Octagonal Oak Framed Garden Kitchen by the Pool

Knowing the importance of working with expert Oak framers Jeremy contacted Alec at Timberpride with the pencil sketch and ideas to design an oak frame outdoor kitchen.

The Brief

The client wanted a shaded area beside the pool to enjoy being with family and friends. An empty corner in the beautiful gardens created by the then Head Gardener Paul Williams. Working with the client and Jeremy, Paul had an idea and drew up a concept sketch of what could be done using oak.

The Design Process

The design process, in close consultation with Jeremy, went from a 10m span octagon with 8 central posts to support the roof, to a square structure with traditional rafters and no central posts. Eventually settling on an 8m span octagon with a massive central ceiling boss suspended above the tables and chairs.

Larger section principle rafters radiate out from the central ceiling boss with discrete steel cables and steel ring to do the job of tie beams. The result is a massive self supporting octagonal roof with a clear span which doesn’t really look possible.

In just six weeks we went from rudimentary concept to fully worked up, structurally sound design acceptable to the client.

Once the design of the oak frame had been identified Jeremy made a scale model for the client to visualise the space and start planning the internal fitout. Armed with a fully formed plan to achieve the client’s request Jeremy placed the order.

Getting to Work

Central to the design and the first thing to make was the ceiling boss. Produced in house on the sawmill we cut a huge 400mm square 1.6m long piece of green oak. Meticulously cutting and shaping each of the eight faces of the octagon boss to exactly 22.5°, requiring pinpoint accuracy, critical not only for the whole building to work but also to fit the steel boss ring and with no margin for error whatsoever.

Built with Precision

Geometric precision is the only way to make an octagon work, 4 pairs of parallel faces only form an octagon if the dimensions and angles are perfect. A 1mm error in the centre will magnify so dramatically that the eaves beam could be 50mm out, enough to see with the naked eye.

Each structural post is shaped by hand into a kite shape (a bit like a piece of Toblerone with the top bitten off) to ensure that faces on neighbouring posts are perfectly parallel so that the braces fit at 90° for maximum strength.

Refined Execution

The whole structure radiates out from the centre of the ceiling boss, each triangular section of the roof is defined from the centre line of the principle rafter connecting the centre of the boss with the centre of the outside face of the posts. Difficult when the octagon is flat, but we had to raise the boss by over 2000mm to form an 8 sided pyramid, with each rafter top shaped to align perfectly with two neighbouring flat triangular roof sections, pitched at 22.5°. Seriously rewarding Oak framing, with unforgettable smiles from the team who made it work.

To prove the building worked, Carl stood the entire frame up in our workshop using the overhead crane, forklift, ropes, straps props and absolute determination that only perfection would serve.

With the building now finished and well used Jeremy’s favourite part is the inside visual of the roof, boss, rafters and sarking.