I am really pleased to be able to post details of my latest house design, "The Minstrel Gallery" which I am very proud of.
I have always said that I prefer to build houses on commission basis so that my customers get the house of their dreams and can also feel as though they have been instrumental in it's creation and design by way of the choices I offer them throughout the build process. This is not always possible as unfortunately I do not always have a queue of customers wishing to order a house from me. Its for this reason that I am now trying to build in as many adaptable features in my houses whereby the person who buys a house has options with regards to layout and panel choices as possible, hence the "Minstrel Gallery" came about.
Ever since developing the "Great Hall" feature in a house called the "Tudor Rose" for my customer, Maria Saltrese, I have found the double height fully timbered hall feature to be one of the most popular options chosen by future customers for my houses, however due to the fact that the hall is created at the loss of a room it is a feature I usually only build into my larger houses, that is until I came up with the "Minstrel Gallery".
The "Minstrel Gallery" is based on one of my medium sized houses which originally consisted of a 4 storey house with a room on each floor. With the "Minstrel Gallery" I have built a single room on the ground and first floor but have then created the Great Hall feature above extending 2 storeys into the roof space.
"GREAT HALL" FLOOR LAYOUT.
In the "Great Hall" option you have a fantastic large space in which to set up a banqueting hall complete with real stone fireplace, Oak wall panelling, working wall lights to 3 walls and 2 leaded light windows which are set into walls that are 4 times thicker than my usual wall construction thereby forming useful extra wide window sills in which accessories can be displayed. There is also a 3 arm chandelier hanging high in the roof timbers as well as 2 more high level lights set into the central roof beam that runs from the front to the back of the house. The 3 different lighting options, wall lights, chandelier and high level roof beam lights are all on different electrical circuits so they can be used individually or in any combination you might want, all being controlled by way of a remote control system. The electric fire can also be controlled independently by way of the remote control.
The second option for the room layout is to remove the timber rose detail which sits centrally on the timber beam across the back of the hall wall, which is held in place with magnets, then slide in a narrow piece of fully boarded and beamed floor panel which sits across the rear of the house sitting on wooden beams which are fixed in to place thereby forming a balcony. There is then a loose section of balustrading which stands on top of this section to the front of it, followed by a vertical ladder that stands in the stairwell opening at the rear of this piece.
With all of these pieces in place, which takes 2 minutes to do, you now have a "Great Hall" with a "Minstrel Gallery" overlooking it which is exactly where the minstrels and entertainers of the day would have been located.
"MINSTREL GALLERY" FLOOR LAYOUT.
The final option which takes about 5 minutes to do is to remove all of the "Minstrel Gallery" items and replace these with 2 timber beams that sit on ready made brackets across the width of the room at the centre and the front, with these 2 beams in place you can then install 2 pieces of fully boarded and beamed floor panels which completely divides the "Great Hall" space into 2 separate room spaces. To complete the transformation and to make it look like a permanent fixture you install another complete set of stairs followed by a balustrade handrail that sits around the stairwell opening on the upper floor.
"ROOF ROOM" FLOOR LAYOUT.
The main reason for keeping all of the lights on different electrical circuits was so when you opt for the complete room division layout you can still control the lights for each room independently.
The reason that I have increased the external wall thickness which has resulted in the very useful extra wide window sills is because the whole structure of this house is formed using a cavity wall system which started to make it easier for me to hide the lighting wiring. In my earlier houses most of them only have wall lights on the back walls and the external wall that has the chimney on it. This was purely because I could hide the wiring in the chimney and bring them straight out of the rear of the house. I hadn't been happy with not having lights on all 3 walls so came up with this solution, which has made the house design much better for multiple reasons now.
HOUSE LIT WITH ROOF ROOM LAYOUT
HOUSE LIT WITH MINSTREL GALLERY LAYOUT
HOUSE LIT WITH GREAT HALL LAYOUT
The house has numerous other features which I install in my houses including removable internal stairs for those who want more floor space to accessorise. Three working fireplaces all being controlled individually by the remote control system and on the ground floor an extra large fireplace complete with a spit roasting pig, with a hanging rail above to hang pots and pans from. This room is also fitted with a plate rack to all 3 walls.
PIG SPIT ROASTING FIREPLACE
FIRST FLOOR AND GREAT HALL STONE FIREPLACES