Bates Carpentry And Building Services

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Ugly House To Lovely House on Channel 4 with George Clark was our most interesting project to work on to date. We had never been asked to work on a tv programme before and didn't know what to expect. There was a lot of uncertainty going into the project but that just added to the excitement.


We first got the call from architect Laura Clark of LAMP Architects back in May 2017. Laura had seen our profile on www.mybuilder.com and had seen our many positive reviews (current reviews are 294 100% positive) and had decided to call us. Laura had already had a building company in mind for the project but didn't feel comfortable with the contractor after having several meeting and still feeling like something didn't feel right.


We met with Laura along with the owners of the ugly house Simon and Lisa and all clicked instantly. We really liked Lauras ideas for the house and were keen to get started. As the project had already been in planning since before christmas 2016 there was no time to lose. 

We started by gutting the property out completely and when I say completely, only the four walls were left standing! Everything had to go, which was great as it gave us a clean slate to work from. Once we got the dirty work out the way it was the end of the Ugly House and the start the Lovely House. 


One design idea Laura had for the build was to use limelight on some of the walls. This gave the walls an unusual finish which looked great. It feels totally different to a normal wall as it has a textured finish as a pose to being smooth. The only minor issue to using this as a finished wall is if it marks its not easy to get the marks off. You can lightly sand it but not too much as you remove the texture of the wall and end up with a smooth patch. 


The windows Laura picked for the project looked great with the cladding. They are velfac windows and were imported from Poland. The problem with this was they put a 6 week delay on the project which had knock on effects. The issue was as the windows not being fitted ment the plastering couldn't be completed which then ment we couldn't do the second fix. As the house was so cold and the moisture content was so high ment we couldn't move the project forward as quick as we liked.


The front door of the house was painted the same colour as the windows which meant they look amazing together. The dark look of the cladding and the colour of the windows work together really well. We couldn't imagine them looking as good as they do when Laura was first pitching the idea to us but we all agreed that it looks truly amazing and couldn't be happier of the result.

The cladding was a Japanese type cladding called Shou Sugi Ban.   

OurThis charred timber cladding is a modern application of the ancient Japanese art of charring timber to provide a beautiful and long lasting timber cladding. This is a technique that is detailed, accurate and dangerous; one that Ugly House owners Lisa and Simon have perfected by burning the cedar cladding themselves to save money as the project was starting to run over budget. 


It took a little while to get the technique right and to make sure they went over it thoroughly. The hardest parts were the knots of the wood as they took longer to burn and the edges burnt quicker which meant some of the grooves almost burnt off completely meaning there were gaps in the cladding. However, they burnt the whole house on their own and with all that practice managed to do a great job!