And right there, we sense the contradiction in the name: home and office. It is almost an absurdity, an oxymoron, like military intelligence.

Words Mark Russell, Isoboard

The Home

I am sure most of us never intended that they would be one and the same. The commute between the two was a part of our lives, a time for planning on the trip to the office, and anticipation of family and comforts of home on the return trip. One destination for earning, one for refuge.

And then…

I wonder at how we have coped and adjusted, transitioning to the more self-sufficient role, the available technology such a boon to enabling remote collaboration, remaining in contact, while simultaneously avoiding physical interaction as much as possible. Behaving unhealthily, to remain healthy.

Many homes were not designed to accommodate the needs of people having to work, study and create, as well as rest, replenish and recreate. And most of us need to separate the two, well, the men anyway, one thing at a time, and all that.

There are those who can work effectively at the dining room table, while the organised chaos of family life flows around them. Not me. I need a place to put on my work persona, and be in command, master of all I survey. (I must now keep the cat out; I can’t deal with the competition.)

Many of our customers have had to establish office space at home, by converting a garage, a spare room, a garden shed or a 20-foot container. (Never sure why people have spare 20-foot containers at home – but they do convert to great offices.)

The thing about garages, and I daresay sheds and spare 20-foot containers, is they were never designed to accommodate humans during office hours.

In my case, it was a single garage built on years ago as an afterthought, which would finally come into its own, rather than store the neglected accumulated detritus of my life. (Though, while tidying up, I did find a coffee percolator – one of those gifts that never had a place until the home office. Thank you Whatshizname, such prescience! The aroma alone restores my equilibrium.)

The thing about garages, and I daresay sheds and spare 20-foot containers, is they were never designed to accommodate humans during office hours. Roofs in our summers can reach 70°C, and this heat will flow into the roof void. Humans have physiological needs, and one of these is moderate temperatures. Thermal comfort for us is generally between 20 and 27°C, the temperature range where most of us feel neither too hot nor too cold, and can manage our comfort by dressing appropriately, or opening windows sufficiently to allow a gentle crossflow breeze yet keep the cat out.

The garage at home had mono-pitch steel sheeted roof, with a tatty ceiling, and no insulation. Removing the ceiling exposed beautiful timber beams that required little effort to make into a feature of the new ceiling. We used three types of insulation: aluminium foil directly under the roof sheets to contain condensation and dust, a thermal blanket to act as acoustic insulation and IsoBoard “Isopine” between beams to do the thermal insulation heavy lifting, and aesthetically complement the timber beams.

Of course, the foil and blanket contribute thermally as well. Having been through the past summer and winter, I can tell you this is a happy solution, ticking all the boxes.

IsoBoard can offer aesthetic variety, being plain bevelled edge boards, 100mm and 200mm centre-grooved Isopine surface profiles, and they are paintable with water-based paints and wood stains. My home office is easily the most thermally comfortable in the house, and, naturally, has the firm endorsement of the cat…