Sunday, September 30, 2012

Eco Hubb


The new timber garden pods from Cornwall-based Eco Hubb boast a range of eco-friendly options as well as being built from sustainable and recycled products - these include solar panels, green insulation (sheep's wool, glass bottles or hemp) and low energy lighting.

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Sunday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Gustav Klimt: shedworker


For the last six years of his life, artist Gustav Klimt lived and worked in a garden studio (pictured above) on the outskirts of Vienna which then was completely absorbed into a much bigger villa, only to be rediscovered in 1998. It was in fact his second shedworking space as he had worked in the later part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th in another garden pavilion at another location in Vienna. Sadly the pavilion was demolished in 1966.

Happily, Klimt's final studio at Feldmühlgasse 11/15a, 1130 Vienna is now open to the public thanks to stirling work by The Gustav Klimt Memorial Society who won listed status for it and raised two million Euros to renovate it. More details at The Art Newspaper. ---------------------------------------------------
Saturday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Spaceplates greenhouse



Those of you with good memories will recall the extraordinary walking shed designed by N55. Suzanne Heath from design consultancy Ginkgo has been in touch about one of their projects for the South Bristol Skills Academy called The Spaceplates Greenhouse which has been commissioned from N55. It's an interesting shedworking atmosphere, an aluminium and polycarbonate greenhouse used for teaching but with an intriguing design. Here's what they say about it:
"The design of the greenhouse originates from the 'pure plate' structure which occurs in natural structures such as sea urchins, which are based on a hexagonal geometry. The pure plate structure is an elegant way of creating doubly-curved forms. Unlike in the lattice structures that are frequently used in much contemporary architecture, in pure plate structure the structural system and the cladding is one and the same thing. The geometrical and structural characteristics allow for extremely economical and simple building systems at any scale from small units to larger spans."
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Dunster House, the leading UK company for Log Cabins and Garden Offices sponsors Friday posts

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Gothic shedworking


If you want a shedlike atmosphere with a slight Edgar Allen Poe twist, take a look at the Salisubry Gothic Summerhouse from Ashford-based Ace Sheds, pictured above in White Ash. Cedar tile roof option available. Ace do a general range of non-Gothic sheds too including the straightforward traditional Guildford. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Homestead Timber Buildings - Manufacturers of Quality Timber Buildings

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Podtime: outdoor sleep pods



Siestas, as any fule kno, are a good thing. So for your shed-based sleeping needs, there is now the Podtime sleep pod. Most of the designs are for companies looking to provide employees with an indoor napping solution or as Podtime put it "a sanctuary for rest in an otherwise busy environment" but we're more intrigued by their flatpack outdoor model called the Double Pod made of wood and plastic.

These are a bit larger than the indoor ones at 1.2m high and 2m x 1.9m floor area and come in at £950 as opposed to £1,375 (plus VAT) with a simpler design and build (the indoor ones are a bit more plush). It comes with either a standard double mattress or double airbed and has lockable doors (key or non key) - optional extras include power sockets. As well as snoozing in there, you could also do some shedworking. Maybe.

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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, September 25, 2012

The hidden costs of garden offices


A very interesting post by Michael Angove on his blog about not only building his own garden office (pictured above) but of some of the additional costs of doing so. Here's a snippet:

"The studio had to be connected to the house which is 25m away. This took exactly 50m (£££) of Armoured Cable. We future proofed the cable by putting in extra junctions (£) for garden lighting sometime in the future. The cable was connected (£££), fuse box (££), Sockets and switches (££), Exterior Light (£) and an alarm connected wirelessly to the house. Storage Heater too (££)"
Well worth a look if you're thinking of going down the semi-DIY route. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
3rdSpace modular garden rooms
Tuesday posts are sponsored by 3rdSpace modular garden rooms.
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Monday, September 24, 2012

Shedworking: for and against

There's been a glut of surveys and media chitchat about the joys and perils of homeworking and shedworking over the last few days.

Research into the Chinese experience of homeworking has been particularly seized upon, including by Slate who ask 'Is telecommuting a good idea?' Despite using a rather bizarre term for it, their overall conclusion is 'Perhaps we’re not witnessing the end of 9-to-5. But the age of flex-time may indeed be at hand'. It's worth a look, including links to other bits of research and the original Chinese research paper by the folk at Stanford.

Then the BBC piled in with the similar 'Is teleworking driving us crazy?' (but come on chaps, keep up, nobody's called it 'teleworking' for years). They seem to be overall in favour of it but do point out some challenges. "As the boundaries between work and family life become increasingly blurred in the "always-on" era of digital communications," they say, "what psychological pressure does this put on us and our relationships with partners and families?" Again, worth a browse. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Der neue Hüttenzauber


There's a nice piece about shedworking - in German - featuring an interview with me in the main Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung by Juliane Lutz. Here's a snippet:
Ein paar Schritte durch den Garten statt Verkehrsstau und Platzrangelei im öV. Ein entspannter Blick ins Grüne anstelle der tristen Aussicht auf Mauern und Pulte. Keine nervenden Kollegen, dafür angenehmes Vogelgezwitscher. Ein Traum? Keineswegs. Vor allem in englischsprachigen Ländern entdecken immer mehr Menschen die Vorteile eines «garden office». Waren es anfangs meist kreative Freiberufler, entwickeln jetzt auch Softwarespezialisten Programme im umgenutzten Schuppen, und Anwälte empfangen dort Klienten.
And if your German is up to it, do have a look at a new book Fantasievolle Gartenhäuser: Pavillons, Lauben, Spiel- und Baumhäuser, Carports by Thomas Drexel, pictured above. ---------------------------------------------------
Saturday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Man Made Home: the new Walden?


We're just about to get overrun with television programmes about building shedlike atmospheres. Later this autumn Channel 4 will run a series fronted by George Clarke called Micro Designs which will be along similar lines to Kevin McCloud’s Grand Designs but focusing on very small build projects for living and working. And starting on Sunday at 8pm, McCloud himself has a new series on the same channel called Man Made Home in which he does a bit of a Walden and goes out into the woods to build an off-grid cabin of his own out of recycled and very locally-sourced materials. Here's what he says:
"This is the shed of my imagination; a shedtastic opportunity to explore off-grid ways of living, meet craftspeople of all ages and disciplines and ask whether living a life where we make and do is better than one where we simply buy and consume. A life-changing experience."
Not everybody is overjoyed at the programme's concept. Shedworker Nick Rosen, who runs the off-grid site describes it as "a bit of a vanity project", pointing out the problems of getting planning permission for such a project and that for something like this to succeed it really needs to be based around an off-grid community. Here's what he says:
“He says he is “off grid and off mains,” but if McCloud’s new series is to be anything more than an essay in Grand Selfishness it should be used to kick off a campaign to loosen the planning restrictions on building eco-homes in the countryside – and in the suburbs or in people’s back gardens. I call on McCloud to join with us to campaign for looser planning laws to allow a new generation of back-to-the-land homesteaders. This would create jobs and housing, and bring life back to the countryside."
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Dunster House, the leading UK company for Log Cabins and Garden Offices sponsors Friday posts

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Garden buildings and the new UK planning laws


Readers will be aware of the UK Government's plans to temporarily relax planning laws (see The Guardian for a brief rundown) which, to cut a long story short, means homeowners can more easily build massive extensions. The question is though, how will this affect garden offices and buildings?

"I believe that the government announcement should be extended to include outbuildings for residential annexes in the garden," says David Whitewood of CroatianCabin. "It seems strange that you will be able to build an a whopping great 8m extension and use it as an annexe yet will not be able to use an outbuilding as an annexe.

"The Conservatives announced back in July their support for annexes "used by family members to encourage pensioners to move in with relations" so why not extend this to annexes? Building regs could also be simplified by adopting BS 3632 - Mobile Homes designed for residential use are often referred to as Park Homes and this would also close the caravan in the garden as an annexe without planning, building regs or VAT, loophole."

David feels so strongly about the subject that he has written to his local MP Gregory Barker who has in turn written to Nick Boles MP - Under Secretary for State (Planning). We would be interested in the views of other suppliers as well as shedworkers. Please do leave your comments below. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Homestead Timber Buildings - Manufacturers of Quality Timber Buildings

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Could garden offices solve the UK housing problem?



A fascinating business proposition in Oxford is moving the shedworking/tiny houses story forward.

As reported by the BBC Oxford businessman Robin Swailes is marketing £25,000 shedlike pods (3m x 2.5m) with electricity, kitchen, bed, toilet, shower, underfloor heating and running water as small homes for those struggling to get onto the property ladder in the city.

The plan is that the upturned boatlike structures would be erected - once planning permission is granted - in gardens around Oxford and then rented out.

Interviewed in the Oxford Mail, Swailes - who has already set one up in his own garden in the Sunnymead area of town - said:
"We want to put pods all over central North Oxford and could have 12 in place by Christmas. People have been ringing to ask what on earth it is, so there’s lots of interest already. If the demand is there, there could be hundreds across the city within the next year. We came up with the idea because we can’t meet the demand for rental accommodation in central North Oxford." 
Oxford is one of the most expensive places to rent in the UK with an average rent of £891 a month – £185 more than the average for the rest of the country. Oxford has about 6,000 people on the council's housing waiting list and 165 more in temporary accommodation. The average house price in the city is £343,461.
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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.

Shed-shaped hurricane lamp

Designed by Normann Copenhagen. Made of coated steel and glass Width: 24.5cm, Height: 43.7cm, Depth: 24cm. For use indoors and outside. Clean with damp cloth. More details (and indeed to buy) at Caroline McGrath. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wednesday posts are sponsored by The Stable Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Queen Emma: galleon shed


Owned by Clare Kapma, The Queen Emma is modelled on HMS Victory and HMS Warrior in Portsmouth. It comes with rigging, Union Jack and naturally the Skull and Cross Bones. And a hammock. One of the many remarkable sheds on readersheds.co.uk and surely a contender for Shed of the Year 2013. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
3rdSpace modular garden rooms
Tuesday posts are sponsored by 3rdSpace modular garden rooms.
Customise | Configure | Extend | Relocate

Monday, September 17, 2012

Songs from the Shed needs your support NOW


Over the last few years readers of Shedworking will have enjoyed the sessions from Jon Earl's awardwinning Songs from the Shed which is a previous winner of the prestigious Shed of the Year award. Those who have performed inside include Paul Heaton and Fairport Convention while Tim Minchin was another recent famous face. Many less well known but equally talented musicians have also played there.

However, as reported on the BBC, the shed is in financial difficulties and Jon is, very reluctantly, considering closing it down. Here's what he told the BBC:
"From the beginning I said that no musician would ever have to pay to come and play, and the website subscribers would be able to watch for free. But the reality is, after three years, it's cost me several thousand pounds. The reality is the bills need paying. I spend about 40 hours a week of my own time running it with no real return," he said."I get up at 5am to do shed stuff. I have to fit it in around my normal job."

Please do consider making a donation (however big or small) at the Songs from the Shed site here. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Has the Olympics caused a seachange in Shedworking?


An excellent article by Philip Tidd at GenslerOnWork asks After the gold rush: a new workstyle revolution? and suggests that the experience of flexible working during the Olympics has turned people on to the idea that presenteeism truly is unnecessary and that shedworking and homeworking is a sensible way forward. Here's a snippet

So what other likely Olympic legacy themes will we see emerge, post-Games? The strapline of The Games was “inspire a generation” (to participate in more sports), but what about “inspiring a (re)generation” of working styles? I believe this theme - largely unexplored until the Games themselves were upon us – has enormous potential for the Capital and other major metropolitan cities: inspiring a flexible working revolution.
Well worth a browse.
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Saturday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Friday, September 14, 2012

MorphPOD




Shropshire-based MorphPODs offer two timber garden office designs for shedworkers. There's the the MorphPOD 2.2 (2.2 metres wide, x 3.3m long internal) which is largely built in their workshop and delivered by lorry or trailer, with optional bolt-on wheels so it can be moved around on site. And then there's the MorphPOD 3.4 (which is unsurprisingly 3.4m x 3.3m) which is constructed on site. No foundations are needed. Optional extras include veranda, furniture and WC/shower room. -----------------------------------------------------------------------
Dunster House, the leading UK company for Log Cabins and Garden Offices sponsors Friday posts

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Garden office on a boat trailer (video)

Another marvellous video from faircompanies.com showcasing the work of Jenine Alexander who has turned a salvaged $300 boat trailer into a mobile office. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Homestead Timber Buildings - Manufacturers of Quality Timber Buildings

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Shedworking in Texas






"With a growing family, I was in need of a home office with fewer distractions," writes graphic designer Bill Bridgeforth. "We considered renovating our attic (very expensive) or adding on to the house (still too accessible to kids). Somehow I came across the Shedworking blog and became fascinated with the idea of it. I checked out Modern Shed and Studio Shed and still thought it was too much to invest for a small graphic design business. So I started designing my own and worked with a contractor to construct it.

"I wanted it to be a place where I would be happy working most every day. Here in Allen, Texas, that meant insulation and a window air conditioner that we built right into the wall. I also wanted the trim and small details to look nice so that I would feel professional meeting with a client there. We even poured a small concrete walkway to connect with the patio and make it feel like an extension of the house. I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. It's an easy place for me to lose track of time and really focus on my work." ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wednesday posts are sponsored by The Stable Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fifty Sheds of Grey: The book


Here's the book of the Twitter feed that you've all been waiting for. Available very soon in Kindle and old fashioned paper formats. Here's some info about it:
'Hurt me!' she begged, raising her skirt as she bent over the workbench. 'Very well,' I replied, 'You've got fat ankles and no dress sense.' Colin Grey's life was happy and simple until the day everything changed - the day his wife read THAT book. Suddenly, he was thrust head-first into a dark, illicit world of pleasure and pain. This is the story of one man's struggle against a tide of tempestuous, erotic desire and of the greatest love of all: the love between a man and his shed. WARNING: This book contains graphic shed-based images. Please don't look if you are easily offended.
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3rdSpace modular garden rooms
Tuesday posts are sponsored by 3rdSpace modular garden rooms.
Customise | Configure | Extend | Relocate

Monday, September 10, 2012

Beauty therapy in a garden office


This is the first time eDEN Garden Room has been asked to build a garden room which will be used as a beauty therapy treatment room.

"The customer had a vision of creating a tranquil space for friends and family to enjoy beauty treatments surrounded by nature," says eDEN's Rachel Wichall. "Living in a medieval village, nestled in the Kent countryside, the customer’s property is Listed. For this reason the garden room did require planning permission from the local authority, which happened to be a relatively painless procedure. The only restriction the local authority put in place was that the garden room doors did need to be hardwood which was not a problem for us.

"The result is a tranquil space, which fits beautifully in the natural surroundings. Designed to meet the planning requirements and achieve all the customer’s detailed requirements for her beauty therapy room – we think this is a smasher! The team had a great time working on this project and it was a lovely client who sent a special message to the team when the garden room was completed thanking them for their hard work."

The full spec is: hardwood double glazed French doors (with security locks), slit window and hardwood opening window, clad in durable and high quality redwood larch cladding, fully insulated (walls, ceilings, floor), plastered and painted, heated by underfloor heating, finished with an overhang and decking, lit by spotlights and decking lights. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Is Ireland becoming a nation of shedworkers?


An interesting piece in the Irish Independent by Mark Keenan suggests that the economic downturn is "transforming Ireland into a nation of self-employed entrepreneurs who are increasingly working from home". Dublin based Bizquip, an Irish-owned supplier of office equipment, says supplies to home offices are rising fast, with homeworkers accounting for 15% of their furniture supply business. Bizquip owner and CEO Jim Leyden told Keenan:
"Particularly high demand has come from professionals in the 45 to 55 age group who have been either made redundant or have taken early retirement and have started working from home. They're either based in a box room in the house, converted a garage or else built a dedicated office in their gardens."
Sean Brett, owner of Galway-based shed outbuilding company Steeltech (pictured above is one of their shedworking designs) added that their garden office business had increased tenfold in the last six years. He told the paper:
"A return to home working after redundancy has certainly been a factor but we're finding that most of our home office buildings are going to self-employed individuals renting a small office in a commercial building but who are planning to base themselves at home to save on rent. Demand also comes from people who have retrained and are putting buildings in their gardens in which to offer counselling, therapy or sports massage."
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Saturday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Cross stitch shedworking


Like sheds? Likc cross stitch? You'll love this then from Hancock's House of Happy (click the link for full details) who has this to say about their shedworking setup:
"My workshop is a 6'x6' shed that takes up about a fifth of my backyard. Tired of having to share my living space with a messy hobby and never being able to leave clay out I cleared out the shed and that is where I do my pottery now. The arrangement seems to be working so far. It is going to be tricky in the winter as there is no heat or light in there. There are plans to get some electricity in it this year so that working in the winter time will be more comfortable."
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Dunster House, the leading UK company for Log Cabins and Garden Offices sponsors Friday posts

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Shedworking in Los Angeles: before and after


Jason Priluck bought a new house in Northridge, Los Angeles, six years ago. "Along with this beautiful house, came the most decrepit shed you’ve ever seen," he says. "We used it to store gardening tools, pesticides, weed killers, and the dead bodies of whatever animals “croaked” in there. Eventually, we forgot about it. It was just something that we agreed to never acknowledge existed.

"This past July, I found myself standing in the yard while staring at the shed. A light went off in my head and I decided that maybe there was something we could do with this after all! I spent some time on Shedworking doing research (along with a few others and a nifty iPad app called “Houzz”) and I came up with a plan. I recruited my 5-year-old son and together we’ve spent the past seven weeks turning our shed into a Man Cave."



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Homestead Timber Buildings - Manufacturers of Quality Timber Buildings