Friday, December 02, 2016

What is a shed?

A lovely piece by Tara Ward at The Spinoff looks at the question that dogs the Shed of the Year competition each year. She argues that to make it to the finals, a shed must be unique, include interesting historical features, enjoy a pleasant outlook, and - controversially - be able to survive nuclear fallout. Here's a snippet:
Dylan Thomas’ writing hut sits perched on a cliff in Wales, enveloped by the calming serenity of the sky and sea. In Scotland, a boat wheelhouse shed gazes out into the wild North Sea and feasts upon a view of dolphins and submarines. It’s so inspiring and beautiful I want to cry tears of tiny cabin joy. My shed looks onto a brick wall. I imagine it’s like being in prison. Probably not to everyone’s taste, but neither is a shed driving ninety miles an hour down a racetrack.
Well worth a browse. --------------------------------------------------------
Friday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Tree Houses Reimagined: New Blue Forest book

It's been an excellent year for books about garden offices, sheds, and other shedlike structures and as 2016 heads to a close there's another marvellous title, from treehouse specialists Blue Forest, Tree Houses Reimagined subtitled Luxurious Retreats for Tranquility and Play. There are about 250 colour photographs of 28 of their many superb builds (see rest of this post for some examples included in the book), as well as floor plans, drawings, architectural designs and not yet published future tree house projects, plus the interesting story of how the company was founded. 

Here's some more information from the publisher:
Enter the world of fairy-tale towers, whimsical stairways, crow’s nests, zip lines, and suspended rope bridges. Take pleasure in the details of hand-split oak shingles, thatched roofs, and cedar tongue-and-groove interiors. Made of sustainably sourced materials, Blue Forest’s magical sanctuaries fit snugly between trees and branches—often incorporating them into the building itself—and sit lightly on the land.

Thursday posts are sponsored by Cabin Master: garden offices and studios to fit any size garden. Top quality contemporary or traditional buildings.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Minima Moralia: Rooftop garden office

Minima Moralia is a garden office workspace which has been designed for use on rooftops as well as back gardens. Designed by London-based architects Jonas Prišmontas and Tomaso Boano, it attempts to deal with the live-work conundrum using a steel frame and folding opening canopy. Here's what they say about it:
Mimima Moralia is a critical installation, a manifesto of social hope with no political intention. Minima Moralia offers tiny, cellular pop-up spaces to be inhabited by designers, sculptors, painters, musicians and other creatives. It is a naked minimalistic structure and comprises a structural skeleton, a roof, a floor and a translucent external skin that is able to communicate and establish a holistic relationship with its surroundings. Acting as a window into an artistic mind, the space allows a glimpse into the creative processes and the crafting abilities that take place inside. 
Exhibited earlier this year at the London Festival of Architecture on Dalston Roof Park,

Wednesday posts are sponsored by The Stable Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The pros and cons of tiny houses

It has become an established way of living now in the USA, but there's increasing interest in the tiny house movement in the UK. Generally, people are pretty positive about the experience of living small, but as in all things, not everybody believes it's a great idea. Recently putting the case for it being a 'good thing' (though also in a very balanced way recognising it is not necessarily for everyone) is Nione Meakin in The Guardian ('We moved to a tiny house to get more room – and it worked'). Here's a snippet: 
Limited indoor space means more time outside and in the two allotments they have taken on across the road. “We’re far more aware of the seasons than we ever were in London and the fresh air, exercise and intimacy is making Tim and me the most content and fulfilled we’ve been in our adult lives,” says Laura. “We don’t need to earn as much as we used to, so we don’t have to spend as much time working as we used to. We have time together as a family.” 
Writer and filmmaker Chuck Wendig on his terribleminds blog is not so convinced and has written 'An open letter to tiny house hunters'. He itemises his concerns including this (my asterisks for poor language):
Fourth, your bed is going to be a claustrophobic morgue-drawer nightmare. The ceiling will be three feet above your head and that’s only if the mattress is of the same material they make diapers out of. If it is a proper mattress, your nose is probably going to be pressed against the top margins of your tiny house. Beds, actual human beds, are ******* huge. Perhaps extravagantly so, I dunno, but we have left the era where we could comfortably sleep on a pile of reeds on the hard rocky earth and now we sleep on giant mattress configurations that are basically as big as half of a tiny house. If you want to practice what it’s like sleeping in a tiny house, sleep in one of your drawers, or in the crawlspace under your existing normal-sized home.
Both pieces are well worth a read if you are thinking going down the tiny house route.
Tuesday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning

Monday, November 28, 2016

Garden office with table football

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Container shedworking spaces plan for York

An interesting article on the always well-informed YorkMix site reveals that plans are afoot to add a shedlike 'third place' working space to Piccadilly in York. It forms part of a new 'box park' plan called Spark: York to use shipping containers for shops, cafés, performance spaces and community projects in the city centre.

The plans for 15 containers over two levels come from local entrepreneurs Tom McKenzie, Sam Leach, and Joe Gardham and would be the first of its kind in the region, with free wifi and desk space for members of the public on a drop-in basis, as well as operating as a shared workspace hub for start-ups.

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

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Is your garden office earthquake-proof?

An interesting story from OPB looks at Michael Kuhn's efforts to brace his garden shed against the effects of a major earthquake. Here's a snippet:
Kuhn bought a garden shed and put it on a bed of gravel so it could roll around undamaged in an earthquake. He strengthened the walls, installed a small sleeping platform and bought mobile solar panels so he could charge a phone. He also is planning on installing plumbing for water and adding a composting toilet to his shelter
Thursday posts are sponsored by Cabin Master: garden offices and studios to fit any size garden. Top quality contemporary or traditional buildings.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

How to make a garden office wonderland

(This is a guest post by garden rooms specialists Oeco Garden Rooms)

Your garden doesn’t have to be a no go area in the winter months, in fact with a little planning and creativity you can create your own winter garden wonderland that the whole family can enjoy.

Garden Layout

Having the right garden layout from the get go is the most important thing, not only for the summer months when the flowers are in bloom but also the winter as the plants start to die off; this is where you will see the bare bones of the garden and if it is not laid out properly it can look gloomy and untidy. Wall gardens, hedges and raised flower beds are all great ways of adding structure to the garden, providing designated areas for different activities and can be repurposed for different times of the year.

Adding seasonal colours to your garden

During the summer months flowers explode in an array of bright and colourful blooms, but that doesn’t mean that your winter garden can’t be extraordinarily beautiful too!

Adding seasonal colours such as red and white will make the garden more inviting and flowers such as Hellebores are a great choice. These flowers, sometimes known as the Christmas rose are pastel pink and white in colour and produce big leaves that fill the space in the garden. They flower for a long time as well, generally lasting between late winter and early spring.

Another white flower to consider is Clematis Jingle Bells; these flowers have a bold white colour and typically flower from December to January. Clematis Jingle Bells will need some pruning to keep the size down as they can grow up to five metres high.

Fir trees are the quintessential winter wonderland accessory especially when it snows; they are evergreen and require very little maintenance, but be sure to choose a small species of fir tree as some can grow up to 80 feet tall.

For a festive touch in your garden, why not opt for a holly tree. Make sure that you get a male bush are these are the ones that produce those signature red berries. For those who do not have the space for a Holly tree, Cotoneaster horizontalis or Pyracantha are a great choice for adding a pop of colour to the garden.

The winter scent

While the inside of the house smells of cinnamon, spices and oranges to evoke the festive spirit, the garden is largely forgotten, but there are various ways of creating the sweet smell of winter in the garden with scented flowers.

Planting Witch Hazel is a great choice to add a wintery scent to the garden; its large yellow flowers release a delicious scent of liquorice into the air. Winter honeysuckle is also a good choice, producing a lemony-fresh scent.

For those who want an evergreen shrub that has little maintenance then Sarcococca is the perfect fit. Commonly known as the Christmas Box or Sweet Box, Sarcococca produces small white flowers with a lush, leathery foliage and best of all it exudes a fragrant honey scent during the winter.

Decorate your wonderland

Your winter garden wonderland wouldn’t be complete without some decoration. Fairy lights and lanterns are a great way of creating light in an outdoor space and can be hung on trees, draped over bushes or hung from outdoor structures like sheds, garden rooms and decking.

For those on a budget, there are plenty of things to do that won’t cost a lot of money including tying festive ribbons to tree branches, hanging wreaths around the garden and decorating trees with baubles and tinsel.

Build a Fire Pit

Many people give the garden a miss during the winter months because of the cold, but adding a heat source is easy and cheap and provides an outdoor space that can be used all year round. Patio heaters and chimera’s are a great way of adding heat to the garden, and building your own fire pit is a cheap way for the whole family to gather around and enjoy.

Attract Robins to your garden

If there is one bird that evokes a winter wonderland, then it’s a robin redbreast. These majestic birds are strongly associated with Christmas, taking a starring role in many festive cards since the mid-19th century. Robins will often come when other birds are around, so make sure that you put plenty of food out for all the birds. Black sunflower seeds and seed balls are great for attracting various species of birds, but be sure to avoid dried lentils as only certain birds can eat them. Robins are also fond of crushed nuts so placing some on a bird table is sure to get them knocking. ----------------------------------------------------
Wednesday posts are sponsored by The Stable Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Harold Nicolson's book room at Sissinghurst


We've looked at the various shedlike properties of Sissinghurst before on Shedworking and now there is the chance to take a look at (the admittedly unusually large 'garden office') South Cottage which has previously been largely unavailable to the general public. Owned by the National Trust, it has only just been opened up and is the atmospheric retreat where Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West read and wrote. Most of the original décor is still intact.

Harold's book room and study, where he did most of his writing, are pictured above. Usually closed to visitors, it has still been used by the Nicolson family as a place to write. The NT is also working on restoring the garden which is now closed until March, while the South Cottage (limited and restricted access) and Vita's writing tower remain open daily. More details at NT.
Tuesday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning