In the second part of our blog featuring some of the choices that we have made, we will highlight what we have chosen for the bedrooms….
Having done some research, we decided against a fixed bed, (apart from Barn Owl) choosing zip and link beds that go from a King size to small singles. This has been a very good move as we have been able to host friends and groups – who have told us that twin are becoming more difficult to find, with rooms appearing to be geared towards couples.
We also took advice and decided against headboards made from fabric as we thought they would get dirty quickly, and be difficult to keep clean. We repurposed either the larch cladding from the old barn, or leftover flooring, attaching it to the entire width of the wall with gaps in between to show the colour of the wall behind. This means it is also easy to move the beds about and they always have a head board. Some of the rooms have little moveable trays that hook over the wood strips to give some extra storage for phones etc.
Barn Owl has a fixed King bed as it allows us to dismantle quickly and easily and remove it so we can hold functions in the meeting room.
All of our bed linen is organic, and fair trade, traced to from source as far as possible, 250 thread count www.foufurnishings.com. We were also advised by a friend who ran our local laundry to buy the very best we could afford, as it would last so much longer (and therefore more cost effective & sustainable in the long run). This has been completely right – the only problem we have encountered is marks on the linen that the laundry cannot remove. Rather than throw it away, I came up with the idea of embroidering flowers and leaves over the top of the marks, using some of the same fabric (a sacrificed pillowcase goes a very long way!). We leave a little note on the bed to let guests know what we have done. This has prolonged the life of the linen even further!
On the top of beds are beautiful blankets made by Weaver Green . Both the blankets and the rugs on the floor are made from recycled plastic bottles. This guests find hard to believe because they feel like a wool fabric. Have a read of Weaver Green’s story – its a fascinating one! Talking of wool, our winter duvets are made of wool, but are pretty heavy, so in the summer months we swap them for lightweight ones that are 100% recycled fabrics – both outers and fillings.
The best goal would be that these types of products are no longer available as there is no more plastic waste, but while that is not happening, its good to find products that at least use some. But let’s not delude ourselves – plastic waste is a huge problem – so little of it is ever recycled, so if all of these innovative products represent a tiny fraction of what is out there, we really need to try harder not to use single use plastics especially. Some plastic items can be more lightweight, and more resilient, meaning they are cheaper to produce and transport, but our parents/grandparents managed without so maybe that’s what we need to be thinking about too!
We decided against wardrobes as they would have made the rooms look small and detract from the amazing views. So we opted for two large draws in the base of the beds and a row of cast iron hooks (each room has a different theme – I trawled through about 200 webpages to find what I was looking for…) with wooden hangers for other clothes.
We also cannot always afford the power to run fridges in the room, and also felt that the expense was pretty unnecessary and not very sustainable, so we have come up with the idea of a cool box (unfortunately plastic – see earlier point!) with cool packs that we can replace every day. These are mainly for milk, but guests can store other things in there as well.
On the tray tables in the rooms we use ceramic canisters for homemade biscuits, glass containers for coffee and sugar, and tins to store tea bags. Our glass water bottles and glasses are recycled glass (from Spain as we couldn’t find a similar British manufacturer) when guests arrive we like to leave some homemade cake for them, and we also leave that in tins.
We support the Barn Owl Trust by suppling their notepads, and pens & pencils from recycled and cornstarch materials www.barnowltrust.org.uk
Our room notes are in Birch ply covers, with punched holes so that sheets can be replaced and updated. We do laminate some notices as that allows us to keep them clean and reuse them, which we think is more sustainable than printing new each time. At the moment, we have to leave Breakfast ordering forms in each room, but they are reused as notepads!
The furniture on the terrace is nearly all bought from house sales, so sticking to the ‘reuse’ principle. And the terrace planters were made from the left over timber and cladding to provide a little green screening between rooms, but they are on castors so they could be moved if necessary. One guest recently commented that we should have walls separating the seating areas for privacy, but that would spoil the beautiful views for everyone, and it discourages interaction with others -you don’t have to spend hours talking, but guests usually like to say ‘hello’ to each other – otherwise you may as well have a self catering property that means you are completely alone. In our 12 acres we have lots of benches and quiet spaces if you need peace, quiet and contemplation……