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Hello! New member, new Grotrian, need advice. #2761911
08/30/18 07:49 AM
08/30/18 07:49 AM
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Dathka Offline OP
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Hello from David, hailing from Kent, United Kingdom!

I've just joined the forum. Quick introduction: my wife and I have both been playing since childhood, and our 8 year old daughter has just started learning to play. After the last 15 years or so of playing on a Yamaha Clavinova (due to frequent moves, living in apartments etc.), we have just acquired something a bit special - a 1985 Grotrian-Steinweg 223 Concert grand, which we both fell in love with. Utterly inspiring to play.

However, due to room size and other constraints, the only space in our house which is even remotely feasible for a grand piano poses some environmental challenges. It is a large L-shaped space with 5m ceilings (in which the piano sounds wonderful), with the piano in the centre of a largely glass-walled 'garden room' area adjacent to the kitchen / dining room in the other section of the room - pictured below.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

I know - this breaks at least two of the cardinal rules of piano placement! However, it's not quite as bad as it first looks: the windows are north-facing and sheltered by our tiered garden (our house is on a steep hill) and trees, and although the room is light and airy, very little direct sunlight actually gets into the room. Everything is double-glazed with no draughts whatsoever. My plan is to install 3M Prestige 90 solar film on all the windows, which apparently cuts out 99% of UV and 97% of infra-red radiation from the sun to further mitigate any fading / heating effect from the sun.

The proximity to the kitchen poses a potential problem for heat and humidity. My hygrometer by the piano has shown relative humidity varying between 54% and 57% in the week since the piano has been here, with the kitchen in use (the humidity in the house is already controlled somewhat by a whole house dehumidifier). I've ordered a German temperature/humidity data logger which will help me understand changes over time. I have the option to install a Dampp-Chaser into the piano, or to use an additional room dehumidifier to control the piano room.

So I have three questions for you knowledgable folks:

1. Do any of you have any experience with solar window films - are they effective in mitigating UV fading damage, and heating of the piano?

2. What would you recommend for mitigating (potentially quite quick) temperature / humidity changes in the piano's environment - Dampp-Chaser or room humidity control, or something else?

3. Am I missing anything else - I'm hoping that controlling the sunlight and humidity will give our piano a comfortable home, but is there anything else that I should be concerned with?

Sorry for the long first post - thanks in advance and I really appreciate any thoughts and input. This looks like a great forum - it's already been very helpful to me in choosing the piano - the discussions about size of piano / size of room in particular! I really look forward to joining in the conversation.

Cheers,
David

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Re: Hello! New member, new Grotrian, need advice. [Re: Dathka] #2761930
08/30/18 09:52 AM
08/30/18 09:52 AM
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Posts: 11,478
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rich Galassini Offline
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Originally Posted by Dathka

1. Do any of you have any experience with solar window films - are they effective in mitigating UV fading damage, and heating of the piano?


In my experience they will not rescue the piano from damage due to fluctuating RH. The film may cut down on fading but some heat energy still enters. Blinds or shades during sunlit hours are best, IMHO.

Originally Posted by Dathka
. What would you recommend for mitigating (potentially quite quick) temperature / humidity changes in the piano's environment - Dampp-Chaser or room humidity control, or something else?


My first thought would be to somehow separate this space from the kitchen area. I know that is likely not what you were thinking and it may be terribly inconvenient, but you are asking. Second, have a technician visit and see if they feel that a Dampp-Chaser would help. From my experience it will, but in your situation I am afraid it will not be enough.

Originally Posted by Dathka
. Am I missing anything else - I'm hoping that controlling the sunlight and humidity will give our piano a comfortable home, but is there anything else that I should be concerned with?


I think those are your most important issues at hand. Keep us posted and I am looking forward to the input of others.


Rich Galassini
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Re: Hello! New member, new Grotrian, need advice. [Re: Dathka] #2761936
08/30/18 10:28 AM
08/30/18 10:28 AM
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Ed A. Hall Offline
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As a start, I recommend two Dampp Chaser 50 watt dehumidifier rods hooked up to their humidistat along with an undercover. The undercover greatly increases the effectiveness of the system. If you need ideas on how to effectively attach the undercover to the underside, send me a PM.

Re: Hello! New member, new Grotrian, need advice. [Re: Dathka] #2761941
08/30/18 10:54 AM
08/30/18 10:54 AM
Joined: Dec 2012
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Seattle, WA USA
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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Good advice above. I would add to that acquiring a string cover to place over the plate/tuning pin/soundboard made from wool. This will protect the piano from any cooking aromatics/oils/particles polluting the piano. The fact that you have whole house humidity control helps enormously.

On a side note. Grotrian grands are famous for a propensity to get loose tuning pins due to the fact that the angle the pins are set against the string tension is less than the standard. They may have corrected that by now since the newest ones I have tuned date from the 1980's. Have your technician be attentive to this and keep the pins tapped in properly before tuning. Don't do this yourself, it takes the correct tools and procedure.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: Hello! New member, new Grotrian, need advice. [Re: Dathka] #2761946
08/30/18 11:13 AM
08/30/18 11:13 AM
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Posts: 463
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Fareham Offline
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Hi David,

First of all, all the US advice is geared round their extreme weather of hot and humid in the summer, and brass monkeys in the winter. I guess UK weather is closer to Seattle / Vancouver weather than anywhere in New England or California. That's not to say it's wrong, but what is an essential over there, is much less so over here. I have a hygrometer next to my piano and it varies between around 44% and 45% throughout the year, and like you we have a constantly drying atmosphere courtesy of a MVHR unit. Grotrian-Steinweg will tell you what their optimal RH value should be (Steinway is 40% - 70% IIRC) and I would buy a hygrometer and keep a good eye out for its values and see what you've got - it takes many months before a slight increase / decrease in RH affects pianos, so there's no huge urgency.

If you do decide to install a dampp-chaser and have forced air exchange, like me, you may well find that its more humid air gets sucked / blown out of the instrument without havng had any significant effect, so ought to contemplate some house-wide means of controlling RH - if needed.

Glass is opaque to most frequencies outside of the visible spectrum, and it's only really UVA that will winkle its way through the panes into your room. Due to the very short wavelength of UVA (well comparatively), atmospheric scattering will be much more, and the fact you're facing North may help you less than you think. (See Rayleigh scattering). As it's this frequency which is most likely to fade your piano, I'd be very inclined to spend money on that first, and then see what difference that has made to the whole room (and possibly house).

In short, just try each improvement step by step and see how you go


The English may not like music much, but they love the sound it makes ... Beecham
Re: Hello! New member, new Grotrian, need advice. [Re: Dathka] #2761955
08/30/18 11:39 AM
08/30/18 11:39 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,128
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joe80 Online content
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I would investigate the dampp-chaser option, but I think a room dehumidifier will probably be more effective. You can use both of course. When boiling stuff, always use your extractor fan, open the windows, and if I were you I would invest in a piano cover from roqsolid. Ok so it maybe looks a bit unsightly to have a big quilted cover on the piano, but it will protect it somewhat, in conjunction with the string blanket and the other things.

Re: Hello! New member, new Grotrian, need advice. [Re: Dathka] #2761960
08/30/18 11:46 AM
08/30/18 11:46 AM
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 7
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Dathka Offline OP
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Thanks for the replies - really helpful!

Completely separating the two areas of the room is not really possible due to the layout, but we'll consider blinds instead of the film. I was just hoping to keep the ambient natural light in the room (because of the north-facing aspect and gradient of the garden there's actually virtually no direct sunlight into the room).

Good call on the string cover - I have a whole piano cover coming, and we keep the piano closed when anything's going on in the kitchen side of things, but the string cover makes sense as an additional layer of protection.

We're going to get a technician to come and look, and advise on the humidity control - I think that's going to be the toughest one to get right - a thermometer/hygrometer with data logging is on its way so I can get an accurate view of what's happening over time. The whole house humidity is controlled with a stand-alone dehumidifier (it never really gets dry enough here to need to add moisture) but this won't respond to quick changes in humidity - I'm curious as to how quickly the Dampp-Chaser can respond given that it only dehumidifies by heating the air. I very much doubt that I would ever need to use the Dampp-Chaser to add humidity.

Cheers,
David

Re: Hello! New member, new Grotrian, need advice. [Re: Dathka] #2762021
08/30/18 06:37 PM
08/30/18 06:37 PM
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 251
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Corvus Offline
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I think quick fluctuations in humidity are not a big problem like large seasonal shifts are. In Utah where I now live, the climate is fairly dry. We can get large swings in humidity with summer thunderstorms, but those do not last long, and don't seem to have much effect on the piano that I can detect. When I lived in the Midwest and on the East Coast, the transition from dry winters to humid summers and back again wreaked havoc on my piano's tuning twice a year.

The UV window treatment seems like a good idea. If there is no direct sunlight falling on the piano, that should be adequate.

Concratulations on acquiring such a beautiful instrument!

Re: Hello! New member, new Grotrian, need advice. [Re: Dathka] #2762068
08/30/18 10:51 PM
08/30/18 10:51 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 5,233
Seattle, WA USA
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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One little wood fact. Wood takes on humidity much faster than it gives it up. Thus the dampchaser with humidistat is very effective at countering humidity spikes.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: Hello! New member, new Grotrian, need advice. [Re: Dathka] #2762110
08/31/18 03:25 AM
08/31/18 03:25 AM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 3,928
Bulgaria
PhilipInChina Offline
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Bulgaria
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on your new acquisition. If you are not happy with it, by all means send it to me. I have a corner where it would fit perfectly. You have got one of the best made machines on the market, and the noise which they make is wonderful.\

Joe always gives sound advice and from a UK perspective. I didn't notice if you said that you have anextractor fan in your kitchen. If not, get one! Humidity from kitchens can be very invasive. Many years ago I had a very good friend who had his kitchen remodelled and this included an extractor hood. He used this and found that it cured a condensation problem which he had had for years in one of his upstairs bedrooms!


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
Re: Hello! New member, new Grotrian, need advice. [Re: Dathka] #2762115
08/31/18 03:57 AM
08/31/18 03:57 AM
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Posts: 463
Rural UK
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Fareham Offline
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Originally Posted by Dathka
Completely separating the two areas of the room is not really possible due to the layout, but we'll consider blinds instead of the film. I was just hoping to keep the ambient natural light in the room (because of the north-facing aspect and gradient of the garden there's actually virtually no direct sunlight into the room)

My comment about the scattering of UVA light is probably rather more relevant than you may think, even if the room gets virtually no direct sunshine. The blueness of the sky is because all light is scattered by the particles in the atmosphere, but blue light is scattered about 16 times as much as red light (which also explains why sunsets are crimson). If you could see UVA then the sky would be UVA coloured as it is scattered 2.5 times again as much as blue. Whether that's enough to cause fading through glass, which is slightly opaque at that frequency is debatable, but as you have a valuable and lovely instrument there you may like to consider that at about £20 per square metre, adding clear UV blocking film is not that expensive an option.


The English may not like music much, but they love the sound it makes ... Beecham
Re: Hello! New member, new Grotrian, need advice. [Re: Dathka] #2762486
09/01/18 02:31 PM
09/01/18 02:31 PM
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wouter79 Offline
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sunlight - yes I would use blinds. You can open them when you play but I would mostly keep them shut at least so that no direct sunlight hits the piano.

Regarding humidity, and kitchen smell, is it possible to suck out the air from the cooking area so well that no cooking air gets into the room? It's not only the humidity but also the pollutants in cooking air (especially frying) that may dispose itself onto the piano and it's not healthy either.


[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
Re: Hello! New member, new Grotrian, need advice. [Re: Dathka] #2762518
09/01/18 04:09 PM
09/01/18 04:09 PM
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Jack Knuckle Offline
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Nearly all window tint films claim to block virtually all UV light - I wonder if it's an inherent characteristic of plastic? Those that block light and heat come in a variety of strengths and I found it most confusing after I bought my grand recently and to my horror found it would be basking in direct sunshine through a window that I hadn't quite appreciated how much the sun would stream through in the height of summer (having done the initial measurements in winter when the sun was much lower in the sky). I quickly found a company who sent their sales rep to visit as he was in the area anyway and had recently installed the 3M for another client who also wanted their grand piano protecting.

The 3M film seems pretty good on paper at cutting down infrared (ie heat) transmission without affecting light other than giving a slight brown tint perhaps to the sky. There are several variants, some for putting outside, some for putting on the inside. In general films that cut out more heat need to go on the exterior if you have double glazing to avoid reflecting back into and baking the double glazing unit and causing it eventually to fail.

In the end I went for an external grey mirrored finish that promised something like 80% heat reduction. The light reduction is almost as much but the measured figure sounds worse than it looks as the human eye is very sensitive to small changes in dim light so even though 80% or more of the light is prevented from coming into my room, it still only looks like it's a cloudy day from inside the room. A silvery finish would have cut out even more heat and light but the external effect would have been unacceptable. The grey mirrored finish doesn't look much different from the dark grey colour of the house's other windows as seen from outside as our house is painted white and so when looking through the windows into unlit rooms the windows appear dark grey even though they don't have any tinting to them except the room with the piano.

The main issue I had with the 3M was that it was several times the price of other films, presumably because of its ability to restrict a fair amount of heat without restricting much visible light. And you have quite a large area of glass to potentially cover. Anyway, suffice it to say that I have treated a single window (French doors) with reflective film and the type I chose almost totally stops heat entry. You may well want something that is less aggressive to stopping heat in order to let in more light - if you decide you need a film at all.

Frankly my bigger concern with your set up would be that cooking releases all manner of fat and grease and odour that will get into your piano even with the best cooker hood extractor - is there no way you could partition the kitchen part of the room off with a stud or glazed internal wall? It would be faff to take the cover off your piano whenever you wanted to play it and I don't even know if a cover would completely insulate it from cooking chemicals. Also would your cooker hood extract to the outside or does it have a carbon filter that cleans and recirculates the air? If the latter, it won't be long before the carbon clogs up and unbeknown to you it will be recirculating cooking oils into the piano room! My personal feeling would be that any money left over from buying the piano would be better spent first protecting the piano from the room's atmosphere than from the sun's radiation.

Re: Hello! New member, new Grotrian, need advice. [Re: Dathka] #2762528
09/01/18 04:36 PM
09/01/18 04:36 PM
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Fareham Offline
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You don't need to spend huge amounts of money to get something effective on the UV film front.

There are three classes of UV, UVA, UVB and UVC. UVB and UVC are blocked 100% by glass, so you can forget about them on internal films. Internal UVA blocking film has a very slightly blue tinge to it if you look at it away from the light source, but as it's one of the cheapest and most effective films to make you really don't need to go to manufacturers who will happily charge you megabucks for specialist stuff. In the UK suppliers have to contend with many laws about description of goods and suitability of the goods supplied, so very few suppliers are prepared to make claims that can't be substantiated - as it can cost them their business.

I think you have a very valid point about condensation of fat vapour on the piano. This is something that's highly localised and will obviously depend on what you cook, your fume extract facilies etc. I've never had any of my pianos anywhere near the kitchen so it's a problem I've never faced ...


The English may not like music much, but they love the sound it makes ... Beecham
Re: Hello! New member, new Grotrian, need advice. [Re: Dathka] #2762540
09/01/18 05:40 PM
09/01/18 05:40 PM
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Miguel Rey Offline
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Just make sure that if you have double glazed glass you get a film that goes on the outside otherwise you could crack the glass with interior/exterior temperature changes.

Last edited by Miguel Rey; 09/01/18 05:40 PM.



Re: Hello! New member, new Grotrian, need advice. [Re: Dathka] #2762569
09/01/18 08:01 PM
09/01/18 08:01 PM
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huaidongxi Offline
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we have a pretty decent dual fan extraction hood over our gas range, but an open floor plan in a small bungalow with the piano within 25 feet or so of the stove and other devices producing vapours (water kettle, toaster oven). the first thing we did after the piano was delivered was order a custom fitted (the fabricator has templates for well established piano models like ours), padded, two piece, vinyl cover. appearance is perfectly acceptable when it's covered with a couple of vintage hand woven rugs, and the cat can climb onto it, take a bath, no worries. has the added benefit of buffering the piano from temperature and humidity fluctuations - - the tunings have been very stable considering the open floor plan, but we also use our central heating very sparingly.

true, it takes a bit extra time and manipulation to take the covers off and for every practice session, but the preservation effect is the payoff, considering our piano turns 100 years old (if the old factory issued the serial numbers at distribution, sometime after building it, it might be older of course) next year. our 120 year old upright is in a converted bedroom not attached to the open floor plan, and slips in and out of tune fairly easily.

Re: Hello! New member, new Grotrian, need advice. [Re: Miguel Rey] #2762610
09/01/18 11:17 PM
09/01/18 11:17 PM
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Fareham Offline
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Originally Posted by Miguel Rey
Just make sure that if you have double glazed glass you get a film that goes on the outside otherwise you could crack the glass with interior/exterior temperature changes.


I suspect you've never been to Kent in the UK !

My daughter lives there and in the 9 years they've been there, the lowest they've recorded is -4C (25F) and the highest 31C (88F). Mostly it's between 3C and 25C (37F and 77F). In the South West, where I live, the range is even less at 5C to 22C (41F to 72F).


The English may not like music much, but they love the sound it makes ... Beecham
Re: Hello! New member, new Grotrian, need advice. [Re: Fareham] #2762711
09/02/18 10:04 AM
09/02/18 10:04 AM
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Miguel Rey Offline
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Not sure what you mean but if the suns shines directly on the glass and you turn on the AC and the window tint is applied against the most manufacture warning your glass could fail, the larger the window the greater the chance. I don't care what part of the country anyone is from, this is a general guideline for anyone stumbling on this thread!




Re: Hello! New member, new Grotrian, need advice. [Re: Miguel Rey] #2762723
09/02/18 10:46 AM
09/02/18 10:46 AM
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Fareham Offline
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Originally Posted by Miguel Rey
Not sure what you mean but if the suns shines directly on the glass and you turn on the AC and the window tint is applied against the most manufacture warning your glass could fail, the larger the window the greater the chance. I don't care what part of the country anyone is from, this is a general guideline for anyone stumbling on this thread!


Because of the very low swing in temperatures, no-one has air conditioning in the UK ! (The OP lives in Kent - UK as he says - and the glass is North facing and gets no direct sunlight, if you read the thread's contents)


The English may not like music much, but they love the sound it makes ... Beecham
Re: Hello! New member, new Grotrian, need advice. [Re: Dathka] #2762870
09/02/18 05:47 PM
09/02/18 05:47 PM
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Dathka Offline OP
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Thanks for all the replies - it's giving me lots to think about!

No air conditioning here - the room has underfloor heating but we rarely use it (and don't need to; radiators heat the rooms perfectly adequately), if we do decide to use it we'll buy an isolation mat to protect the piano.

The film I was looking at is designed to be applied to the exterior of the windows - they're all double-glazed. This makes sense if it is reflecting away IR energy from the sun. I did notice that a small amount of direct sunlight does reach the piano in the morning from two ceiling Velux windows; we'll be getting blinds for those.

I'm not worried at all about large seasonal humidity swings. We have a large collection of various stringed instruments ('cello, violins, guitars) which are also humidity-sensitive - hence our existing home humidity control. However, these instruments are all in quality cases, which protects them from localised swings in temperature and humidity. If they are ever affected by small changes in humidity, they are obviously more easy to retune though!

I'll need to give some thought to the cooking aspect - thanks for the ideas and comments. It's not practical to separate the room off - it would destroy the character of the house and partition the piano into a room far too small for it - it really needs the larger volume of the combined room to speak properly. Thinking about it, we don't often fry (perhaps once a week) but I do need to consider that. We will be getting a cover, and it would not be a problem to put it on whenever we fry. We do have extraction over the hob too - at the moment it is recirculating through a carbon filter but we're going to change that to vent outside.

But having read all your helpful replies it is the cooking aspect (humidity and odours) that I think need most attention. A snazzy multi-zone hygrometer arrives tomorrow so I can track exactly what's happening in several areas of the combined room as it's used... and the cooking odours I need to ponder on.

Thanks again!

Cheers,
David

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