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When I set out to design the Bothy I had a close look at the way that caravans and motorhomes were designed and built.  In particular I looked at how the space in these vehicles was organised, how the lighting and ventilation worked and how storage was organised.  This has helped me to design an office and amateur radio shack that functions extremely well on a number of levels.  It’s bright, well insulated and easy move about in.  It is therefore easy to work in and to use for my radio hobby.  Of necessity it is also easy to store books, work equipment and gadgets and to find them when I need them.

When I was casting around for a new affiliate marketing project it seemed appropriate, based on the above, to go back to caravans and motorhomes.  These vehicles are among the best designed small living spaces every to come off a drawing board. While at first glance they appear to be simple and easy things to design and build, a great deal of thought goes into the fabric of their construction and their ergonomics.  Small wonder then that by standing on the shoulders of caravan designers when designing The Bothy I have ended up with a great work and play space.

My new caravan and motorhome website, while still very much in its infancy, sets out to deal with everything and anything to do with these vehicles, and more besides.  It starts off with the idea that those of us who own them are very keen to ensure that we keep them safe and secure.  This applies whether we are on the road or whether our units are in storage waiting for fine weather and some time off to arrive so that we can head for the horizon.

It is also important before discussing where we might go, what we can do when we get there and all the lovely kit we can buy to take with us, that our units are properly insured.    The worst rarely happens but when it does and we damage our kit, or that belonging to others, it is good to know that we have the correct insurance package in place which will cover most, if not all, of any costs arising.

Once the practicalities of secure storage and insurance are dealt with, and I think I have covered some of the basics on the website, then the fun of writing about what you can do and all the stuff that you can get to help you enjoy your holidays begins.  I started this project last year, along with a few others,  and already it seems that I may have undertaken something that is going to take years to get to anything nearing completion.  When writing about caravans, motorhomes, campervans, RVs and other camping equipment I think it is closer to the truth to say that this is a project which will never be finished.

From home office design to caravans – a logical step I think & who knows what other projects will come out of it along the way.  Pop over and have a look at www.insurecamp.com and if there is anything you’d like to see there that doesn’t already appear please leave a comment here or drop me an  e-mail and let me know.

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Much, much later & The Bothy now feels like home, well home from home at any rate. There have been no problems with regard to the materials and build quality and everything is working very well indeed. It is easy and cheap to heat and very easy to keep it cool. The former is done on a separate zone on the house central heating system, and the latter is achieved simply by opening two skylights, two windows and a door. This, in combination with the solar powered ceiling fan ensures that the air is changed over in seconds… of course the cats also get in!

One of the big adjustments to working at home is the lack of social contact during the working day.  On the plus side it does encourage you to get involved in stuff outside of work & I tend too enjoy these activities more as a result.

I’ve been busy learning Joomla, the content management system, since I was last on here. This have been a good exercise and I have built a number of websites along the way. The only one that I will own to right now however is www.ourgardenplan.com which you are welcome to take a peep at. If you do have a minute you might let me if there is any one thing that you would change if it were your site. A photo of The Bothy taken during the last few weeks appears here also.

Speaking of photos, I’m in the process of taking a few of The Bothy now that it is in use and will post them next week all going well.

It’s almost Christmas week, so in a somewhat Gilesian manner, in seems appropriate to refer to our move into The Bothy as The Merry Move-In.  After a session of carrying stuff for most of the day yesterday the floor is now more or less full & the ham radio equipment is stacked high on a temporary shelving system, not in use of course. While Martin is busy in his workshop making the radio operating bench, Tom from Ikon Systems is working today to set up the server.

Tom from Ikon Systems at work connecting the server & making everything work....

....while I need to figure out where all this stuff goes

Martin & Joe are working late this evening to get the shelving fixed in the server space and to get the carpet tiles laid in time for tomorrows move-in. Ikon Systems are on-site on on Friday morning to connect up the server, plotter, printer & fax machine.   Martin is planning to have the radio bench ready just in time to ensure that I’ll be able to work late on the 24th getting my ham station back up and running for the Christmas holidays!

Martin is busy working at night to get materials in for the shelving in the server area....

... while Joe completes work on the floor.

Working together with Martin and his electricians we have progressed the work to the point where we have now positioned the services inside The Bothy.  Electricity, broadband and telephone wiring is currently being placed and our IT consultant, Ikon systems has been on hand to advise on how everything should be done.  AC, telephones and data will circle the room from the entry point and reach the Ketch work desk, taking in the position of the server, plotter and fax area.  DC power from the solar panels and battery bank will be added to the trunking later and DC wiring will also be built into the overhead shelving in order to power the DC lighting.  Each of the services will also be taken onto the island bench which will form the new amateur radio station for EI2GN.

Interior of The Bothy showing the Electrician working in the server area and Martin working outside to complete the external details. A very light green has been apllied to the walls to work with the varnished pine ceiling, window details and rear wall. The landscape architecture work-desk will soon be located under the horizontal window.

The focus throughout the project has been on allowing natural light into The Bothy. In order to maximise the delivery of natural light we have used Dulux Light and Space paint to maximise reflected light within the space. This wall will largely be behind the amateur radio bench so it really is a test of what the paint technolgy can do. On the left hand side is the entry and distribution point for the electrical, data, telephone and radio cables.

More and more people are discovering the merits of working from home, but not just from any old room in the house. We are realising that it is possible to work from home and still maintain an effective degree of separation between our work and our home life.  Having closed my rental office recently in the very excellent Marina Commercial Park I am at home, on-site, while The Bothy is being built.  I am therefore of course uniquely positioned to sample the nuances of working from the house itself as opposed to very shortly working from The Bothy.

I’ll revisit this discussion again when we’ve got everything into The Bothy & when operations are up and running from there.  During the process of deciding to take this route towards working from home, and during the design and build phase, one point of reference that has been of great benefit has been Alex Johnsons  Shedworking, which takes three forms:

  • The blog which has daily updates of all sorts of interesting and innovative and practical ideas for working from sheds or shed-like places
  • The Twitter account which is part of a wide-ranging discussion on all things shed-like & on the world in general
  • And the new book which is due for publication in June 2010 and which you can now pre-order on-line.

This is your very best One-Stop for all things to do with knowing about working in sheds or in shed-like places.

The first part of the internal finish was completed yesterday by Denis who was busy fitting the T&G ceiling around the Velux roof-lights.  After some discussion we have decided to use a clear varnish on this part of the inside in order to let the the pine age and darken in it’s own time.

The tongue & groove ceiling is fitting neatly around the Velux.

While testing the impact of the proposed LED lighting system in The Bothy I noticed some ghostly writing on the dusty window.... see the next photograph where I think I've captured it....

....ghostly graffiti in support of http://www.shedworking.co.uk!

Last week was a busy one, with being around to a number of suppliers assembling the various components needed for the fit-out.  First stop was Buckley Caravans to pick up a range of LED 12volt light fittings.  These include spotlights from Lumo and a Labcraft caravan awning light which is just the ticket for mounting over the work areas.

Next stop was at EcoStore.ie where I had a good look at rainwater harvesting equipment and where I benefited greatly from the advice offered by Daniel Connolly.

While writing this post my DC ceiling fan arrived by courier from www.mysoalrshop.co.uk where Nigel and Anne have have both spent a great deal of time advising on Solar equipment.

This morning also the last of the insulation materials have arrived and the pine tongue-and-groove ceiling boards are also on site.

Denis and Martin are happy to work indoors today as we have had a very cold few days culminating this morning in a heavy frost, which is clearing now as the sun is gaining a bit of altitude.  There is nothing like buying a couple of solar panels to make you aware of the solar access afforded by your property.

Denis completing the underfloor insulation

The first piece of rainwater harvesting kit ready for istallation at The Bothy

While keeping a very close ear to the shipping forecast for further expected rain and gales Martin and Denis have been very busy today adding the finishing touches to the exterior of The Bothy.  The windows were installed before the worst of the weather arrived yesterday and thankfully we have not been effected so far by the fallout from the storms

The Plumber and gas fitter were both on site today and we expect to see them again on Monday to move/replace the gas boiler and to install our AD and DC electrical systems. Martin expects to make progress with the flooring next week also and tomorrow will be spent researching light fittings and floor coverings.

From here it looks like we might begin to paint and decorate the interior around about December 11th and be all moved in and operating before Christmas, which will give me an opportunity to re-organise my amateur radio station during the holidays.  It also means of course that when our good friends the Jacksons arrive at Cork Airport on January 3rd for a long overdue few days visit, they will have somewhere to stay, as my current radio room will become the new guest room.

Windows and Rainwater Kit

The new windows from inside The Bothy

Denis working hard to complete the windows before the next rain and windstorm arrives.

Part of the roof structure prior to insulation and finishing using T&G pine boarding.