Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Monday 20 April 2009

Our Study

Several of you have commented on how nice our study/office is recently and I thank you for that.

It USED TO BE a horrible room, it is North facing and West facing, so gets the worst of the rain laden winds here and the walls ( solid, not cavity!) were letting in the damp for many years before we moved in. Although Compostman stopped all that by re-pointing the outside when we first got the house it left the inside still prone to getting mould growth in cold spots on the walls...not nice!

It had a horrible old carpet in, it was dingy, and damp... and despite being a big room it was so poorly laid out we could never find stuff and had no space to store things.

so...Compostman started on "The Great Renovation".

This involved replacing the single glazed windows with modern double glazed, FSC soft wood frames, which he painted. Then he lined the interior walls with plaster board, with damp proof membrane and air gaps and thermal film ( as per best practice) to minimise heat loss through the walls.

He then took up the old floorboards, sadly they were in too poor a state to re use, so we have been burning them and very good tinder they are, too! He laid a lovely new floor and then a new FSC wooden floor on top of that, with insulation under the new floor to ( again) minimise heat loss. We chose a nice, calming blue for the walls and roller blinds for ease of use and for shade (as we ae working in there a fair bit and the room gets the sun all afternoon and evening.

I bought a new computer desk and a matching long table for me (I tried to get stuff from Freecycle, but failed...), this maximises the usable space, but the table has folding legs so can be moved out if we ever need the floor space for guests! we have a sofe bed which could be used if needed.

Compostman has a lovely long desk and we re instated the large bookshelves on the wall. These hold a huge number of reference books, manuals, box files of reference stuff etc etc ...

I also bought a huge cupboard which takes all my Environmental Education/Forest School stuff, rucksacks, kit etc etc AND lots of craft supplies, paper, and other stuff...its like the TARDIS in there!

Compostman also took advantage of having the floor up to finally do the clever 3 zone central heating zoning he has wanted to do for ages, so we also now have a much more energy efficient way of heating only the bits of the house we need to heat, rather than doing the whole lot and relying on the radiator thermostatic valves to turn off individual rooms. We still have the thermostatic valves as well, but the house is divided up and there are separate controllers switching on/off the heating depending on the temperature and the time of day. We have noticed a big drop in our oil consumption! and we can make it work when we have the woodburner on, so we are using our wood rather than oil...


The Study has been transformed by hard work on the part of Compostman from a nasty, cold, damp, mouldy room (which I hated working in) to one which is warm, needs little heating, is cool in summer, is comfortable, well designed to work in and has lots of space to do stuff. I can lay out sewing and use my sewing machine, I can prepare for a Forest school session and have lots of space to spread stuff out, he can practice his guitar, we both can work at our desks, Compostgirl can write her stories in there with us, or use the computer and we can get lots of stuff done as a family.

I am a lucky woman to be married to such a helpful, useful man! And we have been married now for 24 years and we have been "together" for 25 ish years....

He is a wonderful man and I am a very lucky woman to have him in my life.


  1. Drool!!! - We live in rather a muddle as in the (hopefully) not too distant future we will move to our other house - currently home to Pig! THEN, I can have shelves and all my stuff out of the boxes in the loft. I miss my books.

    Rosie x

  2. That is quite a transformation and so much hard work! A great job, Compostman must be entitled to breakfast in bed for oh, a year?

  3. And he's lucky to have a wife that realises his worth and works side by side with him to make a lovely home.

    And that I think is what makes a marriage. You sound a lovely couple ( and the room's not bad either).

    Sue xx

  4. Well done Compostman! Your study looks so comfortable, especially with the tidy books lined up.... makes me realize I need to do something about the piles I still have on the floor.
    Great idea about the 3 zone heating system, especially the flexibility it gives and the woodburner becoming more useful :-)

  5. Go Compostman! lol
    That's a great transformation. What a difference some organisation makes to a working space.

    And three zone heating is fabulous. Definitely energy efficient.

  6. I am so jealous. I have a tiny corner of the lounge and Fiona a corner of her bedroom. Pop over to my blog, I have left an award for you,


  7. It's extraordinary how much space can be released by putting things into a room in a different order.

    It's also extraordinary how few of us have Compostman's skills. This last leaves us vulnerable in life as well as meaning we aren't in a position to make changes in our homes which would help the planet more than we are trying to do in the meanwhile.

    Congratulations on the re-design, the ability and the tenacity to see it through . . . and what fun to be able to use it as a family as well. (As someone who has to be isolated from everyone in order to achieve anything, this last remark is especially heart-felt!)

    Mary Sharpe

  8. Are we able to "borrow" CM as a consultant for room design when we move to our new house? ;-)

    What a fantastic transformation!

  9. He has done similar wonders with the Kitchen, Dining room, bathroom, CG's bedroom and the hall...

    Only Guest, our bedroom and Sitting room to go and they are tricky..( being even more full of stuff, and also need re flooring....)

    Sitting room also needs new screed and stone chimney breast removing, ...!

    He IS a clever CM...and so handy and does such a good job.....


  10. oh and *I* do the design aspect....! colours, layout etc as I can visualise what it will all look like when done..I *see* pictures in my mind..

    but CM does all the tricky energy efficiency research, materials choice, ordering, the building stuff etc etc ... all the really dirty, hard, clever work!

    I just re arrange furniture and plan colours and the "flow" of it all ( where stuff needs to be re arranged..)

    I *did* design the kitchen layout as well as the colours and am most pleased with the effect and the extra storage space :-)


Hello! Thank you for reading my blog and for commenting. I try to reply as quickly as I can and I really appreciate your interest in my life and doings here in The Compost Bin.