Open House Weekend – Tree House

The London Open House Weekend is a fantastic event. Once a year, over 600 buildings / gardens around the city open their doors to the great unwashed, and you can go and have a nose around. I wish they would do it over a few weekends because there just isn’t time to see everything.

Him Indoors and I did get to see this house which is not far from where we live. It’s a proper lived in, residential property. The two guys who live there designed and built it themselves, having bought a plot of land with a tree on it, which they were not allowed to remove, or build within 5 metres of.

Rather than feel restricted by this, they decided to base the design for the house on the tree. They have tried to make it adaptable to its natural environment. It has 30 square metres of solar panels on the roof. They pay for the electricity they use in the winter out of the money made selling it back to the national grid in the summer. It’s super insulated and airtight, with controlled ventilation, so it needs minimal heating anyway.

Then the light switches all have coloured lights indicating the current use of electricity in the house as a whole.

I don’t know whether blue is a good thing, I suspect it would be red if it was bad.

All in all it’s pretty amazing. The electricity meter in their ‘engine room’ spins backwards, and they have another panel in the kitchen to tell them how much money they’ll make that day from the surplus energy they’re generating.

And I liked this.  Stepping stones for their cats!


We also went along to all kinds of other places (including the Brixton windmill, which I thought was a wind up until I got there) and I’m already thinking about all the places I want to go to next year.

Author: Rachel Wheeley

Comedian, podcaster, based in London, UK

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