Friday, February 29, 2008

Around the Shedworld

Shedblog reports on the BBC story about a shed with many lives (pictured left)... Enterprise Nation recommends an A-Z for the perfect home office... Melanie underlines the importance of taking back the shed... My Urban Deco Guide likes the look of outdoor stickers... Trendhunter's Gaze Boat is a floating shed isn't it? (pictured below)...... materialicious highlights a really nice group of photos on Flickr by rkeys23_2... National Downshifting Week is on the horizon... Chief Home Officer has some news for Floridians... Home Office Warrior rounds up sites featuring photos of home offices...

Point Tokyo

Could you shedwork in here? It's called, and I'm not sure quite why, Folding Shelf and comes from Point Tokyo.

Back to the office for homeworkers?

Sue Shellenbarger in the Wall Street Journal reports on the recent trend for major companies (AT&T, Intel, Hewlett-Packard) to insist on homeworkers coming back into the main office, either full time or as good as. However in a spirit of optimism, she also posts a very useful section 'Some tips on keeping a work-at-home gig':
• Perform well. In explaining the callbacks at Hewlett-Packard, Chief Information Officer Randy Mott said last year that telecommuting "had gotten applied more broadly than really made sense," and would be limited to "people who are proficient and who've shown they can perform over time." Make sure measurable objectives are set for your job, then meet them.
• Increase your visibility. One behavior sure to irk managers is to use work-at-home freedom to move to a location so remote, such as Hawaii, that travel costs soar. Although Intel disputes the assertion, people familiar with the callbacks there cite such abuses as a factor. Wherever you're located, find ways to remain visible.
• Make an effort to collaborate. Elliott Masie, head of the Masie Center, a Saratoga Springs, N.Y., research organization, says many younger managers are comfortable collaborating online. But as pressures mount, older managers may revert to the notion that to build teamwork, "it's important for everybody to sit around and sing 'Kumbaya' together," he says. It may be wise to join that chorus.
Thanks to Bill Kratz for the alert.

Meeting fellow homeworkers for the first time

An interesting post by Siege Curmudgeon on meeting fellow homeworkers for the first time. "There’s one aspect of teleworking that I’ve found a little bit hard to get my head around, and that’s working extensively with a team I’ve never met," s/he says. "It also makes for one of my favourite experiences: the first meeting with someone you already know very well. I’ve already created mental images of what all these people look like, and at least 95% of the time I am so way off that I spend the first few minutes of our physical acquaintance just rubbing my eyes and trying to adjust to the reality. However, I really enjoy the goodwill and enthusiasm that accompanies a first-time meeting with someone you’ve worked alongside for a while. It’s one of the small pleasures in life, and I’ll take it."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Bouroullecs

Brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec have come up with a number of interesting shedworking designs. Above is their Lit clos model (highlighted on Cabin Fever) made from painted birch plywood, steel, aluminium and altuglas which could be used as a home office both inside the home (if you had a big loft space) and outside in the garden. Here's what they say about it:
"It’s a box that’s sufficiently closed to accommodate a bed and the intimacy that it presupposes, and at the same time sufficiently open not to be claustrophobic. The box is on an architectural scale, between a bed and a bedroom. It uses techniques from furniture manufacture: painted plywood, soldered steel, and above all there’s the DIY assembly of the kind that you get with a piece of Ikea furniture."
Along similar lines is the Polystyrene house below made from
strips of polystyrene, plywood, PVC, rubber, strings and plexiglas.And finally, more of a psychological shed, the Cabane, which as the Bouroullecs say "simply defines a perimeter" but is still very attractive, made from plastic, metal and of course, wool.Photos by Morgane Le Gall and Paul Tahon. There's also an eponymous book from Phaidon all about the brothers.

Thursday Outhouses - Bayfield Builders

Here is a composting outhouse built by Bayfield Builders which features an Envirolet composting toilet. It measures 6' x 6' with a 4' deck on the front and is constructed with cedar siding and interior paneling. The outhouse also has 12 volt interior and exterior lights, with the possibility of adding a solar panel in the future for battery recharging.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Shed handwriting - CS Lewis

The Times gave graphologist Diane Simpson an example of CS Lewis' handwriting to analyse (above). She had no idea whose calligraphy she was being asked to examine. This is what she said:
"I wonder whether he has a garden shed of sorts (or some other sort of world) in which to disappear when he chooses."

Stylish Sheds

Shed champion Debra Prinzing is giving a sneak preview of her much-awaited new book Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways...Nip along now for more photos and details.

Ancient shed

A great article by Debra Prinzing from Shed Style about her pre-tour of Liu Fan Yuan, the 'Garden of Flowing Fragrance', at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, near Pasadena, which opens to the public this weekend. Among the features is the 'shed' pictured above, Di Lu Ting, the 'Pavilion for Washing Away Thoughts'. Debra explains:
"This rustic thatched structure, situated a distance from grand pavilions, soaring moon bridges and pebble-patterned courtyards, appears at the edge of a rushing stream in a canyon-like setting. Constructed with traditional post-and-beam craftsmanship, the round, open-air shelter orients its occupant’s eyes upstream, past mature winter-flowering camellias, toward the heart of the Chinese Garden....As long ago as the Tong Dynasty (616 to 906), Chinese scholars and poets sought refuge in small, distant places - such as a pavilion - to write, observe nature, and seek understanding. Powerful and universal is the desire to separate from everyday life for quiet, spiritual, and artistic pursuits."
Well worth a browse.

Choosing a shed - Nordic Lodge

Surrey-based Nordic Lodge imports timber from renewable Siberian forests to produce its garden offices, log homes and log cabins, some of them really quite large. Above is their Stockbroker garden office, a 6m x 8m x 4m log cabin on the outskirts of London with 160mm thick wall construction and a large veranda 6m x 1.8m as well as interior kitchen and bathroom. Below is a Surrey garden office build, stained blue to suit an adjacent building for an architect. The building is assembled on a horizontal concrete raft on sloping ground: again there are four rooms including kitchen, bathroom, reception and office.

Confessions of a Shed-Dweller

One of the best articles written about shedworking over the last decade was by journalist David Aaronovitch (pictured above), a piece inspired by the publication of the groundbreaking Men and Sheds called Confessions of a Shed-Dweller in which he asks if the shed is a creative powerhouse, or just somewhere for blokes to hide from the family? Here's an excerpt:
"My enshedded time is an essential component of my creative life. I don't just want to alone, I need – for the sake, ultimately, of my whole family – to be alone. What is in my interest is, naturally, also in everyone's interest...I'm in the shed now, writing an article about sheds. If I gaze through the honeysuckle and across the lawn, I can see the movement in the kitchen and, just above it, the back bathroom, as those in the house go about their chores and activities. Here I am simultaneously part of the family and apart from it, as though I was a teenager rather than a parent."
Well worth a browse.

Tipi Gigante

Another light shedworking atmosphere, the Tipi Gigante from Gandia Blasco (whose rather nice daybed we've featured before on Shedworking) is available at Sabz. Built with aluminium, polyester and PVC.
Via My Urban Garden Deco Guide

Cat sheds

While Shedworking is not normally a cat person, we don't see why cats can't have sheds as well. Here is the KatKabin (available from Catsplay). It comes in various models (see below for the Cheetah) and can be place close to your own garden office if required. It comes in a 'non-chemical' material that will not fade in sunlight, polystyrene floor for extra insulation, and stands securely on any surface. Guaranteed for five years. Optional extras include a special Kat Duvet. Rather like The Orb garden office, it is built as a cyclinder for extra warmth.


For occasional working outside rather than for when it's sleeting heavily, this rather nice Balu outdoor bed from Mazuvo would be rather pleasant, and to be fair it is waterproof. Made from coloured wicker with washable pillows.
Via Trendhunter

Malcolm X Park's shed

A snowbound view of Malcolm X Park’s storage shed featuring murals of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz and neighborhood activist Rena Ennis.
Via Malcolmxpark

How to green your shedworking atmosphere

A nice little piece on Planet Green looks at how to 'detox' your home office. Nothing spectacular although it does include this piece of advice:
"Take it outside. From schools to offices, natural light has been proven to increase productivity and well-being, so make sure your work spot receives plenty of sunlight. And fresh air can make a huge difference in performance—whether doing your taxes or the daily grind—so open some windows or take a quick walk from time to time."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The MoCo Loco office

While not devoted entirely to shedworking, the MoCo Loco site does have plenty of interest and is well worth a regular browse if you're interested in modern contemporary design. Apartment Therapy Unplugged has a nice piece with photos of the MoCo Loco offices, pictured above, which are sadly not in a garden office but do have an intriguing view.

Beach Hut Tuesday - Eyes Wide sHut

The Bathing Beauties festival-extravaganza-competition last year was a marvellous showcase for new beach hut designs. Above is one of the most intriguing, and one of the winners, Eyes Wide sHut from Feix&Merlin (photo by Michael Trainor). Those interested in the above and other Bathing Beauty designs will be interested to hear that there is a possibility of commissioning full scale designs from the Bathing Beauty web site. For more details email
Thanks to Lesa Dryburgh from Stop The Pigeon for the photos

Monday, February 25, 2008

Choosing a shed - Rexton Garden Offices

Rexton Garden Offices, who operate only in south east England, have half a dozen models including the delightful octagonal Pavilion above, which measures 3.60m x 5.85m and has space for three office desks. As an option the roof can be fitted with a lantern, which has sixteen openable windows. The Modern, pictured below, has an elliptic roof made of titan zinc and other options include oak floor boards and copper roofing.

Desktop aquarium

We covered a USB-based coffee warmer in The Shed magazine recently and here's another marvellous little add-on, the USB Mini Desktop Aquarium which comes complete with two 'tropical fish' and blue LED for when you shedwork in the dark. Water not included.
Via ThinkGeek

Bespoke pergola

Here's a particular nice example, from Acorn Landscaping, of how a garden office can be made that bit cosier with the addition of a pleasant pergola. I also like that bench - when you need a break but don't want to go into the house or wander into town, this would be an ideal place to sit.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

OFT- transformable house/office

OFT, a transformable house from Sand & Birch Design is a modular system for building houses but could work just as easily as a standalone garden office at home. As S&B explain:
"The name OFT comes from the word Loft, in which it has been taken out the "L", that has to be meant like the dimension "Large". The OFT is in fact of limited dimensions in its basic composition, but, as well as the loft, it is characterized by spaces adaptable to changeable necessities."
It reminds me of the Micro Compact Home.
Via Trendhunter

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Coffee shop shedworking

A nice comment piece in The Times about Café Society which argues that coffee houses have become the new place to work, rest and play. Here's a taster:
"Coffee houses have become the social fulcrum of society, the so-called Third Place between home and office - very often because many people, in an age of portfolio careers and nomadic teleworking, no longer have offices to which they regularly go. We all seek our own neighbourhood Central Perk, the fictional coffee shop in Friends, where we, too, can whine about work, swoon over the other patrons, have hair like Rachel and spend four minutes describing to the barista our preferred personal permutation of ingredients. With food and hot caffeine on tap, it required only wi-fi internet access to persuade many customers that typing on to a laptop while sunk into an armchair - with the next cappuccino just a waiter away - was just like working from home, but with all-day access to muffins."
Well worth a browse.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Shedblog/Shedworking forum

Good news. The Shedblog's forums are up and running again and now have an extra added Shedworking section for your shedworking chitchat. There's a feed a little way down in the right hand column of this site or you can go direct to the forums here. Uncle Wilco, who is running the forums, emphasises that it's a work in progress but that shouldn't stop you going ahead and posting your thoughts and comments.

Around the Shedworld

Trendhunter shows that Kent public lavatories can be great shedlike atmospheres... The Coolhunter profiles Diane von Fürstenberg Studio’s new headquarters with its shedlike glass sphere on the roof (pictured above)... WebUrbanist catalogues various houseboats which would be great places for a little light shedworking... Treehugger's Wayback Machine landed near an inflatable tea house (pictured below)...Yanko Design takes a look at another emergency response unit... Modern Residential Design highlights Melling:Morse's seaside loft style living in Kennedy Bay, New Zealand... materialicious likes the green roof workshop and garage by Harrison Architects... Shedblog carries a nice interview with shed champion, fellow Shed of the Year judge and inventor Trevor Baylis... Polly LaBarre from Mavericks at Work has some very interesting things to say about working environements...

Shed window

A lovely reminder from Flowergardengirl that window boxes can really add something to a shed. She has other examples of sheds, window boxes, and sheds with window boxes on the site so it's worth a browse, especially to lift your spirits on a miserable Friday.

Cool Feet

Like many shedworkers, I'm also a laptopworker and often use a cushion when my MacBook Pro threatens to set fire to my trousers. You can get various cushion-type protectors (such as the marvellous Belkin Cushtop) or indeed use a cushion, but here's an alternative, Cool Feet from bluelounge. These are little 'feet' with suckers to stick onto your laptop. As simple as that. You can also adjust their height by using tall feet or short feet. As they say: "Elegant, simple to attach and detach, they raise the laptop just enough to allow a constant cooling airflow." Bluelounge have other rather cool accessories on their site.

Garden Office Group on Facebook

This Facebook group has been going some time now and had plenty of recent updates including lots of photos. The most recent member is Andrew Bantock whose shed is pictured above. It is insulated with Rockwool slabs and lined with hardboard and a polystyrene insulated floor. Andrew adds that it will be powered from a wind generator, solar panel and battery bank. Interestingly, Andrew's wife is also a shedworker and the two have separate work sheds (hers is an old beach hut). If you are on Facebook, the group site is here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Of mokkis and men

A lovely piece in the New York Times by Philip Besonen - A Private Matter in the Backyard - which details how he spent a year building a shed for himself but with an important issue at stake... "I wanted to build a cottage in our backyard," he writes. "The problem was my wife. I had to do it before she noticed." He continues:
"I wanted something like the little buildings called mokkis (rhymes with hokey) that I had seen while visiting my relatives in Finland. Mokkis were relatively small and nothing special to look at, but they were invariably off by themselves near lakes or trees, in settings where you could find peace. The feeling of serenity was the most striking thing about them."
A marvellous little article, well worth reading. And he also gets my vote for namechecking the masterly writer Garrison Keillor.
Photo by Spencer Tirey and thanks to shed champion Neal Zimmerman for the alert.

Traditional workplaces encourage workers to waste energy

Well, perhaps not 'encourage', but that's the gist of the research outlined in the Green Building Press. Apparently more than a third (36%) of UK workers are more likely to waste energy in the workplace than at home with male workers worse than their female colleagues. One in five workers say that they are not taking any steps at all to be more environmentally responsible in the workplace. GBP say:
"By looking at simple energy saving techniques that can be used both at home and work, the survey by Opus Energy found that there was significant inconsistency in people’s behaviour. For example, whilst 74% of workers unplug their phone charger at home after use, just 30% do this in the workplace. Over two thirds of workers (69%) are also more likely to overfill the kettle when making a cup of tea for colleagues, despite over 80% taking being cautious not to when at home."
Louise Boland, Director for Opus Energy who is in charge of renewable energy sourcing commented on the findings:“It could be the case that employees feel less pressure to be green at work because they are not directly accountable for the energy bills each month. Companies that wish to reduce their carbon emissions and cut costs should encourage their workforce to ensure they take basic steps towards saving energy. Switching off PCs overnight and using double sided photocopies and printouts are just a few of the ways UK businesses can be more energy efficient, as well make financial savings.”

Of course a garden office is the real solution to these problems.

Home Office of the Week

Shedworking and other likeminded folk have been encouraging people to share their home offices so that we can showcase them to the rest of the planet. Emma at Enterprise Nation reports on the first choice for Home Office of the Week (and a more al fresco set up) with Flujo Homes home office set-up expert David Bridger, having this to say about the above workspace from Transemist that divides its space into areas for work and relaxation:
"The Ottoman and library area splits the space up with a work area and a more relaxed area. It ticks all the boxes when it comes to facilities too. They're all within good reach and laid out well."

Pod Hale - Bamboo Living

Bamboo Living build rather nice homes, and shedlike atmospheres, out of (surprise, surprise) bamboo. Highlighted recently on OffBeatHomes, their range is wide and largely concentrated on actual living space, but they also have some smaller structures including the Pod Hale, pictured above. This is a 10'x10' square, 100 sqft construction with windows on three sides, a pyramid roof and space for an optional loft. It comes with a porch and deck. As they say on their site, which is well worth a browse, the Pod Hale would make an excellent office, yoga or meditation room (maybe even all three).

Choosing a shed - Alternative Space

London-based small family businessAlternative Space have two models - a Self Build EcoDen (pictured above with deck) and the Classic. The EcoDen, which can be dismantled and reassembled if you move house, comes with a green roof option (others include a rainwater harvesting system, decking, and open pergola) and in three sizes, 2m x 2.4m, 2.4m x 2.4m and 2.4m x 3.6m (all internal measurements). An integrated modular furniture system is also supplied as standard. Below is the Classic with a green roof. Like an increasing number of garden office suppliers, Alternative Space say their goal is to design and supply only products which have a minimal environmental impact and make a positive environmental input. There's an attractive gallery of completed projects here.And here is the team sitting on a shed.

Thursday Outhouses - Readers' Outhouses

Now here's a name that sounds familiar, Readers' Outhouses. Part of the wonderful Outhouse Museum setup, this is a small, but attractive, selection of outhouses submitted by visitors to the site. Above is Paul and B.J. Guest's outhouse on 25 acres in Glenelg Township, Grey County, Ontario. Here's what they say:
"It sits atop a 125 ft high glacial esker and overlooks a quiet meadow. The Dutch door with shelf-top invites visitors to linger awhile with their morning coffee and soak up the awakening in the woods first light."
There are plenty more outhouses to browse among, plus a vintage postcard section, gift shop, and the Sherman Hines Outhouse Collection (including the Green and White pictured below) to which we shall return in future weeks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Emil Kozak

Emil Kozak is a hip (forgive me if this term is out of date nowadays) Danish designer based in Barcelona (y si puedes leer Español, hay un articulo sobre sus diseños en El Pais aqui). For his recent Vallery soloshow, a celebration of childhood, he made use of a rather attractive shed installation, as seen above and below.Thanks to Shedworking Scout Ben Locker.

Romero Studios

Romero Studios produce some marvellous shedlike atmospheres as well as interior designs, sculptures and gardens. Above is the Lantern House (seen last month at materialicious from the Finca Bellavista sustainable rainforest community). Below is a pine and ceder house deep in the forest along the snow line of the Cascade Mountains commissioned by the Wolgamott Family - North Bend, Washington.And here is the Yemaya Meditation Temple.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Shed on Wheels unveiled!

We've been following Laura Geary's marvellous shed on wheels build for some months now and I'm very glad to say that it's now finished and has been delivered. "I've got it and I'm delighted with it," says Laura. "Andy [Marsden, who designed and built it] came up over night Friday/Saturday morning - we met on the A1 and my Shed followed me to its home!" To see more of the whole build go to her Flickr group here. Laura continues:
"We got it into position on Saturday and three of us slept in it that evening - apparently the coldest of the year, but with the sheep's wool insulation and little woodburning stove you couldn't have guessed the frost that was outside! I can't wait to get going with the work inside to get it decorated and kitted's a fantastic addition to Sockburn and was extremely popular with all the weekend's visitors and volunteers. If anyone is interested in finding out more about Sockburn Hall Project or visiting/volunteering then they are very welcome to contact me via Or to contact the designer and maker of the Shed on Wheels, Andy Marsden, email or on 07966163597."
There'll be more pictures of the inside - including the bed/sleeping platform which Laura says has a gorgeous oak sleigh-type front - later in the year on this site.