Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Green Roof Shed of the month

The Green Roof Shed of the Month slot at Green Roof Training features the work of the admirable Michael 'rammed earth Eco Shed' Thompson. It's well worth a read if you're thinking of installing one on your own garden office, especially since Michael recounts how he solved a major problem when it started raining... Here's an excerpt:
For a bit of variety and to attract a wider range of wildlife we also planted grass, wild flowers and most recently thyme – all of which are taking longer to get established and need more care but will hopefully prove to have been worth the effort by this time next year.

Quite a talking point are a couple of old horses skulls up there (each with a neat bullet hole in the top) that we salvaged whilst cleaning out a redundant cess pit in the garden which we now use for rainwater harvesting. Along with some gnarly decaying logs Bridget has used them to create a ‘skull-pture’ which will hopefully provide the perfect habitat for all sorts of mini beasts!’

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The Artist's Studio

An excellent exhibition of particular interest to shedworkers - The Artist's Studio - is now running at Compton Verney in Warwickshire until December 13. The curators promise that it "takes you ‘behind the scenes' to offer a fascinating insight into the world of the artist's studio in Britain" using paintings, photographs, drawings, film, etchings, books and studio furniture, from the 1700s to the present day. Artists featured include the topical JMW Turner, Eric Ravilious (a particular Shedworking favourite), Gwen John, Paula Rego, Lisa Milroy and Jeremy Deller, plus photographs of wellknown current artists' shedlike atmospheres such as David Hockney, Antony Gormley, Rachel Whiteread, Damien Hirst and Lucian Freud.

There are also lots of related events including free tours ever Friday at noon, a film screening of rarely seen footage of artists in their studios on October 17, and an illustrated talk about Munch's studio on October 24. You can browse the impressive exhibition guide online here. Thanks to shedworking artist Christine Farmer for the alert.
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One year on: Tokyo company's 'green garden office' experiment

Almost exactly a year ago, we reported on Tokyo-based office supplies specialist Kokuyo who opened a rooftop terrace "garden office" at its HQ to reduce electricity consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. So we were intrigued to see a roundup of how things had gone on the Nightly Business Report on PBS. Here's one what a couple of employees said:

I arrive at work earlier in the day, when it's cooler and when I'm doing creative work, I come outside. Indoors, I save for preparing documents and routine tasks.

Indoors, I get distracted by all the ringing phones and people yakking at me. It's easier to focus out here.

The shifting sunlight, the breeze, it seems to turn a switch in your brain. The office is a highly stable, controlled environment. But altering those surroundings seems to trigger the creative part of our brains.
And just as important, the company claim that productivity has risen and carbon emissions have been halved.
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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.

The Green Space Travel Case


Just because you're away from the garden office, it doesn't mean you can't take a bit of the garden with you for lunchtime. Here's a marvellous idea from Paige (and here) at Design*Sponge, a bespoke lunch briefcase, kitted out with real grass and lunch goodies which you can either consume yourself or pass on to a friend or loved one. Lots more details of how to make it and smashing photos at the site.
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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, September 29, 2009

Heather Bestel - shedworking tip of the month

October – Don’t be SAD!

Like it or not, we are all affected by the changing seasons and as a psychotherapist, I get most depressed clients during the winter. October is the month when we start to notice less sunlight and more grey skies as our systems start to close down and hibernate for the winter.

Being a shedworker means that you are in touch with the seasons much more than a regular office or home worker and you can feel this change more acutely. Things to do:

Firstly: Notice when your energy levels are at their highest and lowest and schedule most important work accordingly.

Secondly: nurture yourself, create cosy surroundings and use lighting to change your mood and energy levels.

Thirdly: Have a favourite sunny holiday destination that you can bring to mind whenever you need a 'pick me up'. Imagine you are really there and this will give your central nervous system a treat as it can’t tell the difference between a real event and an imagined one.
More stressbusting advice from Heather at her site A Little Bit of ME Time

Bletchley huts rescue package announced


As reported in The Independent today by Andy McSmith, Bletchley Park has been awarded a grant by the National Lottery of £460,500. There's still a long way to go - which is why it will be the focus of fundraising efforts as the main charity for National Shed Week 2010 - but it's a great start. As Andy says: "Combined with other money coming in, including grants from English Heritage and Milton Keynes Council, it should be enough to save Bletchley's famous out-buildings."
The trust's director, Simon Greenish, said yesterday: "This award means we are past the critical first stage towards a grant that will allow us to regenerate the museum, restore the huts and refocus the rest of the site."
The video above from HEXUStv features Oliver and Sheila Lawn: Oliver worked in Hut 6 with Alan Turing and Sheila was a short code expert.

Glass Container Becomes Workplace

Earlier this month we looked at WURK's lavatory-inspired shedworking atmospheres and here's another interesting one sent to Shedworking from WURK's Jurjen Van Hulzen. This is what he says:
"This beautiful pragmatically designed polyester climb object, the glass container, is disappearing. It is replaced by the underground container, which also has its advantages. Yet it would be very unfortunate if these icons just end up on the scrap heap.

Wurk is blowing new life into the bright green dome. In the style of reuse, and cradle to cradle 'thinking green' this gets a new function. This micro architectural unit accommodates them who want to make a phone call, online meeting or powernap. The glass containers may be placed in every major room in the library, at the station or here at the airport."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Choosing a shed - Court & Hunt

We're back in shepherd's hut country with the lovely offerings from Kent-based Court & Hunt. As they quite rightly point out on the web site, "the once humble shepherd’s hut has enjoyed something of a renaissance. No longer a simple shelter for the shepherd while he tended his flock, they are now enjoying a new incarnation as romantic, unique garden rooms." Each C&H hut is built along 19th century design guidelines with all joinery and metalwork made in- house from locally sourced and environmentally sustainable materials such as Ecowool insulation (even the newly cast wheels are made from recycled cast iron). Optional extras include day beds (nice) and wood burning stove. There's a lot more information about the construction on the site. Typical dimensions: internal - 3.66m long x 1.78m wide x 2.0m to the highest point of the arched ceiling; external – 3.80m long x 2.25m wide (wheelbase width) x 3.0m high.
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Streets for People Shack

A rather nice shack designed and build by M Cox Carpentry for performances as part of Brighton's Streets For People Car Free Day. A shame to have missed this since the event also included a giant tepee in Little East Street.
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Jungle shelter

Built of marine plywood, this bespoke prefab shelter has four storage areas, double-doors and, claim designers Voos Furniture, is easy to customise and put together. Materialicious and Hudson Goods also rather liked the look of the shedworkingesque Versaroom mobile room systemfrom the same company (I think it's the same, the site is a bit complicated) which allows you to quickly and easly build private smaller spaces within large ones, and because it's modular you can make them as titchy or as vast as you like.---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Monday's posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists.Click here for more details.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Free tickets for National Home Improvement Show

The Fifth Room at the National Home Improvement Show at Earls Court (October 2-4) "demonstrates real practical solutions for adding more space without breaking the bank", specifically for those interested in garden offices. Among those exhibiting is one of Shedworking's sponsors, Garden2office. Mark from Garden2office says:
"All shedworkers are welcome and I will give two free tickets (worth £24!) to the first hundred replies. All you need to do is send me an email at mark@garden2office.co.uk and I'll send the offer code with instructions to print the free tickets. Offer ends 1st October."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Philips CushionSpeaker laptop stand

Another in a long line of superduper cushion-like things to stop your laptop burning your thighs while mobile shedworking. The new thing here is that the stand has a built-in speaker.
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Friday, September 25, 2009

dwelle. (now + beach hut)

FKDA's 'Sheds for living' concept was probably Shedworking's most popular exclusive last year. Now, they've moved it on a little (and renamed it) but the newly-monikered dwelle. is still an appealing design for garden offices, and now also offers a modern take on the beach hut. It's rather snazzy, a low-maintenace structure made out of precast concrete panels with a remarkable glazed vitreous ceramic tile cladding and corten steel screens. On the floor, expect linoleum or sheet rubber. The tiled pattern on the roof is a reference to the iconic striped deckchair design.The flexible design means huts can be joined together in modular style, also offering plenty of space for wheelchair users.

You can see their “big dwelle.ing” structure at Grand Designs Live in Birmingham, October 9-11.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A genuine 'log' garden office

This is the most loggy you could possibly make a log cabin: it's a 13m, er, log with doors at both ends, ideal for shedworking and really getting back to nature. It's got electrics but no plumbing. Or indeed windows. But it's been causing quite a stir on ebay where it was recently put up for sale in Australia. The log is actually made of curved marine ply covered in insulating expanded foam with a layer of fibreglass on the outside, and the whole thing is on wheels.
Via Home QN
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Shed art: The Shed Collector

The Shed Collector by wastedpapers at Scrapiteria.
Scrapiteria is made up of collagists who work in the traditional cut and paste method. Each week, one of the members posts a new theme which they all intrepret in their own way.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Habitable Polyhedron

Again, technically a children's playhouse/den, but this marvellous shedlike structure in Bogota by Manuel Villa (7.5 sqm) would be an asset to any garden. Photos: ©Manuel Villa and ©Sergio Gómez

Via archdaily
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Homemade USS Enterprise Galileo 2

It's actually a children's playhouse but I'm guessing there are more than a few readers who would fancy shedworking in there.
Via The Chive and Geekologie where there are lots more photos. Thanks to Lloyd Alter for the alert
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Jupiter: shedworkers

Nottingham-based Jupiter is a creative communications agency specialising in retail and consumer brands with an impressive client list, so I was particularly pleased to hear that they have recently embraced the shedworking ethic. Here's what Jayne, the MD at Jupiter, says on the subject:
I’m inspired by our new ’shed’ created by Paul Barton at Roomworks. It’s been lovingly designed and created by Paul and his team and is a thing of beauty with the sweet smell of cedar cladding and living, green ‘eco’ roof. It’s been a real pleasure to watch creative people at work on something that’s practical and useful, yet reinvented in such a pleasing way. I stepped outside with my coffee this morning and stroked its wooden sides. Good design does that to you.

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Strictly come bowling with The Disco Shed

If you know the Disco Shed from the likes of the Big Chill, Latitude or Reading, you'll know that bootylicious party soundsystem beats go hand in hand with big-kid-turned-grown-up games and kitsch visual reminisce of when Lion-o meant more in life than vin-o.

Well Strike me down and Bowl me over! The Disco Shed is chuffed to announce its inaugural appearance at central London's home to fun, Bloomsbury Lanes (basenent of Tavistock Hotel, Bedford Way), where with the aid of an actual shed, the Disco Shed will be recreating all that it has become famous for in its natural festival setting this Friday, September 25, 9pm - 3am. And in the name of shedonism - all you need to do is email info@discoshed.com with a list of names to get FREE entry.

10-pin bowling, table football and giant twister are laid on exclusively for disco shedonists, with musical entertainment from Queen of the Disco Shed Miss Splinters while Wailers tour DJ, Count Skylarkin', the shed's resident Arthur Fowler DJ BarryDark, and head of shed Peepshow Paddy and lay on the disco mash-uppery to ensure that those bowling slippers Transform into dancing shoes.

And speaking of Transformers, the Shed's VJ, VGem, will be projecting live visuals, while Bloomsbury Lane's original '50s movie theatre will be abetting a stroll down memory lane, with screenings of your favourite cartoons and youf shows of yore, with the likes of Skeletor, Burt off Trap Door, Dangermouse, Schnarf, Stop it and Tidyup, Pat Sharp's hair do, Bouncer's dream, and Zippy, George and Bungle bound to appear.

This will be a special one! Remember, email info@discoshed.com for Guest List
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Saskatoon Hay Loft

The Saskatoon Hay Loft blog is a fabulous step-by-step account of "converting a 1935 Safeway store into a residence, home office, music studio and performance space using a mix of modern aesthetics and prairie structures (barn, grain elevator, grain silo) to create a creative living environment". Inside, there's a definite shedworking vibe going on as these lovely photos show. Lots more photos and details of the conversion at the site which is well worth a browse.Via The Cooper Cabin on twitter.

World Carfree Day: add yourself to the map

A quick plug for this very shedworkinglike campaign today which aims "to remind the world that we don't have to accept our car-dominated society". Lots of information about what's going on at their website. I particularly like Aastra's Twitter mash-up to promote where people are working from home - simply tweet your location with the hash tag #wfh to add yourself to the map (Shedworking is there, naturally).

Tilley's Hut

Shedworkingesque holidays in a shepherd's hut seem to be on the up. Here's another lovely possibility, Tilley's Hut at Melbury Abbas, Shaftesbury, Dorset, next to a copse and working farm. Entirely refurbished, insulated and refurnished since it was built in 1910, it's heated by a wood burner and has solar-powered lighting (and indeed enough green electric to run your laptop, etc). No television. Which is obviously a good thing, as is the breakfast which is brought to your hut in the morning and features local Dorset ingredients. Sleeps two.

Bizarre shed story of the week

Part of being a good neighbour is keeping an eye on someone's house or watering the plants while they're away. But one couple have been left fuming after coming back from a sunshine break to discover their back garden had been taken - and the culprit was apparently their next-door neighbour. Linzi [pictured above} and Phil Wood claim a path, rockery, plant pots, hanging baskets and even a £600 garden shed they built are now in Brian Johnson's once scruffy, overgrown garden. Mr Johnson was not available for comment yesterday.
Metro
The Woodhouses reported the disappearance of their garden to the police. Though the crime did not appear to require the expertise of Special Branch, or even the cultivation of an informant — a grass, as it were, to help them to locate the missing garden — there was still some dispute last night as to how the garden had come to reappear next door. Brian Johnson, 40, the couple’s next door neighbour, claimed that he had been led down the garden path by a third party who sold him the plants, the rockery, the shed and, indeed, the garden path itself for £220.
The Times
Thanks to Andy for the alert

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cabin Living - Felixstowe log cabin

Another excellent step-by-step build from Cabin Living, this time in Felixstowe with a store attached which Fraser points out would be ideal as a garden office. It has Celotex roof and floor insulation, double glazing and 44mm walls. More details at their blog which also has lots of nice photos of Felixstowe sheds, cabins and beach huts.
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Bedroom shedworking strategy


There's a really intriguing post at The Improvised Life (which encourages people to enjoy life more by improvising in the broadest possible sense) about a shedworkingesque approach to working in the home, more specifically the bedroom - pictured above is a fabulous example of the possibilities, a cubicle designed by Marcel Breuer. Here's an excerpt:
IS there a way to have an office AND a bedroom, in one large room? I’ve always thought I had to corral the office into a small space and hide it somehow. But a neat little office like the kind you see built into a closet in shelter magazines won’t work for me anymore. I need a couple of pretty large work tables and room for files and printer. I’m wondering if maybe I’ve been going about it the wrong way. Maybe I need to give over most of the bedroom to work space, and devise a cocoon-like bed to shelter me from the office vibe.
Well worth a look.
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Enterprise Nation - 1,233 miles, 18 home businesses, 5 clear trends

In this week's column, Emma Jones of Enterprise Nation talks about EN's first UK road trip, starting in Scotland and heading south to meet and film home based businesses in what will become a mini documentary charting the rise in this modern way of homeworking and shedworking.
From Scotland to Shropshire
Packing everything in to a single week meant we were able to get a very quick overview of what’s happening in the home business sector across the UK. This is what we found:
Now is a great time to start – the mood throughout the week was incredibly upbeat. One moment that will stick in the mind is when Patrick Elliott (CEO of Business Link in London) opened an event with a question to the audience of ‘Do you think this is a good time to start a business?’ – a ripple of 200 voices came from behind and it was a resounding ‘yes’ – throughout the week we met people who are starting up whilst holding down the day job and others who have come out of redundancy to realise their business ambitions. We met a wide cross-section of businesses and there was nothing but positive chat from them all.

Technology means trade
All of the businesses we filmed are making the most of technology, whether it be Stuart Mills who is applying the web to the pub world, or Malcolm Gallagher who is communicating his business message through online videos; produced cost-effectively from a home studio. Many of the craft businesses are using sites such as Etsy.com and MyEhive.com to sell their products to a national – and international – audience. Technology is clearly broadening the trade and partnering horizons of many a small business.

Freedom & control
We stopped counting the number of times these words were used in interviews. Having started up, home business owners are finding freedom and flexibility in their working lives and are relishing being in control of their creativity, working environment and earnings.

Ethical
This is a slightly difficult one to put in to words. Every business owner we interviewed is doing something ‘good’ by being in business; whether it be Clare Nicolson who believes in giving work to the people in her neighbourhood, Emma Henderson who sources fair trade fabrics from India or Emma Warren who offers time and business experience to a charity. They would not refer to themselves as ‘ethical entrepreneurs’ as such but these business owners are having an impact in many a varied way.

Growth through outsourcing
The adage of ‘do what you do best and outsource the rest’ is being taken seriously by the home businesses we met. Companies are partnering up and work is being outsourced to professionals. In the case of BodieandFou, Karine Kong outsourced the design and build of her website to an expert she’s yet to meet! Technology tools such as Skype, email and project management software means there’s no need to be in the same place but for others, physical networks are important as a place to meet business partners .. but also just to have a social chat!

It was a crammed and fascinating week that shone a light on what is a bright and vibrant business sector. The documentary will be aired for the first time on Home Enterprise Day (Friday November 20) when home business owners will be travelling to us!
Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nation and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up – how to start a business from home’. The home business roadtrip took place in week commencing September 14 and was sponsored by Orange.
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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bletchley Park: Official charity for National Shed Week 2010

Great news from Uncle Wilco over at Shedblog: Bletchley Park will be the official charity for the 2010 National Shed Week celebrations. It's hard to think of a worthier cause, especially the often overlooked huts. Although it's early days, we're already starting to think up ways to help with fundraising, including some kind of sheddie get-together. All ideas very welcome indeed. Obviously, we'll be updating regularly on this.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Garden Buildings Direct: new budget sheds

Garden Buildings Direct has two new products in their Budget Shed range of garden buildings. The BillyOh brand has been expanded with the traditional overlap clad BillyOh Classic Economy Apex (above) in 10’ x 6’ and 8’ x 6’ and the BillyOh Traditional Economy Apex in 5’ x 3’ and 6’ x 4’, which is delivered in rustic waney edge cladding (pictured below).Both buildings have mineral felt covered apex roof and constructed with robust framing, solid sheet roof and floor, styrene glazing and all fixtures and fittings are supplied. These buildings have the BillyOh Panelmatch and BillyOh Weathercoat badges which indicates that they are provided with pre-assembled side panels that use factory pre-treated timber.

A spokesman for Garden Buildings Direct said:
"These two buildings have been specifically designed for the economic times we all find ourselves in with the budget range continuing to deliver products for even the hardest hit pocket. The BillyOh Economy Apex may well be the first apex shed available on the internet for under £100 delivered."


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Saturday's posts are sponsored by Euroffice.co.uk, the UK’s most extensive home office supply website. Supplying a huge choice of envelopes, labels and a whole lot more to shedworkers everywhere!