Sunday, August 31, 2008

Could you work in a floating garden office?

Keeping on the aquatic theme, Fraser Weir over at the cabin living blog asks if there's anybody out there who would be interested in commissioning a log cabin on a barge (and is going to put together some plans in the near future so it's worth checking back). Here are some of his early thoughts:
"Why not buy a steel barge from Holland as done on Grand Designs and then build a Helsinki Log cabin on the deck? I think it would be a grand design worth seeing. Not only would the hull provide additional accommodation but the Helsinki itself has four rooms for living in... I'm not sure what the barge itself would cost plus the mooring but the cabin is around £10,000. We can even fit the kitchen and bathrooms as well as the log cabin. It could be a very inexpensive way to have a luxury home close to London."
You can find more details about cabin living here.
Photo of a floating shed in Amsterdam by Ange

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Floating Swedish shed

There's a pleasant synchronicity sometimes in the shed world: I was planning to write a piece today on this marvellous floating shedlike atmosphere highlighted at sköna hem and Poppytalk and recommended by Shedworking reader Emma Stone and have just noticed that Justin at materialicious has just featured it too. Anyway, it's a lovely piece of work, entirely off-grid and as Justin says: "There’s a little motor on the back and a flip-up steering wheel on the roof for whenever they want to move the cabin ….. pretty cool, eh?" More photos, by Johan Carlson, at all of the sites mentioned above.

Just how many shedworkers are there?

This is a question that I'm always asked by the media as well as fellow shedworkers (and the short answer is that I just don't know). But it's not just me, the figures for homeworkers, teleworkers, whatever you want to call them, are also frightening vague. Work2-0 has a good post on the fact that four recent separate polls have all given different results in answer to the question of whether working from home in the US and Canada is on the up, on the down, or neither. Well worth a browse.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Shedworker's Bookshelf - The DIY Guide to Green & Living Roofs

This is one for your virtual bookshelf as it's only available as a pdf (though I suppose you could print it out and bind it if you really wanted). Two of the UK's leading proponents of green roofs have teamed up to produce The DIY Guide to Green & Living Roofs, a guide aimed at individuals with a Do-It-Yourself inclination along with those having trouble persuading local contractors to take up the challenge of installing a green roof on their behalf.

Published by Dusty Gedge of and John Little of The Grass Roof Company, features details on how to convert existing sheds to take a green roof as well as instructions on how to build a small green roof from scratch. It is available in eBook formats at for £11.65.

"Over the last few years we have both been inundated with phone calls and emails from people keen to build their own green roofs or to convert their sheds and existing roofs to green roofs," says Dusty. "As enthusiasts it is difficult not to reply to emails and answer phone calls but we both struggle to keep up so we decided to write the guide to try and give people a starting point. Big green roofs on large developments are one thing but there is also a huge appetite out there at the micro level. This guide hopes to meet that appetite, not only in the UK but also in North America, Australia and throughout Europe."

John adds:
"We also want to challenge the 'IKEA' approach to green roofs. You don’t have to go out and buy a system. You can source all the individual components yourself, hopefully locally, and create your own unique green roof. That is the second point of the guide. When I started out 10 years ago I just wanted to build green roofs. There was no information out there to help me so I had to learn through experience only. Every small building I have built has had a green roof installed and over 10 years you realize that it can be quite simple. At the end of the day Dusty and I just want to see more green roofs and we hope this guide helps add to what is already happening out there on the larger scale."
John and Dusty are also planning to run workshops based on the guide throughout the UK over the next year and hope to feature many of the projects stimulated by the guide on their websites.

Andres Miguel Lillo Coria

A little shed candy as we head towards the weekend: these shedlike atmospheres at Meladodalen in the Andes by architecture student Andres Miguel Lillo Coria are some of the nicest shelters we've seen.
Via Below the Clouds (and thanks to Tim Griffiths)

Iowa shed

Part two of Sarah Salway's look at sheds in Grinnell, Iowa. "This belongs to Dr David Ferguson (pictured)," she writes. "He uses it for woodcarving and also making walnut wood boxes (that's what the planks are). He's retired now. It's - apparently - got radiant heating and a dust collector that he put in himself and more than one of every kind of tool you could possible imagine. I'd like to live in it."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Grave shed

Shedworking's literary editor Sarah Salway has been in sunny Grinnell, Iowa, this summer and here is the first in a two-parter of shedlike atmospheres from her trip (the second is tomorrow). "I was very excited to see this tomb in the exact shape of a garden shed," she writes. "But look what I saw when I went round the back. A satellite dish - how weird is that? I keep thinking all sorts of scenarios - the wife moving in when her husband dies and needs some home comforts, a dying wish to finally get through all the back episodes of Sopranos, etc."

Shed gun factory man found guilty

As reported in The Guardian:
Grant Wilkinson, 34, was convicted at Reading crown court of buying replica MAC-10 submachine guns and converting them into lethal weapons. Police said his operation, carried out from a shed in Berkshire, was one of the largest they had ever discovered. They believe it produced 90 guns, some of which were used by teenagers carrying out murders on London streets... The gun factory was discovered by chance. Wilkinson converted the submachine guns into lethal weapons in two garden sheds behind a derelict property in Three Mile Cross, near Reading. One shed was used as a workshop and the other was sound-proofed as a firing range for testing. Police were called in July 2007 after tenants in a nearby house accidentally came across the sheds.
Not the kind of shedworking we condone. Photo courtesy Thames Valley Police.

Shedworking hits the conference circuit

The prestigious ETech, the annual Emerging Technology Conference held in California ("ETech opens our eyes to the trends, tools and developments in emerging technology that demand our attention—demonstrating how technology can bring us closer to each other and to the world around us"), is all about the technology of abundance and constraints next year under the banner Living, Reinvented. And so Shedworking was delighted to discover that there's to be a whole section on what they call Nomadism and Shedworking. Here's what they say:
"Nomadism & Shedworking: As cities and their suburbs rapidly increase their footprint, there are some who reject the crowded living conditions, but take advantage of the connectedness. They adopt a high-tech lifestyle within the constraints of a smaller space or take their posessions and their bits with them on the road, to the farthest reaches of the globe. How do they do this and what can we learn from them?"
At the time of writing it doesn't look like I can attend but I'd be interested to hear from anybody who does. And does this mean that we should push for 'shedworking' to be included in the OED?
Thanks to Suw at Kits and Mortar for the alert.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Regular readers of Shedworking will be familiar with the marvellous materialicious which features many shedworking atmospheres. Now they've expanded their empire and launched workalicious which focuses on "the modern workplace, its furniture, implements, and a bit of its culture". As you'd expect from Justin and Gregory it's a daily must read already: recent posts have looked at coworking spaces in Brooklyn and Norway, marvellous work surface extensions, vertical desks (pictured above is the intriguing Vitro Monowall system), a brief history of the cubicle and heaps more (I'm hoping garden offices will become a regular feature too chaps). I can't recommend it enough to anybody working from home. Well worth a browse.

Willow Retreat

Buckinghamshire-based Natural Fencing does a lot more than natural fencing including a range of willow houses and treehouses, all in a highly ecofriendly manner via sustainable coppicing, seasonal working and the use of traditional crafts and skills. Here for example is their Willow Retreat, for summer shedworking, which they describe as a Rounded Garden House 13ft by 10ft with a woven willow interior around a metal frame using a weatherproof membrame, a wooden floor and a lovely green turfed roof. I also rather like their resolutely rugged treehouse, pictured below, made from chestnut and oak.

Normal service will be resumed shortly

The Shedworking team is now back from holiday, bronzed like a Greek God and raring to go. Many thanks to everybody who sent suggestions, emails and comments while we were away in Iberia - all your fine shedlike finds will be coming up in the next few days. Normal service will be resumed tomorrow once we´ve unpacked and mown a path to the garden office door.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Susan Bennett and Earl Hyde

Susan Bennett and Earl Hyde own a couple of lovely shedlike structures at their Muswell Hill home in London. Stephen Anderton has an excellent interview in The Times with them in which he describes their recycled shed with its impressive mansard roof as "somewhere between Second Empire and the Psycho house" with 'finials' made from very cheap plastic fencing (pictured above). Susan and Earl also have a rather spectacular Baroque temple in the garden with blue marbled pillars made from drainpipes and 22ct gold lustred ceramic capitols designed and made by Earl (pictured below). There's also a working studio in the garden as well as these delights.Their garden, which apparently is Maureen Lipman's favourite, is usually open as part of the National Gardens Scheme.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Quadratus Arbour 2

Granted it has no insulation, no electrics and not even the regulation number of walls for a garden office, but the just about 3m cubeQuadratus Arbour 2 from B&Q is a lovely place for occasional shedworking.


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Sunday, August 24, 2008

No more shedworking spills

That's the promise of Domesticity's clever little 'spill' design. It's a fluid-shaped coaster (which comes in packs of four, green or grey, for £10) made of dishwasher proof rubber, just in case you spill anything. The idea is that you place your warm beverage onto 'spill' and if there's a spillage, the sculpted surface draws the liquid into the middle, thus avoiding mess. It comes in at 15 cm x 10 cm.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Studiomama - Beach Chalet

London-based Studiomama is owned by the designer Nina Tolstrup who also built a rather lovely beach hut at Whitstable. As she says in an article for The Guardian:
"I was brought up in Denmark, so being outdoors and by the sea is something that's ingrained in me. I live in Shoreditch, east London, and though we have a roof terrace, it doesn't really count as a green space, so the possibility of escaping is a real treat. That's another very Danish thing - when you get into the mould of family life, you get a summer house."
The hut is 388 square feet plus front and back decks, has a vast window looking onto the sea, a wood burner and contains children's bunk beds and a double bed on the mezzanine level. It was constructed by a local builder, on galvanised steel stilts to stop flooding, with the cedar shingles adding a Scandinavian touch (inside it is clad with sawn softwood).

Friday, August 22, 2008

Clubhouse Mod

Clubhouse Mod comes from Couture Architecture and is a modular prefab building system on an aluminum frame using old sailboat sails for the roof and louvers. It's aimed at children but frankly I think shedworkers would also love to have a garden office in here. More details at the American Institute of Architects.Spotted by Bill Kratz

Thursday, August 21, 2008

East Hampton Tree House

As regular readers will know, Shedworking is a sucker for lovely tree houses. And this is a lovely treehouse, designed by by David and Jeanie Stiles and featured in the excellent Architectural Digest. Jeanie comments: "“A tree house should never overpower the tree in which it is built. It should sit lightly in the branches." Photos by Billy Cunningham.
Thanks to Bill Kratz for the alert.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cusato Cottages

Though the Cusato range is aimed at residential use, their KC308 model is specifically aimed at those looking for an "accessory building" for some proper shedworking. Designed by Marianne Cusato, it has a bedroom, a bathroom and a ceiling height of 9ft with 308 sq ft of living area and a porch. For more details and information about Cusato's link to the highly laudable Katrina Cottage movement, click here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Floating shed

There are some sheds which resurface every so often but rarely with proper attribution. Here's one of them, Brian Reade's Shedboatboat in hommage to the Turner Prizewinning Shedboatshed, the building of which he recounted in the Daily Mirror (with some strong language which might shock delicate Shedworking readers). Here's an excerpt:
"A man's shed is more than just a place for shovels. It is a sanctuary. A peaceful haven to retreat with a bottle of whisky, the sports pages and the radio when Strictly Come Dancing is frying the family's brains.

So it wasn't easy to take a hammer to this oasis of male intimacy.

But thanks to six months watching Bob the Builder, and with the help of Scoop, Muck and Dizzy from Liverpool building merchants, the Paul Flanagan Group, I gave it a crack. Too many cracks actually. And smashed a window pane.

Which was when we realised we needed a strategy...

Let's saw it in half, nail it to a piece of plywood, pack it with high-density polystyrene, cut a hole in the roof, grab a paddle and set sail.

Two hours later, what looked like a large kennel arrived at Liverpool's Sefton Park boating lake."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Shedcam Timelapse

Everybody likes a good time lapse and James who runs What's That Picture (a fabulous community-based site for anyone who wants to find out where, what, or who is featured in an old picture) has half a dozen of them at his Shedcam set on Flickr. Above is the most recent and below a rough mockup in Google Sketchup.

Our Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office
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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Henley in situ

It's always good to see a garden office in situ rather than a model from a brochure. Here is BBC scriptwriter Paul Campbell's Henley office, a Waverley.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Smallest shedworking structure in the world?

I'm afraid my Norwegian is more than a little rusty but it seems that Lisa Renvall from Stockholm has built herself the smallest shedlike office in the world, coming in at just one (count 'em) metre square. It's built into a writing table (I think) and there's a bedroom inside. More details here and if anybody can provide a fuller translation of the details, please do add them into the comments box.
Photos by Håvard Prestegården.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Le Corbusier's Cabanon

Shedworking's Garden Shows correspondent Emma Townshend recently visited Le Corbusier's marvellous shedworking structure in France and sent us back some photos. "You walk down a little footpath with cactuses by the sea to get to it," she writes.
"There's also a gorgeous little bar there - next door, owned by a friend who was a plumber = so they didn't have to cook. They show you lovely pictures of the interior when Le Corbusier lived there, when his wife slightly disturbed the minimalist interior by draping everything in very French tablecloths. The most amazing thing is how everything folds away into a little cabinet of some kind. And these little windows at all different elevations which light out onto different parts of the amazing sea view."
Le Corbusier built the cabanon in the mid-1950s as an exercise in minimal habitation but also intending it to be a birthday present for his wife Yvonne. It look him less than 60 minuted to design and six months to build using prefab pieces of oak from Corsica for the interior and rough pine boards for the exterior (rather better than his first plan of using aluminium). In all it's 16 square metres (Le Corbusier boasted not a square centimetre was wasted) with colourful mural-type paintings inside.It's also an early eco-shed since there's plenty of recycling going on such as crates standing in for chairs. He also built a smaller shedworking atmosphere nearby to really work in. There's a particular good article about the Cabanon at the Twentieth Century Society site and the Cabanon is open to the public, organised by La Commune de Roquebrune-Cap Martin, Office du Tourisme, 218 avenue Aristide-Briand, tel: + 33 (0)4 9335 6287 or

Thursday, August 14, 2008

White Shed - Andrew Michael Geller

Peggy White Shed in the Orchard, Washington, CT, 1975 by Andrew Geller. Isn't it nice? And a nice quote from Mr Geller too:
"It's one of the first lessons I ever was taught. The thing you produce ought to be compatible with what's there. It should live with it both in scale and some sort of human factor. The scale is human."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Townsend Nursery: self-propelled shed

Harpenden-based Townsend Nursery just down the road from Shedworking HQ are distributors of Albany Sheds, Summerhouses, Playhouses and “Log Cabins” and are particularly proud of their garden office model. But I hope they'll understand that for this post we'll be concentrating more on one of their other shedlike atmospheres which is featured on Here's what owner Don Riley has to say about it:
"'Ted' is built around an old 'Work Horse' ride-on mower to which we welded a steel frame. The wooden part is a modified 6 foot by 4 foot 'Norfolk' shed built by Albany Sheds and this is bolted to the steel frame.'Ted' also features flashing amber lights, an electric klaxon horn and a smoking chimney. The chimney conceals the exhaust and smoke is produced by squirting "disco smoke" liquid onto the hot exhaust using an old windscreen washer pump and copper tubing. I drove 'Ted' in the recent Harpenden Carnival and to the best of my knowledge he is unique."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Shed Game

There are too few shedbased games in the world. Here's one which hopefully won't tax you too much from the BBC to help you practise converting between mm, cm and metres to build a new shed.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Beach Hut Books

Beach Hut Books is run by Richard Holroyd, international dealer in secondhand, rare and antique books with an emphasis on literature, modern firsts and sport. Richard explains:
"This business arose from my passion for both books and beach huts. There is nothing I like better than sitting outside my beach hut on the south coast of England, surrounded by good books, looking out to sea and soaking up the sun. Being a lover of books, the temptation is to keep them all – but there is a limit to how many books you can keep in a beach hut."
His stock is available at Abebooks. - Used, rare and out-of-print books


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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ergonomic shedworking?

According to the Japan External Trade Organisation, this is a revolutionary new design of an intergrated ergonomic computer work station for the office furniture and domestic gaming market. How would you fancy this in your garden office?
Via Born Rich

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Raindrops keep falling on my shed (mug)

There are numerous shed mugs available. Here's one of my favourites from but if you have a favourite mug (ideally with a garden office or shed motif), please let me know and we'll do a roundup.