Friday, October 31, 2008

Summerhouse and garden office

The folk at Garden2office have been busy constructing this Swedish summer house with a shedworking garden office in the same style right next door to the main building (and built with their modularbuilding system). Step-by-step pics at their website gallery. The buildings use the same stilt system that they use for their garden buildings rather than concrete.

Aarco - new web site and planning permission


I was a little sniffy about Aarco's web site when I mentioned them last, but it's had a nice wash and brush up and is looking rather smart now and is well worth a browse (above is an example of one of their own projects based on Lugarde kits).

Richard from Aarco is also concerned that the new planning rules are being misinterpreted regarding the height and proximity to the boundary. He writes:
"I am challenging this with the government to gain clarification that the 1m from boundary rule vs height means:
The height of the building must not exceed 2.5m within 2m of the boundary. This means that most dual pitched roof home office buildings 15-30 sqm will be ok 1m from the boundary where the eaves are parallel to the boundary at 1m.

"The problem, with the new legislation if misinterpreted will mean that conventional dual pitch home offices will end up right in the middle of an urban garden and this is not what was intended or indeed what the clients want. I believe it is simply an adjustment to the wording that is required."

Around the shedworld

Lowri Turner appears not to be a fan of sheds... Shedblog likes this caravan/shed (above) from the Just Sheds flickr group...Shed Style has been promoting Stylish Sheds on television (see below)... Kent at Tiny House Blog has been working on an interesting Tortoise Shell project (below)...Alyssa Gregory at Home Office Warrior looks back on five years as a homeworker... Father of Shedworking Henry David Thoreau is celebrated as a climatologist at Treehugger... Chief Home Officer has been cruiseworking... Enterprise Nation discusses the delights of virtual offices... workalicious has high hopes of the new Malcolm Gladwell book... archinect celebrates the small... Miko Coffey at Kits and Mortar looks at natural floor coverings... Musings from a Muddy Island continues to bring us lovely beach huts... GreenBiz considers telecommuting and the green office of the future... there are plenty of sheds and links at Gardening Gone Wild...

Become a shedworker, live longer

More people working and commuting smarter will lead to the demise of the Fatal Friday Phenomenon, according to Work Wise UK on the last day of Commute Smart Week. The Annual Road Casualties report covering 2007 shows a drop in deaths and serious injuries at peak times on a Friday. Past statistics have shown that more accidents happen on a Friday, and particularly between the hours of 4pm and 6pm, than at any other time. Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK, said:
“The benefits of smarter working and commuting have been demonstrated throughout Commute Smart Week, now in its third year, and the messages are obviously getting through. More and more people are working flexibly and from home. That is why road traffic and congestion patterns are changing, especially on Fridays, a favourite day to work from home or to go home early. The fall in road accidents and deaths is a welcomed benefit of this success.”
Analysis by AA road safety experts has found that last year there were fewer people killed or seriously injured on Fridays from 8am to 9am and from 5pm to 6pm compared to the average rates for the same hours between Monday and Thursday. The AA and Work Wise UK believe that this may be due to a change in working patterns over the last eight years. The AA analysed peak period figures for accidents over the last eight years and found that the “Fatal Friday” phenomenon is on the decline in peak periods. In the past the higher accident rates in the Friday evening rush hour was put down to more traffic, tired drivers at the end of the week and the “Thank God its Friday” effect leading to lack of concentration. Edmund King, AA president, commented:
“Changes in our working patterns appear to be having an effect on the roads. In the past the Friday rush hour resulted in far more accidents but more flexible working seems to have diminished the fatal Friday phenomenon. Changing the way we work can change our lives in more ways than one. However, in overall terms Fridays on the road still experience the most delays and most deaths. Further increases in flexible working would result in fewer delays and fewer deaths.”
Stay in your garden office. It's a dangerous world out there

Thursday, October 30, 2008

H2Offices - new floating office concepts

Last week we profiled the new H2Office which looks really rather special. Now they've put up some more concept illustrations of models. Keep checking back to their blog for more details.

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The Shedworker's Bookshelf - Notes From Walnut Tree Farm

Shedworking is a huge fan of the work of Roger Deakin, not least because he slept and worked in a shepherd's hut. Sadly, he died in 2006, but his diaries have just been turned into a new book, Notes From Walnut Tree Farm. There's an excellent review of it by friend of Shedworking and editor of The Idler, Tom Hodgkinson (also a fan of shepherds' huts) at the marvellous Caught By The River (which is also a shop now), a site which defies categorisation so you need to go and look for yourself (all I will say is that if you like Shedworking, I'm sure you'll enjoy it, as it's all about the finer things in life).

The site also features marvellous photos of the farm and the shepherd's hut, pictured below, by Justin Partyka

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Popular Mechanics shed book request

Writer Fiona Gilsenan (who used to be a shedworker in Palo Alto, California but is now a convertedgarageworker) writes to ask readers of Shedworking for help with a shed book project:
“I’m working on a book for Popular Mechanics (to be published by Hearst Books in 2009) and I’m looking for photos and stories about interesting sheds. I’m especially interested in sheds that have something unique in their construction, such as the use of recycled materials, or that are an adaptation of a pre-fabricated kit or a variation on some shed plans. Unfortunately, only North American sheds can be used in the book. If you would like to share your shed or you know of a shed that might be of interest, please do get in touch."
You can email Fiona by clicking here

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Garden Buildings by James Gorst Architects

These marvellous garden buildings, part of a larger restoration project of a Grade II listed Tudor farmhouse, at Wakelins in Suffolk were designed by James Gorst Architects across a meadow from the main house. According to them: "The offset rooflights of the cedar clad buildings give the roofline the character of a small settlement." Photos by Alex Franklin.

How to be a more effective shedworker

Sophie Keller at the Huffington Post suggests five ways to run a more efficient home office starting with this:
"Tip 1: Have less stuff! It's true that some creatives thrive in a messy environment, but they really are in the minority. Most of us need to clear up our clutter. I have always been of the mind that if you haven't used something in the last 6 months or year at the most, then get rid of it. In the case of an office if it is too messy, then it is very hard to think freely, have new ideas or make space for new business to come in when you are surrounded by mess. Be extra careful if you have too much furniture in there as well, as we tend to put bits on any free surface. A good layout means that you can freely move around the room. If you're home office is clear, your head will be clear. You are getting rid of the old, to make way for the new. If you find it hard to start, then visualize what it would look like if it were clear and imagine how you might feel when it's done, then put time aside to do it. If you're still kicking and screaming, tidy up in stages or do one bit of clutter each day."
Well worth a browse.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Recession and flexible working: will shedworkers be affected?

An interesting piece at onrec.com asks what will the economic downturn mean for the flexible working agenda? It covers the flexible working question with some interesting examples including this:
"Poll after poll suggests employees rate flexible working or even home working as the most valued perk and this includes the up and coming Generation Y. Legislation extending the right to request flexible working backs this up. Polls also show that the economic downturn means more women are going back to work or working longer hours. Workingmums.co.uk's current poll asks precisely this question and some 505 people have voted with 79% saying that they are working or working longer hours because of concerns about a possible recession or worse."
Well worth a browse.

The Church of Gardening

Mandy Mitchell calls her shed in the White Mountains, New Hampshire, 'The Church of Gardening'. Here's what she says about it:
"The Church of Gardening was built for me by my husband, Matt Kizer, in 2007 as a birthday present. It has a stained glass window, a church pew, and a small statue of St. Francis. Nature is the religion here. It now has a lot of art, including clouds that Matt painted on the ceiling. He used a lot of cool, salvaged materials, such as the door and antique windows. It also has solar lighting. The garden bench is made of old barn boards, a chippy paint cabinet, and slate on top. This is the best shed in the entire world!"
The clouds are my favourite and as my garden office ceiling is white I might have a go...Via readersheds.co.uk

Portable heaters

It's heading towards that time of the year when shedworkers start thinking about heaters. If you haven't bought one yet, there's a roundup of five green possibilities at Treehugger by Eric Leech which is worth a browse (and Lloyd has a survey on it too).

Schwimmhausboot

Continuing our recent floating office theme, here is the Schwimmhausboot from frisches Designlabel confused-direction (pictured above is a model, below the real thing taking shape). More of a home than a straight shedworking atmosphere, it's still rather marvellous, coming in at 14m by 4m high and 3m wide, with sitting room, bathroom, 'loft, and kitchen. It's also extremely green (recycled wood, green roof, zero emissions).
Via materialicious

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lindisfarne Castle Ticket Hut

The Wood Awards describe themselves as "the UK’s premier architecture and furniture competition celebrating excellence in design in the world’s most sustainable material" and to their credit they have a special Best Small Project category. This year's winner was the Lindisfarne Castle Ticket Hut built with French Oak for the National Trust and designed by architects Simpson & Brown. Here's how the judges describe it:
"The result is a wedge-shaped building with a sculptural black ‘crinkly tin’ roof which dips towards the rear as the plan form widens. The building is framed in timber and clad with untreated oak boards, graduated in size, which unfurl to create louvred screens over the windows. The large outer door swivels on a central pivot. When closed it provides security and shelter to the exposed lobby area; when open it engages with the distinctive riven oak fencing, inviting visitors into the hut on one side as they approach, and directing them towards the Castle on the other side once they have purchased their tickets. The interior is simple, workmanlike and unpretentious. The wall claddings and fittings are in oak and the roof purlins are left exposed."
The hut is close to the famous upturned boatsheds featured at Juliet Doyle's Musings From A Muddy Island which has an excellent gallery of photos of the sheds (including these pictured below) plus useful links to relevant news stories.

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National Commute Smart Week

Commuting is one of the many reasons why people become shedworkers, but if you absolutely have to commute, then it's worth following the events in this week's National Commute Smart Week programme organised by the Work Wise UK folk. In general it aims to encourage commuters to adopt smarter working and commuting practices: today it's all about Flexible Working and Travel Plans in conjunction with ACT TravelWise . Look out later this week for:
* Tuesday - Walking
* Wednesday - Cycling
* Thursday - Health benefits of smarter commuting
* Friday - Road congestion and road safety

Here's a taster of what they say:
"The average UK worker now spends 360 hours or 45 working days per year travelling to work . This works out as about 2906 miles per annum per worker resulting in the staggering figure of approx 78.5 billion miles travelled by the UK workforce each year. The knock-on effects of an often stressful and lengthy commute to work, are felt not just in terms of poorer work/life balance for the worker, but also by the UK economy as a whole."


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Our Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office
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2,000th post: bookshop in a greenhouse

I've been wondering how to celebrate Shedworking's 2,000th post and I can't think of any shedworking atmosphere better than this, a bookshop in a greenhouse. Designed by Joshua Wright of Shed 54, it's part of The Wapping Project, a contemporary art centre and restaurant run by Julia Wright. According to Lydia Fulton writing at Dazeddigital.com, the shop is in the Project's garden and stocks a wide range of titles on contemporary art, design, architecture and photography, all on metal bookshelves and, nice touch this, next to terracotta pots filled with cabbages and heather. It will also host book launches, readings and workshops. Julia Wright is quoted as saying:
"As an only child I lived in my books and still have every one of them. I also ran a shop in a dis-used hen house at the bottom of our ramshackle back yard where I sold jars of soapy water to myself and imagined who I would be. Now I’ve made a tiny glass bookshop with a coal fire, selling the most beautiful books, where everyone can browse and imagine who they might become, while others watch them through the glass and imagine who they are.”
Thanks to shedworker Patricia Debney for the alert

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Our Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Shepherds' hut maker celebrates 100th birthday

Shepherds' hut maker John Judd, head carpenter for the Coombe Bissett-based Farris family, has celebrated his 100th birthday, according to Annie Riddle in the Salisbury Journal. She writes:
"The shepherds’ huts he made were their living quarters when they were out on the downs during lambing. They were equipped with feeding buckets and bottles and a stove, and the orphan lambs were kept in the warm by the stove. Making agricultural implements was a reserved occupation in the war, and Mr Judd served in the Home Guard. “On Sundays we used to have to go up to the camp at Bulford for training and drills,” he recalled. “We had to march from the barracks up to the rifle ranges.”"
Pictured below is a Farris hut as featured by Thurgarton Ironworks.Thanks to Tim Baber for the alert

Saturday, October 25, 2008

submonitor and Seed[pod]

Here's the rather special submonitor from binary which is a garden office and library with views towards the Catalina Mountain range. Below is the SEED[pod] also from binary via materialicious which is more for residential use but still a lovely shedlike atmosphere which could function as a home office as Archinect points out.

When is a shed not a shed?

Ross Clark in the Daily Telegraph raises the thorny issue of planning permission again, following James Dedman's (pictured above) planning dispute with East Hampshire District Council. It's a complicated and sometimes philosophical story but well worth reading if you're considering building/renovating a shedlike structure, especially in a conservation area.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Shedworking on reddit


For those of you who use reddit, I've started a Shedworking community. Please feel free to contribute with any links you would like to share with other friends of Shedworking.

I am Yours


I am Yours is a new project by Bernd Krauss, the fall 2008 artist-in-residence at the Center for Curatorial Studies. The centerpiece of the project is a quaint wooden shed situated on the grounds of the Center on the Bard College campus in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Built by the Amish and purchased locally in nearby Germantown, this type of shed is conventionally used to store gardening tools. In the context of Krauss' residency, however, the shed will be transformed into a studio, a curatorial space, and has the potential to gain other new and unexpected functions.
More information at the Centre for Curatorial Studies and Art in Contemporary Culture
Thanks to James Alexander-Sinclair for the alert

Around the shedworld

The New York Times suggests six ways to thrive as a shedworker in an economic downturn... Shedblog has been watching television programmes about sheds and planning permission... and featuring John Kingston's marvellous crystal garden office (above)... Treehugger points out that working from home makes more sense than ever... The Guardian wonders if there's poetry in architecture... CNN looks at what it's like to live in a house the size of a garden office...... the BBC say the world's shortest physics lectures will be delivered in a shed... Home Office Warrior offers some tips on successful homeworking... The Daily Mail talks to a lady who lives in a steel shed because the outside world is so awful... Chief Home Officer has not only voted, he's tidied his shelves... friend of Shedworking Elspeth Thompson has a lovely new book out which we urge you to buy...

The House Of Books Has No Windows

Although I think Janet Cardiff's and George Bures Miller's installation looks more like a shed. At Modern Art Oxford until January 18 2009. Photos by Felix Clay.
Via The Guardian

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wired: abandon traditional offices

When gasoline costs $4 a gallon, companies shouldn't just be doing all they can to expand telecommuting — they should be scrapping their offices entirely. No, not turning them into toy-filled communal spaces, as advertising titan Chiat/Day infamously did in the early-'90s, but abandoning them outright. That might sound a bit radical to those who swear by the office's supposed benefits, like camaraderie and face-to-face collaboration. But time and again, studies have shown that telecommuters are every bit as engaged as their cubicle-bound brethren — and happier and more productive to boot.
Today's must click, Brendan I. Koerner's Home Sweet Office: Telecommute Good for Business, Employees, and Planet at Wired.

H2Office - the floating home office

After various posts earlier in the month about the theoretical side of a floating office, Shedworking is very excited indeed to see that it's becoming a reality thanks to Cardiff-based H2Offices part of industrial design and marketing company WaterSpace Developments. Here's what owner Andrew Master says about it:
"Many new products come about because the inventor can't find anyone else making what he/she wants. So it was for our "floating offices" concept. I wanted a small workspace in the local area to use as a base for my business projects. After scouring the market all I could find were boring, depressing "concrete prisons"! Some of the landlords wanted me to sign long leases. Some would allow a shorter lease but the rents quoted were high."
The answer, especially for those who like boats, is the H2Office (see early concept sketch above), a "purposebuilt workspace for aquatic environments". As Andrew says: "If you're lucky enough to have flexible working arrangements a floating office could considerably enhance your working life."

The first model, which should be available in 2009, is set to look like this:
* a compact design giving enough space for one or two people to work in
* a "private" working area not overlooked by neighbours
* a "breakout" area for small meetings and meals
* a sun deck
* kitchenette
* marine toilet, shower & wet room
* foldaway bunks for occasional overnight stays
* plenty of storage space
* small tender "dock"/bathing platform (for an inflatable / kayak etc)
* dimensions suitable to be berthed on a standard marina (or similar) berth

Andrew is also compiling a list of locations where the site owner/manager would be happy to let you moor your H2Office.

There's also a just started up blog to keep an eye on.

The best shedlike atmosphere in Hamilton

Auckland architect Peter Cresswell rightly praises this marvellous garden shed. His professional comments on the design are particularly interesting:
"One of the great things about good clients and good architecture is that once you develop a grammar for the primary building in a group, the rest of the 'collection' almost design themselves -- as a prime example, this garden shed, designed by some very fine clients as a perfect 'garden wall' addition to their main house. In particular, I love the way the rain chain and the 'slots' in the boundary block wall play off each other, and the way the sunlight comes through upon the decking. Very nice."
There's more about Peter's work here.

Our Small Cabin

Our Small Cabin is a great site which looks at everything to do with building (and enjoying) your own cabin, shedlike atmosphere and even outhouse. Much of the site follows the building of a small cabin in Bancroft, Ontario, but there are also many links and other useful bits of information. Well worth a browse.
Via Tiny House Blog

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bathroomworking is the new shedworking

According to a new survey from Nokia, more than half of Americans have taken a work-related phone call or email in the bathroom. This is partly because nearly 60 per cent of Americans never turn off their mobile devices. More details - including information about Nokia's work-life balance week - at PR Newswire.
Via Wired Blog Network with picture from Not Usually

A shed that walks (honestly)

Those of you with good memories will remember our profile of N55's walking (shed)house. Those of you who were sceptical about its ability to move should take a look at the video above. More details from their site.
Via Treehugger

Choosing a shed - Whitmore Garden Features

Whitmore Garden Features makes handmade wooden toys, trellis sheds, gazebos and other shedlike atmospheres. Above is a shepherd's hut-style garden office which, like the other products, is made using locally sourced timber from recognised sources in the WGF workshop (which visitors are welcome to drop into). Below is a children's gypsy caravan playhouse. Very pleasant.