When in the year 2000 my neighbours built a house, I watched with amazement about the speed that the house was erected. I went out for work in the morning, when I got home, the ground floor with ceiling was up. The next day the first floor was on. On day three they were working on the roof truss.
Not only was the house built in record time, but it was a timber house! Not a Swiss chalet but a contemporary timber house with energy efficiency that I had not even heard of. They installed a ground source heat pump and comparing the energy cost of my old house to theirs over the years, brought tears into my eyes of envy.
Do you also know the hectic just when visitors spontaneously call in an hour after you had a fish dish or cabbage? Open all windows, set in motion all fans and maybe even spray some air freshener – not so in a Stommel Haus. This is what fascinated me when becoming friends with our neighbours and going into their house where the timber had already filtered the air and no cooking smells were present. That's why I blame the fish for my enthusiasm for Stommel Haus.
Several years later, when finally deciding to change my life to do something more tangible, something more meaningful and sustainable, I decided to become the exclusive agent for Stommel Haus for the UK. I learned all about how a Stommel timber house is built, how the wall construction breathes and at the same time is air-tight, how the timber filters the air, I learned about its incredible energy efficiency, its sustainability and the off-site manufacturing process with all its benefits for speed, accuracy and again sustainability. I was and still am so proud to be part of the Stommel Haus story now, of designing and building houses for British clients who value quality, sustainability and ecology and who are proud to have a house built with only non-toxic and sustainable materials such as timber, gypsum, recycled paper and with an excellent energy efficiency and the most contemporary heating system such as Solar Ice.
It is not easy to bring a medium size family business located in a small town in Germany to start on a totally new market with an unknown language, different building regulations, health and safety rules, and – after all – a different culture and tradition. But as always open to new developments, the Stommel family embraced this adventure and supported my efforts to bring the product to Britain where by now houses have been built as far away as Aberdeenshire, Surrey and Dorset, Norfolk, Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Yorkshire and soon in Kent. Not only did we have successful and award winning projects there, but most of our British clients have become friends over the years, where they enjoy a comfortable lives in a wonderful houses and where my husband and I are still welcome to stay. Our British clients enjoy the low energy cost, the speed of the project, the adherence to budget with a fixed price guarantee, the high quality of healthy and sustainable materials and the construction of the house.
Looking back to how it all started, I still blame the fish for the start of my enthusiasm for this wonderful atmosphere in all of the many Stommel Haus homes I know. Today, I am even more enthusiastic about this wonderful product, the people who work at Stommel Haus, the beauty of Britain and my beloved British clients.
Just let us hope that Brexit does not drive a wedge between us but I am determined to not let that happen.
Barbara Fischer-Clark in August 2020
(Funny enough, our Leicestershire clients said that they don't hesitate to have kippers for breakfast in their Stommel Haus. In the old house they didn't because of the smell that wouldn't leave the house for hours.)