Sunday, January 31, 2010

Customising your garden office interior

Most shedworkers settle for a fairly uncontroversial interior design. But while Jared Neilsen works in a cubicle rather than a garden office, the way he has bespoked his 'interior' shows what can be achieved in a restricted workspace area: he calls it 'The Red Mahogany Luxury Paneled Cubicle with Dark Cherry Hardwood Floors.' If you have an interior in your garden office like this, please do get in touch.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Just Sheds

The Just Sheds pool on Flickr continues to grow apace and now stands at nearly 1,900 members and a vast library of garden offices, sheds and shedlike atmospheres. If you want something lovely to look at today, do nip along and have a gander.
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Friday, January 29, 2010

Heather Waring: shedworker

From her garden office Heather Waring runs a couple of businesses: MediaCoach supplies communications expertise to companies and company spokespeople, and Walkers' Coach which aims to "walk WOW into the lives of women everywhere", promoting walking and its many benefits for better health, running coaching and walking retreats, and doing one to one 'walk and talk' sessions. Here's what Heather says:
Alan and I love working in our HQ in the garden because it's handy and means no wasted commuting time, don't have to worry about transport problems, it allows us to integrate family life easily, it's warm and cosy in the winter and airy in the summer, there's a shaded verandah to use in the good weather which is also an ideal place for a glass of wine at the end of the day and in the recent snow, we've been able to get on with business.

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Laptopfriendlycafes.com

A nifty little site, still in its infancy, which will be of use to shedworkers on the move around the world is Laptopfriendlycafes.com which is charting cafés where you can top up your laptop, surf the interwebs for free and indeed consume coffee. And naturally there's an iPhone App. If you live in the UK outside London, as so often, you won't find much joy but you are encouraged to submit your own suggestions.
Via WebWorkerDaily
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Don Vardo

Maybe the next big thing in the world of shedworking will be the equivalent of the work/live setup. If so, something like the Don Vardo from Portland Alternative Dwellings would be a highly suitable way forward: it specifically says on the site that it would be great as a writing/guest studio since it features not only a pull-out double bed and kitchen nook but also a desk and radiant heat floors. Here is a very brief rundown of the specs:

* New, powder-coated 7×10-foot trailer with brakes and lights
* Metal snap-lock roofing over water and ice shield
* Cedar siding over a rain shield for superior moisture control
* Wood/metal clad, low-e argon-insulated, double-hung windows
* Cedar deck, Arched transom window with tempered glass
* Custom made french doors and corbols using Reclaimed Douglas Fir
* RV style power plug
Via Jetson Green
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My Super VA: shedworker

My Super VA is a shedworking-based virtual internet marketing support service founded by Vee Smith four years ago which helps entrepreneurs and small business owners implement their internet marketing strategies. Here's what she says about her shedworking lifestyle:
I have a core of great clients and a fabulous team of associates who help me keep them in order. I have a studio office in my garden where I work from, I do the school run and we have dinner at 6pm. And best of all, my net income is similar to what I had as a full-time employee.
Via The Gritty Virtual Assistant
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Help beat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome by shedworking

An inspiring post at the new Studioni blog looks at how a customer benefited greatly by using one of their garden offices to recover from ME (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). Essentially, the garden office was initially simply a sanctuary for relaxation but when she began looking for work two years after her initial diagnosis, she turned it into a part-time shedworking atmosphere in which she tutored GCSE and A level students. Here's what they say:
Over the first few months, her self-esteem improved. The impact had a knock-on positive effect on her sleep patterns. After a full year she has gradually increased her income by using her garden office to write in. As a freelance author she has enjoyed regular publication in newspapers, magazines and specialist teaching websites.
More details at the blog.
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Snowbombing: win the chance to design a music festival shed


Snowbombing (it says here) is an exhilarating week-long whirlwind of momentous moments in mythical fairytale venues, delivered by a blizzard of brilliant bands and awesome avalanche of artists. I'm sure it is. Or as The Observer put it: "It's not really apres-ski at all. This is a full-on music festival that just happens to be taking place in the mountains."

Anyway, under the heading of The 12 Sheds of Easter, the organisers will be shipping a dozen sheds to the mountains of Mayrhofen, Austria, equipping them with a sound system and i-pod speaker le and inviting 'Snowbombers' to name, theme and dress one in which they will host their very own party for a night during Snowbombing 2010. You can find out more details about how to enter by clicking here. But get a move on because entries must be in by Friday.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lunchbook: mobile meals for shedworkers

This is a marvellous idea from aberrant architecture: a mobile dining lorry which serves tasty food to shedworkers and other homeworkers in specific neighbourhoods after they have ordered their lunches online earlier in the day. Go to their site for more details and download the brochure for far more details about their working from home plans (which include sticking fake lift doors on the inside of your home office to make it feel like you're inside a traditional office building). aberrant have lots of great homeworking research and ideas on their site so do explore it - among their previous works was a design for the Boscombe bathing huts last year. Here's how they explain it:
Individual colour-coded beach huts are co-joined under a single unifying structure, designed to echo the sculptural roofline of historical beach hut architecture. Each hut boasts a lightweight collapsible canvas structure, which can be taken onto the beach to provide its occupier with a mobile anchoring point, allowing enjoyment of the beach with the benefit of a shaded private area.
Via dezeen
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Heather Bestel - shedworking tip of the month

Life is Taxing

I’m going to make an assumption that because you are a shedworker you are probably self-employed and at this time of year the self-employed are doing one of two things: congratulating themselves for getting their tax return in well before the due date or running around panicking over the shoe box full of receipts that sit in front of them. Bet you thought this year you’d be more organised!

Well unless you take massive action in this area, nothing will change.Don’t put it off until the weekend ~ do it today! Carve out an hour and just do it. Post off your return or save even more time and do it online and promise yourself that next year things will be different.

Well before April 5 set up a system. It only takes minutes a day to put all your receipts in a designated place, give yourself half an hour each week to input your figures into your accounts package and set aside just one hour per month to reconcile and send out invoices. Do this and you will never be taxed by your tax return again.

Remember: The more you do, the less you will pay your accountant. Use that as motivation!
More stressbusting advice from Heather at her site A Little Bit of ME Time
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2010 is the year of the shed at the V&A

The V&A is preparing early for National Shed Week with two major exhibitions featuring sheds and shedlike atmospheres. Currently running (until February 7) is the Metropolitan Police’s first 'fakes and forgeries' exhibition which features over 100 fake works of art as well as, points out that other shed blog, a tip top recreation of the garden shed (pictured above) in which Shaun Greenhalgh produced various Lowrys, Hepworths and Roman antiquities made from melted down Roman coins. His B&Q drills and polishers as well as other equipment are also part of the exhibit.

Then later in the year (June 8 - August 30) is a real treat. The V&A has commissioned several international architects to build shedlike structures throughout the museum on the theme of the 'retreat'. Here's what they say:
The starting point for these experimental projects will be the idea of a small enclosed space representing an escape from the chaos of urban life to an area for peace, contemplation, shelter or creativity. One of the central aims of the exhibition is to move away from explaining architecture through drawings and models and instead allow the visitor to experience the architecture itself.
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Monday, January 25, 2010

Open Construction/Open Spaces

Open Construction was established in January 2009 by Jason Young who has had more than 20 years in the construction industry. Taking the decision to run their businesses from home, both Jason and his wife Lyndsey (who came up with Count On It, previewed here last week) needed dedicated workspace out of the home to be able to run their businesses professionally and successfully. With a reasonably large garden, a garden office seemed to be the perfect solution. Rather than buy a garden office 'off the peg' they decided to combine their design and construction skills and build themselves their own garden office.

Built on insulated concrete foundation slab, the timber framed construction is fully insulated and is finished with 'thermowood' timber cladding. With timber sliding folding doors and large full height windows, all double glazed, the office has lots of natural light, yet is cosy enough to work in, even throughout the recent snowy conditions. The interior of the office comes with plastered walls and ceiling, laminate flooring (which floats on a sub floor of chipboard and insulation) with chrome electrical fittings and downlighters.

Since moving into the office they have received so many positive comments about the space and the flexibility of its use, e.g. consultation room, studio, teenagers den or even a garden lounge, Open Construction has now added it to its portfolio of products and services, under the name of 'Open Spaces'.
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Enterprise Nation - Lessons learned at Small Business 2.0


Small Business 2.0 was held on January 23. Now in its second year it’s an event dedicated to helping shedworkers and other small businesses profit from the web. Emma Jones from Enterprise Nation went along and picked up some useful nuggets.
One of the reasons I like the Small Business 2.0 event is that it’s held on Saturday. Not only does this mean it’s accessible to 5 to 9’ers (those holding down a day job and building the business at nights and weekends) it also means there’s a relaxed feeling about the place as attendees listen, learn, and meet new people in an informal setting. These ingredients came together well on Saturday and were the recipe for an interesting and enjoyable day. Here are a few things I picked up:
* A bit if trivia - the first item ever sold on eBay UK was a Scorpions CD at the price of £2.89.
* The power of eBay – eBay has over 17 million monthly unique visitors and offers over 15 million items for sale. There are 123,000 full time eBay businesses, generating over £1.7bn per year in turnover. To date, $600million worth of business has been driven through the eBay iphone application. The company expect this to become an even more popular way to shop.
* E-commerce continues to climb – the numbers of people shopping online – and the amounts they are spending – is increasing at a rapid rate ie it’s still a very good time to be starting an online trading business.
* Customers are becoming more demanding – the majority of customers expect their online shopping experience to be as good as, if not better, than an offline shopping experience, placing the onus on the store owner to make it a simple and enjoyable experience.

The secrets to success – in creating a successful online venture can be summed up as having:
- Great products
- Competitive prices
- Outstanding service
- Giving something back (eBay report that of their sellers participating in eBay for charity, the seller gives 10% of the sales price to charity but the item is 20% more likely to sell, at a better price. This resulted in $50 million being raised in 2009 for charitable purposes)

Enterprise is alive and well – I met a number of people in the early stages of starting a business, from Domino Duhan who is soon to launch Flog.com as a place to create a free online store, and Steven and Zoe who travelled from Worcestershire to pick up tips for their new venture selling cottage gifts. All together, there was a great vibe and positive signs that 2010 will be another exciting year for anyone starting and growing an online business. For details on the event, visit www.sb20.co.uk
Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nation the home business website and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up – how to start a business from home’ Her next book ‘Working 5 to 9 – how to start a business in your spare time’ will be published in May 2010.
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Virginia Hand: shedworker

A nice piece in the Seattle Times by Valerie Easton looks at shedworking in general and garden designer Virginia Hand in particular. Here's an excerpt:
She needed an office, her house wasn't big enough, so she squeezed an attractive little structure into her Queen Anne back garden. The building is only 10 by 12 feet, but it is light and airy due to the high ceiling, multiple windows and wood-trimmed French doors opening to the garden.

The efficiently organized office allows for a computer, space to draw, store supplies, even room for a cat to curl up on the windowsill. The floor is concrete, the roof metal and decked out with a rain chain to harvest water for irrigating the garden. Hand hoped to spend about $100 a square foot, but her office retreat ended up costing, with heat and good-quality windows, nearly double that. "It's simplified my life not to commute to work," says Hand. "Everything I need is right here, with enough separation from the house."
Photos by Ken Lambert
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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Shed on wheels

Spotted by Robin Peach in North Stainley. If you know any more about it, please get in touch.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

urbanSHED winner announced

The urbanSHED International Design Competition which ran for much of last year aimed to find an attractive and useful design for the shedlike wooden structures that prevent stuff falling on people walking underneath building works above their heads. The winner has just been announced: Young-Hwan Choi’s Urban Umbrella which should be hitting the streets soon.
Via MetropolisMag
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Friday, January 22, 2010

Moobaacluck: shedworkers

Moobaacluck is a smashing range of gifts and stationery for children (and the young at heart) started 18 months ago by illustrator Gabriella Buckingham. Most of the range can be personalised to make a unique item or gift and commissions are welcome (Gabriella designs each piece and a local craftsman cuts the sustainable birch shapes).Here's what she says about her garden office:
"Working in the shed is fabulous - my own little haven where I can just be and get lost in painting. I love it. Also I rarely take my phone in there so it really is peaceful - just me and Radio 4 - bliss. One day it will be surrounded with a cutting garden. It's really warm when the sun is shining and freezing in winter when it isn't (although in the summer on a cloudy day it's just right). At the moment we run a cable from the garage through a little hole in the window frame to plug in a fan heater. When we built the summerhouse we did concrete in a cable but a rat ate through it and we just haven't got around to seeing if it can be salvaged... two years on!!"

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Garden offices in National Shed Week

Although it feels like a long way off, the fourth National Shed Week is speeding towards us so if you haven't signed your shed up to take part (and of course be in the running to scoop the top prize of Shed of the Year 2010) then please do nip across to readersheds.co.uk and follow the instructions to share your shed. There are already plenty of garden offices vying for the overall prize and the garden office category prize which you can browse here.
Pictured above is Clare Christian's shoffice
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Shedworking and workhubs: your input appreciated

This is a guest post from longstanding friend of Shedworking, Lisa Thompson of Live Work Network.
Workhubs.com is inviting shed workers in the Milton Keynes and South Midlands to fill in an online survey (click here to take the survey or see www.workhubs.com, left hand panel) designed to test the appeal locally of workhubs, spaces where you can collaborate with other small businesses and self-employed freelancers, and use shared work facilities and equipment.

The survey is for anyone running a business from their home, or garden, in the MKSM ‘target growth’ area. The research is being carried out for the Milton Keynes South Midlands executive team which is keen to do more to help its home-based entrepreneurs. It will also feed into a national report workhubs.com is writing on the truly impressive workhub models being set up across the UK and their role in a low carbon economy.

The survey should be a doddle to complete with most questions requiring simple box ticking. Any home-based businesses are encouraged to complete the form quickly but the research will be ongoing. This work is being jointly funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government, the Homes and Communities Agency, the Commission for Rural Communities and two regional development agencies including SEEDA.

Email workhubs.com with any queries by clicking here.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Studioni enters garden office blogosphere

The new blog from garden office supplier Studioni looks very promising indeed. They certainly have ambitious aims, stating that the blog is not a sales pitch but an attempt to "shake our industry into a sense of responsibility for the environment and inform consumers by publishing expert opinions". They are particularly keen to include guest posts from people with specialist knowledge of engineering, thermal values, ecology, and the environment and recent posts include intriguing takes on everything from landscaping your garden office nicely into your garden to a thoughtful look at who exactly you should buy your garden office from. Well worth a browse.
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The 5 best heaters to warm up your garden office

There's a cracking article in the New York Times by Stephen Treffiger who roadtests 10 portable space heaters and then gives a rundown of the five best - the results will be of particular interest of course to shedworkers. Here's what he did:
First, I cooled down my bedroom — a 13-by-13-foot room with 10-foot ceilings and two large windows — to 55 degrees by turning off the radiator and opening a window. Then, I closed the window and the door, placed each heater in a corner near the radiator and, turning the heater up to its highest setting, timed how long it took to heat the room to 65 degrees; most took less than a half-hour. I also tried each heater as I worked at my desk, to see how it fared at warming up a small area.
Well worth a browse. Pictured is the Holmes Ultra Quiet Ceramic Heater.
Via lifehacker. Thanks to Nathan Jones for the alert
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Co-shedworking: a new twist

We talked about the rise of co-shedworking last week and here's a twist on it that suggests it really is on the rise. Here's an advert on Gumtree under the title Creative, Light, Airy Garden Office Space, West Byfleet Surrey (£50 pw):
I have a wooden built 16sqm Office to rent in my garden, next to railway lines but quiet and ideal for a creative as the view is of the garden and trees and it is very undisturbed (apart from the trains - best be honest!). It would suit an architect or desinger who wants an inspirational space and I would be happy for you to work in the garden should you want to. Internet and electricity are included in the rental price.

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Garden office suppliers

Just a quick word to explain a couple of changes in how Shedworking will be listing garden office suppliers from the end of this month. The plan is that all suppliers will be listed on the specially customised Google map we started setting up last year (and which has had approaching 400,000 page views). This will have contact details and a clickthrough option to their individual websites. We're not finished yet, but eventually this will become the only list of it's kind, online and offline with the added bonus of a geographic element which the current system doesn't offer: we hope this suits both readers researching their future garden office/building and the suppliers themselves. This is an entirely free service.


What is currently a long and unwieldy list of suppliers will become a smaller section like the Shedworking Classifieds. Suppliers listed here will have paid to appear and are not officially endorsed by Shedworking (although we are very appreciative of their generous support which will help to keep the site running). We hope these two changes will mean the independence of the site is preserved while at the same time ensuring its survival, which is surely good for everybody.

The rollout of a similar approach for non-UK suppliers will follow shortly afterwards.
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The feminisation of the shed

An interesting post at a new blog from Tiger Sheds called Garden Resources on what they describe as the feminisation of the garden shed. Their conclusions is that "it’s clear that a definite shift in the world of the garden shed has taken place. The media has introduced home improvement as an activity for both sexes and that, along with an economic downturn, has encouraged a change in attitude toward that little bit of extra space sitting at the bottom of the garden." There's a particularly interesting link to an ABC article about the Sheila's Shed phenomenon in Australia.
Image courtesy China Daily
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