Renovation of the Forest Room with natural materials
Earlier this year we decided to convert a room on the ground floor of our house into a bedroom. The room was not part of the original house, we believe it was added in 1950 when the house was converted from being a water mill to a residence. The room is actually on top of the area where the water wheel had been located. Access to the room is through the living room. When we started, the was no dividing wall between this room and the living room, the walls were covered in dark wooden paneling, and there was no insulation in the walls.
I researched various options for insulation and wall coverings. I wanted to do it in a way that would result in a room that felt good to be in, that was both comfortable and with good indoor air quality. I ended up using a method that is used in natural/organic buildings in Germany. The insulation I used is 80 mm thick wood fiber insulation in sheet form. I would have liked to have had even thicker insulation but if I had, the room would have become too small. After the wood fiber insulation was secured to the walls, it was plastered with clay. Clay has the advantage that it is a natural material that can breath, resulting in a room that feels good to be in.
The room also received a new floor. First, the thickness of the existing floor insulation was increased, a new vapor barrier added, and it was then covered with “real” floor boards.
After that, it was time to build a dividing wall between the new bedroom and the living room. This was accomplished by building a wooden frame, adding wood fiber batt insulation for sound control, then covering that with wood and clay plaster. As a final touch, we found a used door that matches the style of the house, and made new window sills from salvaged wood. As the last step, the walls were painted with a breathable clay based paint in an off white color.
The room was finished in January 2017. It is our room number 3 but we wanted a better name so we are calling it the “Forest Room” since it has a large window facing the forest. It’s not listed on our website so if you’d like to sleep there, please email us for details.