Saturday, June 30, 2012

Kent Griswold on the Tiny House movement (video)

Kent Griswold runs the excellent Tiny House Blog and talks here about why he started it and the rise of the Tiny House movement, very much a first cousin of shedworking. Well worth a watch. ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Saturday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Friday, June 29, 2012

the joy of sheds by Frank Hopkinson

2012 is shaping up to be a good year for shed books. The latest to arrive at Shedworking Towers is Frank Hopkinson's - strangely lowercased - the joy of sheds, subtitled 'Because a man's place isn't in the home' (hmmm... how about a woman's place Frank?). It's a jolly little book, full of bits and bobs about sheds and shedlife. Not much will be new to regular readers of Shedworking but as a jolly little volume for reading in the toilet, it's just the thing. Published by Portico at £9.99.
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bletchley Park hits hut funding target

Large congratulations to all at the Bletchley Park Trust which has just announced that it has successfully reached the £7.4 million funding mark that now enables them to start urgent restoration of the historic, and sadly currently derelict, Codebreaking Huts 3 and 6 (pictured above), as well as the development of a world-class visitor centre and exhibition space in WW2 Card Index building, Block C.

Last September, the Trust announced that it needed to raise £2.4 million in match funding in order to unlock a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £5 million. Now that the Trust has raised these funds, the Heritage Lottery Fund has granted it “Permission to Start” on the restoration project.

 Iain Standen, CEO of the Bletchley Park Trust, said: “This is an exciting and unparalleled milestone in the 20-year history of the work of the Bletchley Park Trust, allowing us to start the work of preserving this site for future generations and in permanent tribute to the extraordinary men and women who worked here during WW2.

“Raising these funds has not only been a race against time to save the Huts from dereliction, but also has been imperative in order to create essential capacity and an improved experience for our ever-rising numbers of visitors. We are enormously grateful for the generosity of the Heritage Lottery Fund and other donors for enabling us to start making this vision a reality."

However, while work on this project is expected to commence in the autumn, the Bletchley Park Trust will immediately embark on a fundraising campaign, expected to be in the order of £15 million, for the next phase of its masterplan to transform Bletchley Park into a world-class heritage and education centre to adequately reflect the profound importance of its impact on WW2 and the 20th century. This will include plans to expand the museum into Block D and restore other buildings of highly significant historic value.
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TJ Tomlin's writing shed

A nice interview with shedworker and assistant professor of history at the University of Northern Colorado, T.J. Tomlin at The Way Of Improvement Leads Home . Here's a snippet:
"I first encountered (and was an instant convert to) the concept of “shedworking” about five years ago. The cost kept me from going for it until this past spring, when I found my shed on craigslist. I prefer to work in a quiet, private space rather than in public or with any kind of background noise. I also have three-year old twins. They make my life far richer and my house far noisier. Although I have a comfortable office at my university, it is 40 minutes away. Many of my days, nights, and weekends are spent writing, grading, and preparing courses from home. Working from a shed offers a clear, physical separation of work from the rest of my life that has been very refreshing."
More details, interview and photos at the link above.
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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, June 26, 2012

50 Sheds of Grey

Erotica for the not-too-modern male. Now available on Twitter.
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Monday, June 25, 2012

How to disguise your shed




Some people are happy to let their garden office remain a feature of their garden. Others want it to blend in a little. A couple of marvellous examples of the latter at Oregon.live. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Multistorey shed

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Pod for a writer and Buddhist scholar



A lovely garden office from Sustainsia for a client who wanted a special space where he could meditate and work on his book about Buddhism. It features Phillipine mahogony and birch interior paneling, wood flooring, and an African mahogany slatted bench that turns into a futon bed. Here's what they say about the success of the space. "In the few months after we finished, he reported to us that he had completed his book, and the space has been a haven where his creative energies are focused. Perhaps it's all the curved surfaces, but whatever it is a metaphysical quality to the space that can only understand by being in the space. He meditates regularly each morning and sometimes sleeps in the space to awake rejuvenated."

More photos of the build here. -----------------------------------------------------------------------
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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Polly Bird's bookbinding shed


Northumberland-based bookbinder Polly Bird worked for several years from her front room. When her husband tired of tripping over bookbinding equipment she decided to get a garden office in which to work and asked InsideOut Buildings to build her the ideal bookbinding studio. The requirements were specific but important: lots of light, reinforced floors to take heavy bookbinding presses, height, space and a wooden beam from which to hang bookbinder’s rolls. The result is the ideal bookbinding environment.

 "The advantages for a bookbinder of working in a garden studio are many," she says. "Equipment and materials can remain untouched until needed and are out of the family’s way. Customers can visit without disturbing the household and are impressed by the professional environment. The bookbinder can work undisturbed with everything arranged to meet their working needs. I have not regretted the decision to take the shedworking route."



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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bostin Betty wins garden office category of Shed of the Year


 The finalists for Shed of the Year 2012 have been announced on Shedblog and it's big congratulations to Bostin Betty which has won the garden office category. The selfstyled 'Birmingham Beach and Bathing Machine' is the HQ for the Big Holiday House website and is named in honour of Queen Elizabeth II in her diamond jubilee year.

It's essentially a Keops log cabin on top of cast iron wheels on a steel chassis. We particularly like the daybed inside the office area as well as the wood burner stove. More details and photos at readersheds.co.uk and Bostin Betty is also on Twitter.


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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.

My Cool Shed: Jane Field-Lewis (video)

Jane Field-Lewis talks to Matthew Cain, culture editor at Channel 4, about her new book My Cool Shed. Film by Ian Anderson and music by Lodekka (appearing courtesy of Freshly Squeezed Music). ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wednesday posts are sponsored by The Stable Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

'Screen slaving' workers putting health at risk

UK office workers are putting their mental and physical health at risk by working more than two hours extra each night on their commute and at home, a new survey for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) reveals.

About two-thirds (64 per cent) of the 2,010 office workers polled by the CSP said they continued working on smartphones and other devices after they left the office, and spent an average of two hours 18 minutes doing so. These stints were on top of an average of six hours 22 minutes in front of a screen in the office during their regular working day.

The main reasons cited for doing extra work were to 'ease the pressure of the working day' (35 per cent) and 'too much work to do' (33 per cent).

While 29 per cent of people surveyed said additional work at home helped reduce their overall stress levels, a worrying 24 per cent want their boss to offer counselling services for stress. The survey revealed 53 per cent of those who work at home out of office hours said this had increased in the past two years, but of these people just 8 per cent said their boss was trying to do anything about it.

Physiotherapists are concerned that 'over working' is storing up both physical and mental health problems for the future - particularly since 66 per cent of those surveyed reported suffering job-related ill health such as headaches and back pain. The CSP is concerned that poor posture when using smartphones and other mobile devices - which many people do their additional work on - can lead to back and neck pain.

Fewer than one in four people told the survey that they considered their posture when looking at screens outside of work. Long hours can also contribute to stress-related illness.

The results have been released to coincide with the CSP's Workout at Work Day today when physiotherapy staff across the UK are encouraging people to be more physically active in order to combat stress and avoid musculoskeletal disorders, like back pain.

Dr Helena Johnson, chair of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said: "While doing a bit of extra work at home may seem like a good short-term fix, if it becomes a regular part of your evening routine then it can lead to problems such as back and neck problems, as well as stress-related illness. This is especially the case if you're using handheld devices and not thinking about your posture. Talk with your employer if you are feeling under pressure."

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Garden office roof in bloom


Cambridge-based coach and trainer Maria Varallo has been enjoying the flowering of the successful green roof on her garden office.
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Build your own garden office: blogs in progress



If you are thinking of building your own garden office, then here are two useful blogs which have been charting the experience first hand. The first is Building The Garden Office by Ricky Mills, a "self-employed web developer, mobile app developer, online 'handy-man'" who got tired of working from a bedroom and decided initially to convert his garage into a garden office but then plumped for building his own (well, converting a log cabin). You can see the photos of it in the above slideshow.

The second one is Building a Studio which is being built by the husband of equestrian artist Sally Lancaster to be used as an art studio. They have gone down a similar route as they explain:
"After a bit of casting around the solution we’ve gone for is one of those ‘log cabin’ style garden offices that we’ll build and then add additional insulation etc ourselves. Arriving at this solution was a fairly simple process of elimination as we don’t have the cash to employ someone to build us something proper and I don’t have the confidence to build something out of nothing – hence buying a kit and customising."
Both blogs are well worth a browse.
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Monday, June 18, 2012

Commutable beach hut goes for £170,000


This 5.6m x 3.2m wooden beach hut at Mudeford near Bournemouth has just been snapped up for a mere £170,000 (plus £2,500 ground rent) after a whole two days on the market. It does have a kitchen and sleeps (at a bit of a push) six, but while there is running water and solar panels to provide light, there's no lavatory. The asking price was actually £175,000 although there are several cheaper ones on the estate agent's site.

Interestingly, a spokesman for Denison's who sold the property told The Guardian that he knew of people who stayed in fully fitted huts such as this during the summer and commuted to work. "They get up at 6am, put on their suit, get on the little boat up to Christchurch where they catch the train to work," he said.
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Nice shed card

Card specialist Martha and Hepsie is not only a shedworking business, but they also have this rather pleasant greetings card (size A6) for the shedworker in your life. See more examples of shed cards here. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's Day shed treat up and running


Here's a nice idea for anybody in the Lincoln area - Waterside Shopping Centre has set up a Super Dad shed, reports The Lincolnite, giving lucky fathers a half hour respite from world on Father's Day. Inside, there is a fridge full of drinks, meal options, a television, CDs, computer and football team posters, as well as a kind of butler to sort everything out for them. A nice idea, if slightly clich├ęd (where, for example, are the books?). Offspring get a framed certificate of the occasion to give to their father. Photos: Joshua Potter


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Friday, June 15, 2012

A Story About Living Small documentary

An interesting Kickstarter project about the topic of living in tiny houses which will also be of interest to shedworkers. You can still fund it. More details here and here's what they say about it:
"A Story About Living Small is a short documentary about tiny houses, and the ways that we find ourselves at home. The film follows the story of Christopher Smith and his attempt to build a 130-square foot tiny house from scratch, with no prior building experience. The film also profiles other families across America who have chosen to downsize and live in less than 400 square feet. Rather than an informational documentary about tiny houses, the film will explore the idea of "home" and what makes us feel comfortable in a particular landscape or building. The film will be a meditation on the relationship of home to environment, of quality and simplicity to a life well lived."
Also have a look at www.tiny-themovie.com -----------------------------------------------------------------------
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Thursday, June 14, 2012

The future of the office

Allison Arieff has some interesting things to say about the future of workplaces at Wired.com in her piece 'Cubicle Couches and Other Hot Trends in Workplace Design'. She looks particularly at videoconferencing (using for example this sheddish design pictured by Steelcase), but also desks, chairs and tables. What's missing of course is any kind of analysis of the home workplace - she even says "Not long ago, many predicted the office of the future was no office at all. Today, the thinking is to get employees back to the office and find all sorts of enticements to keep them there"... - and for a good critique of her argument, have a look at Lloyd Alter's piece on Treehugger.com who sees texting as far more important. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gentleman’s Living Wagon


Based on the Herefordshire borders, Andrew Marsden builds a variety of wagons and shepherds' huts (often with reclaimed materials) which are of course ideal as garden offices. He also builds what he calls 'Gentlemen’s caravans' (pictured above). "They were used initially by showmen travelling between circuses and fairs," he says, "were much cherished by their owners and often highly painted and decorated with gold leaf details and cut glass windows."


Indeed Andrew actually lives in one of his own restored showman's wagons which features an original curved cut glass unit, a traditional hand-carved sledge bed and a galley kitchen. The hut pictured above is built in oak and ash, comes fully furnished with double bed, hand-painted furniture, antique cut glass windows and hand-carved details. The stable door has a mortice lock, and the whole thing has sheeps’ wool insulation. It can be horse or vehicle drawn.

His other work has included tree houses, a towable house and this rather splendid composting privy on wheels below. Here's what he says about it:
"Constructed using feather edged spruce boards with decorative painted bargeboards and a painted stable door. Fully lined with a breathable water repellent membrane, it has a corrugated iron roof coated with water resistant paint and sits on cast iron wheels. The exterior wooden planking will gently age to a natural silvery finish. Furnished with a beautiful oak seat with brass hinges, a custom-made loo roll holder in oak & ash, rustic coat hooks and a wooden latch."
His work is also featured in the Shedworking book. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wednesday posts are sponsored by The Stable Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Jo Thompson's Chelsea Flower Show caravan now available in card format

Those of you who enjoyed Jo Thompson's shedworkingesque caravan at the Chelsea Flower Show this year will be pleased to know that you can now buy it as part of a new range of horticultural greetings cards launched by Dipingo. There will be 12 images of the garden in the new range which will be launched imminently. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Monday, June 11, 2012

The Book Barge




A floating bookshop will be high up on many readers' list of ideal shedlike atmospheres in which to work. The Book Barge is exactly that, an entirely refurbished 57ft narrowboat which is moored at Barton Marina, Staffordshire, and run by Sarah Henshaw whose business ethic is inspired by the slow food movement. As she says: "We hope to promote a less hurried and harried lifestyle of idle pleasures, cups of tea, conversation, culture and, of course, curling up with an incomparably good Book Barge purchase."

The stock is a mix of general new and secondhand which Sarah says have been carefully selected to offer a quality alternative to high street bestseller lists including specialist sections exploring topical issues, titular oddities and travel ephemera. There is also a personal bibliotherapy service, book club and a section on the web site where you can buy pleasant literary lairs. The nicest touch is that if you live within bicyling distance, they pedal your book to you personally. And they also have a unique dinghy delivery service... Well worth a browse. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.