It’s hung, clay-free and shingle.

Here’s our newly completed roof finished off with hand-crafted oak tiles.


They’re actually rejects from France’s wine barrel industry.

Once destined to contain and add flavour to a vintage Bordeaux, at some stage in barrel production they were deemed not worthy.


But for us they are the very height of worthy beauty.

And they have been reborn as a gorgeous and unusual adornment to Rowan Farm’s roof.


Like all gorgeous and unusual things, they’ve been a tad high maintenance.

Putting them up has been something of a labour of love.

Each shingle had to be handpicked, tweaked and then hammered into place.

We probably could have moulded, baked and slung up our own homemade clay tiles in the time it’s taken to lovingly place each one.

And having been let down at the last minute – on the day he was meant to start – by our original roofer, Oli was forced to do one of his least favourite things on site. Working at great height every day for an extended period of time.

But he rose to the challenge.

And with invaluable help from the impossibly youthful Danny (who is twice as nimble as us, despite being twice our age), Oli has spent the last three months, alongside all his other jobs, carefully nailing each shingle to the building.


The unique finish was worth it.

It glows golden in the sunshine; it blends beautifully with the rural setting; oak was definitely the right choice of material and it will see us through our and our children’s lifetimes.

Even one of our most vociferous objectors stopped Oli to tell him how much he loved the roof.

Just as well Oli wasn’t on it at the time or he might have fallen off with the shock.

So who knows? If a wooden roof can have such an impact, once we really get restoring Rowan Farm’s biodiversity maybe attitudes towards us might soften.

In the meantime, we’re dead chuffed with how our beautiful new home is starting to emerge.