Saturday, February 28, 2009

Word's first newspaper shed column launches

Uncle Wilco of Shedblog and fame now has a weekly shed-based column in the South Wales Echo which I believe to be the first ever column devoted to sheds. The first one is out today so if you're in Echo's circulation area, do nip along and buy a copy.

Name That Shed (updated)

Now this really is very tricky. I can only find one photo of it on the interwebs. It's the summerhouse building at the front of the picture and was certainly used for shedworking. Since you've been so red hot in previous weeks I'll give you no clues until Sunday except that there is a Quaker connection...

Clue: the shedworker in question was a famous grammarian and it's technically a summerhouse...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Small company seeks nice garden office

A reader of Shedworking who runs her own small eco-friendly company has been asking for my advice about buying a garden office. I have offered my own views but if there is a garden office supplier out there interested in pitching to her, please do get in contact with me and I'll fix up a date. A few details: the company is currently being run from a kitchen but is expanding. The owner wants something eco-friendly, planning permission-friendly and attractively modern in appearance. And for the whole shooting match to come in under £5,000. A tall order, I know, but if you think you can do it, let me know.

Garden office suppliers map

View Larger Map
I've been pondering the best way to list all the garden office suppliers around the world and rather than a single way, we'll be rolling out various methods over coming months. Hopefully this will help prospective shedworkers search for nearby suppliers (though bear in mind that many will travel outside their immediate vicinity to build) as well as raising the profile of suppliers themselves. So here's the first step, a map of where those suppliers are which will also be given a prominent slot on the right hand column. I'll be updating it gradually myself, but if you're a supplier, please feel free to add your own marker and details (and if you're a shedworker, you're also more than welcome to make your mark). I've started things off by adding Shedworking HQ and also the nearest supplier to us, Vivid Green.

Shedworking: the video site

There's another Shedworking site in town: while we'll be keeping up the steady stream of video-based posts on this main site, we've also set up a special video only site where anybody can upload video of their garden office and shedworking lifestyle. I've started the ball rolling with a video of Booths Garden Studios but I hope other suppliers, as well as shedworkers, will want to proudly publicise their wares there too.

And of course there's Uncle Wilco's Shed.TV to add your videos to as well.

Garden office: the ideal workplace?

Home business guru Emma Jones' series of articles in the Entrepreneur section of The Times are well worth a browse. In the latest piece she looks at creating an ideal workplace at home. As she points out:
"This space could be the spare room, the attic or even the garden shed. Working at the end of the garden path is becoming increasingly popular and the garden office industry is booming on the back of it."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

How much could shedworking save your company?

There's an interesting online calculator at Telecommuting Jobs which, in quite considerable detail, helps you to work out how much you could save by having more staff working from home. Worth a little play.
Thursday posts are sponsored by Vivid Green, the low energy garden building specialists. Click here for more details

Shedworking shop

I'm very pleased to announce that illustrator Felix Bennett (whose marvellous work appears regularly in The Shed magazine as well as Private Eye and The Philosophers Magazine) has produced some exclusive designs for a range of Shedworking products which you can buy via the Cafepress site. We'll be releasing a range of designs over the coming weeks which will be available as t-shirts, mugs, prints and cards (and if you'd like to buy them as other products, please let me know and we'll sort it out): the first one is the marvellous Man in a Shed pictured above. Prices start at £8.50 for a mug and a touch under £7 for a t-shirt (plus P&P). You can have a virtual browse around the shop here.Alternatively you can nip across to Uncle Wilco's shed boutique for lots of readersheds and Shed of the Year goodies including shedwear for babies.
Thursday posts are sponsored by Vivid Green, the low energy garden building specialists. Click here for more details

Red Shed

A lovely shot of a Kilkenny shed by Mark O'Toole, part of the Just Sheds - For Shed Week 2009 pool on Flickr.
Thursday posts are sponsored by Vivid Green, the low energy garden building specialists. Click here for more details

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Patagonia: The Tin Shed

A lovely piece of shedlike web marketing by outdoor clothing specialists Patagonia, The Tin Shed is an interactive, er, tin shed, which you can nose around and find out information and generally enjoy. Happy clicking.

Making the most of small spaces

A nice piece in The Independent by Kate Watson-Smyth about how to make money from your spare room includes several interesting ways of making the most of your space, including Spacesavers' kitchen in a cupboard (above) and London Wallbed's bed that doubles up as an office (below): if you have a large garden office, these could be well worth investigating.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Garenberg launch new range of garden offices on Twitter

Twitter really is coming of age: Garenberg Garden Offices (@gardenoffice on twitter if you want to follow them) are celebrating Pancake day by launching their new range of garden offices on twitter. More than that indeed. They also tweet that their self build model starts at £5695 including VAT and that the first two they sell will come with free installation (so long as they can use photos of the build). If you respond to their tweets with an email address, they'll get a pdf of their models to you today. Nice work. Incidentally, if you are on twitter, you can find Shedworking at the unsurprising @shedworking

Nine Tiny Feet 3D model

Michael Jantzen at the always intriguing Tiny House Design
has been using Google SketchUp to design his Nine Tiny Feet project (a nine square foot house). The finished house would include a lavatory, sink, heater, bed, chair, fold-down table, and storage. Here's what he says:
"I came up with the size by asking myself how what the absolute minimum amount of space would be needed for someone to live. I did a quick calculation in my head of the amount of space I took up while laying down and came up with nine square feet."
There is some sneaky additional space in the design via the use of attractive bay windows and accompanying cabinets/shelves plus a lofted sleeping area. Well worth a browse for more details and if it's not there already, Tiny House Design should be on your RSS feed.

Old fashioned garden office advertising

While we extol the wonders of the interweb in terms of spreading the shedworking message, sometimes (if you'll forgive the unecofriendliness) there's nothing quite so good as simply driving around in a big van with your details all over it. As Fraser at cabin living points out: "Part of our challenge as log cabin installers is making people aware that log cabins are an ideal solution to expanding living space."

Shedworking featured in the Sunday Telegraph

A nice piece by property specialist Graham Norwood in The Sunday Telegraph on shedworking includes some quotes from me and shedworker Kirstie Allsopp who, like me, works from a Homestead Timber Buildings garden office. Kirstie is very bullish about shedworking, pointing out:
"This is the way forward, especially now with very little moving on the property market and the high cost of stamp duty, agency fees etc. If you’re planning to work from home, you don’t have to move house or lose your spare bedroom – gain a room outside instead.”
There's also a nice mini-slideshow of various models of garden office. Well worth a browse. If you've come here for the first time via the Telegraph article, then you're very welcome indeed and please have a nose around the site.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mark Wallinger's reflective Tardis

Mark Wallinger, winner of the 2007 Turner Prize, is the curator of The Russian Linesman exhibition running at the Hayward on London's South Bank. It's all about lines, links and thresholds. Including this rather special reflective Tardis by Wallinger himself.

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

Berlin box

Brendeland & Kristoffersen's 7sqm cabin was designed and built for an exhibition in Berlin, but it has considerable potential as a garden office. Obviously there are planning considerations, but I'm surprised by how few mezzanine/two storey sheds there are on offer.
Photo ©Geir Brendeland and Olav KristoffersenVia SpaceInvading

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

Enterprise Nation - Roll out the red carpet

With it being Oscar season and all, says Emma Jones in her latest column, what better time to talk about Awards for the stars of the business world?
Entering Awards is an effective marketing tool; writing the entry helps to define business plans and goals and, if you win, you earn prizes, recognition and a good night out!

Good for business
In research carried out by awards consultancy, Boost Marketing, it was revealed that Awards influence the buying decisions of more than 80% of consumers ie if your company has won an Award, people feel entirely comfortable about buying from you. But there are other benefits to entering Awards, including:

Know thyself – the process of writing the Award entry forces you to summarise the business, its achievements and future direction. This can be a useful exercise that reminds you of where the business is heading.

A reason to shout – what better reason for a press release or communication with customers than to announce you’ve won an Award. It offers credibility that others have checked out your business and deemed you worthy.

Meet the Judges – if there’s an Awards ceremony, this is your opportunity to meet the Judges and maybe make a pitch as to why one of them should become your investor/mentor/adviser. High level business Awards tend to attract high caliber Judges. Winning is a sure fire way of coming to their attention.

Make a start
If you’re willing to put your hat in the ring and give it a go, there’s a growing number of Awards that you can enter as a home based business:

* Enterprise Nation Home Business Awards – first up, our very own Awards! Launching in July 2009 there will be new categories added to the 2008 line-up of Home Business of the Year/Home Office of the Year/ Home Business Couple of the Year/Young Home Business Owner of the Year. As well as a multitude of prizes, winners receive profile on the site and we refer their stories to journalists and TV reporters all year

* BT Essence of the Entrepreneur
– we like this competition very much, simply for the prize, which is to have your photo taken by a world-famous photographer. Even if you don’t enter, it is definitely worth checking out the annual Winners Gallery. The images are

* Startups Awards - organised by, with 15 categories, including Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Women in Business Award and Green Business of the Year. The Startup of the Year main winner collects a grand price of £5,

The basics of writing a winning entry is a topic for a whole article in its own right. And that’s something I will write as we approach July and the call for entries to the Enterprise Nation Awards begins. In the meantime, good luck in entering and may your star shine!

Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nationand author of ‘Spare Room Start Up – how to start a business from home’


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

Beach huts destroyed at Mudeford Sandbank

One of the most famous stretches of beach hut buildings suffered a really bad fire over the weekend. As Tim Baber reports at MSB News, four huts were completely destroyed and two more were very seriously damaged. The Mudeford Sandbank Beach Hut Association led by Commander Hale are holding a meeting today to look into the fire: Tim estimates that it could cost more than £100,000 in rebuilding and insurance costs.

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

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Uncle Wilco at Shedblog has unveiled a new addition to the shed interwebs: Nip along and upload your favourite shedlike videos.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tiny house roundup

There's a great piece in the FT by Carmela Ferraro and Edwin Heathcote on tiny houses in which she points out that:
"These days these pint-sized dwellings are inspiring people to change the way they live, mainly because they want to reduce their impact on our fragile environment and simplify their life."
Photo of Gregory Paul Johnson (above) from Resources for Life by Thanks to Emma Jones for the alert

Name That Shed

If anybody gets this by Monday morning I shall eat my shedlike atmosphere. I think this is terrifically hard (though I said that last week and see what happened...) so I shall give you a clue. It was used as a garden office in the 19th century and now forms part of a museum complex...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Library studio

As promised (though 48 hours later...), here's MOS's renovation of an old barn into a two-storey library and studio, the kind of shedworking atmosphere you need a really big back garden to enjoy.

Garden offices are recession-busters, claim ecospace

The fine folk at ecospace have been in touch to point out that a garden office studio adds value to your property and is cheaper (and easier!) than moving home, or building a traditional extension or loft conversion. "If you’re looking for a fast, recession-busting and non-stressful way to boost your live/work space and add value to your property during the downturn," they say, "take a look at an architect-designed ecospace studio - the original and best contemporary garden studio." As an example they point out that one graphic designer’s £16,000 ecospace in north London has increased his property sale value by £50,000. Pictured is an ecospace studio belonging to a marketing consultant measuring 7.3 x 4m with mono pitch sloping sedum roof, planted with small plants, herbs and succulents.

Shepherd's hut garden office

We've made the case for shepherd's hut garden offices many times before on Shedworking. Here's an interior example from Plankbridge of how a setup can look in real life. Plankbridge's gallery is well worth dropping into every so often as they frequently update it with new commissions, such as these below.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Garden office entrepreneurs

An excellent column by Victor Keegan in The Guardian in which he points out that "there is a vast new market opening up for the bedroom entrepreneur" (and by implication the shedworking entrepreneur). He points out that instead of getting depressed about the economic blackness, we should actually look on it as an unprecedented opportunity to develop new ideas. This has also been one of the ongoing themes across at Enterprise Nation over the last few months. If you've recently become a shedworker or are thinking of setting up a garden office-based business, please do get in touch so that we can help you spread the word.
Thursday posts are sponsored by Vivid Green, the low energy garden building specialists. Click here for more details

Moanaboutmen: Men and their sheds

The lighthearted Moan About Men web site - a new online social community for women - has a jolly thread about Men and their Sheds. Well worth a browse, whatever your gender. The site also inspired a book. Now there's an idea...
Thanks to Richard Byers for the alert
Thursday posts are sponsored by Vivid Green, the low energy garden building specialists. Click here for more details

Urban shelter: Afterparty

The first of two posts today featuring designs by MOS, 'Afterparty' pictured above and designed by Michael Meredith and Hilary Sample was the winner of this year's MoMA/P.S.1 Young Architects Program. MOS call it an "urban shelter" which features various soaring hut-like chimneys-like structures. The shade inside is meant to be the urban counterpart to a Bedouin tent and the whole thing has been cleverly designed so as to encourage a gentle breeze. Perfect for some mobile shedworking. More technical details and photos at the P.S.1. site.
Thursday posts are sponsored by Vivid Green, the low energy garden building specialists. Click here for more details

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dome cabin

Thanks to Hugh Thomson for sending in details of his dome cabin garden office concept which he is hoping to build in the not too distant future. The design, which grew out of a study of geodesic structures, offers various configurations for placement of windows and solar panels. More details and technical notes at his site.

Her Shed

You know you want one. Made of wood with a galvanised metal hanger, from Swings & Pretty Things.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Shedworking in Buenos Aires

A lovely artist's studio in the central old San Telmo barrio of Buenos Aires, measuring 26m2 and snugly fitting in a titchy space. It's the metal container workplace of textile designer Rosa Skific built by FPS (where there are more gorgeous photos) as a shedlike addition to her home. The architects say the challenge was to design a small enough office to fit into the space at a very low cost. As you can see, it definitely makes a contrast to the surrounding buildings.Via Judit Bellostes

Monday, February 16, 2009

Watch Your Eyes

Behind the young lady wearing a Proenza Schouler silver-and-black beaded silk organza jumpsuit, shoes and sunglasses is Elliott Coon's mirrored-house installation called "Watch Your Eyes", one of the finest reflecting shedlike atmospheres we've ever seen.


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

Container shedworking

You don't need a garden to be a shedworker as we all know. Andy from Workshopshed writes to point out that the developers who are currently overseeing the rebuild of the Swiss Centre complex in London's Leicester Square have a large stack of containers as offices/workshops. His picture of them is above (and here's the fastest timelapse I've ever seen of the demolition which he also recommends).------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

Around the shedworld (microvideopost)

Untitled on
In our continuing bid to bring you garden office news via the latest interweb fad, the Shedworking staff is currently experimenting with which offers a video microblogging service (twitter with video except you get 12 seconds rather than 140 characters). What do you think? (apart from the need for a hair cut). If you'd like to see this story mentioned above, click through to Tiny House Design. To follow Shedworking on 12seconds click here.

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

Enterprise Nation - Commercial coach, professional nagger, mentor

This week, Emma Jones from Enterprise Nation looks at the importance of a helping hand.
Whatever you decide to call them, having someone to act as a commercial reality check in your business is invaluable. Finding someone with business experience who is prepared to meet and make you accountable could make the difference between meeting or missing your targets.

So how can a commercial coach/Non-Exec type person help your business? Here are a few of the benefits you’ll reap:
* Outlining your business aims and objectives to someone not involved in the detail helps you to get things straight in your own mind
* A fresh pair of eyes looking at the business can make suggestions that may not have occurred to you
* A commercial person will inject discipline in to the business and have you reporting on a monthly basis as to whether you have met sales and marketing targets
* Knowing someone will be on your back if you don't deliver motivates you to win that new customer/seal that long-running deal, etc

Mr or Mrs Right
How do you go about choosing the person to fill this role? It may take a while to find the perfect person (what’s that phrase about having to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince) and as the business develops, you may need to look for a person with different attributes. As a general outline, go for someone who:
* you trust
* preferably know (or know through a shared contact)
* has experience in an area that applies to your business
* someone you respect

As a business owner, it can be a little unsettling at first to have someone question your business model and approach. After all, you are the boss, you know how to run your business, you won't be told what to do. Right? Well, maybe. But it's worth taking advice at the right time, and from the right kind of person.

Two hours with this person can have you walking away feeling great about the business and clear on the way forward. It may also mean doing some homework but then again, that’s what professional naggers are for!
Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nation and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up – how to start a business from home’

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

Sunday, February 15, 2009


We've covered shedlike atmospheres with fewer than four walls, garden offices where there are no gardens, shedlike structures which are (almost) invisible, but I can't recall one without an actual roof. Oliver Bishop-Young seems to have cornered the market in bespoking skips for other purposes such as playing, relaxing and gardening. He's not yet set up an office skip, but it surely can't be long before he does. The example pictured is perhaps the nearest he's come so far.
Via An Artist in Beacon, NY