Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Box of Delights - revolving summerhouse


Regular readers will know that Shedworking is a sucker for shedlike atmospheres which revolve. West Sussex-based Norton Garden Structures have a couple of examples on their site, revolving octagonal summerhouses built in Western Red Cedar with a cedar shingle roof.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Get your lovely 2008 Shed Calendar today


Uncle Wilco has some great news over at shedblog about the 2008 calendars from those farsighted folk at Transglobal Emporium. Once again they are bringing out their Luxury Shed Calendar, a month by month guide to the year, each month illustrated with a fine allotment shed (above is August). Also available is their all new Luxury Greenhouse Calendar along similar lines. A nice touch is that they have included important dates to remember, including those for the second annual National Shed Week 2008. Please buy it/them via the shedblog to keep poor Uncle Wilco in felt for another year.

Shepherd's Hut Tuesday - Cotswold Shepherd Huts


Steve Hobbs' Cotswold Shepherd Huts can source original huts from the 19th century, restore them or build you a new one. Above is a restored model, 11ft long by 6ft wide, stable type door (with bolt & padlock), two opening windows, which comes with bunk bed and mattress plus a drop leaf table fitted on the wall. They describe them on the site, quite rightly, as "inspiring office space". You can also hire these huts out and you would have seen one if you managed to get to this year's Hampton Court Palace Show and enjoyed the Orchard Garden.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Vision Division Sauna


Saunas are perfect for relaxing shedlike atmospheres and if you can't wait for the next installment of Friggebod Friday, this is a great one to keep you going from Swedish architects Vision Division. Initially it looks like a straightforward sheddish space. But look what happens...

Via archidose. Thanks to Lloyd Alter for the alert.

Living summerhouse


Earlier this week we mentioned the cracking new book Natural Architecture. Here's an example of what can by done from John Waller, Underwoodsman who makes all sorts of living garden structures (and is a fully qualified tree surgeon) with willow and also runs interesting courses. He describes the summerhouse above as "A large, leafy shelter with woven seats, lattice walls and twisted central column. The ultimate living willow structure."

Home Business Report

The hardworking folk at Enterprise Nation have just brought out an excellent report sponsored by BT called the Home Business Report (downloadable from the site). It calls for greater support and recognition for home businesses - many of which, naturally, are shedworking ones - and includes useful case studies and a 10 point blueprint to boost the economy and bring increased benefits to the environment and society. Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation and author of the report, said:
“This report clearly shows the impact home businesses are having on the economy, environment and society. Every week, more than 1,400 businesses are started from a home base yet we believe there is potential to increase this still further, with some dedicated support from government and enterprise agencies. Home business owners are ambitious for business growth and they are making full use of technology to partner with others and trade online. I hope this report will be considered seriously by policy makers so the UK can realize the full potential of home enterprise.”
Well worth a browse.

Hagrid's Hut


For those of you following the Harry Potter sagas, the first pictures of Hagrid's hut for the Half Blood Prince film are now being built at Leavesden Studio. Go to London Taxi Tour's site for the images and Mugglenet for plenty of comments. And if you're really keen, you can try making it out of Lego.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Scottish shedworking

Earlier this month several readers wrote in to ask about Scotland-based garden office suppliers. Keith Halligan of just-about-to-be-launched Studio Retreat is putting the finishing touches to his web site but in the meantime, those interested in finding out more can email him directly for information at enquiries@studioretreat.co.uk

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Natural Architecture


We've mentioned how you might grow your own garden office before. Now comes a marvellous book, Natural Architecture, by Alessandro Rocca, architect, critic and professor at the Milan Polytechnic. Here's the blurb from publishers Princeton Architectural Press:
"The artists and architects in Natural Architecture have transformed the act of building into an art form capable of sparking new relationships with nature, landscape, and the environment. Though far from basic or primitive, these creations are built from humble elements - branches, twigs, pebbles, straw, stone - found at their site. Fulfilling a wide variety of intentions - sometimes structural, sometimes sculptural, sometimes sacred - the works presented here inspire a sense of awe and reverence for the forces of nature. From a bridge in Tibet connecting an orphanage and a nearby village, to a hut fit for mythical creatures, to a pavilion in Iceland with a roof made of water perpetually frozen in an exuberant shape, each project resonates with a sense of purpose and innate beauty."
Via Designboom where you can see some of the projects featured.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sheds and bunkhouses


An interesting piece in the New York Times by Steve Bailey looks at sheds, bunkhouses and guesthouses. As he says:
"If you don’t have an outbuilding awaiting conversion to a bunkhouse or the money to have one custom built, there are prefabricated options. David Wisherd, an engineer whose primary residence is in San Jose, Calif., recently installed a free-standing 10-foot-by-14-foot structure from Modern Cabana, a San Francisco company, at his 4,000-square-foot second home in Carmel. He said that his two oldest grandchildren, ages 5 and 6, are looking forward to staying in the just-finished space.“It’s nicer than a shed,” he said, “and more cost effective than adding on to the house.”"
Worth a browse.
Lovely image by Nancy Doniger and thanks to Lloyd Alter for the alert.

Friggebod Friday


While the UK has a long tradition of shed culture, it is certainly not the only place with a history of shedlike atmospheres. Today Shedworking starts a new regular slot devoted to Swedish Friggebod (a topic we have touched on before). Here, for example, is a lovely model from Finja (which for those of us whose Swedish is woeful does have an English site) and you can download pdf details here. Helping with these posts will be our new Northern Europe correspondent Sy Willmer, whose own friggebod we covered here. As he explains: "The Swedish word 'bod' kind of means 'shed plus' - the word for shed is in fact 'skjul' but 'bod' is used in conjunction with a shed usage so Fiskbod = fisherman's hut, Snickbod = small wood work shop."

In fact friggebod is a play on words. When Swedish politician Birgit Friggebo was the country's Minister for Housing, she put a stop to the legal requirement to apply for a planning permit for small sheds under 10 square metres. As wikipedia explains, "the word was coined when someone tried to say "friggebo-bod" and stumbled on the words." The limit has now been extended to 15 square metres.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Beer shed (updated)


Is this the perfect shedworking atmosphere? Found by Eric Morehouse of eye-candy on the back cover of Fine Homebuilding (Dec '86/Jan '87). Apparently, according to the magazine text, in 1960 Alfred Heineken visited the island of Curacao and noticed a) there was a housing shortage and b) there were empty beer bottles everywhere. So he asked architect John Habraken to design him a bottle which could also be used as a brick... This shed on the Heineken estate was probably the only building built using these special bricks known as WOBOs (WOrld BOttles) and special silicon-cement mortar. Sadly it has now gone to the great shed store in the sky.
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Lloyd Alter has just posted a great piece on bottlebuilding at Treehugger

The Poultrenon


Architect Diane Hastings called her delightful shed for hens half Greek temple, half Kyoto Palace. In South Texas it has a concrete floor for easy hosing and a corrugated tin roof. As she says: "This small temple proves that even humble needs can be gracefully met."
This is the second in a triplebill today from the back cover of a 1989 issue of Fine Homebuilding. Thanks to Eric Morehouse from eye-candy for this.

Book shed


From the back cover of a 1989 issue of Fine Homebuilding comes this gem for all lovers of the written word, a shed made out of books by sculptor Barry Holden in homage to the French writer and philosopher Denis Diderot (the official title is 'A Reading Room for Diderot'). The shed needed 2,500 books, built around a stud frame when Holden realised books alone make dodgy bricks. It is 10ft tall, 12ft long and 6ft wide.
Thanks to Eric Morehouse from eye-candy for this.

Airstream garden office


Now I like the look of this, a 17' 1957 Airstream trailer which is being used as a shedworking atmosphere. More details at Dori's site here.

Danish timber clad raft


This lovely building by Christensen&Co is edging away from shedworking and more towards the summerhouse end of the spectrum but it's not as big as it looks (64 m²) because it has an enormous deck which fools the eye. It's built in woodlands near the lake of Arresø on the island of Zealand. The architects actually describe it as "in essence a timber clad raft" which "hovers" just above the grass. The project was completed in collaboration with architect Pernille Poulsen. Photograph: Adam Mørk
Via Designspotter

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Leigh Brooks' garden office


Leigh Brooks of Brooks and Ware architects was behind one of this year's most appealing garden office designs and I was delighted to find out that he is also a shedworker. Here is the garden office at the bottom of his garden which he uses as a studio. "It does the job," he writes. "Keeps the rain out, keeps me warm, is screened from the house (kind of) and the metal roof is fun in a thunderstorm or hailstones."

Beyond shedworking to co-working (updated)

Brad Reed writing in PC World talks about co-working, a kind of halfway house between shedworking atmospheres and traditional offices. Here's how he describes it:
"Co-working communities, which combine the relaxed, informal atmosphere of working at home with the sociability and cost-sharing of an office, have emerged as alternatives for telecommuters who miss having person-to-person interaction during work."
Well worth a browse.
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Lloyd Alter at Treehugger also has an interesting post on the subject here and also points to a wiki that lists coworking all over the world.

Making your garden office look nice

There's an interesting new thread at Web Worker Daily asking readers how they make their home office homier. There are some interesting answers...

Box of Delights - Versadome


Versadome is a compact prefab shedworking system which is stackable and easily transportable. You can add on various of its archlike/domelike modular sections if you want a bathroom or a kitchen. Pictured is a rooftop example of what can be achieved.
Via CubeMe

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Scooterworking


Spice up your garden office with this wonderful scooter desk from Utilia (who actually say that: "With a ScooterDesk you can take some work into the garden.") Not only ergonomic, you can use it to whizz around when you're a bit bored. Apparently there's a two-seater version too.
Via CubeMe

Shepherd's Hut Tuesday - The Classic Shed Company


This Shepherd's Hut is the latest design from Norfolk-based The Classic Shed Company. The spec includes cast iron wheels with solid steel axles, inspired by an original found in a Norfolk barn. Inside is a long bench that pulls out to form a day bed and a folding table for some shedworking. Classic Sheds have various other interesting designs including the dovecote below.

Keeping tabs on homeworkers

An interesting piece in Personnel Today called Staff monitoring: keeping tabs on homeworkers by Jessica Twentyman looks at the electronic monitoring of homeworkers, the issue of trust and the legal implications. Dave Dunbar from BT Workstyle makes a telling point:
"But just because electronic monitoring is technically possible, doesn't make it a good idea, adds Dave Dunbar, head of BT Workstyle, the division of the telecommunications group that originally introduced flexible working at BT, and now works with corporate and government customers to help them implement flexible working policies. If you're that paranoid about what homeworkers are getting up to, you might as well go the whole hog and install a webcam on their PC so that you can check up on them while they work," Dunbar jokes. "If you don't spy on your staff in the office, then why do it when they are working from home?""

The Habourmaster's Office at St Abbs


Thanks to Juliet Doyle for this fine example of shedworking.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mensheds

A nice piece in today's Guardian by Pete May draws attention to the Australian Mensheds not-for-profit company which puts sheds right at the heart of their work. Here's their mission statement:
"The growing problems with men's health, isolation, loneliness and depression are now looming as major health issues in Australia. Men's Sheds can play a significant and practical role in addressing these and other men's issues and at the same time act as a catalyst in stimulating their community's economic activities."
Or as they put it "economic gardening at work".

Their main goal is that every community in Australia will have a men’s shed and Mensheds also plan to:
* To engage the elderly, differently-abled, youth, veterans and other groups of men of the communities in both rural Australia and urban Australia, and to specifically address any issues of isolation, loneliness and depression;
* To support the social interaction of men in transitional periods (e.g. Redundancy, Bereavement, Retirement, Ill Health, Relocation, Respite Care);
* To share, disseminate and preserve the skills, abilities and interests that are relevant to the community.
There are some great voice-over presentations on the site which you should definitely explore.

The One Show

A quick date for your calendars - since the summer Shedworking has been helping with the production of three programmes on garden offices and sheds for the BBC's One Show with John Sargeant. Although dates for transmission are still to be confirmed, it's looking like Friday 9 November, Thursday 15 November, and Thursday 22 November will be the days, all at 7pm.

The Nomad Yurt


A yurt is a great shedworking space as we've said before here and the Nomad Yurt from Ecoshack is particularly suitable for smaller back garden spaces.It comes with a modular base which makes it easier to move than traditional yurts and has a base diameter of 12', a bamboo frame diameter of 14', and a height of over 7' 6". There's a central opening for sunlight and gentle breezes. Ecoshack, who are very keen on identifying the yurt's green credentials, say you can put it up in an hour... I particularly like their sales pitch: "Circular living = good living. Yurt lifestyle is ... Comfortable. Groovy. Bohemian. And free to roam."

There's an interesting piece on yurts in the Daily Telegraph here and a discussion about the price of it at Treehugger.

Studio Retreat and the alternative workplace revolution


Derbyshire-based Duncan Hewitt from 2D Design & 3D Visualisation specialists albino igil is not going down the garden office route but is busy converting his garage loft into a shedlike atmosphere. I came across him as albino igil was approached by about-to-launch Studio Retreat to produce several illustrations of their new range of garden offices (pictured above) for their marketing and advertising literature. Here are his thoughts on the alternative workplace revolution.
"I'm a great believer in this way of working for the future - asides from the two of us full-time at albino igil (myself and my wife, the project manager) we also use several specialist freelancers running similar set-ups. In my opinion, with today's technology there is absolutely no reason why smaller companies with decent work-methods in place can not give similar, if not better, results than typical premise-based businesses. Then we pass our time and energy savings on to our customers whilst living somewhere we'd rather live and avoiding the commute. I'm intrigued as to how far we can take power generation through solar and wind turbines to make our new studio more self-contained - I've some research to do on all this yet!

"Whilst we're based in South Derbyshire our graphic designer is based in Cheshire (soon relocating to Scotland) and our 3D modelling specialist is based in Ireland - after three years and numerous early hour conversations I have still to meet him in person! Our work goes out all over the UK with many clients never meeting up for more than the initial introductory meeting, though some even skip that if their brief is tightly worded. Our next step is to utilise a video-conferencing type system to help aid the conceptual stages of design with real-time sketching across the internet - we're currently researching the possibilities for cost versus effectiveness."
Duncan also points to operations local to him in Derby who share a similar philosophy, Three Men One Shed (featured elsewhere on this site) and Moggs, who describe themselves a a 'virtual agency'. As Duncan says: "Whilst Moggs are not in a shed they do use people who are shed-like in their approach. They're essentially the hub for us shed-workers - though I really do believe that the hub itself could be a glorified shed-like environment."

Lindahl Lodge - garden office/gym


It's always interesting to see a shedworking atmosphere under construction and here is a garden office/gym-build from Lindahl Lodge. Duncan White from LL comments: "It's built using environmentally sound products including 100% recycled plastic damp proof membrane, all 100% FSC timber including FSC douglas fir framing and cladding, sheeps' wool insulation, reclaimed French double doors... It's about as wooden as a building can get without still having roots." More updates on this one next month. Have a look too at their new lovely new treehouse lodge here.

Shedworking in The Daily Telegraph

A nice piece about this site in Lila Das Gupta's always excellent gardening blog in the Daily Telegraph The Rake's Progress. As she says:
"The word ‘shed’ is a bit pedestrian when you consider some of the exquisite small structures featured on the site: follies, futuristic pods, eco hide-aways. With the cost of moving so high and the wide availability of broadband, home-offices are making sense to more and more people."

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Improve your shedworking concentration


If you're finding there are too many distractions around you in your shedworking atmosphere, then the Office Collar by Simone Brewster is for you. Although Simone designed it to deal with an open plan office environment, these wonderful blinkers could be put to good use in a garden office too. They certainly look like a lot of fun at any rate.
Via Dwell Blog


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Now playing: Susan Drake - La Fille Aux Cheveux De Lin
via FoxyTunes

Chief Home Officer/Home Office Voice

Two blogs for your delectation on all things home officey. The first is Chief Home Officer run by Jeff Zbar who describes the site like this:
"Since the '80s, I've lived and chronicled the work-at-home lifestyle. Today, I try to offer honest - and occasionally humorous - insights, tips, reviews and commentary that cut through the promise to "Make Millions From Home" and just give the real skinny on a lifestyle people can work and live with."
The second is Home Office Voice put together by Martin Neumann who says he is:
"a long time home business evangelist, freelance journalist and blogger - this twice weekly column provides his views and insights into running a home-based business, primarily from a web-savvy perspective."
Both are well worth a browse.

Friday, October 19, 2007

An interpretation of Henry Thoreau's Walden cabin


Jim Cadwell is building what he says is not quite a replica, more an interpretation of Thoreau's iconic Walden shedworking atmosphere. This is how Jim describes his project:
"Thoreau built his in the summer of 1845, hewing the beams and studs from local white pine trees. For mine I've decided to cheat and buy sawn timbers from a sawmill near Grantsburg, WI. The main frame members are 6x6 white pine; the studs will be 4x6, and the rafters 4x4. I think I'm going to plaster the inside like Thoreau did, but I'm going to leave the ceiling beams exposed, because I like the look of it; it's just an interpretation, remember."
The cabin has been on the move, to Shoreview, MN, and then to Whiteoak Township, MN, where Jim plans to keep it permanently. A fascinating project and well worth a browse since he is documenting his work nicely with plenty of images (the rest of his site has some great wooden things too).
Many thanks to shed champion Sy Willmer for the alert.

ARES competition - disaster shelters


Shedworking-type buildings are increasingly being considered as disaster shelters and some architects, such as Sean Godsell, have already come up with some great designs. There's a wonderful new selection of ideas from the recent ARES competition run by The Technical Chamber of Greece (TCG) and the UIA Work Programme on architecture and renewable energy sources (ARES): they invited architects to "develop new construction methods and practices for efficient shells and settlement units that will satisfy the urgent housing needs engendered by different geographic, topographic, ecological, social, or political crises." First prize went to the Shelter Box, the work of Oao M. Barbosa Menezes De Sequeira, Ana Carina Bernardo Figueiredo, Marta Joao Pimenta Moreira and Pedro Miguel Fernandes Ferreira from Portugal. The site here contains plenty more great ideas including, in a spirit of geographical solidarity, these inflatable earthen igloos by Maurice Clarke from Eccologgia Architects right here in St Albans.

Shepherds' Huts on television

Ian McDonald who runs the excellent web site Shepherds' Huts - Historical Survivors writes to say that the television programme mentioned in the latest issue of The Shed magazine and on Shedworking has now been shown on ITV Anglia. "It went out last week and they (and we) have been swamped with new sightings," he says. "For those not in the Anglia region and who want to see the great new Bygone series presented by Eddie Anderson click on this link. Thanks to those wonderful bods at ITV, episode one, including the search for historic shepherds huts can be viewed the world over! Awesome or what?"

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Shedworking is green (and you don't have to leave home)

Builderau reports today on risk management company Climate Risk Australia's new report which estimates telecommunications networks can help reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by up to five percent by 2015, and save Australian businesses and households as much as AU$6.6 billion annually. Here's what writer Marcus Browne says:
"The report identified seven areas in which the telecommunications industry could implement solutions to cut carbon emissions, ranging from the use of broadband to remotely manage power for appliances not in use or left on stand-by, to using teleworking and high-definition video conferencing to decrease reliance on commuting by car and air travel."
Meanwhile a piece at InterGovWorld by Rosie Lombardi shows how "new technologies will play a big role in developing the economy" in Saskkatchewan where young people have been leaving for the boom-towns of Alberta. The article contiunes:
"However, we've seen a shift in the past two years with folks returning as Alberta acquires more big-city problems," says Richard Murray, executive director of IT policy and planning at the Province of Saskatchewan. We have a number of advantages here: small-town life, inexpensive cost of living, beautiful environment," he says. With the rise of teleworking, it will soon become unnecessary for people to leave to get jobs or start businesses."


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Now playing: The Benedictine Monks Of Santo Domingo De Silos - Nos Autem
via FoxyTunes

Symbolic sheds


Sheds are symbolic of so much that is good about life. That's certainly what artist Julian Perry believes. His show A Common Treasury which opens today features paintings inspired by an area of allotments which will be destroyed to make way for London’s 2012 Olympics. Here's what the press release says:
"Perry sees the sheds built from recycled materials as idealistic, representing the city dweller’s retreat into a less complicated life based around the seasons. The structures are seen as utopian sculptures (in decline), manifesting a creativity born out of the most basic desires for shelter and food.

"He points out how poignant it is that this precious enclave of cultivation and wildlife is being wiped off the face of the earth at exactly the time when the predicted climate change has become reality. A powerful expression of how much we
have to change if there is to be any chance of reversing the environmental damage of the industrial era”.
Pictured above is Shed 54, Oil on panel, 152 x 244 cm. An illustrated catalogue is available. More details about the show at Austin Desmond and a nice piece in The Times by Grayson Perry.

Via Shedblog

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Now playing: Madeleine Peyroux - Half The Perfect World
via FoxyTunes

Choosing a shed - Original BBQ House Company


Warwickshire-based Garden Exteriors have various shedlike atmospheres in which you can multitask by both working and cooking a barbecue. All their garden houses come with double glazed windors, ventilation pipes, seating, folding beds, reindeer hides, wooden cups, copper kettle and grill mitts. Do you remember the Anglo Igloo?

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Now playing: The Benedictine Monks Of Santo Domingo De Silos - Genuit Puerpera Regem
via FoxyTunes

Mobile Hermitage


We've posted before about Jay Schafer's marvellous small houses. Here's an example of one in situ, the Mobile Hermitage, a freestanding movable miniature house that operates entirely from battery power, owned by Gregory Johnson (no relation) who uses it as the HQ for Resources for Life. He writes:
"Despite its name, the Mobile Hermitage is designed to be part of a community of tiny houses. Interdependent freestanding small houses are very economical to build and maintain. By sharing common resources such as laundry, lavatory facilities, bath house, large kitchen, and activity center, a greater sense of community is established, and significant savings can be achieved."
Click here to go to Gregory's interesting site.
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Now playing: Coldplay - Til Kingdom Come
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Choosing a shed - Kilpin Joinery


Northamptonshire-based Kilpin Joinery have this intriguingly-shaped garden office. Floor area of the office starts from 2440mm x 1830mm, and it has 100mm of insulation in walls and floor for a low humidity atmosphere. Steel adjustable legs make uneven ground largely irrelevant.

Box of Delights - Mobiler Arbeitsplatz


Four walls do not a garden office make. Here's a marvellous outdoor workstation design from Mathias Schnyder which can be set up anywhere. The seats are modular so you can fiddle around adding or moving them, and there's a solar panel in the 'roof' which should be able to run a notebook. If your German is up to it, have a look at Create Your Study here.
Via Yanko Design and SciFi Tech

Four wheel shedworking


Not everybody wants a shepherd's hut in which to shedwork, but as Lloyd Alter at Treehugger says: "Fixed offices are so 20th century". Here then, is the brand spanking new Nissan NV200, an office in a car/van with lots of drawer space, a computer and pod sections which slide out into an office.
This is how Nissan describes it:
"An interior created to combine efficiency and a human touch, mentally refreshing its occupants when traveling to or from a job site. The customizable cargo area houses a unique pod that can smartly accommodate a variety of business needs. The pod is divided into customizable trays and boxes for efficient storage of profession-specific equipment, materials, work gear and apparel."


Via Treehugger and Winding Road

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Shepherd's Hut Tuesday - Thurgarton Iron Works


"Specialising in the manufacturing and repair of interesting things, both ancient and modern in all materials" is the memorable way in which Thurgarton Iron Works - run by Richard King since 1978 - describe themselves. Among the many projects are two of particular interest, the restoration of two shepherds' huts, Miss Bottifont (pictured above) and Miss Kimberley (pictured below). These are major restoration works. As Richard says: "Miss Bottifont has sat in a field which has become a house and garden for at least 80 years. The soil had almost come up to the floor and one wheel had a tree growing through the spokes." Miss Kimberly is also something of a famous shepherd's hut according to the site:
"She is said to have been the meeting point during the last war for the Home Guard so she could have been the last thing between the Kimberly Estate and world domination by the invading Germans had they got that far. I am sure that with one look at Miss Kimberly bulging with the finest and fittest of the local lads and Grandads, the invading forces would have turned to jelly and surrendered on the spot!"

Monday, October 15, 2007

Working from home: contactability

Mira Katbamna reports in today's Guardian about a survey from VOiP experts Inclarity which suggests that, as Mira puts it, "large numbers of us fear harassment from our bosses as a result of ... mobile working. We might be sitting in the park, it might be Saturday, but those always-on laptops and mobiles are keeping us chained to our metaphorical desks, if not to our actual ones. In fact, Inclarity found that 40% of us said that being permanently contactable by boss or clients puts us off owning a single device for calls and emails. Presumably the other 60% of us are already CrackBerry addicts." I'd be interested in what other shedworkers and homeworkers thought about this subject.

Pacific Northwest


A nice shedworking atmosphere from Dave'sPacific Northwest Regional Architecture which belongs to Lynne of Roost Garden Design in Vancouver.
Via Materialicious who seems to be having an unofficial shed week this week

Blog Action Day - the environment

Today, as part of Blog Action Day, bloggers around the planet are writing on the issue of the environment as it relates to their own area of interest. Uncle Wilco has a piece on the Shedblog about sustainable wood, green roofs, and renewable energy so I'd just like to put in a good green word for shedworking in terms of how it cuts out commuting and thus is carbon footprint-friendly. And if you're really keen on zero carbon construction, why not consider growing your own shed insulation. The Building Design site has this great article by Roderic Bunn extolling the advantages of hemp as a natural fibre insulation. Here's what he says:
"Hemp is a fast-growing plant that can be used for many purposes. More importantly, it can be used as the primary material in spray, compressed block or batt insulation for buildings. Like flax and lambswool, it is carbon neutral and able to significantly reduce a building’s embodied energy...Proponents of hemp insulation are keen to point out the carbon benefits of natural fibre insulation compared with synthetic materials. They also claim that lime hemp walls actively absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, raising the possibility of homes where the embodied energy of the fabric is better than zero carbon."

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Folly Fancier


The Folly Fancier is a great new blog which focuses on newer follies built in the last couple of decades as opposed to those which are centuries old and well documented elsewhere. As the Folly Fancier says:
"The folly builders are still at it around the world. So this is a web place where we can record news and sightings of recent follies.Any built structure is eligible for inclusion if it is fanciful/eccentric enough and shows folly in its creator. Curious garden features qualify too."
It's early days yet but there are some great structures up there already. I particularly like the post on Folly by Design who sell plans for the completion of a ruin or folly structure. As they say: "The concept of a wooden shed with a false facade is based on the time-honored tradition of the English folly building. It is intended to offer the view a diversion in the landscape while providing a practical solution to outdoor storage and/or garden needs." You can choose an Egyptian (pictured above), Roman or Greek frontage.

Get shedworking: National Commute Smart Week

The busy folk at Work Wise who are doing their level best to get everybody shedworking (or at least homeworking) are running a whole National Commute Smart Week from Sunday October 28 to Saturday November 3 (i.e. starting on the day the clocks fall back). It will highlight the alternatives to spending your life commuting in a car/traffic jam. Here's what they say:
"The wider adoption of smarter working practices will not only benefit the staff involved, it will have a significant knock-on effect of reducing overall traffic congestion and public transport overcrowding by extending the rush hour and reducing peak demand, making the daily commute more bearable for those workers that have no choice. In addition, smarter working may help mitigate the significant increase in deaths and injuries that occur on our roads during the winter months."

Shedquarters and proud of it


You've got to admire the shedworker who puts their garden office in pride of place on the home page of their web site. Here is Pete Crawford's Shedquarters where he works as a freelance maths and educational multimedia consultant.

William Cowper - uncertain about his shed

INSCRIPTION FOR A HERMITAGE IN THE AUTHOR'S GARDEN May 1793 THIS cabin Mary in my sight appears Built as it has been in our waning years A rest afforded to our weary feet Preliminary to the last retreat f J Mr Johnson to whom the preceding sonnet was addressed t The poet was disappointed in the object for which this inscription written by the ruinous munificence of the carpenter he employed to his hermitage He contemplated merely a rustic shed and the village architect ran him up a costly pavilion Cowper in a letter to Hayley of this expensive compliment to his taste Is not this vexatious threaten to inscribe it thus Beware of building I intended Bough logs and thatch and thus it ended In a subsequent letter ho says Instead of a pound or two spending a mint Must serve me at least I believe with a hint That building and building a man may be driven At last out of doors and have no house to live in Besides my dearest brother they have not only built for me what I did want but have ruined a noble tetrastic by doing so I had written one which I designed for a hermitage and it will by no means suit the fine and pompous affair which they have made instead of one
The poetical works of William Cowper By William Cowper
Not everybody had a great experience of their shedbuild, as evidenced by poet and hymnodist William Cowper (1731-1800), born just up the road from Shedworking at Berkhamsted, who also wrote 'God made the country, and man made the town'. Thanks to Philip Johnson for the alert.

Free Spirit Spheres - shedworking in the trees


Treehouseworking is, as we've often said here, one of the nicest ways of shedworking. Here's a marvellous design from the Canadian Free Spirit Spheres. The marvellous laminated wood spheres are hung from trees (or other solid objects like buildings or rock faces) with a rope web acting as a kind of foundation - they're waterproof, insulated (with fibreglass) and robust. Here's what they say about the design:
"The concept borrows heavily from sailboat construction and rigging practice. It’s a marriage of tree house and sailboat technology. Wooden spheres are built much like a cedar strip canoe or kayak. Suspension points are similar to the chain plate attachments on a sailboat. Stairways hang from a tree much like a sailboats shrouds hang from the mast."
It's a wonderful site to browse around with plenty of photos (including some sphereworking as pictured below) and lots of details about the whys and wherefores including a great FAQ section which has this advice:
"Does it sway much?
The spheres sway gently in the breeze but move much more abruptly when someone inside changes position. Since the tethers are almost vertical, and a sphere is tied to 3 separate trees, the movement of the sphere in the wind is a muted average of the motion of the treetops. However, since the spheres are light (500 kg) when somebody inside moves it jiggles the whole sphere."