Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cob in Cornwall's new book

Friends of Shedworking Adam Weismann and Katy Bryce from Cob in Cornwall have a smashing new book out, 'Using Natural Finishes: Lime and Earth based plasters, renders and paints. A Step by Step Guide'. The book covers all aspects of the preparation and application of wall finishes made from lime and earth and the couple say they wanted it to be both informative and practical. "Our desire," they say, "is that this book can further encourage and make accessible the use of these traditional and ecological materials in both new and historic buildings." It's already got the thumbs up from various luminaries (“This highly informative and sumptuous book shows how the threat of climate change is also an opportunity to make buildings more beautiful.” Sunand Prasad, President of RIBA; “Adam and Katy are rethinking how we build and coming up with something beautiful.” John Vidal, Environement editor of The Guardain) and it definitely gets the Shedworking seal of approval. More information, sample chapters, and a link to ordering it attheir site here. I'm delighted to say that Cob in Cornwall will feature in the Shedworking book due out later this year.

Historical mobile shedworking

From July 1939 issue of Popular Science
Trailer Combines Home and Office
Home and office are combined in a custom-built trailer just completed for an executive whose business keeps him touring the country. Equipped with desks, typewriter, and electric dictating machine, it also provides the owner and his wife with satinwood-furnished living quarters, an upper-deck observation lounge, a tiled bathroom with hot and cold shower, and a stainless-steel kitchen with a range burning bottled gas. Telephones connect office, power car, and galley; and an air-conditioning plant maintains year-round comfort.
Via Modern Mechanix and Treehugger's Wayback Machine

Shed on wheels - update

Those of you following Laura Geary's marvellous shed on wheels project will be pleased to see it coming along so nicely (pictured above). Laura is assiduous in posting photos of the build also on the Garden Office group on Facebook if you fancy a nip along there too.

Tiny House blog

One of the runners in the race to replace Shepherd's Hut Tuesday is Tiny House Tuesday, a subject which to be honest is covered rather nicely already by the Tiny House blog run by the very friendly Kent Griswold. As an example of the site, which is well worth a browse, is the ski lodge featured in the Washington Post by Jura Koncius. It was once used as a children's playhouse but was saved from demolition and the 22-by-17-foot structure resited near Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County, the westernmost county in Maryland. Here's what Jura says:
"In planning how to reassemble the cabin, the Stieffs figured they needed a bit more space for family, friends and all that gear. "But it still had to be simple and rustic," Kelly says. They asked a local builder to draw up plans to double the cabin from a mere 600 square feet to about 1,200. The house had a high ceiling and a loft that fit two twin beds with trundles. The new plans called for a two-story addition dug into the slope off the back, creating a master bedroom and bath on the lower level and a sunroom-dining area above. An expanded front porch would offer a spot to gather at night and watch the stars."

Your Messages

Tonight I shall be reading at the Poetry Cafe in London a piece I wrote in my own garden office shed as part of the Your Messages project. This was a writing project run in November 2007 by shed champion Sarah Salway and Lynne Rees in which writers from around the world wrote 300 word short story-type pieces and the top 30 have been collected and turned into a short book published by the marvellous publishers Bluechrome. All proceeds go to the very deserving charity Kids Company. You can read more about the whole thing at Sarah's site here and at the main Your Messages site. And you can buy a copy of the book here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Shedworking book now available to pre-order...

Don't delay! Avoid disappointment! Beat the rush! You can now pre-order your copy (copies?) of Shedworking: the alternative workplace revolution which is available at Amazon.

Matthew Taylor - mediaPod

Matthew Taylor says the aim of mediaPod is to allow users to "'fly' through a media rich content world" and he describes his work as:
"the integration of environment, work processes and technology to provide human augmentation which facilitates Transition Managers in their work thereby enabling them to remain requisite with the rapidly increasing change and complexity our society has created and now faces but has not prepared for."
In a nutshell, shedworking. Taylor's aims for the mediaPod are that it should be easily and quickly installable, seat four to five adults, have good soundproofing, and fit within a 9 foot ceiling and 10 foot 6 inch footprint.It's interesting inside too with a sliding, rotating shelf mechanism which holds monitors, keyboards and any media equipment. There are lots more photos and plenty of excellent explanation of the actual build at Matthew's site here. In fact he has been working on shedlike atmospheres for some time. Pictured below are details of his Work Conservatory. Built of glass, steel and wood here's how he describes the philosophy behind the idea:
"The theme of the environment is an image from Omar Khayan, a Zen Garden, a piece of Xanadu [link]. The environment is to be tactile and sensuous, high touch and to be, visually, “frozen music.” It is to bring to work the concept of leisure and to bring both into the home. It is “Victorian” (in the best sense of the concept) in sensibility and detailing."
Thanks to John Chapman for the alert.

High rise garden office possibility

A common complaint from those who would like to work from their own garden is that they simply don't have one. Reinier de Jong has come up with an interesting solution: stack two-storey type houses on top of each other and give them decent outdoor space.
Via MoCo Loco

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Living wall planters

A touch of greenery within your shedworking atmosphere is of course just as nice as watching it through the window (not to mention doing you a power of good, physically and mentally). Here's a nice idea if you'd rather have the greenery growing out of the walls rather than on your desktop, living wall planters from the Gardener's Supply Company.Via Trendhunter

Shepherd's Hut Tuesday - C C G Edwards

We've been covering shepherds' huts regularly in some detail over the last few months and like all great things it's time to call it a day for this slot (though we'll still continue to write about them in the general run of things). As a final flourish, here is Clive Edwards' lovely painting of a shepherd's hut, watercolour on paper, painted at Shillingstone in Dorset which you can also buy to adorn your own shedworking atmosphere.

Mablethorpe beach hut

Following the major success of the Bathing Beauties competition and exhibition last year, it will be interesting to see if there is a resurgence of interest in beach hut architecture. Here's an indicator that great things may be afoot, a beach hut in Mablethorpe spotted by Guzzisue at Travel, Fibre and Thread who says it is constructed of wooden strips interleaved with either perspex or glass.Via Shedblog

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Signal Box

Signal boxes are one of the most delightful of shedworking atmospheres and for those of you who like a kind of experience, the place to head for is most definitely The Signal Box run by John Hinson which offers encyclopaedic coverage of anything you could possibly want to know about the subject. Of particular interest to shedworking afficianados will be the photo gallery pages. These document the many variations in signal box architecture around Britain by region, style, contractor and operator. As well as the photos there is plenty of relevant signalling information for each one. "This section is the result of a massive project I set myself in the 1970's," writes John, "to photograph every variation in architecture that existed." Well worth a browse, especially if you like trains.

Art Shanty Projects

Pictures of this year's Art Shanty Projects are starting to roll in. For more details, go to the Flickr pages here and here.

Vision One Computer Desk

Most desks don't stand out from the crowd, not a criticism which could be levelled at the Vision One. Here's what the manufacturers say about it:
"The Vision One Computer Workstation is the ultimate home entertainment computer desk. The V1 computer desk can be used as a computer gaming chair, flight simulator, racing simulator, cad workstation, video editing workstation, sound editing workstation, personal movie theater, surround sound music environment and more."
Via Trendhunter

One Alfred Place - third place working

New club for mobile entrepreneurs One Alfred Place gets a nice write-up on the pages of Enterprise Nation where editor Emma Jones says: "I took one quick look at their website and thought “this is perfect for home business owners who have business to do in the city and want a place as a base.” Here's what the club says about itself:
"If you live and work outside Central London, but come in for business, you know the problem. Nowhere to hold meetings. Nowhere to make phone calls or keep up with emails between meetings and no office support. Welcome to One Alfred Place - a new kind of club that combines the best of a private members' club with your own London office. A stylish, spacious interior filled with bespoke furniture and stunning contemporary art in which to network, hold meetings, work and relax. Excellent food and drink. Club PA's to provide the support you expect from your own PA. Wireless network, free email, free 0207 number, voicemail, power points everywhere, showers, lockers and much more. And members can use their mobiles almost everywhere in the club."
The club opens at the start of February.

Channel 4's new beach hut indent

Via Shedblog

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Stylish tentworking

We've always enjoyed tentworking and here's another stylish way to do some garden officeworking from Atelier Oi without any Western Red Cedar.
Via My Urban Garden Deco Guide

Friday, January 25, 2008

Famous Lego sheds

A great piece in The Independent celebrates 50 years of Lego and details how they sent buckets of it to various famous folk (Alexa Chung, Sir Paul Smith, Rankin, Trevor Beattie, Right Said Fred, Peter Saville, Amy MacDonald, Ken Shuttleworth) to see what they would create. One shedworking atmosphere emerged, from shed champion Trevor Baylis  who comments:
"When I picked up the box of Lego I did wonder what I was going to do with it. I thought that the obvious thing would be to make a building but that's a bit boring. Then I looked around my workshop – the graveyard of a thousand domestic appliances – and I said, 'Blimey, this is perfect', so I've made a reproduction of my workshop. There's my workbench with my lathe on it, my pillar drill, my grinding wheel, my grindstone, a computer and a first-aid box. It was a bit of fun, and you know what, I can understand why kids play with it: it's good stuff."

Straw Bale Shed

Shedworking is a big fan of using straw in a shed build and Uncle Wilco at Shedblog highlights a particular good example of this at where you can find plenty more images. It was built by James Dexter from Norwich who comments:
"May be extended underground at some point to start subterranean 'base'...actually I would be interested to hear if anyone has used their shed as a starting point to dig underground. If the shed is conceived as a 'retreat', then it seems to me that psychologically the next step is to with"draw secretively into the earth itself. No?"

Around the shedworld

Coolhunter likes Tod Hanson's marvellous Dot Riveted Drawing Room (pictured above), a stately home in a modern structure... the Daily Telegraph visits a Cumbrian folly with a bright future... Adam Pasco, editor of Gardener's World magazine, asks for tales from your shed on his blog... Materialicious has some very nice Trulli to gawp at... Shedblog has a great idea for a Valentine's present for the shedworker in your life... Home Office Warrior looks at must-have applications for homeworkers... Jetson Green profiles the office building of the future... Treehugger asks, is it a prefab or is it a boat?... Trendhunter focuses on the hi-tech eco igloo Whitepod (pictured below)...

Friggebod Friday - plussarum

A collection of lovely examples of the friggebod form from Stockholm-based plussarum. Here's what they say:
"Smakfullt, flexibelt, tidlöst… den moderna friggeboden för de mest skiftande miljöer. I skärgård, vid Gotlandshus, Skånelänga eller funkishus, eller med dagens arkitektur… Du behöver inte längre rita eget eller anlita egen arkitekt – du kan beställa våra arkitektritade småhus på knappt 10 kvm som byggsats. Och är du händig kan du själv montera huset."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Magic Box

Not all prefab garden offices are made of wood of course, but very few allow such a public viewing of your shedworking atmosphere as the Magic Box. Here's what the Magic Box folk say about it:
"The Magic Box also creates innovative life styles and business environment; You are free to drive your imagination into transforming this box into your own working space or space for your hobbies. Magic Box's basic form is a cube structure which can be used in various ways, such as detached living quarters, cottages, stores, offices, cafes, etc. Magic Box provides very modern, cute, and charming space."
Offices in California and Tokyo.
Via MoCo Loco


We've covered sheds within sheds before such as the Whisper Room and the Yamaha Avitechs MyRoom and here are two more examples, aimed at musicians but in reality perfect for some in-home shedworking too. First, the Studio Box (pictured above). Fans of modular prefab will admire its construction techniques with an installation time for a standard size vocal booth of two to four hours: no screwing, sawing, drilling, caulking or any other mechanical work required. Or try the Vocal Booth, used as portable projector enclosures at the Sundance Film Festival. Pictured below is one of their five-sided Diamond series models designed to use the corner of a room. There is also a useful Featured Artist section where you can see and read about how they work in situ and also some interesting bespoke examples here. They claim assembly time for their Standard model is just 30 minutes, again with no tools necessary.


Perry's LittleDiggs site is a marvellous spot, full of shedworking atmospheres and other buildings, apartments, studios, etc, which are 500sq ft or smaller. Here's how he describes it:
"Since moving to NYC from my home town, San Francisco, I've become fascinated and intrigued by small space living. Having lived alone in an 1800 sq ft loft with 13' ceilings in SF to half that space, with my partner and my dog, in a 950 sq ft. apartment, in NYC, seemed like a daunting and impossible prospect. Things like, personal space, editing down everything I own, maximizing space, organization, function, aesthetics, and architecture took on a new meaning for me. Though my current apt. space is considered medium to large by some NYC standards, I became interested in how people live in less than half the space (500 sq. ft or less) than I do."
Well worth a browse

Vote for Shed Lit

Time's running out to vote for Pauline Rowson's marine artist and shedworking hero Adam Greene in the prestigious Spread The Word World Book Day 2008. The deadline is midday tomorrow (January 25). Remember, a vote for In Cold Daylight is a vote for shedworking and shedworkers everywhere. Click here to log in and vote and get a chance to win £100 of National Book Tokens. If Pauline wins the £5,000 prize money she is going to donate it to the Fire Service National Benevolent Fund, so everybody will be happy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Eden Project - shed champions

The Eden Project in Cornwall is not only a fascinating place to visit, it also loves sheds. As Uncle Wilco points out at Shedblog, among their recent exhibits was the Water Shed (pictured), designed to celebrate World Water Day on 22 March 2006 by Digit in association with WaterAid. This is how Wateraid describe it:
"On the outside the installation looks like a traditional garden shed and houses familiar objects such as a watering can, hosepipe and bucket. Visitors are drawn in to interact with the digital landscape wrapped around the interior, as users interact with the bare landscape by 'watering' the various elements, the environment on screen evolves and flourishes. Vines start to wrap around the shed frame while trees grow and start to spell messages as they are fed. When the watering ceases, the foliage shrivels back to its neutral state. By aiming the hose or the watering can at the sky, the clouds part to reveal water-related messages."
But they also have other shedworking structures, designed by shedworking engineer and cartoonist Tim Hunkin who says:
"A shed is wonderfully practical. It insulates sound and keeps out daylight so each shed can be a completely different world inside. Sheds are also very cheap and easy to prefabricate, so exhibits can be completely finished and tested off site. Their only drawback is the need to cover them in intumescent fireproof paint - horrible gloopy stuff which ruins any surface.
Among his works for the project is the Edeon Cinema (pictured) with plywood seats which catered for audiences of up to 11 people with the video projector on a shelf above the entrance door.

Another success was Rubberworld (pictured). Tim comments:
"Rubber is a good good subject. It combines stuff about plants (that Eden like) with stuff about the history of technology (that I like) and a touch of vulgarity (rubber fetishism and condoms). We found enough images and objects to completely stuff the 8 by 12 shed, giving it the appearance of a Victorian style museum. We received an enormous amount of help from the Malaysian Rubber Development association, who had a brilliant photo library and provided many great rubber objects and lumps of raw rubber. Rubberworld has since been re-erected outside near the biomes. The sign is a sheet of rubber, in front of the lettering cut into a wooden sheet connected to a vacuum pump. As the pump sucks, the lettering is revealed and the gloves round the edge inflate with the air sucked out of the letters."
The Eden Project also has less spectacular but nonetheless attractive sheds too.

InsideOut in Scotland

Lynn Fotheringham from Inside Out Buildings talks on her The Office In The Garden blog about a recent build in rural Fife, their most northerly office build to date. She writes:
"As you can see, we usually build the garden office before the landscaping is complete. This building is now surrounded by paths, deckings and bushes, but when we photographed it hours before completion the garden was still in its raw November state. This en-suite garden office needed planning permission, not because of the en-suite but because it is nearer to the road than the main house is. Our lovely client practices lymphatic drainage to help patients suffering from lymphoedema."

Globus - mobile shedworking space

Capsule offices, mini-shedworking atmospheres on wheels, are becoming increasingly popular. Here is Michiel van der Kley's new design offering, the Globus, what he calls "a personal mobile workstation" with a rotating chair, pull-out table top, and wheels. And when it's closed it looks rather nicely spherical.
Via Yanko Design with more photos at Artifort

Messy desks depressing office workers

A new report from Lloyds TSB - who claim to be spring cleaning nearly 2,000 of their branches to create a more pleasant working environment for their staff (and customers) - suggests that one in five workers are prepared to quit their jobs because the mess and clutter on colleagues' desks is getting too much for them. The survey of 500 staff in retail firms showed that most believe that trying to work in a "state of disorder" hits their productivity and affects their personal lives too, leaving them depressed and demotivated.Talking of which, please nip along to our Home Office Flickr group and post your photos of your own home office, which hopefully isn't depressing you too much.
Via The Scotsman and Uncle Wilco.

Chris Moyles and Scott Mills - shed champions

The advance publicity for the second National Shed Week in July is getting underway nicely. Uncle Wilco has recently been in contact with the fine folk at BBC Radio 1 and this week Shed of the Year judge appeared on the Scott Mills show to talk about sheds (and other things, but mainly sheds) which you can hear again here if you missed it. And then it was the turn of Mr Chris Moyles who was so taken with last year's winner that he left a message on Tony's page.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bookshelf - Shedworking's first spin-off site

Shedworking is about so much more than merely getting on with your work in your garden office (or garden office-like atmosphere). One of the delights of having your own space is that you can furnish it exactly how you like, which is why Shedworking regularly profiles interesting new designs which can make your home office a special place to telecommute from. Naturally chairs and desks are among the most regularly featured items on the site, but so are bookshelves and we've come across so many interesting bookshelf/case designs that we've decided that our first satellite site - rather than cover animal sheds as suggested by Garden Monkey - will be Bookshelf. We've started it up so please do nip across and take a look if you want some book candy. And of course if you spot something on your interweb travels you feel should be featured, please get in touch.

Shepherd's Hut Tuesday - Ashwood Timber

Family-run business Ashwood Timber manufacture timber garden buildings and mobile homes. And shepherds' huts.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Shedworking without walls

Anne at My Urban Deco Guide has an interesting post, Architects of shade, where she focuses on the work of Gerald Wurz and Sunsquare. "I love these giant shade sails," she says, "because they have the ability to almost create mini outdoor rooms even far away from any proper house." Lovely for a little light tentworking.

World's (well, America's) ugliest home office competition

ZyXEL is searching for “America's Ugliest Home Office”, an online contest where consumers can enter photos of the office space that most needs an intervention in the form of a HomePlug networking kit that enables SOHO users to network their home or small office using their existing electric lines. Consumers are encouraged to submit digital images of their ugly office beginning January 1, 2008. All photos will be posted on Voting for “America's Ugliest Home Office” will take place on February 15, 2008, and the contest winner will be announced by February 18, 2008. Participants must by 18 years or older and legal residents of the United States.
Click here for more information. And don't forget to upload photos of your home office, ugly or not, to our new Flickr group here.

Choosing a shed - Domespace

Domespace produce spruce, pine and oak wooden domes for living and shedworking (above is their Transit 4,35 model) with the added bonus that it is largely hurricane resistant. According to the brochure, the whole thing is rotatable (using a remote control from inside, the movement is not noticeable), light, warm, has good humidity, and is spacious with cork insulation. Options include solar panels. If your French is a bit rusty try the Solaleya site, the US distributor but the best photos are at the French site.

Green roofs onto existing pitch roof

Green roofs are becoming very popular now but on the Green Building Forum there is an interesting discussion going on answering this question which has particular relevance for shedworkers, how practical is it to turn a traditional pitched roof into a extensive green roof? One of the posters, Tom Foster, also points to some interesting photos of Norwegian examples of just this, pictured above and below.

Green home office

A nice little piece in the Sunday Times by Barry Collins looks at how to keep your garden office nice and green. Nothing very radical (switch off power, minimise printer waste, buy green gear, dispose of old equipment sensitively) but still worth a quick browse.

Tips for working from home discussion

There are plenty of articles about how to best work from home but often they lack much input from actual homeworkers. However, there's a very active chat going on at zenhabits which is worth having a browse around.
Thanks to Mary for the alert.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Steelcase shedworking space

An intriguing example of the newlook workspace environment built for home office furniture specialist Steelcase by PearsonLloyd.
Via dezeen