Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Joseph Sandy: New Shedworking HQ entry

Joseph Sandy is the latest entrant in the competition to design a new HQ for Shedworking. Here's how he describes the design, pictured above and below:
"I broke down the needs into three categories: office, library, and storage. This led me to a cluster design, giving you a 10x12’ office, an 8x10’ library, and a 6x8’ storage. I thought the office and library space should be connected and the storage space should be separate. Each space is a basic rectangle with a shed roof which would make construction simple and efficient.

The office is clean, with abundant light. The desk faces inward, with no windows at your back. Also, it is not facing the main house so there will be no distractions. The Clerestory will provide ample non direct light, no matter how the building is orientated. Closed storage in the office creates a clean, non-cluttered atmosphere. A window seat is included to make the room more cozy and informal.The library is intended to be darker than the office. With wood walls and open storage this space more reflects a typical shed. This is where the cider press, books, and any other items can go. The library has one window that looks back at the house. The storage is handled as a separate building which is a basic shed. This is for any gardening / storage need. If needed it doesn’t have to be built at the same time as the office. This building also serves as the third wall to a small court yard.

The grouping of the three buildings allows the scale of the office to remain more like a shed than an office. A tree in the courtyard would also help reduce the scale. The siding of the buildings was modeled as a wood rainscreen. I would propose that you find any local reclaimed material to use as the siding. Similar to the Studio I have built. If rainwater collection is desirable, the shed roof design would lead to easy water collection. I would also recommend the use of sustainable, harvested wood for the framing and zero VOC paint and finishes."
More details and images at Joseph's blog here.

Humble Designs

While the market for off the peg garden offices seems as strong as ever, lots of people have been contacting Shedworking recently with details of their plans to self-build their garden office (such as One Grand Designs), a task for which I have nothing but admiration since I would never attempt this myself. The latest I've seen is Humble Designs which describes itself as:
"A celebration of DIY reskilliing, handbuilt shelters, low impact structures, shed architecture and tiny houses, and a riposte to the disempowering idea that self-build projects need to be expensive or 'Grand'!"
Run by permaculture expert Graham Burnett, pictured above is his first design sketch for his new garden office. The design highlights another strong trend towards ecofriendliness - it features recycled windows, a rainwater harvesting system, photovoltaic panel to power a laptop, and waterbutt to feed the small garden pond.

Unsurprisingly, Graham - who works with adults with learning disabilities as well as running his small self-publishing and permaculture teaching and design business Spiralseed - was taken by the GardenARK project featured earlier today which he saw at this year's Grand Designs Live show, but it has actually inspired him to have a go himself. Read more at his site which also has a nice account of why he has decided to become a shedworker. This is a site we'll be watching closely as his vision develops.

Thanks to Martin Doyle for the alert

Choosing a shed: GardenARK

The intriguing GardenArk from zero-carbon design and development specialists Zed Factory comes as a kit and emphasises its ecofriendliness, pointing out it is made from "trees, sheep, soil and grass" - which means sheeps wool insulation and FSC timber framing with a green roof option.With its weatherboard cladding it is, they say, "designed "to sit 'in' rather than 'on' the landscape". Features include large double glazed patio doors and deck, space for a foldaway double bed with options for a log stove and flue, durable monocrystalline solar powered lighting and laptop charging (PV array can be orientated through 360°), wind turbine, composting lavatory and wash handbasin filled by rainwater harvesting system. It all fits on a plot size of 5m x 5.5m.The same folk also have a larger option along very similar lines called the LandArk (below) which they point out would work as a home or an office and can sleep up to eight.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Blyth beach huts

Friend of Shedworking Chris Routledge has just returned from a weekend in Blyth, Northumberland, and was very impressed with their new beach huts.
"I spent a lot of childhood holidays in Blyth, which is my parents' home town, and a fair amount of time on the beach, shrouded in fog, pretending it was warm. We used to find bits of driftwood and sand it smooth on our goosepimples. Anyway I remember the old beach huts, which disappeared some time in the 1990s I think. They were traditional individual affairs and very nice they were too, but they had fallen into disrepair by the 1980s, when Blyth was one of the most impoverished towns in Britain. Blyth has had a very hard time over the last 40 years or so, but if these beauties are anything to go by it's on the up. They have sedum roofs and seem to be finished to a very high standard. Actually the whole promenade area is much improved, with a top notch playground and an open-air theatre space. The beach - miles of golden sand and glorious dunes - is a gem. If only it was warmer."

The new huts are the work of Newcastle-based Ian Darby Partnership (IDP) to both benefit the local community and attract more tourists to the area. Each of the 20 beach huts measures 2.5 x 3.5m and as well as green roofs feature their own wind turbines: the designers claim they are capable of generating enough energy to run the lights and electricity supply. And the greenness doesn't stop there - the building materials also include reclaimed concrete slabs from the promenade as well as wood from sustainable sources.
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Shedworking when it's hot

As the hot weather washes over the country, it's been interesting to see on twitter how shedworkers are coping with the heat. I asked followers of @shedworking how they were getting on and here are a selection of the replies. If you're not on twitter, please leave a comment below.

@samheadhunterUK Have a day on the phones chasing for The Business Booster assignment - It will get hot this arvo in my garden office - graft in the cool.

@Ian_Hutchinson Flippin eck it's hot today....luckily my new garden office is nice and cool. Insulation is very clever..

@TowcesterNews no problem door and windows closed, is quite cool. Glad I put that padded foil insulation in the roof! #shedworking

@rosiejam its no good its impossible to work in my shed. I'm going to have to do computer based stuff indoors where its cool.

@DaylightGambler at the moment not too bad, but I do have all windows and doors open with a gentle breeze, and it is not quite in full sun yet!

@Man_in_a_Shed These Timber Buildings are good for about half the day with their insulation. PM the portable air-con will have to go on.

@jonniestamp Its actually quite fresh down the studio at the moment - I'm not sure it will last once the press is fired up!!! I'm needing air con :-)

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'Garden' office


An unconventional, rather artistic take on a 'garden office' by architects Ryuji Nakamura in Tokyo. Lots more photos at their site.Via Judit Bellostes
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Enterprise Nation - Five steps to making a sale

In this week's column from Enterprise Nation, Emma Jones points out that without a sale we’re not in business and ongoing sales will spur the business to grow. She offers five steps on how to make a sale and keep the cash flowing.
Step 1: Prepare
Research supply and demand ie spend time looking at what the market wants and how you can supply this in a way that will set you apart from the crowd. Before making a first approach to the potential client, carry out a search so you’re happy you have the right person, their correct name, and possibly a news item highlighting their demand eg a first note may be ‘Dear Andrew, having seen you quoted in a recent article in ABC press, I understand you are looking to move to new office premises. I am writing to introduce you to my interiors company ….’

Step 2: Present
Present the client proposition in a professional manner. This applies whether it be sending a first email (as above), distributing flyers or making a call to a prospect. Present the benefits of buying you and your product/service. How will it make the client’s life easier/who else has bought/what does it cost/who can they call if interested. These are all useful points to cover in a first approach.

Step 3: Persist
There’s a delicate line between persistence and becoming a pest! Saying that, unless your potential customer has an immediate need for what you offer on the day on which you make the approach, then it’s likely you’ll present yourself and then have to spend a bit of time following up. Submit the proposal, follow-up with a delicate prompt a week later and, if still no response, keep in regular contact with friendly emails and calls along the lines of ‘Hi, just like to keep you updated on what’s happening here .. would love to do business with you when you’re ready..’

Step 4: Perform
You’ve won the gig! It’s time to deliver on all the goodness sold and promises made. Perform to a high level so reality meets expectation. Along the way, check the new client is happy with the service they’re receiving.

Step 5: Promote
Sales means testimonials and this leads to credibility. A growing roster of quality clients will give others the confidence to trade with you. Promote new sales and client wins; through a press release, via testimonials on the site, or social media such as Twitter.

Taking these steps can be eased by using software such as Salesforce.com which keeps track of sales leads and the business development pipeline. Or, do what I do, which is to use an excel spreadsheet and a handwritten list that’s regularly updated and always carried with me!
Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nation and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up – how to start a business from home’
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Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Shed Dwellers

The Shed Dwellers are a welcome part of the canon of shed-specific musicians, performing their own blend of acoustic folk.Mr Shed Dweller
You can listen to The Shed Dwellers at MySpace and they have a slightly eccentric web site here.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Emmanuel Plat: New Shedworking HQ entry

The latest entrant in the competition to design a new Shedworking HQ is a man who knows a lot about design, the charming Emmanuel Plat. As he says:
"As an almost daily Shedworking reader and architectural drafter/illustrator, I couldn't let this go without participating... Here are two sheds (I must admit one is slightly oversized though...). I went with a 2 workers room/toilet and kitchen + storage or sleeping loft in the biggest version. The pics are self explanatory I guess (standard wooden frame structures, nothing fancy). Hope you'll like them as much as I enjoyed taking some time working on them."
These are two very impressive designs - I particularly like how Emmanuel has explored the interior of the garden office. If you're still considering sending in an entry, please do - there are still a few days left until the closing-ish date.

Name That Shed

This week's shed (or to be precise, shepherd's hut) belonged to a wellknown naturalist and author, sadly no longer with us. Can you name the owner and where it is based?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Lauren Crawford: shedworker

A nice Q&A at Enterprise Nation with shedworker Lauren Crawford. She is a hand woven textile designer who runs her business from a Scandinavian-style log cabin: inside she operates a large weaver loom and from this garden office has already sold a collection to US department store Macys. She says the walls are 45mm thick and both the floor and roof are insulated. The external dimensions are 4.5m by 3.5m, with doubleglazed doors and windows. Well worth a browse.

Who's your favourite famous shedworker?


There's an interesting discussion on twitter at the moment in the run-up to the third National Shed Week about favourite shedworkers and garden offices. Kerri from Creative Charlie suggested artist Constantin Brancusi who worked in a small wooden shed (sadly no longer standing, although Renzo Piano reproduced Brancusi’s studio at the side of the Place Georges Pompidou, next to the Centre) in the Montparnasse quarter of Paris.

A good choice (mine was George Bernard Shaw) - but who and what are your favourites?

Shedworking hits the million mark

Although we're not stat fiends here at Shedworking (well, maybe slighlty fiendish) just a quick word to say we've just had our millionth page load/hit (we're currently averaging about 1,500 page loads a day and around 1,000 unique visitors daily, plus of course the 1,600 or so subscribers to the feeds) so many thanks to everybody for coming to visit and please do come back again soon.
Pictured above is the milestone on the B6165 near Scotton on the old toll road by manonabike and for those who are really keen on milestones there is also the Milestone Society.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Arvesund sheds


Longstanding readers of Shedworking will remember our look at Arvesund's Hermit's Cabin a couple of years ago, but they also have some less hermitish models. Above is the 2.6m x 5.6m x 2.4m-3m Bodsjö 15 (the larger of the two models has room for a kitchen or lavatory, the smaller has a veranda). Below is the more barnlike Byom 15, 3.3m x 4.5m x 3m.And here's the Lit 15 designed by Daniel Franzén which they describe as a "compact, cubist living space, in a shed. If you put wheels on Lit, it can roll away like a caravan."
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Oaktree pod

Oaktree Office Interiors are general office outfitters, but they also offer a range of shedworking pods which will be familiar to anybody who has changed money at airports. The Oaktree Pod (such as the one above at Heathrow) takes up only three square metres and can be erected in just four hours.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ob: Lab

Ob:Lab is an ongoing project to develop a portable, public space for dialogue, debate and conversation. Initially it started as a treehouse-based project as the designers - including Dimitri Launder who is taking part in The TreeHouse Gallery project - looked at ecology and social networking through suspended structures. Indeed, the first model was suspended "like social graffiti in public spaces". Here's what they say on their Flickr site:
"We are exploring communication and an architecture that encourages exchange - through this manifest space looking at ways of engaging with society and activating a sense of creative communal responsibility."
Pictured above is the Peace Pod by Dimitri, below is the Noosphere.
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Roomworks: New Shedworking HQ entry

As we enter the final week of the competition to design a new Shedworking HQ, we continue today's floating office theme with this suggestion from Paul at new garden office supplier Roomworks. "I was interested to see your item on the Nordic floating office," writes Paul, "so thought you might be interested in this concept sketch which includes a green roof." And the beauty of this is that the new gardens in which the HQ will be built in fact run down to the River Ver in St Albans so...
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Wednesday's posts are sponsored by The Garden Room Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here.

Floating office: Nordic Marine Living

A specially commisisoned floating office produced by Nordic Marine Sauna. The client was wanted something special to use for client meetings and demonstration of boats and this is what they came up with: a 20 square-metre cabin with large sliding window pane in the front towards the water plus seven more windows on the other sides for good light and nice views. My favourite extra though is the small fire-heated sauna in one corner which is just large enough for four or five people.
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Wednesday's posts are sponsored by The Garden Room Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mary and Richard Atkinson: co-shedworkers

Complementary therapist, tutor and author Mary Atkinson and her architect husband Richard use this lovely garden building - designed by Richard - to work and relax in. "Richard and I do a lot of thinking work sitting in the shed," she says, "and hold meetings with colleagues there too. I find it a very spiritual place for contemplation and meditation."Mary's latest book, Healing Touch for Children: Massage, Acupressure and Reflexology Routines for Children Aged 4 -12 is this week's Book of the Week in You magazine.

The Hermitage: mobile horseboxworking

Artist, clockmaker and teller of tales Rima Staines lives and works with her partner Tui in a converted 1976 Bedford TK Horsebox. Rima describes her wooden home on wheels as "a beast of a thing to manoeuvre around little snaking lanes and is left floundering on slightly inclined motorways, managing a top speed of about 45mph." The nomadic shedworking lifestyle is an interesting one which she chronicles on her blog - The Hermitage - from using the Poste Restante service for post to the very physical nature of life on the road (and in the forest).I particularly like her outlook in general:
"Some days are wonderful, some days are stressful... much like anyone else's life really. But we are happily living the life we've chosen. Many people tell us we are brave, but we are not really. We have the same fears and dreams that all folk have.. and sometimes we fly and sometimes we sink. The important thing for me I think is that I am not imagining some other time when I might do this thing I dream of. I'm doing it now, and for all its hooting owls and cracked injector pipes, it is beautiful."
The Hermitage is a delight (you can also follow them on twitter @thehermitage) and one of those blogs you can spend hours browsing as it includes plenty of art as well as many photos and details of their working lives and when the Bedford needs repairs...

Yarra Valley shepherd's hut retreat

Continuing the theme of holiday spots to indulge your shedlike atmosphere urges on vacation, the Folly Farm Rural Retreat in Australia's Yarra valley has an English shepherd's hut as part of its accommodation offering.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bubble Tree: treehouseworking

Nanterre-based Bubble Tree is a rather nifty platform built for enjoying the great outdoors from the branches of a tree - if you plan overnight stays, then you erect the 'bubble'. Bubble Tree say their platforms can be used as "an unusual place for you to spend a pleasant moment: to take a nap, to observe the nature, to read a good book or even to have a tea time" but we think they'd make great getawayfromitall shedworking spaces too. In fact there are coworking opportunities too since the platform is around 6m2 and there is a way of combining more than one.Via Bornrich
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