Monday, February 29, 2016

Garden office windows: Activent roof window for felt roofs


If you have a garden office with a felt roof and want to add some light to the interior, take a look at  the Activent roof window which the company claims is the only roof window specifically designed to fit onto felt roofs (and is fine for people who are handy at DIY). Here's what they say:
"With lightweight but extremely tough acrylic sheet glazing and a powder coated finish this window is designed to be tough and durable in all enviroments. Activent can be fitted to any thickness of roof material and any design of building"
It certainly gets the thumbs up from Andy at Workshopshed who gives a step by step guide to installation at his excellent site. --------------------------------------------------------------------
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Friday, February 26, 2016

Literary Trumps


As well as running Shedworking and Bookshelf, regular readers know that I have also published various books over the last half dozen years. This year, instead of a book, it's a game - Literary Trumps. I am hoping to crowdfund this via the excellent book publisher Unbound which crowdfunds all its titles (you may have read the best-selling Letters of Note or the Booker short-listed The Wake). There's even a shed element...

The game is played along similar lines to other Trump games you will have played in your youth, only instead of classic cars or dragsters, Literary Trumps is all about writers, their quotability, their ouptut and their speed. Please do click on the links above for more information and do consider making a pledge to fund it - the whole thing will only happen if 500 people generously put their hands in their pockets.

And of course there's sheds involved. Readers with long memories will remember that Shedworking actually helped launch Unbound several years ago. It all happened in a garden office at the Hay Festival and each writer who launches a project on the website has their own 'shed' area where people who pledge get exclusive updates.

So please do have a look and help fund a fun game.

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Shedcation: Go on holiday in a shed


As part of the launch of the 2016 Shed of the Year competition, Cuprinol and Airbnb are working together to offer a range of holiday accommodation which is entirely shed-based. Indeed, a poll which is part of the campaign suggests two thirds of people would prefer to holiday in a shed rather than a cottage, caravan or tent.

 
A special 'shed wishlist’, put together by Uncle Wilco, founder of Shed of the Year, is made up of previous Shed of the Year finalists as well as new hopefuls taking part in this year’s competition.

The shedcation possibilities include the repurposed ‘Corrugated Cottage’ which dates back to 1940 and was originally built for WWII land girls, and the ‘Boatel’, a shed created out of an upcycled boat. Pictured above is the 'Maid of Dekkin' and below is the 'Pool House'.


"Each year the competition seeks to crown the most amazing sheds from across the country and it seems the nation’s love of sheds is stronger than ever," said Uncle Wilco. "We’ve already seen a massive influx of entries into this year’s competition, spanning everything from those inspired by the architectural conquests of Grand Designs to the wacky and wonderful hand crafted creations."
 
The Shed of the Year competition for 2016 is open for registration. To register your shed and take part, visit www.readersheds.co.uk

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Yoga/psychiatrist studio




This yoga studio in London was designed by Neil Dusheiko Architects and aims to be as unobtrusive as possible within a heavily planted area. It is used by a psychiatrist as a meeting and consultation room during the day and for them to practice yoga at night. According to the architects, "the space is conceived as an inhabited wall, an extension to the existing boundary condition". The exterior is made of textured blacked Cedar using a traditional Japanese technique called Shou Sugi Ban. Interestingly, as the Shedworking staff are always interested in underground garden offices, the building is sunk into the ground. ----------------------------------------------------
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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Three quarters of Australians would take a salary cut to work from home


 Around 55 per cent of Australians are prepared to take a drop in salary by up to 20 per cent in order to work from home, according to a poll by recruitmen specialists Hays. A further 22 per cent would accept a drop of 10 per cent.

“Some want to reduce stress and improve their mental and physical wellbeing by eliminating an exhausting commute. For others working from home, even one or two days a week, can be the make or break of being able to stay in their job,” said Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand. “From an employer’s perspective staff who work from home are more productive, satisfied and motivated to do their best. They also offer a cost saving because they don’t take up a desk in the office.”

In the poll of 10,000 people in Australia and New Zeland, 21 per cent of New Zealanders said they were prepared to lose up to 20 per cent of their salary in order to work from home, with an additional 37 per cent happy to take a reduction of up to 10 per cent.

Jason Walker, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand said the disparity between the two countries was partly due to their respective sizes. "We live in a country not only of stunning natural beauty but where most of us can afford to live within a relatively short commuting distance from our workplace. Our travel time into work is often shorter than many Australians experience" -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Monday, February 22, 2016

Eastbourne beach huts competition shortlist


The shortlist for Eastbourne’s The Huts beach hut competition has been announced (more details at the official site here). The aim is to "create new visitor attractions and enhance Eastbourne’s reputation as a town embracing culture and design".


The architects’ shorlist is:

* Alvaro Fernandez from specialists in public library, automotive retailing workplace and higher education design - Bissett Adams for their design Pipe Dreams (above)
* Pol Gallagher from the winner of the 2012 competition to design the sculptural entrance to Dublin City University - ZAP Architecture for The Observatory (top)
* Stephen Foley from Dublin based SFA whose previous work includes Avondale Park Pavilion and the award winning Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies for his design What Unearthed? (pictured bottom)
* Jacob Low from Jak Studio, based in London and Sarajevo, whose recent projects include the Listening Project Booth for BBC Radio 4 for their entry Spyglass (pictured second from bottom)
* Alpa Depani and James Marrinan for The Shingle Hut
* James Hampton from the London based architectural and landscape design practice Periscope for The Driftwood Hut
* George King from London and Melbourne based George King Architects who created the beach hut House of Mirrors on Bondi Beach for his proposal Star Gazers’ Hut
* Ewen Miller and Kim Smith from the RIBA Award winning Calder Peel for Eastbourne Reborn

The finalists in the community category are local artist Lucy Dean , a group entry from students at Sussex Downs College under Sheila Hay and a group entry from Age Concern under Claire Shoosmith.

The shortlist of entries will be exhibited to the public March 9-14 at Gowland Court, 137 - 139 Seaside Road, Eastbourne. The outcome of the competition will be five bespoke designed iconic huts which will be sited at key locations in Devonshire ward, to the east of the pier, forming part of the route of the Coastal Culture Trail linking the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne, De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill and Jerwood Gallery in Hastings.





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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Loneliness and homeworking: Tips on how to be happy


 Loneliness affects almost half of the UK’s homeworkers, according to a new study by AXA Insurance. However, it also finds that loneliness lessens year on year, and those who persist learn the trick of happiness.

More than 80% of people who start a home business do it because they want to set their own working hours, says the report, while freedom from co-workers/bosses is top for 77 per cent, and for two thirds, peace and quiet is most important. A year in, however, and they can feel they’ve had too much of a good thing: loneliness, professional isolation and punishing hours appear to be common.

Just under half of the homeworkers polled said they feel lonely sometimes and it’s a daily struggle for one in three. The most common reason was not too many hours alone, but not being able to talk about their business with someone who understands it. Only 14 per cent say they can discuss business worries with friends and family, and two thirds miss the sympathetic ear of a colleague.

Unsociable hours, meanwhile, deepen the sense of isolation: two thirds of homeworkers work into the night for their clients, and one in three say their hours are excessive.

The study found that the longer you work from home, the happier you become, with levels of loneliness decreasing over time. AXA identified the top four traits of the happy homeworker.

* Create social moments: Getting out for lunch was voted the best mood booster: banter with local shopkeepers help one in five, and one in ten go out just to chat to strangers. Regular lunches or drinks with other homeworkers emerged as the best way to feel professionally connected.
* Work office hours on your ‘on’ days: People who start work before 6am or regularly work into the evenings reported the highest rates of loneliness. The least lonely, meanwhile, overwhelmingly work office hours.
* Exercise your right to skive: Sledging with neighbours, open top car rides on a sunny day, carol singing and even skydiving -- the happiest homeworkers do exercise their right to ‘skive off’ occasionally. The business often benefits too: 'I met friends in Soho and had a drink instead! Came back with some great ideas though – so very glad I did it!'
*And some unexpected tips: Working in the living room, with the radio on with the company of dog or cat was named the happiest scenario. In fact, getting a pet was named the best way to beat loneliness by a quarter of homeworkers. Least happy are those who work at the kitchen table, wear pyjamas or have the TV on.

“When starting a home business, it's common to have a business plan. Few people plan a strategy for happiness though,” says Darrell Sansom, Managing Director at AXA Business Insurance. “The idea isn't as bizarre as it sounds. Once you venture out on your own, your business will depend wholly on your wellbeing. The good news is that people do become happier the longer they work at home, and you can learn how they do it. Other homeworkers can be a huge source of inspiration and hard-won wisdom. Local groups can provide the strongest friendships, and online networks are a good start if there aren’t many opportunities in your area.” ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thursday posts are sponsored by Cabin Master: garden offices and studios to fit any size garden. Top quality contemporary or traditional buildings.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The garden office dream

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Monday, February 15, 2016

The Woodies by the Ponds



There are very few books aimed at a younger shedworking reader, but Cathy Watts' The Woodies by the Ponds is an honorable exception. Cathy writes at her home in Tortington Priory from her garden office, a Writer's Retreat model from Scotts of Thrapston inspired by Virginia Woolf's writing hut. It also features in the Sussex-based author's book, illustrated by Emma Ball, which focuses on the 'Woodies', tiny folk who travel on the backs of dragonflies and have adventures with the wildlife around the Priory's ponds.
 
Cathy's previous books will also be of interest as they feature the 'Sandies', creatures who live under beachhuts and come out at night to tidy up after humans.
   
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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Landmark Trust and historic shedworking


Interesting news from the Landmark Trust charity that could have an effect on historic shedworking properties. They have emphasised their ongoing commitment to saving irreplaceable threatened historic buildings and are now particularly targeting certain neglected building categories which includes:

• Small and significant industrial buildings
• Seaside and leisure buildings such as pavilions and villas
• Transport and communications structures like signal boxes and semaphore towers
• Remote and unchanged rural domestic houses and crofts

Pictured is the Radio Room on Lundy, Devon. It was a radio transmitter station in the early part of the 20th century and now provides accommodation for one. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thursday posts are sponsored by Cabin Master: garden offices and studios to fit any size garden. Top quality contemporary or traditional buildings.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Tin Tank

Tin Tank Budget from backyard #shedoftheyear An early favourite among the Shedworking staff for this year's Shed of the Year is Luca Volonte's 'Tin Tank' which will be a marvellous garden office. The wooden frame is clad in aluminium. "Aluminium cladding is very effective as waterproofing layer and it should be maintenance free for many years," says Luca. "In addition, during summer, it reflects sun rays keeping internal temperature a little bit lower." ----------------------------------------------------
Wednesday posts are sponsored by The Stable Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Garden offices, privacy pods, and 2016's work trends


An interesting article by Alison Coleman at Virgin.com about workplace trends for this year. She looks at privacy pods (the kind of indoor shedworking ideas that have become very common in recent years, such as the Nuovo above), roof gardens and general wellbeing. Here's a snippet:
Some believe that 2016 will be the year of the garden office, a trend that has already become hugely popular with growing numbers of home workers and entrepreneurs who need a dedicated workspace in their home. Charlie Lear, design consultant at Harrison James Garden Rooms, says: "The ability to do more with less is invaluable when it comes to developing a start-up business. Working from the home in a dedicated environment, such as a garden office, ensures that your most precious assets of time, energy and money are maximised."
Well worth a browse. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tuesday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning

Monday, February 08, 2016

Super Bowl shedworking

Congratulations to Studio Shed who brought the shedworking ethic to the Super Bowl over the weekend. The Colorado-based garden office and buildings company were naturally rooting for the Denver Broncos, but in addition they were also selected to supply six custom Studio Mini models as security checkpoints and water kiosks for the general festivities. Every shed left their factory fully built, including all interior finishes and electrical wiring, then delivered by forklift truck ready for use. --------------------------------------------------------------------
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Friday, February 05, 2016

George Bernard Shaw and his writing hut


I haven't been able to track down the full text of this article by Alice McEwan on Shaw and his writing hut - George Bernard Shaw and his Writing Hut: Privacy and Publicity as Performance at Shaw's Corner - but the abstract sounds intriguing.
This article will argue that the locus of [Shaw's] fluidity and theatrical imagination was a writing hut in the form of a revolving shelter, built in a secluded part of the garden, hidden from view. Equipped with a bed and a writing table, Shaw fashioned an outside study as an intermediate space. A site for the performance of the self and an advertisement for his socialist ideas, it was particularly constructive in the promotion of health reform. He ensured that his hut gained notoriety worldwide through the mass media in the form of journal articles and photographs, against the backdrop of his own burgeoning interest in photography and the media. Through the Habermasian theory of “audience-oriented subjectivity” and the ideas of architectural historian Beatriz Colomina, Shaw is considered in ways that have not previously been recognized: anticipating the concerns of modern architecture and Modernism, dematerializing boundaries between inside and outside, between privacy and publicity.
You can see a previous photo essay about the hut here though I'm afraid it doesn't mention the Habermasian theory of “audience-oriented subjectivity”  --------------------------------------------------------
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Thursday, February 04, 2016

Forest domes


What happens when transparent meets domes? The answer is the Finn Lough Bubble House, a transparent dome (built admittedly as holiday accommodation, but equally wonderful as a garden office) in Fermanagh. Particularly attractive for stargazers, it features a four poster bed, waterfall shower and underfloor heating. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thursday posts are sponsored by Cabin Master: garden offices and studios to fit any size garden. Top quality contemporary or traditional buildings.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Why Look at Cabin Porn?


 This is a marvellous essay (and I mean essay, it's not a 2 minute thing to whizz through on Buzzfeed) about why we like looking at shedlike structures by Finn Arne Jørgensen, associate professor of history of technology and environment at Umeå University, Sweden, and published by Duke University Press (you can download a pdf of the whole thing from their site here).

Here's a couple of snippets to whet your appetite:
The rise of cabin porn as a visual genre reflects a growing international interest in cabins, shedworking, and rustic, exurban living off the grid — most of it romanticizing rural and low-tech lifestyles.

The images seem to say that we once lived in simpler conditions, in architecture closer to nature. We lived more productive and more honest lives. In the peace and quiet away from the distractions of modern life, we could listen to ourselves. The images of cabin porn whisper to us of this lost state of grace, of an age of wood and earth and things that were real and true. The cabins of cabin porn are as much ideas as actual places.... On the surface, the disembodied architecture of cabin porn seems to be a form of nostalgia, where the dream of the cabin becomes an arena for resolving an ambivalent relationship to technology and all the bothersome things of modern life.... In looking at cabin porn, trying to articulate exactly what is essential and desirable about the cabin, we are also looking at ourselves and who we aspire to be. 
 Image from the Cabin Porn site by Peter Weiss

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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Designing a garden office


A nice piece by designer Katie Malik about designing garden offices and thinking about small spaces. Here's a snippet:
I have been recently asked to design a small garden office for a client who runs a charity. He wanted the space to have a bit of industrial, Brighton cafe feel and allow him to work. I arranged a space so that he has some space to put his laptop on, but also to relax and read if he decided to take a short break or invite someone in. There’s also some shelving to display his memorabilia from Africa, a super cool, vintage music player that ‘has it all’, and even some space to put notes.
You can see Katie's own shedworking atmosphere here. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Monday, February 01, 2016

Pub shedworking


A nice short piece by the FT's deputy graphics editor Graham Parrish about replacing his dilapidated garden shed with three shiny new ones and giving each a different purpose, including one as a mini-pub and den. Here's a snippet:
"Hours on eBay resulted in a stream of fittings and fixtures being delivered, including bar stools, beer pumps, mirrors and a dart board. We drew the line at a grand piano and snooker table, but have recently added electricity, a sofa, WiFi, a television set with Netflix and an imitation log burner."

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