Monday, April 30, 2012

Shedworking economy up 25% to £8bn


According to a poll run by Shedworking for supermarket giants Asda, although economic conditions may be challenging for traditional workers, the value to the UK economy of home and shed-based businesses will top £8 billion this year. That's up from just over £6 billion in the same poll in 2010.

The figure reflects the boom in the numbers of homeworkers: the poll of shed/home-based business owners found that the average turnover of home-based businesses has risen by 25% in the last two years. Reflecting this growth, sales of sheds and low-cost office technology and stationery for potential home use have boomed at Asda in the last 12 months, with shed sales up 386%, laptop sales up 86%, printer sales up 45% and stationery sales up 12%.

Asda has recently launched a home business starter kit, including a range of low cost products from stationery to IT equipment to help budding entrepreneurs start a business. A shed, office chair, desk, laptop, printer, ream of paper, pay as you go phone and 50-pack of ballpoint pens can be bought from Asda for less than £500. Nearly four in five (77.8%) of those polled said the lower cost of equipment to run a business were among their main reasons for choosing to start a business from home.

“Many households are taking a go-it-alone approach to business and are reaping the rewards,” said Alex Crowe, Asda’s homeworking specialist. “The low cost of starting up a business means that many households are pursuing the entrepreneurial dream. With the value of the back garden economy reaching an amazing £8 billion, home-based businesses are now lending a whole new meaning to the term ‘home economics’”.

Sixteen percent of those polled said that their turnover had been in the £100-150,000 range in the last twelve months and 7.9% said that their turnover had exceeded £200,000. The poll also revealed
 * Nearly a quarter of home-based businesses polled employ more that one person and one in twenty employs more than five.
 * Four in five (78.9%) expect to work from home indefinitely.
* Many of the home businesses polled were bullish about the prospects for growth this year, with 13.5% of those polled expecting turnover growth of 20% or more. Only five percent of respondents expected no growth or a decline in sales this year. More than a third (35.1%) expected growth of between five and ten percent this year.

Lower costs, easier childcare and a sense of it being a more modern way of working were among the main reasons cited for working from home.

The sub-£500 home start-up – premises and all the equipment you need to set up your business from Asda for less than £500: 6x4 shed - £129 Desk - £14 Laptop - £249 Printer - £30 Office chair - £19 Ream of paper - £2.38 Pay as you go phone - £12.50 Pack of 50 ballpoint pens - £4.50 Total - £460.38

Pictured above is author and shedworker Neil Gaiman's writing shed. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Joanne Harris shows us round her garden office

A nice guided tour of her writing shed by the bestselling author Joanne Harris. You can read an exclusive interview with her about it and her shedworking lifestyle here. ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Saturday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Disco shed (video)

One of our favourite shedworking atmospheres. More details at their site here. -----------------------------------------------------------------------
Dunster House, the leading UK company for Log Cabins and Garden Offices sponsors Fridays posts

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fitting a garden office when there's no access to the garden...


While erecting a garden office is reasonably straightforward, if there's no easy access to the back garden then things start to get a bit trickier. Maybe it's possible to use a crane, but if not then everything has to come through the house. Here's a recent example of just this from Log Cabins Scotland. The building - a Bertsch Holzbau corner entry cabin and shed combo in 58mm log with pre-painted windows and doors - was fitted in an Edinburgh back garden to which there was no acess other than via the house. This meant everything had to go through the hall, into the bathroom and past the shower screen door. The suppliers had to open and remove the shower room window and pass the whole building through there other than the door frame and windows and foundation which they carried through the house and round 90 degree corners out of the back door.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Songs from the Shed: Robin Grey

If it's raining where you are today, have a break from the damp and listen in to the latest sessions from Shed of the Year winner 2011 Songs from the Shed. Here's a recent one to get you going, Robin Grey performing The Finchley Waltz. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wednesday posts are sponsored by The Stable Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Garden office with shed

We remarked last year on the increase in the number of shedworkers who were also keen to include some traditional shed storage space alongside their garden office. Here's a new example from eDEN Garden Rooms in Hackney, London for a client who wanted to fit both elements into a tight corner at the end of his garden. The result is a triangular garden office incorporating a storage space and featuring concrete panels at the back and inside an integrated cupboard and desk. It has a double glazed door (with security locks) next to a large window with tilt and turn mechanism and a green RAL for the aluminium cladding on the glazing (this colour was also matched to the powder coated aluminium fascias). The garden office is fully insulated and heated by underfloor heating, finished with an overhang and decking, lit by spotlights and protected by security lighting. The garden storage/shed has a door clad in red cedar wood to fit the overall design. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Monday, April 23, 2012

St Andrews revolving garden shed

What better way to celebrate St George's Day today than with this photo of a revolving garden office a la George Bernard Shaw spotted this morning by Hamish Thompson in the grounds of the Old Hospice, St Leonard's School, St Andrews. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Garden office classroom




We'd say the hottest 2012 shedworking trend is for shedlike classroom atmsopheres. Using garden offices as classrooms is not new and we've reported on a few over the last few years, but the numbers really seem to be stacking up now. Here's the latest we've seen from The Stable Company, an outdoor classroom for a small (but oversubscribed) primary school in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. It measures 10m by 6m and is divided into a teaching space, store room and disabled lavatory. Features include bifold doors and low surface temperature heaters. ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Saturday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Please help with new survey on shedworking/homeworking

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.
We're helping a major national supermarket chain with some research on the power and importance of shedworking and homeworking. If you have a minute or two to fill in this survey that would be very much appreciated. Alternatively, you can fill it in by clicking here. Answers needed by Monday please.

Shed of the Year: a message from Uncle Wilco

Enter your garden office or other shedlike atmosphere NOW. All the information you need to know at readersheds.co.uk -----------------------------------------------------------------------
Dunster House, the leading UK company for Log Cabins and Garden Offices sponsors Fridays posts

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Emily Cummins: shedworking entrepreneur

A nice piece by Amy Byard in The Guardian features an interview with Yorkshire inventor Emily Cummins who has developed a sustainable fridge which runs without electricity. Her work started in a shed in Keighley. Here's a snippet:
"When I was four, my granddad gave me a hammer. He has a shed in the bottom of his garden, and in that shed he had collected machinery and tools, over the years. It was an Aladdin's cave of all these bits and bobs that I would take apart and put back together. My granddad really allowed me to experiment and be creative and I think that's something he instilled within me. He taught me the benefit of taking risks. If I wanted to use a doorknob to create a wheel and it didn't work, I learned from that."
Well worth a browse.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Alice Valence Pavilion


Rotating shedlike atmospheres are, as longstanding readers of Shedworking well know, one of our favourite features (and one that is often difficult to source). Good news then from Log Cabins Scotland whose Alice Valence Pavilion, pictured here in Fife, echoes the lovely rotatable garden office owned by George Bernard Shaw. This example is built in 45mm log panels with round arched windows and doors in Oak Blonde,

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Wednesday posts are sponsored by The Stable Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hus 1




A lovely shedlike atmosphere, Hus 1 is a tiny wooden (ash, spruce, aspen) house/large garden office designed and built by Torsten Ottesjö. It has a curved exterior and inside the 25 square metres of living space is a kitchen, sleeping area and hallway within 25 square metres of living space. Here's what Torsten says about it:
"Just like the numerous forms of the branches of a tree, humans love Nature in a variety of ways. Is it possible to build a house which can be loved by so many in countless different ways? I wanted to try to build a house which was seen as beautiful in the same complex way as Nature. Angles and flat levels are at odds with the creation of Nature, but what are the alternatives? How do you build something that feels unconstructed? How can you imitate Nature in the form of a house? By using doubled-curved surfaces and complex forms, I wanted to adapt the house to Nature’s infinite variety of form."
There are lots of excellent photos of the construction at the site. One of the key features of the design is its eco-friendliness which Torsten discusses. Among these elements is the interesting way in which moisture is evenly absorbed and distributed. Here he is again:
"All walls and roofs have a surface layer of biodegradable, cellulose-based, reinforced board which is resistent to water and wind, but open for moisture. This two-way directed moisture transfer is beneficial in times when the building is out of use or not heated. The spruce roof shingle is a porous layer which allows moisture to diffuse through the roof underlay."

Hus 1 from David Jackson Relan on Vimeo. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Monday, April 16, 2012

The Home Office Company up for sale


Marketing manager Paul Taunton from garden office specialists The Home Office Company has been in touch to say that the business is up for sale. The prospectus seen by Shedworking offers it for £40,000 to include "goodwill, show building, stock & tools, dedicated portable telephone line, web site and substantial SEO programme". It goes on to say: "The business is ideally placed for expansion, given that many people are considering working from home, or already work from their house and need to move into a separate building. Buying a garden room is far cheaper than moving house to achieve an office or to set up a small business. It enables the individual to save on travel time but also keeps work and private life separate. Past clients have used our buildings for recording studios, music rooms, beauty treatment suites, guest rooms, offices, libraries, a children’s nursery and even a swimming pool structure. The opportunities are endless." If you'd like more details, get in touch with me or with the company direct. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Men's Sheds: "outdated, laughable sexism"?

While we're wholehearted supporters of the Men's Sheds movement which is gaining pace around the world, it's interesting to hear another point of view. In the Taranaki Daily News, Rachel Stewart makes her case against the establishment of men's sheds in New Zealand (but by extension in other countries as well) in a very forceful manner asking herself: "Is it the outdated, laughable sexism that bothers me or the sheer effrontery?" Here's a snippet:
"Bottom line, the thing that really sticks in my craw is the fact that men, particularly white ones, are seldom aware of just how easy their life really is, and has been, by sheer virtue of the fact that they have dangly bits. The world has been their oyster but yet some of them still want their subsidised man cave to hole up in. Poor babies... Where am I going with this? Well, rather than ask the public to help fund older male wants versus needs, the very few men wanting this shed could always go out and volunteer face-to-face with the public. That would really assist with their sense of wellbeing and get them out of the house - a constant refrain of the Men's Shed."
Do have a look at the rest of the article and then let us know what you think in the comments below. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Titanic shed

An incredible story in the Daily Mail focuses on the shed interior created by John Siggins at his home in Derbyshire who has constructed a replica of a cabin and dining room on the Titanic, some of which comes from its sister ship the Olympic. Well worth a browse. ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Saturday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Shedworking joins in celebrity shed event


New research for Cuprinol suggests that 30 per cent of Britons who own a shed describe it as their top inspirational place, so to celebrate the wood care specialists and sponsors of Shed of the Year competition have commissioned celebrity shed lovers to create their ultimate garden havens. I was very honoured to be among those selected for this and you can see the design for my office shed (painted in Maple Leaf) in Verulamium Park, St Albans (it's just by the Inn on the Park, near the tennis courts).


The other fine folk taking part are:
* Christian O’Connell- his 80s shed is on display at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and has been coloured using Cuprinol Garden Shades Pink Honeysuckle™
* Joanne Harris - whose sky shed is in Wales on the Lleyn Peninsula and has been coloured using Cuprinol Garden Shades Forget Me Not™ and Beaumont Blue™
* Vic Reeves - his Museum shed is on show in Northumberland and has been coloured using Cuprinol Garden Shades Sea Grass™
* Sarah Beeny - her Kings Head pub shed is in Rufford Park, Nottingham and has been coloured using Cuprinol Garden Shades Beaumont Blue™

The bespoke dens were created in conjunction with a team of artists, carpenters and stylists who helped bring the individual shed creations to life. Locations throughout the UK were then carefully picked, with each shed then transported across Briton to the stunning view points.


The sheds aim to provide inspirational places for budding sheddies to visit and also encourage them to transform their own garden dens into creative spots where they can work or enjoy some time out from their busy lives. The Cuprinol research also found the average Brit who owns a shed spends five months of their life in it, with a further 40 per cent of shed owners admitting to using it as an extension of the home, for everything from taking time out from the family to carrying out their hobbies.

My own feeling it that it's great that more and more people are realising the potential of the trusty garden shed which can be a fantastic place to work. I’m hoping this will inspire even more people to work from their garden retreat or just realise that sheds are a fantastic place to take time out from everyday life.




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Tuesday posts are sponsored by 3rdSpace modular garden rooms.
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Saturday, April 07, 2012

Garden office swimming pool



You like shedlike atmospheres. You like swimming. You'll like this recent build from Oazis Garden Offices, a 9m x 3m cabin which also houses an Endless Pool. The D profile log wall beams soften the impact and provide a pleasant contrast to the decking. A cabin of this size would cost around £17,000 installed. ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Saturday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Nuts and bolts: bamboo flooring

We continue our irregular Nuts and Bolts column with a look at flooring, in particular bamboo flooring (the UK BambooFlooring Company is a good place to find more details). What's the appeal? Well it's strong and durable, but one of bamboo flooring's chief attractions is that it claims to be environmentally friendly. This post on Treehugger by Lloyd Alter is worth looking at, pointing out that it can be green but that the subject is quite complicated. See also this post on Core 77 on the same issue. It's certainly becoming popular in garden offices: pictured here is the Flexa Studio designed by Casper Mork-Ulnes who is the creative director of Modern Cabana. It has all kinds of tip top green elements such as recycled denim insulation, and features bamboo flooring. Of course if you really like bamboo, you could actually grow it into a garden office yourself...

Tiny House Swoon

Tiny House Swoon comes from the Tiny House Listings folk and the idea is to offer inspiration to all those intrigued by tiny houses and other shedlike atmospheres. It's a lovely place to have a browse around and readers can submit their own photos to the site. Pictured above is Andrew Cauthen's 70 square feet tiny house on wheels in Louisville, Kentucky. -----------------------------------------------------------------------
Dunster House, the leading UK company for Log Cabins and Garden Offices sponsors Fridays posts

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Sleep Shed: architectural installation

Sleep Shed is an interesting work by Callum Bell, intended to be a "semi practical habitation, an overspill area for guests". Here's what Callum says about it:
"Moulded to the boundaries and crafted to fit the unused back courtyard of the cottage at Admiralty House, Plymouth, Devon the shape of Sleep Shed mimics the contours of the surrounding architecture; growing to fill the space succinctly, the roof imitating the jumble of architecture surrounding it. Sleep Shed embellishes concepts within domesticity, elaborating on tenures of thought around the practicality and familiarity of home and its physical space. An in-between structure in an in-between place, heightened in concept and possible use of sleep; it acts as a ‘metaphor for the restorative power of slumber'."

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Garden office transport (video)

Roomworks (Lift Off!) from Luke Barton on Vimeo.

Roomworks transport a new garden room from base in Nottingham to a family in Shrewsbury, an alternative to having a team construct a building on site. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wednesday posts are sponsored by The Stable Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Morning Glass Designs



Morning Glass Designs design and produce (and indeed repair) lovely contemporary stained glass as well as running courses on the subject. It is run by Gordan Watt from these lovely new shedworking premises in rural Aberdeenshire designed by Coast2Coast Architects - the build has been nominated for the RIAS Design Awards 2012 Forestry Commission Scotland Wood for Good Award. Here's what they say about it:
"The studio comprises a number of workshop spaces and a small office, located in a newly planted woodland paddock adjacent to the artists’ home. Conceived as a zero-carbon minimalist timber structure set in the woodland landscape this building is constructed entirely of locally sourced timber materials. Over the years it is intended that the timber weathers naturally and the building it-self fades back into the camouflage of the trees."
The studio is clad in larch and has a tin roof - inside is an office, studio, glass store and workshop covering around 75m2 and the whole thing has large sliding doors with lovely views across the neighbouring fields and woods. Coast2Coast say that local timber suppliers, expertise and craftsmanship has been used throughout.
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Tuesday posts are sponsored by 3rdSpace modular garden rooms.
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