Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Hickshaw

A marvellously bijou shedlike atmosphere by Derek Diedricksen (whose site and book we shall feature in more depth next week), the Hickshaw is around 15 square feet and made from recycled building materials with sustainably grown Vermont White Cedar.
As showcased on Tiny House Design
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Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Shepherd's Rest

Somerset-based The Shepherds Rest build what they describe as a "modern take on the traditional shepherds' huts of rural England" which are idea for shedworkers. Using locally sourced sustainable materials including FSC certified wood, the floor, walls and roof of the huts are fully insulated and sound proofed and there is a choice of hardwood flooring. Although the service is bespoke, there are two main models including one with corrugated steel cladding and elm floor, and another (pictured above) with Somerset larch cladding which should turn silver as it ages, Apple wood flooring and a canvas roof. Where possible the company also uses reclaimed windows and doors.
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Friday, February 26, 2010

How to design your garden office garden

It's time for a new regular-ish column and since garden offices are almost always in a garden, we're concentrating on how your shedlike atmosphere fits into the lovely green things around it. The first example comes from Liz Saward who runs Gardens for Living and built this rather lovely Japanese garden which features a superb teahouse from Jade Pavilions who have a truly spectacular portfolio of teahouse designs for shedworkers who want a garden office that's a little bit different. Here's what Liz says about the garden design:
My client has a love of Japanese gardens and has visited a number of gardens whilst in Japan. She knew that she wanted a teahouse to display her kimono and other Japanese items. She has a very busy work life and gardening (and Japanese gardens in particular), I'm sure, brings an element of calm to her hectic schedule. The garden really lent itself to having a Japanese area, already having a large weeping willow and also a very beautiful hornbeam tree (which was being choked with other planting when I first saw the garden). The willow not only frames the teahouse beautifully, but when its long skirts are in full leaf in summer, creates a natural curtain, making the teahouse feel even more hidden away in the corner. The garden already has a natural woodland feel, and this cool, calm green really ties in well with Japanese gardens, where green is the main colour and nothing should be too stimulating.

The client wanted to create the feel of a stream, but without any actual water. So we designed a dry stream bed, edged with large rocks arranged in groups according to Japanese principles. The stream appears to flow through the garden and in front of the teahouse, where a timber bridge enables you to cross over. A traditional 'roji' path with granite stepping stones offers a number of circulation routes around this part of the garden. The teahouse is beautifully constructed, and was made and installed by Jade Pavilions. It looks fabulous in that setting.

The planting includes bamboo, rhododendrons, azaleas, hydrangeas, ferns, and of course a number of Japanese maples. It is a very restful place to just sit and be.
Lots more photos at Liz's site here.
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Is Chris Anderson talking about shedworking?

In a cracking piece in Wired magazine, editor Chris 'Free/Long Tail' Anderson talks about a "garage renaissance" in which "cottage industries with global reach target niche markets of distributed demand" - a concept familiar to all shedworkers. It's well worth a read, as Enteprise Nation pointed out earlier this morning.
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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fox's Country Sheds to be used in Haiti

Fox's Country Sheds have been asked to build a shed kit to be delivered to Haiti and are building it completely out of pressure treated lumber to withstand the elements. Once the "shed kit" container reaches Haiti, it will be constructed by volunteers. "We are proud to have been asked," they say, "and are excited that the organizers feel our construction will stand up the Haitian weather!"
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Ecospace WorkPod

Ecospace have launched their new WorkPod model with prices starting from around £10,000. The basic model measures 2.5m x 1.9m, while the WorkPod Plus (prices from £14,000) is 3.1m x 2.5m: both are made from SIPS and clad in natural larch wood while the WorkPod also has double-glazed windows, energy efficient lighting and underfloor heating system. Bank on a four day installation.
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

So how do you like it?

As you can see, we have been doing some fiddling with the design of Shedworking. Up top is our favourite garden office, George Bernard Shaw's writing hut. There are now three columns of fun to (hopefully) help declutter things. And we've changed some colours a bit. And a few bits of typeface. And the static pages just below the main picture (but they've been there for a few days now). And some other things which we didn't mean to do and are still trying to work out how to get back but we won't mention those. So, how do you like it? Nothing's writ in stone so your comments are very welcome indeed.

Kokuyo garden office (video)


We've covered the intriguing 'garden office' put together by Tokyo office supplies company Kokuyo several times but here's a video which really shows what it looks like (as well as offering some interesting reactions from the people who work there). Well worth a watch, especially as it shows how it improves efficiency as well as providing an eco-friendly and fun place to work in.
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An Acarsaid Post Office

Here on Postofficeworking we like to bring you as many examples of shedbased post offices as we can. Here's the latest example, An Acarsaid Gift shop and Post Office in the village of Arinagour on the Isle of Coll.
Thanks to the eagle-eyed Chris Routledge
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Those Garden Rooms

West Midlands-based Those Garden Rooms has been up and running for nearly a year. Pictured above is an interesting example of a multi-person garden office, one large enough for three people to shedwork in comfortably. If you'd like to meet them in person, they are exhibiting at the National Homebuilding and Renovating Show at the NEC, March 18-21.
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Wednesday posts are sponsored by The Garden Room Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Colne Valley Postal History Museum/Shed

Keeping up our recent post office-shed theme, here is the Colne Valley Postal History Museum, privately owned, established and run by Steve Knight. It houses more than 100 ex-British Post Office letter boxes not to mention 19 Stamp Vending Machines and associated artefacts. Public open days are held each year and it is also open by prior arrangement with the Curator. Here's what he says about the build:
The inner walls are insulated with 1" polystyrene block, faced with marine ply painted GPO Light Straw. Two 4ft fluorescent strips are fitred to the boarded out roof line. Electrical supplies are in conduit and there is a distribution board in one corner. To conserve heat and improve the appearence it is carpeted with a hard wearing short-pile and a 100w ceramic panel heater ensures everything stays dry over the Winter months. VHF Telephone service is provided, but traditional copper cable connections are also possible via our own telegraph poles and into our K6 telephone Kiosk.
More photos and details at readersheds.co.uk
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Miniamalicious and The Modern Cabin

Two cracking sites which will appeal to all fans of shedlike atmospheres, Minimalicious and The Modern Cabin come from Justin, the brains behind the equally cracking Materialicious: Minimalicious also has an entire section on sheds. Have a nice browse.
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Tuesday posts are sponsored by The Home Office Company, manufacturers of unique garden rooms since 1998. Now in 10 exciting new colours. Click here for more details.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Garden office by Prestige Renovations (video)


A nice video of a garden office build from Prestige Renovations. Designed as a garden office, they point out it could also be used as a self-contained one-bedroomed flat.
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Nick Duffy: shedworker

If you're a fan of The Lilac Time (and here and here) you'll already be familiar with Nick Duffy's work.But what you may not know is that he and his brother Stephen Duffy are also shedworkers. Here's what Nick told Shedworking:
I began working in a converted garage in 1999, recording three albums with The Lilac Time there. Following relocation to Cornwall I have established a new garage and shedlife goes on.
There's a really excellent in-depth interview with Nick about his shed recording studio at The Saintly One.
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Get a replica model of your garden office

One Man In His Shed makes bespoke models/birdhouses of your garden office (or indeed your house) from a photograph or sketch which you can put in pride of place in your actual shedlike atmosphere. Click here to contact them.
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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Out of Office report: why shedworkers are loyal team members

Shedworkers and other 'agile' workers score higher than their peers in 'traditional' offices when it comes to feeling empowered and trusted to work efficiently, according to a new report. The Out of Office from Opportunity Now focuses on levels of trust in workplace relationships and in leaders to assess how this is affecting the performance of agile teams ('agile working' is working in any kind of flexible away including working from home, shedworking, mobile working, etc). Here's a snippet:
Team members, who work remotely, whether on an ad hoc or regular/permanent basis, are more positive about almost all aspects of trust, empowerment and agile working and in particular about their relationship with their manager and the rest of their team. They appear to experience a more empowered style of management, being significantly more likely than office-based colleagues to believe that:
* They are encouraged to develop networks outside of their team and organisation
* They have the freedom that they need to do the job
* They can influence decisions in the team
*Challenging team members will be seen as constructive
Where agile workers are the majority in a team, those with remote working patterns are more likely to be positive about trust and empowerment than those in teams where agile workers are in the minority.
The report is officially launched next month but you can read it and various summaries here.
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Saturday, February 20, 2010

George Bernard Shaw in his writing hut

Marvellous shots of George Bernard Shaw outside, and at work in, his writing hut at his home, Shaw's Corner, in Ayot St Lawrence, on his 90th birthday. From Life magazine.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Esther Brauer: the world's oldest shedworker?

The beauty of shedworking is that there is no upper limit restriction when it comes to age. The Times reports about the fine shedworking career of 78-year-old Esther Brauer who has run a post office from a shed in the Scottish Highland community of Kylesku since 1983 (she has been in charge of the post office there for a total of nearly 60 years). Here's a snippet:
Mrs Brauer said: “It is a small community which needs a post office. I managed to escape the closures, which is a great relief. If I left I can’t see anyone else taking it over. So I will continue for as long as I can. It is a lifeline service to the locals, and is very much used by visitors."

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Off shedworking: St Albans bloggers meetup and tweetup

As reported on the marvellous St Albans blog, the bloggers and twitterers of St Albans (the city where Shedworking is based) will be meeting up on March 11 at the Hare and Hound (on the left hand side of the bar) on Sopwell Lane from 6.30pm. All readers of Shedworking and Bookshelf from the city are more than cordially invited (it would be marvellous to meet you). More details at the blog.
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Friday posts are sponsored by Extraspace, the flat-packed, man-portable expandable garden building experts. Click here for more details

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A History of the World in 100 Sheds

Inspired by the BBC Radio 4 programme 'A history of the world in 100 objects', John 'Shedman' Davies is asking people which sheds they would choose as having a real impact on world history. Anyone can contribute their thoughts and suggestions, pictures and links. See John' site Shed World for more details but here's a snippet:
"From Lao Tzu to Gillis Lundgren, the Abbé Marc-Antoine Laugier to the Unabomber, from the baby Jesus to Frank Whittle, let's have your suggestions for the sheds that have really had an impression on world history. There'll be a prize for the Top Ten entries."
Well worth a browse.

John's main Shedman website has been updated with new events and activities including Second World War Shedman in Eastbourne and the Pigbaby event in Cooksbridge near Lewes ion May where he will be appearing with another chronicler of shedlike atmospheres in verse, Matt Harvey. The whole event is in aid of Save the Children.
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Shedworking up in the air

We've been talking about buying and selling properties with garden offices lately and while this is not technically a garden office, it is the kind of treehouse that many of us would love to work in. It's called Cherry Tree Dell at Common Gate Road, Chorleywood, Hertfordshire and is on the market for £650,000 with Savills.
Via The Independent
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How to turn a WWII bunker into a garden office

So there's a concrete WWII bunker in your garden and you want to turn it into something a little more garden officey - what should you do? That's the question posed by Bristol-based Shedworking reader Laura Dixon who will give up her home office in the house this summer to her newborn baby. Here's what she says:
Now, that's not a problem because I have this great structure in the back garden - a concrete WWII bomb shelter [pictured above]. It's dark, cold, damp, full of snails and garden equipment but ripe for conversion - I think.

What I need is a company which has managed to do this successfully or which might be up for a challenge. The largest problem I can see is that since it's bombproof, the walls are really thick and it's terrifically difficult to knock down. So adaptation is the key - I'd love to knock out a couple of walls and replace them with floor to ceiling windows, plant wildflowers on the roof and run in some kind of cabling, if the glass windows could actually hold the weight of a roof that is thick and heavy concrete. I've really struggled to find anyone in my area who has done this or has in fact done anything with their bomb shelter other than use it as a shed.

This might all be a pipe dream (on my small budget particularly) but Shedworking has convinced me that it is possible...and would beat the hell out of working on the dining room table for the rest of my working life!
If you think you could help Laura, please do get in touch with me or leave a comment below.
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Monday, February 15, 2010

Shed Style in Seattle

Debra Prinzing of the marvellous Shed Style takes a long look around the garden workshop of gardener and plantsman Jon Dove in Seattle. She writes:
Behind one of these cottages is an irresistible gentleman’s oasis, its exterior painted dark plum with pine-needle green trim. It has a comforting hip roof overhead, on top of which is a decidedly non-urban weather vane.
Well worth a browse to read about how Jon customised his space. Here's a snippet:
Jon says it started to bug him that the useless garage was taking up a chunk of space otherwise deserving of something more attractive. As is the case with many people (I should know – I live in California where it happens for everyone), the garage was just a repository for stuff. After not looking at or using that stuff for a decade or so, Jon wondered if he really needed it after all. Voila! Out with the junk, in with the garden antiques.

To get there, Jon sketched out a new floor plan for the squarish building. He intelligently carved three useful spaces out of the 20-by-20 foot structure. Its back section is separated by a wall (and door) to a long, narrow area for bicycle storage, garden supplies and tools.

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Women Unlimited/Julie Hall: shedworker

Julie Hall is the founder of Women Unlimited which helps women support themselves and their families through creating a sustainable business. She also runs web design company Springmedia, a boutique web and design agency based in London and has recently become a shedworker (we covered the beginnings of this build last week via twitter).
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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Creative with Space: inside shedworking

Pam Hines runs her business called 'Creative with Space' from her creatively-formed shedworkingesque office, partitioned off at the end of the sitting room. "I shaved 2 metres off the room to form an office 2m x 3m," she explains, "and raised the floor to create storage space. I have my office in there, along with a single bed with 'trundle bed' underneath to provide an occasional guest bedroom. The fitted cupboards incorporate a wardrobe hanging space and 'drop-down' desk areas to house laptop and printer, etc."
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