Touchwood Homes

Design versatility

Touchwood homes are proud to be building homes that are as diverse and individual as the environments in which they are sited. In more urban areas, there may be planning constraints which dictate that the new builds must conform to a certain appearance, or clients might have a particular aesthetical ideal that they would like us to meet. We offer a number of specialist details that enable us to achieve these goals, while at the same time maintain our excellent standard of super energy efficiency. There are no excuses for building energy inefficient homes today!

Our pre-cut, non-panelised frame system has a major advantage over panelised systems – our buildings can literally be built to take any shape or form. This includes use of curved beams and walls, and long beams to create large open plan spaces. As an example, our Chesham project featured curved glulams to create the gently curving shape.

Aesthetic Features

Our system works equally well with both modern architecture and builds of traditional appearance. If desired, we can incorporate traditional build features such as oak beams and brickwork, without compromising the energy efficiency.  Our solutions to allow our clients to enjoy the best of both worlds, our superious I-beam structure as standard for thermal efficiency,over which we can we can then add decorative features, such as Oak beams, on the inside face in such a way that they do not create a cold bridging situation. Similarly bricks skins can be used externally to provide a traditional brick look, which may be required for planning constraints in some areas.

Modern Design

Our build system is perfectly suited to ultra modern passivhaus design, as these stunning homes demonstrate:

design vers1

Brick Skins

Aldeburgh 2

A real brick skin can be built onto the frame after our works are complete, or brick slips could be used. Brick slips look very much like real bricks, but instead are only around 20mm thick, so can be fixed to the timber frame structure – avoiding the need for a foundation under real bricks, and problems with bricks having differential movement to timber frame.

Oak Beams

Popular features such as solid oak trusses and beams can bring in a feel of warmth and luxury to a home, but there are many limitations to a solid oak build structure, not least in that building a family size home would require a lot of oak! Apart from the environmental impact of using such a slow growing resource, oak naturally creates cold-bridges throughout the build structure. We can overcome these problems by using our strong I-beams and airtight board framework, and then incorporate the oak features within the I-beam structural envelope, enabling us to create this visual aesthetic without heavily impacting on energy efficiency of the home which would occur if solid oak were to be used instead.

Ideally, the oak features would be incorporated as shown in the rendered images below, where they are completely within the I-beam envelope for minimal old bridging.

We can of course include oak glazed elements such as those shown in the photographs above, but these areas will allow some cold bridging to occur, which would not be conducive for builders hoping to achieve passivhaus certification.

Oak 1
Oak 2

Local Authority Planning Constraints

Many local authorities have a commitment to retaining a visual street scene in certain areas when making decisions on planning permission, which is understandably a valid concern for neighbouring residents. However, the other homes that make up the street scene will invariably be homes built using traditional methods from several decades ago, when there was far less understanding of energy efficiency and the environmental impact of a poorly performing home.

There is no excuse for building such energy inefficient homes today.

With our experience, knowledge and passion for creating energy efficient homes, Touchwood Homes are immensely proud to be able to showcase this stunning family home in Bromley, which sits neatly in its surrounds and yet has also achieved passivhaus certification!