior space into different temporary/flexible zones. A sleeping area with my tent, a work area with my new work desk, then the rest was a mix of waste materials to be repurposed and a ‘workspace’ area for any creative inspiration I might happen to have.

my flexible project working interior
my flexible project working interior


It feels a bit like I’m living out the famous quote of the Swiss-French architect, designer, painter, urban planner and writer Le Corbusier…

A house is a machine for living in

To which another famous Architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, responded by saying

but only if the heart is a suction pump

I have been lucky enough to see work by both Architects, including the stunning 1954 Ronchamp Chapel by Le Corbusier in France.

Ronchamp chapel by Le Corbusier
Ronchamp chapel by Le Corbusier

Both were incredible visionary Architects who produced amazing work. However, each came at it from a very different outlook on design.

However, I think Frank Lloyd Wright nailed it when he said

Form follows function – that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union

Another level

From such lofty inspiration, my current design requirements to be resolved are far more basic. Keeping with my table design’s more minimalist tip, I needed to raise my (stupidly non-adjustable) monitors to my eye level for work.

Usually, I sit them on a series of old books to do the job. However, I still have plenty of 25mm plywood offcuts to use…

monitor supports – getting a coat of Danish wood oil
the monitor supports – getting a coat of Danish wood oil

It turns out that four cut, sanded, stacked and joined pieces of 25mm plywood make the perfect height support for my monitor requirements. The resulting chunky monoliths of plywood with its exposed end grain, not only do the job perfectly but look pretty cool too!

Broken windows

Before I get carried away with too much of my creature comforts, there are some more important building-related issues to look at as well. The previously broken window that I experimented with as a temporary outlet for a wood burner, was now all boarded up.

not much of a view
not much of a view

That’s the good news. Unfortunately, it was also blocking out the view and stopping light from getting in. To be fair, all the windows are shot and need replacing. It’s more of a miracle that they were still even in place.

The original windows are all in need replacement
The original windows are all in need of replacement

However, I had a bit of a cunning plan that I’d hatched with a local handyman who was up for the challenge. There was another Mission Hall that was having its windows replaced nearby. Hopefully, their waste could be my treasure.

Repurposed window

Most of the discarded windows were broken, but there was one that was still in OK-ish condition that could be repurposed and put to use temporarily.

out with the old
out with the old

The plan was to remove my existing broken window, and then adapt the second-hand unit to fit. Well, that was the plan at least! The basic window was a similar proportion, but the frame would need building out to fit the opening.

temporary repurposed window in place
temporary repurposed window in place

It might not be pretty, but it’s just temporary until I get the go-ahead to get all the windows replaced with double or triple glazing. That said, it did make an amazing amount of difference with the extra light that it let into the space.

Repurposed window

It might be temporary, but apart from the view and extra light it let in, there was another role the window could play. Multi-tasking at its finest.

I wanted to experiment with the potential colour of future window frames. White is the obvious standard for window frames. Not sure that’s me though…

Window colour testing…
Window colour testing…

It might seem excessive as it’s just a temporary window, but the bare wood needed priming, undercoating and top coating. At least it gave me the chance to see what white window frames would look like.

Magic trick

It confirmed my suspicions. Standard white was not for me. It just makes the frames stand out against the dark-coloured space of the window opening itself.

I wanted the frames to visually disappear. To simplify the exterior elevations of the building to look like the windows were just openings in the walls. Almost as if there were no windows there at all. Very minimalist.

Window colour winner – black it is
The window colour winner – black it is

Abracadabra, as if by magic, with a top coat in satin black, the window frames visually disappear.

Paint it black

Fortunately, the local window supplier I was thinking of using in the future makes the frames in satin black. When I get around to the dizzy heights of ordering new windows, they should look awesome!

Just need to get the building design resolved and then get the planning application sorted first!


So what do you think?

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