Bridge of Allan Fireworks 2015!

Posted on October 24th, by admin in Community & Fundraising. Comments Off

It’s that time of year again!

After a hugely successful 2014 event, which I believe was right up there as one of our best for the size of the crowd, the musical talent, and the funds raised for local good causes, we’re back for 2015 in Strathallan Games Park in Bridge of Allan, Thurs 5th November.

With a great band (Skerryvore!), big ole bonfire, huge fireworks display, food & drink, it’s a great night for all the family. Get tickets in advance in the link below…

Here’s the link for full info and tickets

Current Projects

Posted on March 27th, by admin in Art & Architecture. Comments Off

The redevelopment of the former mail sorting office in Dunblane into a house is practically complete, with the conversion of the workshop across the lane into a new studio to follow this summer.

So it’s now all systems go, with the metaphorical drawing board full of new and interesting projects, including:


A new timber clad self-build house up on the West Coast of Scotland (Planning successful, Warrant pending)
Conversion of former warehouse in Edinburgh to 6 luxury homes (Warrant Pending)
Project/Facilities Management consulting to a client with lots of land & buildings in Edinburgh
A whole variety of local domestic work including work on some interesting Listed buildings
A few redevelopments of existing residential properties for developers
Also two separate instances of consultancy work to help clients who need to sell property and did not have a warrant / completion certificate in place. These are tricky cases … Read More »

Riverbank conversion

Posted on October 14th, by admin in Art & Architecture. Comments Off

Part of my work involves working with developers to bring redundant buildings back to life for new purposes, and having done it for many years it’s about time I did one for myself for a change.

Since there will be no delicate commercial sensitivity to the details, I though it would make an ideal topic for a series of blog posts on property conversion (in this case, commercial to domestic conversion,) covering feasibility, pre-application planning, purchase, planning, warrant, construction to completion and finally (if all goes to plan) what it’s like to live in. Yes, this one is for me & my family, so the pressure is on!

I’ll be hitting the tools & doing the lion’s share of the conversion work myself, so check out posts under the Riverbank Conversion tag to watch me learn new skills, try – fail – … Read More »


Posted on October 14th, by admin in Art & Architecture, Inspiration. Comments Off

I have a bit of difficulty with branding… I’m all for getting in a professional or a team to get specialist work done, but one of the common traits I’ve noticed in many architects is the belief that we can design anything, and combine that with my micro-managing control freakery (I know what I like etc…) hiring an agency to create a brand for a new business project seems like defaulting on my responsibility. I have a good feeling of what I want, I don’t have the time or skills to bring the complete package to life (branding/logo/web/promo materials.)

There’s no point in hiring pros and then going against their advice, but I need someone who can get on board with the vision and make it magically come to life, someone who can take the design to places I would never … Read More »

Conversation with… Kerr Watson

Posted on June 14th, by admin in Conversations with Garry the Architect, Inspiration. Comments Off

Kerr Watson is a designer specialising in accessories hand crafted from the finest Scottish materials. I jumped on my bike on a sunny Saturday morning and took a ride up to his studio in Bridge of Allan to find out more about his work…

When did your interest in fashion & design start?

KW: I’ve always loved clothes & design. I grew up in Cumbernauld, which has a history of involvement in the surrounding areas, of course Mackintosh has a great history there. The manufacturing sector in scotland has really declined which is so sad, I love to see makers and designers keeping the traditions going. I left school almost as soon as possible as it wasn’t for me, I just wanted to start working & making things! I went to North Glasgow College at first to study fashion design and loved … Read More »

choices choices

Posted on May 16th, by admin in Art & Architecture. Comments Off

As the weather improves, the studio self-build project is now rising up in my list of priorities. Although in Stirling yesterday there were still several heavy rain and hail showers to punctuate the sunshine (in the middle of May), at least the temperature is up high enough to pour the few remaining concrete pads for the foundations.

And so the most difficult stage begins in earnest – finalising the design and material choices. This has proven much more difficult and drawn out a process than with any of my (several hundred) projects for other Clients – I am the most difficult Client there is!

It is an important goal in this project to keep the environmental impact of the structure to a minimum in construction and use, and so the balancing act of the following criteria for materials comes into play, they … Read More »

Janek’s Fodera factory tour

Posted on March 19th, by admin in Inspiration, Music, Uncategorized. Comments Off

Janek Gwizdala has a great down-to-earth attitude, and Fodera make some of the most beautiful handmade bass guitars in the world. Here’s a vid that Janek took on a visit to the factory while his bass was being crafted. A nice insight into the skill, materials, care and attention goes into making these instruments.

Scottish manufacturer of high quality ironmongery?

Posted on February 11th, by admin in Art & Architecture. Comments Off

As above! I do specify ironmongery from the usual suspects, but I’m on the lookout for a company that manufactures high quality ironmongery (specifically for interior doors) right here in Scotland. Any tips would be appreciated!

Josh Vogel wood

Posted on January 27th, by admin in Art & Architecture, Inspiration. Comments Off

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright reportedly said:

Wood is a friend of mine. When we use the tree respectively and economically, we have one of the greatest resources of the earth.

It is a beautiful material, friendly to man, the supreme material for his dwelling purposes. If a man is going to live, he should live with wood.

Josh Vogel from The Scout on Vimeo. A great video showing a wood sculptor with a real connection to his material and it’s source.

on a vaguely related subject, here’s an interesting technical paper on the preservation techniques of some of Frank Lloyd Wrights early furniture pieces, with regard to the experimental finishes that were being tried out as part of the Arts & Crafts movement. Frank Lloyd Wright Furniture: a technical study of objects from the Darwin Martin House (Link to PDF)

interacting with the outside world!

Posted on January 27th, by admin in Art & Architecture, Conversations with Garry the Architect, Inspiration. Comments Off

There is something really interesting about meeting new people and getting to know their ways of working, and I have found that staying open to new connections has brought some fantastic and unexpected end results.

This year, as well as doing the Architecture, the Music, the part time Stay At Home Dad, and possibly some property work, I’d really like to get a regular series of posts on the blog with artists, craftspeople musicians, entrepreneurs, people working from home and most importantly people on a similar journey to mines. Those crafting a lifestyle for themselves that means they can have more freedom, more independence and a more varied life than the standard 9-5 grind. It’s a type of lifestyle that many people seem to talk about & dream of but few actually take the plunge to get started.

For a long time … Read More »

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