Sunday, November 30, 2008

Railway Wagon/Shed

For the many readers who like railway carriages and sheds. Photo by John Rawlings of a converted wagon in Somerset, at the everincreasing Just Sheds pool on Flickr.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mini Mart City Park

The Mini Mart City Park is an intriguing project with a very shedworkinglike element at its heart. The organisers plan to "design, construct, plant and maintain a public green space and botanical conservatory in the former Perovich Bros. Gas Station in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle" as an artistic, architectural and green statement. The park and gas station will be restored and will feature "refrigerated display cases converted to climate-controlled environments, simulating tropical, temperate and arid ecosystems" while the rest of the park will have a nice path, trees, fountains and park benches. Free to the public, the intention is to make it both permanent and a prototype for the regeneration of the 200,000 other abandoned gas stations across the country. As the organisers say:
"We view this project as a creative means to address issues like energy, waste, and environmental stewardship; tensions between open space and development, notions of public versus private land, and art and the community."
Via Thriving too and WorldChanging

Saturday Shed Art: Michelle Basic Hendry

Here is the lovely Cooper’s Shed, 8×10, acrylic on canvas © Michelle Basic Hendry, an artist, writer, and graphic designer.
"Cooper’s Shed is the first in a short series of paintings I am doing on the small, nearly ghost town, of Cooper’s Falls. I introduced Cooper’s Falls and the grandson of it’s founder Mr. Frank Cooper to you in August. This is a shed that sits behind the old Community Hall across from Mr. Cooper’s childhood home and the old store. The building is nearly absorbed by the forest behind it, but still stands strong - much like the town it resides in."
Lots more lovely pictures and details at Michelle's site.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Around the shedworld discusses the 40th anniversary of that failed shedlike atmosphere, the office cubicle... friend of Shedworking Emma Townshend is now blogging about gardens at a new address... Shedblog wonders what sort of lock you have on your shed... and points out that there's a TARDIS for sale in Wiltshire... Trendhunter has released the Small Space Lifestyle Trend Report... Treehugger is delighted by an eco-outhouse (pictured above)... web worker daily looks at how to avoid conflicts in a teleworking team... would you like to wait in this waiting room highlighted at BLDGBLOG below...Chief Home Officer advises credit crunch victims on working from home... Judit Bellostes focuses on the fertighaus, mobile house (below)...Home Office Warrior has the builders in... Enterprise Nation has the cartoonists in...

James Weaver: shedworker

James and Maggie Weaver are the owners of the artcafé on the island of Mersea and are interviewed by the smashing Juliet Doyle at her Musings from a muddy island blog. As well as providing a cracking combination of food and art in their café, James is also an artist and, as he explains, a shedworker:
"I’m now fortunate enough to have a lovely little studio at the end of our garden. It’s separate from the house, which I feel is important, as well as being warm and dry. It’s actually a ‘fancy shed' bought from the proceeds of an exhibition a few years ago, with larger windows than your average garden shed and also has electricity to it, so it’s quite cosy in the winter months and, unlike the kitchen table, allows me to work on several pieces simultaneously."
Indeed, one recurrent theme in his work is the beach hut.
"I had no idea at the outset that I’d be using beach huts as a subject for so much of my work. I was drawing and painting a lot of the boats and saltmarsh around our island at the time and the beach and beach huts (of which we have hundreds) increasingly began to fascinate me. These modest pieces of seaside architecture are so very colourful and quintessentially British, and from the waterline here seem to stretch for miles and miles."
You can see more of his beach hut paintings and sketches here and here and here.

Almost Green: book reading

Friend of Shedworking Fiona Gilsenan went to a reading by friend of Shedworking James Glave and sent us this review:
I'm sorry to say I drove my car the ridiculous distance of .8km to the Fernwood Community Association where eco-writer and Shedworker James Glave was addressing the Annual General Meeting of the Victoria Car Share Co-op on Monday night. But I think he would understand. James is the first to acknowledge the challenges faced by well-intentioned but frazzled parents (and freelance writers) as they take baby steps to greener lifestyles. He was at the meeting to read from his very funny book, Almost Green, in which he chronicles building an environmentally sensitive writing studio on Bowen Island near Vancouver.

As part of his own "half-hearted fumbling toward sustainability" the Eco-Shed represented a pretty steep learning curve, but James can now speak confidently about the relative soft costs of cob or straw-bale versus rammed-earth construction and advise on a method for storing harvested rainwater from the roof of a 280-square-foot building. (That method involves hitching a 250lb plastic cistern to a Lexus SUV, but it represents an impressive if potentially lethal commitment to sustainable shedworking.)

The Eco-Shed , featured in the September issue of Oprah's Winfrey's O at Home magazine, is now complete, although it serves only part-time as a shedworking venue. James reckons it is built to a Gold LEED standard, with its passive-solar design, salvaged and reclaimed lumber, Danish wood stove, and super-efficient ventilation and insulation systems. Meanwhile, it has to earn back its advance (approximately $100,000 Canadian dollars), so at weekends it doubles as a guest suite for visiting city dwellers seeking a green getaway.
You can read excerpts from the book at James' site and also at Salon where some of the comments have become a little heated.

In which country has homeworking risen fivefold this year?

I bet you were wrong. According to The News, the answer is Poland. Apparently, every twentieth employee in Poland earns his or her living working from home.

Can shedworking save the planet?

A new report for the Smith Institute and the Live Work Network shows how shedworking - and homeworking in general - cuts carbon emmissions.Can homeworking save the planet? How homes can become workspace in a low carbon economy is edited by Tim Dwelly and Andy lake of the Live Work Network and includes the thoughts of leading world experts (including World Wildlife Fund policy adviser Denis Pamlin and BT head of policy Caroline Waters) on the environmental impact of the shift to homeworking and live/work property. The report includes a comparison of carbon emissions by home workers and office workers as well as ways in which employers can benefit from a shift to shed/homeworking. Tim Dwelly said:
"This brings home the critical importance of live/work and home-based business to the future low carbon economy. We simply cannot go on assuming that commuting between separate homes and workspaces will remain the norm. We are no longer in the industrial era. With over 40% of all UK businesses now home-based and numbers likely to rise in the downturn, it is time for policymakers to urgently review their approach to employment and business and recognise the potential contribution of the live/work part of the UK economy."
You can download the full 115-page report here.

'Shed': pet bed

'Shed' is a special bed for your pet from Luxxbox. And it doesn't cost £250,000.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

AR Design Studio: Glass Cube

Not for the shedworker who guards his privacy jealously, but frankly a lovely garden office possibility for a natureloving homeworker (it's already on my list for Santa), this is the Glass Cube by Andy Ramus' AR Design Studio. Andy describes it as a modern interpretation of the gazebo which aims to "create an invisible building while providing the occupants with shelter from the elements". It has marvellous workdelaying views of the countryside and a lake and was built with five pieces of 12mm toughened glass (each pane weighs 200kg) stuck together using hardy silicon. It was craned in and put together by six chaps. And if you thought all that was clever, it measures 2005mm by 2005mm by 2005mm. Guess which year it was built...

Dog shed palace

According to the Daily Mail, this is the world's costliest kennel, a creditcrunchbusting £250,000. To be built for two Great Danes at the Lower Mill Estate on the Cotswolds Water Park, near Cirencester, it will have a whole host of luxury features including a retina scanner to stop other dogs getting in. The 'kennel' - which will be built using zinc, glass and limestone - is the work of architect Andy Ramus. I'm just off to check if today is April 1...

The science of shedworking

The organisers of the world's shortest physics lectures at the Highland Science Festival (you'll remember they took place in a shed) have posed some interesting questions (I particularly like the Einstein theory):
Have famous physicists had their own sheds? And could these have influenced their work?

Did Newton sit in an apple shed, absently picking up some of them and dropping them on the floor?

Did Einstein find the space in his shed shrinking and the time going by more slowly – or the other way round?

Did Schrödinger's cat come from Schrödinger's shed?

And was Heisenberg uncertain about whether he had a shed or not?

Or could a Shed be the ultimate unit of matter?

One shed = the amount of stuff that one man can accumulate in ten years of marriage.

Indeed, could it be that we will soon see strings going out? – and sheds coming in!

Final Wooden House

The Final Wooden House by Sou Fujimoto Architects is not merely a lovely thing to look at, it's also a cracking garden officelike atmosphere.Sou Fujimoto says his aim was to create an ultimate wooden architecture using 350mm square profile cedar. Here's what he says:
"350mm square profile cedar has an amazing impact. It transcends what we usually call “wood” and becomes “an existence” of an entirely different material. While the dimensions adequately display its materiality as wood, 350mm squared is simultaneously the dimensionality directly corresponding to human body. Thus, three-dimensional space is created out of 350mm increments. This stepped space was a long fascination of mine for couple of years as its defining characteristics are the generation of a sort of spatial relativity and a new sense of various distances unachievable by coplanar floors."
Essentially, all the floors, walls, seats and ceilings are jangled up.Via Archinect where there are lots more photos by Iwan Baan

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Very big beach hut advent calendar

BEYOND is an organisation in the Brighton area which offers an opportunity for people to explore spirituality through a variety of creative approaches. And their latest approach is very shedworkinglike, The Advent Beach Hut Calendar. Here's what they say:
"All along the Hove seafront from the border with Brighton up to the Hove Lagoon there are some 440 beach huts and it occurred to us a year ago that opening their doors was rather like opening the doors on an advent calendar to reveal a piece of chocolate and a suprise picture. We've been able to recruit beach hut owners who are prepared to open their hut for an hour between 5.30pm and 6.30pm at some point during the month and to create a display themed around a Christmas Carol. Some hut owners who weren't able to do a display have been teamed up with local artists and a theatre company who are going to put on something on their behalf."
Check back to their blog for regular updates (which we'll also bring you here on Shedworking in the advent runup to Christmas Day).
Via Shedblog

Micro Bunkie

For some people, big is best. For others, especially if your back garden is more handkerchief than prairie, the ideal garden office is something compact. Project Plans specialise in all sorts of plans for shedlike atmospheres but I rather like this one, the Micro Bunkie. Apparently it was originally designed as a school bus shelter but it would be ideal for a bijou garden. It includes a small deck.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Kithaus in Brooklyn

The Kithaus comes in various shapes and formats, from shedworking size up to house size. It's always nice to see examples in situ and here's one as featured on Design*Sponge.

Pre-Budget Report roundup

Those of you running businesses from your garden office in the UK will have been examining the Pre-Budget Report from Chancellor Darling, but if you're still somewhat in the dark, there are good quick rundowns about the impact on small (and titchy) businesses at Enterprise Nation and SmallBizPod. For a more general view, the columnists at The Independent are worth reading.

Ramada: wallless shedworking

Debra Prinzing at Shed Style has added 'Ramada' to her Shed Glossary. What do you think? Could you work in a shedlike atmosphere in Tuscon, Arizona, photographed by Scott Calhoun?

Mary's Greened House

We've been following Mary's Greened House Building Adventure - the construction of an eco-friendly garden office - since the planning stage and the good news is that Mary is now in and shedworking. There are lots more photos at her marvellous site which you should nip across to now and browse around but among my favourite touches are these clever bookshelves below.And here's the view from her garden office window.

Monday, November 24, 2008

SIPs - a greener garden office

There are many ways to build a garden office, but SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) are starting to catch on among several suppliers, not least because of their high insulation properties. However there has always been a catch as Lloyd Alter at Treehugger notes:
"SIPs are usually known as a sandwich of OSB board and styrofoam, all glued together to make a structural panel. While they make a very well-insulated, tight wall and are fast, I have worried about their longevity and would have preferred to use a less petroleum-intensive insulation than styrofoam."
Agriboard, who exhibited at Greenbuild this year, has come up with a solution using wheat and rice which is still pretty impressive in building terms while also being carbon negative. More details at Lloyd's post and at Agriboard's own site. For garden office suppliers out there particularly keen to emphasise their green credentials, this is well worth looking into (see the storm shelter pictured above from Agriboard's site as an example of what can be done).

Monday's posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists.Click here for more details.

Alternative Space: snazzy new web site

Alternative Space - whose Eco Den model is pictured above and below - have given their web site a rather nice makeover but they're still as green as before choosing materials from eco-friendly sources, concentrating on renewable materials and only using timber and timber-based products from responsibly managed forests sourced from suppliers who can demonstrate FSC, PEFC or CSA certification/accreditation. And of course they encourage shedworkers to add a living green roof. Visit the new site here.

Monday's posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists.Click here for more details.

Shed Prank

Sean Kennedy and friends felt that Home Depot's sheds could do with some extra sales pitches so came up with their own contributions. Here's how he describes the plan:
"Home Depot, forced to lure customers inside without glitzy display windows, seed the warehouse perimeter with their products. This is only practical with hard-to-shoplift items, such as bags of steer manure and storage sheds. Unfortunately, these sun-baked displays are all but abandoned by the sales staff, and must rely on graphics and signage to speak to their potential customers. Despite an ambitious number of signs, I felt my local home depot wasn't addressing some of the strongest benefits of owning a garden/storage/privacy shed/mini-garage/closet. I decided to make some new signs and try them out!"
Read more about the campaign here.Thanks to awardwinning blogger James Alexander-Sinclair for the alert

Monday's posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists.Click here for more details.

Greentainer Project

The Greentainer Project from Exposure Architects takes a 40ft container then transforms it into this lovely shedlike atmosphere which incorporates solar panels.
Via Jetson Green


Monday's posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists.Click here for more details.

Enterprise Nation - A professional garden office door

This week, Emma Jones from Enterprise Nation looks at the importance of a professional 'front door' for shedworkers.
When you run a business from your garden office, you realise the importance of extending a professional welcome to existing clients and potential customers. Presenting to prospects a reception that says ‘we are in business, here to serve and quality is our aim.’ There are a number of ways to extend such a welcome.

By post
You might want to hide your address; maybe it sounds too domestic or you just don’t want people turning up on your doorstep! You can do this with a P.O. Box number that’s easily set up with Royal Mail. Or, rent a mailbox at Mail Boxes Etc., which gives a more tailored and personal service than a P.O. Box. You get a nice sounding address – and a place to meet other home business owners.

By phone
It’s cheap and sometimes free to get an 0845 local rate number or an 0870 national rate number for your home business. It will hide where you’re based and divert calls to wherever you specify. Bear in mind, though, that having such a number – especially with national rates – might put customers off ringing you.

If you use a landline number it’s best to have a separate line for home and for business. It will stop your business calls from being answered by the kids and give you a chance to escape work calls when you want to. You don’t need to invest in an actual second line as VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) is an option. This uses a broadband internet connection to make and receive calls. The VoIP service I use and recommend is Skype.

To have someone take calls when you can’t, consider a call-handling service like Moneypenny. They answer calls with your company name, text on urgent messages and email the others, giving you a big business feel and giving customers a professional welcome that inspires confidence.

On the web
This could be the topic of a full feature in itself! Your website is sometimes the first thing potential customers see – and they’ll make a judgement in seconds! Create a well-designed site by hiring a professional designer or build your own and include the basic pages: About us/ News/ Products or services/ FAQs/ Contact us

If you’re not ready to invest in a bells and whistles website, set up a blog to show off your products and services. This can be done for free via [which powers] or

Meeting clients outside the garden office offers another opportunity to show how professional you are. Find a venue that chimes with your brand and that will create the right impression. Anyone who visits my site will know I’m a member and huge fan of private member’s club, One Alfred Place. It provides me with a professional base in the city and a space in which clients feel comfortable about doing business.

Investing in these services will make you look professional and well and truly open for business.
Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nation and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up – how to start a business from home’. Garden office door courtesy InsideOut Buildings.


Monday's posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists.Click here for more details.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Follies, follies, follies

There is a marvellous Flickr group dedicated to Follies which is well worth browsing over a coffee. Above is The Petit Trianon, a 3-room log cabin built by the Earl de Grey in 1856 for his grandchildren, taken by BoffinPC.
Via the Folly Fellowship

Saturday, November 22, 2008

H2Offices - floating office design updated

The H2Office design which we looked at last month is still being refined. Here are the latest images and for more go to the H2Office site here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Solar Shed Vent

According to Earthtech Products, this solar powered ventilator provides silent and reliable ventilation as well as improving air quality and preventing mould and mildew. Built specifically for sheds and cabins, it can run for a couple of days without sunlight, needs no wiring, and can be installed on all sorts of surfaces including wood.

Effect of new planning regulations

An interesting post by Fraser at cabin-living where he says that requests in the UK are starting to rise for cabins under 2.5m high. He continues:
"As we suspected the planning rules are starting to affect those people who do not wish to place a cabin away from a boundary. At the moment we have two solutions. On site modification during our installation process or a bespoke range of 44mm thick walled cabins that can be made to your specification."
Interestingly, he adds that demand is still strong despite all the doom and gloom around because, as he points out, the combination of commuting costs and a stagnant housing market makes the opportunity to be a shedworker very tempting indeed. More information on planning permission regulations here.

Around the shedworld

The Daily Telegraph suggests homeworking as the answer to victims of the credit crunch... TimeOut suggests the best free wi-fi spots in London... The new Tenbury Toilets design has been officially revealed (above)... Shed Style had a nice trip to see the Manhattan tree sheds... Chris Routledge shares his Ubuntu discovery on a day of enforced non-shedworking... Chuck Newton suggests more lawyers should consider shedworking... apparently My Daddy Works In His Undwerwear... Chief Home Officer sings the praises of teleconferencing and cloudworking... and has already planned his next shedworking holiday... and here's Fin (below) via Shedblog

Friday Shed Art - Sarah Lynch

It's time for a new regular Friday feature and it's going to be the cannily-titled Friday Shed Art after the fine response we received to last week's oil painting (for previous posts on art and shedworking, click here). We're starting with Sarah Lynch whose blog is used to display her daily sketches, watercolours or oils (she very modestly says that sometimes they aren't very good but I think they're great). All are quite small and most are for sale via the blog or her Etsy site and Imagekind site. Above is Shed with Hollyhocks and for a selection of her work focusing on sheds click here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tiny House Blog Week - UK Log Cabins

While the Tiny House Blog tends to concentrate on US structures, it also features international examples such as Perthshire-based Tay Log Buildings. Above is Hobbit House available in 9m² or 19m² models and constructed, as are their other models, using Finnish pine from the forests of North Karelia, Finland.

Matroshka: compact shedworking concept

Matroshka is a clever storage system based on the Russian doll system to maximise space and storage so naturally is of interest to shedworkers. Above is an example of how it works in a home office environment. The package also includes bookshelves, bed, seats, storage and wardrobe.
Thanks to Eva Johannson for the tip

Tokyo company's 'green garden office' experiment

Office supplies specialist Kokuyo opened a "garden office" on the rooftop of its headquarters in Tokyo today to reduce electricity consumption and carbon dioxide emissions: the company aims to reduce emissions by 56 tons a year, of which 10 per cent will come via its garden office. But that's not all. The company believes it will also improve efficiency. Kokuyo President Akihiro Kuroda said: "Workers can work more efficiently in a natural environment. I hope it will lead to changes in employees' mentality."

140 employees are expected to work in the garden office - which has full electrics and a wireless LAN network - for 90 days a year. The pleasant surroundings include newly-planted trees and a pond (which will help with heat in the summer as well moveable eaves-like solar panels). Workers will be allowed to work indoor when it rains but during winter they will still be expected to work in the garden office, using blankets to stay warm.
Via Mainichi Daily News

Spreading the shedworking word

I've been spreading the word about shedworking this week at a couple of places, first at Enterprise Nation as part of Enterprise Week this week and then at North Meadow. Also, a quick thank you to all our subscribers - we've just passed the 1,000 mark on the RSS feed for Shedworking (over 1,200 if you also include email subscribers) - and congratulations to the Just Sheds Flickr group which Shedblog reports has just passed its 2,000th photo.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tiny House Blog Week - Gypsy Coach

We're at the midpoint now in our Tiny House Blog Week. Today's offering is Gypsy Coach by Bill Young in Colorado who acknowledges its shedworking potential saying:
"This gypsy wagon, like the sheepherder wagons of the American west, has been crafted to take you back in time and give you the experience of a bygone era. The wagon can be used as a portable guest house, a special work space or a romantic retreat."
It's 16ft by 8ft and has a rather delightful Victorian-themed interior including curved ceilings covered with deeply embossed wallpaper imported from England. There's a living room, sleeping loft and kitchen plus a chemical toilet.

South Bank shedworking

Thanks to the spectacular speed and reach of the interwebs, we can bring you breaking news of new sheds on the South Bank in London which I believe are being erected for the Cologne Christmas Market (21 November - 23 December, 40 chalets stalls selling food, drink and gifts plus lots of music). Here's how we managed to bring you these photos today: Alex Bellinger of the famous SmallBizPod posted on twitter three hours ago that he had seen some sheds in the area. I tweeted him straight back asking if he could take a couple of shots for the site. He snapped away and posted photographs to Flickr. When I started out as a journalist, this same procedure would have taken at least a day and a half.

Vivid Green eye candy

A few examples of recent garden offices by Vivid Green to brighten up your day.