Saturday, June 24, 2017

Repurposing your shed for the 21st Century

The flexibility of working from home over the past decade has seen a steep rise in home owners repurposing their garden shed as an office, a place where they can concentrate away from the hustle and bustle of the main house, somewhere for hobbies such as painting or working out, or simply as a relaxing space in which to relax and unwind.

Oeco Garden Rooms has put together this handy guide and checklist on how to turn your old garden shed into an effective space for the future:

Repair any issues first

If the garden shed has been sitting unused or unloved for some time, the first thing to do is repair any issues that the structure might have. This include fixing leaky roofs, wood rot, broken windows or uneven floor boards. Starting off with a solid structure will make the rest of the build run more smoothly and cause less headaches in the future. These types of repairs are things you can do yourself, but if you feel more comfortable hiring someone these repairs are relatively cheap to rectify.

Thermal Insulation 

Thermal insulation is a great idea to install in your shed, especially if it is to be used all year round. This specially designed insulation keeps the structure cool in the summer and warm in the winter, it also makes the building more energy efficient, saving you money on heating the shed in the winter months. For more information thermal insulation and how it works check out the Oeco Garden Rooms website.

Painting the shed 

After the shed has been repaired and is water tight you can paint it to give the structure an updated look. Painting the exterior of the shed a bright colour will make it stand out and create a focal point in the garden, while painting it a darker colour will make it blend into its surroundings and help the foliage take centre stage. Treat the inside of the shed as another living space; neutral or muted colours are perfect for creating a relaxed environment, while bright and bold colours can help alertness and concentration levels.

Install PVC-U Doors and Windows

Fitting PVC-U windows and doors in the shed helps to keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Patio doors in particular can improve access to and from the garden and allows plenty of natural light to enter the building. PVC-U windows and doors are also manufactured to the highest level of security, meaning that you can be safe in the knowledge that your possessions are protected.

Run Electricity 

If you haven’t already, add electricity to your shed as this means that you can get a lot more use out of it. Whether you want a place to store a spare freezer, work on projects with power tools or create a cinema room, the possibilities are endless. Running electricity from the main house to a shed is a job for a fully trained electrician, do not try to do this yourself.

Adding Storage and Countertops 

Adding storage and countertops to the shed will allow it to be used for a multitude of purposes from a home office to a relaxing hideaway. Storage cabinets and desks can be bought readymade, making installation a breeze, or you could choose to make your own storage exactly to your needs - the sky’s the limit! Whatever you decide to use your shed for, make sure it feels like an actual room and an extension of your home, this will ensure that you are more likely to use it regularly. Little things like adding a rug or putting up some artwork can go a long way to making the space feel more homely. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Houses with garden offices

Garden offices have now become a major selling feature in the property market. Zoopla has put together six particular attractive examples (including summerhouses) including this marvellous two-storey example above in the grounds of a six-bedroom home in Little Saxham, Bury St. Edmunds - your £1.25 million also gets you a brick double garage, two timber single garages and another wooden garden shed with slate roof and Victorian cast iron windows. Sadly the shepherd's hut is leaving with the sellers.

Rather more affordable is this build above, which comes with lighting, power and water supply plus a deced patio, and a three bedroom barn conversion in Ulgham, Northumberland, for £399,950

Friday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Garden office as eco-friendly 'power station'

SPECIFIC is an academic and industrial consortium in Port Talbot, Wales, led by Swansea University with partners including Tata Steel which aims to "transform buildings into power stations by enabling them to generate, store and release their own energy".

Here's one of it's successes, a pod highly suitable for use as a garden office which demonstrates how to power and heat a building (in this case a small-ish one) without connecting to existing services and reduces running costs. So the pod's fully-integrated technologies enable it to generate, store and release its own heat and electricity from solar energy. It is a completely self-sufficient and ideal for off-grid use. As well as this pod, they have also worked successfully on an energy positive classroom with similar properties.

Electricity is generated by the Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) on the roof which is stored in batteries and used to power lighting, small electrical appliances and heating. According to SPECIFIC: "Heating is provided by a novel glazed solar air collector, supplemented by an electric heating system developed at SPECIFIC. The control system for the building regulates the heat within the space, intelligently selecting the best method of heating depending on climatic conditions." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thursday posts are sponsored by Cabin Master: garden offices and studios to fit any size garden. Top quality contemporary or traditional buildings.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Shed of the Year survey: Rise in shedpreneurs means wi-fi connection now more popular than wheelbarrows in sheds

Just over half of shedowners in Britain now have wi-fi and electricity in their sheds compared with just a quarter who have a wheelbarrow, according to new research by Cuprinol which also indicates that 20 per cent of 'Millennial' shedworkers run a successful blog or business from their garden office.

The research by Cuprinol for National Shed Week (which they sponsor) found that nearly a third of people use their garden shed as a space for their hobby and seven per cent have now grown this into a small businesses. Overall, a fifth have created outdoor offices and half those questioned say they would work in the garden more often if they could - a third of Londoners admit they prefer to work from their shed than the kitchen table. Almost a half of people in the study say they feel more productive in their garden and can concentrate better, while almost a third believe they are more creative outside.

The results of the Shed of the Year competition will be screend on the Channel 4 series ‘Amazing Spaces Shed of the Year’ later this summer. Interestingly, this year has seen the highest number of 'shedrepreneurs' with 11 of the 32 finalists running a business, blog or not-for-profit organisation from the bottom of their garden.

Pictured above is shorlisted sheddie and YouTuber Mermaid Gossip who has created a colourful multipurpose workspace complete with wi-fi while below, founder of Team Unlimbited, Stephen, designs and builds 3D printed prosthetic hands and arms for children in need completely free in his spare time. His vision has helped children from around the world.

Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director at Cuprinol said: “It’s clear that the humble garden shed is no longer just a space to store garden tools, as people view it more as an extension of their home. Working outside can have a positive impact on your wellbeing and what’s wonderful is that anyone with a garden can design a space to inspire their creativity. It’s great to see how that year’s shortlist really showcases the extensive uses for a shed and how it can so perfectly enhance the way you live your life.” ---------------------------------------------------
Wednesday posts are sponsored by The Stable Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Can working from home damage your health?

Shedworkers and other people who work from home are more likely to suffer from work-related injuries such as neck and back problems, according to research from Bupa.

Its study indicates that slightly more than half of homeworkers have sustained injuries, aches and pains as a result of their working environment and are 10 per cent more likely to do so than those working in a ‘traditional’ workplace.

The research highlighted that not having the right work set-up at home is one cause - one in four homeworkers do not have a dedicated workspace at home (not something shedworkers need to worry about of course) and half admit to hunching over while working. Around 40 per cent said they regularly work from their bed or sofa. All these factors increase the risk of musculoskeletal injury, with the most common problems experienced being backache and neck ache.

Additionally, nearly half of those interviewed say they work longer hours when at home compared to their primary place of work, and often longer than stated in their contract. Over a prolonged period this can result in increased levels of fatigue and stress.

But there is some good news. The study found that the flexible nature of homeworking means that three out of five people are able to build exercise into their day, and the same proportion say they eat more healthily. Two thirds say they are able to take regular breaks from their work area, which is good for both mental and physical health.

Bupa's home-working health checklist is:
  • Work in a room with adequate light so you don’t have to strain your eyes
  • Sit in a chair where your feet can reach the floor, or are supported by a footrest
  • Ensure your monitor is at least an arm’s length away from you and the top of the monitor is at eye level
  • Try to use a hands-free phone line and avoid typing/writing with a phone between your ear and shoulder, as this can lead to neck problems
  • Try to break more regularly than you would in an office as your posture is likely to be worse at home, ideally every 20 – 30 minutes
  • Make time to stretch out to avoid stiffness, particularly if you spend a long period of time in the same position
Photo: Damon Libby -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tuesday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning

Monday, June 19, 2017

Garden office picture framing business

Marshall Irving runs his picture framing business Spire Framing from a bespoke 4.5m by 6.5m Garden Affairs cabin near Salisbury. Among the tailormade features are the open roof trusses to give an airier feel inside and provide additional headroom, plus four skylights for extra light.
 "It was important to have a bespoke build due to the shape of the garden and its intended use as a picture framing workshop," says Marshall. "The workshop provides a perfect environment and is snug and warm in the winter with just one electric wall heater! All my customers are amazed at how good it looks inside and out." --------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Classic Oak Garages

Some lovely Saturday shedlike eye candy from the Hampshire-based Classic Barn Company which specialises in oak garages with bespoke options including a first floor garden office.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Shed Box of Delights: Underground beach hut

Regular readers will know that we are very keen on underground microarchitecture here at Shedworking and here's a jolly example of the genre put together by inventor and film-maker Colin Furze. He has also worked on an underground bunker in his back garden. --------------------------------------------------------
Friday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Garden office air conditioning

With temperatures rising, Shedworking has had a lot of enquiries about how to heat and cool your garden office. There's a nice (and short) piece about just this topic on the Advantage Air Systems site. Here's a snippet:
A professionally installed air conditioning system, when compared to direct electric heating or gas, can lower your electricity bills by as much as 30-50%. If you use your garden office all day every day, you could find that your new system pays for itself within 5 years in reduced running costs. And of course, an air conditioning system also gives you the option to use it in cooling in the summer months to lower the temperature and humidity. Simple split type air conditioning systems are ideal for garden offices, typically consisting of an indoor wall mounted unit and an outdoor unit positioned behind the cabin. Mitsubishi Electric has recently launched its sophisticated and stylish M-Series range. Available in a variety of colours and using the latest R32 refrigerant, they offer superior energy efficiencies too.
Advantage also has a short case study of their work on an osteopathy practice based in a garden office (pictured above).
Thursday posts are sponsored by Cabin Master: garden offices and studios to fit any size garden. Top quality contemporary or traditional buildings.