Charred timber gym with extended headroom and chill-out space

This project was recently completed near Oxford. The client was after a striking garden room that was in keeping with the look of their house. The house already had sections of charred timber and we felt that the garden room would benefit from using a similar material as opposed to cedar. The garden room is 4m deep and 3.5m wide to fit the space by the garage, however, the client needed additional headroom for the Peloton cycling machine. The height has been extended to accommodate and the council approved that if the building was sunk into the ground to keep it below 2.5m they would be happy that it conformed to permitted development rules. Each council is different, so it is worth a quick call to check.

Charred Timber - what are the benefits?

Charring timber was developed by the Japanese as a wood preservation technique. They discovered that by creating a deep, controlled burn on the surface of Japanese Cedar panels, they could increase its durability. The striking finish has seen a resurgence across the globe and is being used in many contemporary designs.
  1. The finished effect of charred timber has a strong visual impact
  2. Another surprising benefit is that charring timber adds to its strength. You would think that removing an outer layer would weaken the wood. Instead, it actually draws moisture out and results in a stronger product
  3. Charred timber has a greater fire resistance - The process of charring timber increases its resilience to burning. This is because the process removes the soft outer layer, which is quick to ignite. The tough, lignin cells, which are left require considerably higher temperatures in order to catch alight.
  4. The carbon outer layer is a deterrent to insects
  5. The charring of the wood draws out natural resins and leaves a layer of carbon on the surface making it weatherproof
All that matters though is whether the client is happy... "We are so happy with our beautiful garden room - we’ve transformed a run-down, useless corner of our garden into a fabulous gym/kids hangout/garden bar. From the first time, we met the guys from My Retreat they were focused on making sure we ended up with the best result possible. Their options, prices, finish and timelines were the best we found out of 4 quotes, and Kieron, Matt and Steve have definitely made sure everything is to our liking."

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