Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Guardian: yurtworking

The Guardian has been working in a yurt (provided by The Round House whose site is well worth exploring for shedworking possibilities) at the Hay Festival this week, inviting in famous folk and chatting to them about life and yurts. Here's what Jon Henley from the Guardian says:
"Over three fine days at the Hay Festival our yurt (yurta in Russian, kejez uj in Kazakh, boz yj in Kyrgyz, ak oy in Turkmen, ger in Mongolian, jirga or ooee in Afghan, yurt in Tajik) proved to be not just a pretty cool place for talking to some of the nearly 600 writers, philosophers, artists and academics in town this year, as well as general lounging for those festival-goers in need of a rest, but a talking point in itself."
There's a nice slideshow of other visitors here.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Stephen Meir: Home Office

An intriguing garden office design from Stephen Meir. His aim was to make it contemporary and functional, modular and easy to assemble, energy efficient and, above all, inspiring. Being modular, you can create any shape you like, including the rather natty curve above, by simply plugging in new bits. More details and images at Coroflot.

Name That Shed

The owner of this week's entry is sadly no longer with us but this is a major anniversary year for him. Can you 'Name That Shed'?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Mark Gregory: Shedworking's pick of Chelsea 2009

As you know, the Shedworking staff have been a bit occupied recently with nonshedworking activities and we've provided shamefully poor coverage of Chelesea Flower Show (next year we promise to do better). However, our very own Shedworking Gold Medal goes to the marvellous garden from Mark Gregory for The Children's Society, pictured above. Here's how they and Mark describe it:
"Bringing together family life with a busy lifestyle, this garden provides an escape – your own plot of land with multi-functionality. This garden emphasises the different ways that we can take time out to enjoy family time, get healthy, go organic and create new childhood memories."
And of course it has a garden office. Here's a video of Mark discussing it via the BBC site:
You can see more of Mark's video diaries at The Children's Society's own site.We also particularly enjoyed friend of Shedworking Lila Das Gupta's video diaries. Well worth a browse.

InsideOut: Cumbria

InsideOut have been busy in Cumbria recently, as Lyn Fotheringham explains on her blog The Office In The Garden. She says: "The building can be seen from one of the key routes into the Lake District and one or two peole have emailed us to say they have spotted it." The garden office will have a balcony when finished.

(Not) the new Shedworking HQ...

As promised, here is a shed which I discovered on our new property. There's a bit of ivy on it and it might need a bit of work before I can move the laptop and cider press in...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Iconic Antarctic love shack destroyed

An A-frame hut in Antarctica which was one of Sir Edmund Hillary's favourite spots and was a temporary shedworkinglike home for many New Zealand scientists, artists and politicians, has been destroyed by fire. The fire at the hut on the Ross Ice Shelf near Scott Base (though formerly at the McMurdo Station) started during a routine inspection and diesel refuelling and the dry wood quickly ignited. Happily nobody was seriously injured. Antarctica New Zealand chief executive Lou Sanson said:"The A-frame represented something uniquely Kiwi in Antarctica. It was the concept of a mountain hut mixed with a bach. It was the only place you could really get away from the monotony of base life." According to The Southland Times it was dubbed the 'love shack' after a couple were trapped for 16 hours inside five years ago during a terrible storm.
Thanks to Andrew Bantock for the alert
Thursday posts are sponsored by Vivid Green, the low energy garden building specialists. Click here for more details

MPs expense scandal: Paul Goggins

Our ongoing look into the shed angle of the MPs expense scandal focuses today on Paul Goggins, MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East. According to the Manchester Evening News he claimed £300 for a shed at his home in Salford in 2005 commenting: “It was a replacement for a shed that had been there for donkey’s years. I replaced it with a fairly modest one.” In total, he spent £690 on his garden in November 2005 which included the £300 shed, £108 on skip hire, and £40 on turf.
Thursday posts are sponsored by Vivid Green, the low energy garden building specialists. Click here for more details

Little Tom Thumb, Gambier Island

Bruce Devereux, Recreation & Volunteer Manager at Christenson Village, has sent in details of a lovely shed project at Christensen, a Multi-Level Seniors Care facility on the beautiful west coast of British Columbia (Gibsons, BC). He writes:
"I have developed a new media program working with seniors and sharing stories through both Audio and Video Podcasts. A recent project focused on one of our residents and her garden shed on beautiful Gambier Island, a short ferry ride from Gibsons. We will be doing several more with her talking about all aspects of her Island Life, and family, focusing on how they have evolved over the years."
The shed in question - called Little Tom Thumb - is pictured above and below but for the story you need to watch the truly charming video on their site here.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thursday posts are sponsored by Vivid Green, the low energy garden building specialists. Click here for more details

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Shedworking is moving house today. Normal service will be resumed tomorrow. Hopefully.
Wednesday's posts are sponsored by The Garden Room Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Farewell to Shedworking HQ

It's the end of an era. As some of you know already, the Shedworking staff and family is moving house today and tomorrow (Wednesday) and unfortunately the Shedworking HQ will be staying behind to enrich the lives of a new family (coincidentally very close friends so we'll be able to make guest returns). We've been in here five years now and have obviously become very attached to the place. But needs must when the devil drives, and a move is necessary for a whole host of reasons. Sadly our new home does not have a garden office (yet - garden office suppliers take note...) so we will be cellarworking for a few months until the dust settles and a new Shedworking HQ can rise in pomp and ceremony. I feel slightly fraudulent in continuing the site while not actually working in a garden office, but I hope you will all understand the reasons why and continue to pop in to see what's new here (there will be plenty, as always). If you'd like to post goodbye messages to the little green fellow, I promise to pass them on.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Peter Merry: shedworker

Peter Merry is a busy chap: a partner at Engage!, the founder and Chair of the Center for Human Emergence, Netherlands; the founder and Director of the Hague Center for Global Governance, Innovation and Emergence; and a Fellow of the Center for Human Ecology in the UK. And he's a shedworker - but as you might expect from somebody with the above credentials, his garden office is something special. Pictured above, it is covered in car tyres from a local garage on the outside and is built out of recycled materials (wood from the former garden house on location, old wooden furniture found on the streets, glass from a nearby bankrupted glass company) by 'garbage architects' Denis Oudendijk and Jan Korbes. You can see more pictures of this marvellous build here - don't forget to scroll down to see them all and more description of the build.

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

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Shedworking on Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy is high up on our favourite notreallyshedworkingbutstillofinterest places to wander around, so we're delighted to see the kind words in their recent write-up of us and that other shed blog. Here's a snippet:
"For those of us who've had fantasies of living, Thoreau style, on Walden pond in a minimalist cabin we may have drooled over streamlined prefabs nestled in forests or dreamed of going off the grid right here in the city. They're great fantasies, but a closer reality might be the humble garden shed, more prevalent in the UK than here in the states, but a great idea nonetheless. The small space once used to hold tools and potting soil is now used as a home office, for outdoor entertaining, as a study, as a playroom and even for gardening."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sibelius vs sheds

Sibelius' Karelia Suite (Intermezzo) with shedlike atmospheres in illustration.
Via Warren Ellis. Thanks to Chris Routledge for the alert.
Name That Shed will return next week.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Disco Shed feat Dub Pistols' Barry Ashworth

Performing live out of an actual shed has become a celebrated Saturday night out at the Westbury. The Disco Shed presents shedliner, Barry Ashworth with a Dub Pistols DJ set. With recent collaborations with the Specials’ Terry Hall, reggae legend Horace Andy and British Hip Hop crusader, Rodney P expect a set built on tough breakbeats, but equally immersed in hip-hop, ska, reggae, punk and soul. Count Skylarkin’ backsup the mashups alongside the shed’s resident Arthur Fowler, DJ BarryDark and Head of Shed, Peepshow Paddy.

This is the Disco Shed's flagship party as it hurtles towards its natural home of summer festivaldom, and will be transforming the concept of what a DJ booth can, and in the name of fun, should be. Hanging baskets, disco balls, Bridget Fonda workout videos and Des O'Connor album covers are all scheduled to appear.

The mobile disco shed is best known for kitschly pummelling festivals with its party soundsystem, from the bigger (Reading) to the middler (Big Chill) to the tiddler (Latitude).

Any shedworker can have free entry by emailing with Shedworking @ The Westbury in the subject line!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Timber Architecture news portal

Cameron Scott who designed one of our favourite garden offices, the Milton Studio, has now set up a news portal for Timber Architecture dedicated to timber architecture. Well worth a browse as is the associated blog. I particularly liked the piece on Blau, a new timber frame multipurpose shelter launched at this year's EcoBuild in London and now available for order: we'll cover it more fully on Shedworking next week.
Thursday posts are sponsored by Vivid Green, the low energy garden building specialists. Click here for more details

MPs expense scandal: duck shed

Now this is a nice shed...
Sir Peter Viggers, a Tory grandee, included with his expense claims the £1,645 cost of a floating duck house in the garden pond at his Hampshire home.
Via Daily Telegraph
Thursday posts are sponsored by Vivid Green, the low energy garden building specialists. Click here for more details

Riverview: garden office renovation

Chris Lindley's garden office renovation is progressing nicely as the new photos on his site show. Happily he says he is still enjoying the build and it does look rather nice. Chris is also documenting the renovation of his new home as well as the garden office in pictures on his Flickr site.
Thursday posts are sponsored by Vivid Green, the low energy garden building specialists. Click here for more details

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

John Bocook: mobile shedworker

We're witnessing a lot of interest in tiny house living at the moment and I wonder if the time has come too for mobile shedworking to take a leap forward. Here is John Bocook's set-up, above and below, and here's what he says about his shedworking life:
"When someone tells you they work from a van, I bet you think plumber or cable installer. I am a media designer (web designing, video, photography). I love to be outdoors and enjoy working remotely as I travel a lot. One of the benefits of working for yourself i guess. Today I come to you from a van. I am on my laptop in a beautifully constructed 1992 astrovan. There are shed workers - I believe we can take it one step farther. Who says you have to be confined to an office? I have a power charger and a verizon internet card of my laptop and can spend 8-10 hours here enjoying whatever countryside I decide to work from."
Wednesday's posts are sponsored by The Garden Room Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here.

Squatters' Cottage

It was a very tricky Name That Shed last week, but the answer was Squatters' Cottage up for sale with agents John Goodwin. For obvious reasons, most squatters cottages (built on common land) have not survived but this one dates back at least to 1814 when it appears on an enclosure map. It's a timber frame with thatched roof (with corrugated iron on top) and wattle and daub panels. According to Goodwins, it has been in the ownership of the current family for a century and is said to have been won in a bet. They go on to say:
"The property has lain almost undiscovered for decades and is hidden away in a lightly wooded area of approximately 1 ¼ Acres in a secluded yet convenient location only two miles north of Ledbury on the edge of the village of Wellington Heath. The property is a Grade II listed building and planning permission was refused in November 2005 in response to a comprehensive redevelopment scheme. Further discussions held with the Planning Officer for Herefordshire Council have resulted in an indication of support based on a very contemporary proposal prepared by architects Stainburn Taylor of Ledbury."
The proposal is pictured below. Guide price £125,000.----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wednesday's posts are sponsored by The Garden Room Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here.

George Meredith: shedworker

19th century writer and thinker George Meredith put pen to paper in this 'writing chalet' in the grounds of his home, Flint Cottage on Box Hill. According to Nigeness: "He would spend hours in the chalet, in a fug of tobacco smoke, writing, pacing about and conversing with his characters at length... Meredith loved Box Hill - 'I am every morning at the top of Box Hill,' he enthuses, '- as its flower, its bird, its prophet. I drop down the moon on one side, I draw up the sun on t'other. I breathe fine air. I shout ha ha to the gates of the world. Then I descend and know myself a donkey for doing it...'
Via Nigeness (including the photo). Thanks to Christine Farmer for the alert
Wednesday's posts are sponsored by The Garden Room Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Garden office commute: James Weaver

Artist and owner of the artcafé on the island of Mersea, James Weaver (whom we profiled here) has sent in a photo of his lovely garden commute. As he says: "It's quite a good run once you get past the barbeque!"

Monday, May 18, 2009

Shedworking on Wolfram|Alpha

Wolfram|Alpha is a new interweb delight which aims "to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone". To this end they "aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries".

And if you type in Shedworking, this is what our HTML element hierarchy looks like. I'm not sure what it means, but it's attractive. I also like its optimistic suggestion that Shedworking receives 39,000 page views a day and 12,000 daily visitors.

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

Choosing a shed - Surrey Traditional Builders

Wendy Timmins runs the Horsley-based Surrey Traditional Builders a small building company interested in eco building and is trying to launch new SIPS-built extensions and garden buildings. They haven't actually built one yet so are keen to take one on at cost - if you're looking to buy a garden office, this could be a good bargain. You can email Wendy by clicking here or follow her on twitter.

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

Grass in the garden office

A grass square to be used indoors in the office, designed at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, Israel, inspired by Frank Loyd Wright’s Fallingwater. Not yet available on sale (but you could always just dig up a bit of your lawn couldn't you?)
Via Nine99

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

MPs expense scandal: the shed angle

The scandal over MPs' expense claims rumbles on and as you'd expect, the folk in Parliament have been claiming for plenty of sheddish purchases (as noted by Shedblog). As The Times reported:
Cheer up,” said a Labour backbencher to his glum colleague nursing a pint of bitter in a House of Commons bar last week. “You don’t understand,” replied the second MP. “My wife, she doesn’t do budget. It’s the conservatory she ordered.”
The first MP said: “Don’t worry, mate, a lot of us have conservatories.”
The second MP shook his head: “You haven’t seen the size of my conservatory.”
Here's a rundown:

* Hexham MP Peter Atkinson: Expenses included £99.99 for a garden shed plus £21.86 for Homebase tools to erect it (via The Journal).
* Havent MP David Willetts: Parliamentary officials cut more than £1,000 from a bill including £175 for having a dog enclosure built and £750 for a shed base. However, six months later the fees office allowed him to claim £330 plus VAT for the same odd job man to supply and erect a shed (via Daily Telegraph)
* Witney MP David Cameron: Claimed £680 for repairs to his constituency home, included the cost of clearing wisteria and vines from the chimney, replacing outside lights, and resealing the conservatory roof (via The Guardian)
* Bracknell MP Andrew MacKay: Claimed more than £1,500 to pay for re-glazing his conservatory (via The Wokingham Times)
* Birmingham Ladywood MP Clare Short: Hundreds of pounds worth of work to a summer house and conservatory (via Sky News)

There's also this from which is scarcely believable...

For a good roundup of MPs' other horticultural expense claims, see this excellent post by our Garden Shows correspondent Emma Townshend (currently rooting out the best sheds at the Chelsea Flower Show).
Pictured above is Number 10's garden where there is no shed but there are rosebeds with Galanthus nivalis on the left, and a new bed of bulbs and herbaceous on the right

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

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Garden office commute: Phil Sorrell

Our, frankly slightly irregular, series looking at shedworking commutes continues with this rather nice shot from Phil Sorell, taken after hours of slaving away.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The A-Z of credit crunch gardening: S is for...

There's an excellent piece in today's Independent ahead of the Chelsea Flower Show next week by friend of Shedworking Victoria Summerley called The A-Z of credit crunch gardening. And at S in the alphabet is... actually, Shedworking is at O for Office which is a far more sensible place to put it.

Victoria particularly picks out Mark Gregory's marvellous garden (and garden office) for the Children's Society, pictured above, which you should certainly visit if you go to Chelsea (it's an Urban Garden rather than a Show Garden). Here's what the RHS site has to say about it:
The Children’s Society’s entry is a stylish and practical back garden to complement last year’s Gold Medal winning front garden. It continues the story of a family who are very aware of where their food comes from and conscious about their environmental impact. The family have adapted their lifestyle to make the most of the garden while learning how to grow vegetables.

When putting together his garden, designer Mark Gregory tried to remain true to the spirit of A Good Childhood, the landmark report of The Good Childhood Inquiry commissioned by The Children’s Society.

The innovative design - a garden room for use as a playroom or home office so that parents can work flexibly at home - is intended to embody some of the key things that children need to flourish. It incorporates raised vegetable beds.

The report called for families to spend more time doing things together, for adults to pass on their learning and values to children, for children to contribute to the needs of others and for them to eat a healthy diet.

Name That Shed

This week's newsworthy entry is shedlike rather than a pure shed. In fact, one might almost call it a hovel...

Friday, May 15, 2009

National Work From Home Day

Welcome to Shedworking's celebration of National Work From Home Day (which is today). I'll be updating this post throughout the day - there'll be tweets too - and please do leave a comment to say hi and perhaps a little bit about where you're working and what you're doing today.
7.30am Take eldest son to choir at the Cathedral then back for breakfast and quick email to client advising them when their magazine will arrive for their approval
10.18 Back from school run and coffee with Daily Mirror journalist friend to discuss the state of newspapers and football. Some mild invoicing and a proper check of the mountain of stuff in my RSS feed including this rather nice shot of the reconstructed Thoreau's Cabin on materialicious
10.35 Baby Shedworking happy playing with his stuff so grabbing the chance to sort out photos for the Shedworking book. Have realised some are corrupt and people are very kindly resending them. Got a particular nice set of shots from a very wellknown author which I'm keeping quiet about until just before publication...
11.06 Just had telephone call with (very understanding) client while holding baby and feeding him a small piece of fruit. Now enjoying coffee while baby rips up paper.
12.24 Baby now asleep after vast lunch which leaves me about two hours baby-free time to get on with working on the latest issue of NACC News. Postman arrives a little late with cheque for recent work with the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation, terrific people to work with, not least because they pay invoices speedily.
12.37 Lunch. Mushrooms on toast with a bit of M&S's couscous spice paste. Instant miso soup (not that great but reduces amount of coffee I drink). Browsing the interweb and come across this marvellous piece on Shedblog about the Clarkson Mk 1.13.05 Just reading about this interesting survey from BT about working from home. They claim that
"over half (55%) of employees are working from home more often since the financial crisis began...The need to save money is the main reason for the majority (88%) of respondents to now conduct their working day from the comfort of their living room, bedroom or garden shed.
(my italics)
13.13 The National Pyjama Club has been brought to my attention
13.17 Here's the pitter patter of rain on James Rudd's shed roofListen!
14.45 Baby awakes. End of work for the next few hours as school pickup approaches. Wondering whether fish and chips should be today's tea.
18.57 Baby now asleep, eldest two fed, Mrs Shedworking due back any second. A short pause then work will resume in about an hour. Enjoying the mashup from Speed Communications here of the working from home day around the country on twitter.
20.22 Assembling all the photos for the Shedworking book. Having interesting email chat with a women whose entire family seem to work in sheds, but sadly some of them are hermits and don't want to be in the book. Fair enough.
21.58 Calling it a day. Thanks to everyone who stopped by (this has been one of the highest viewed posts this year) and especially to those who left a message. See you again next year (well, technically we'll see you again tomorrow but you know what I mean).

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dave Edwards: shedworker

Sacramento-based architect Dave Edwards has a marvellous self-built garden office (which he also uses as a hobby space for his painting), a 13 x 13ft square with an 18ft tower and parabolic roof. I have five windows in my garden office: Dave has 23. According to Dave's entry on, it has a concrete floor and the interior walls and ceiling are tempered masonite with redwood battens. You can see more of his excellent photos here.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thursday posts are sponsored by Vivid Green, the low energy garden building specialists. Click here for more details

Booths Garden Studios: new veranda addition

Booths Garden Studios have a new addition to their range the new QC 2 Veranda Studio. The one pictured above is available for visits: Janine, for whom the studio was fitted, has very kindly offered to let you nose around by appointment (Ealing, London). Contact Booths directly if you'd like to take a look.
Thursday posts are sponsored by Vivid Green, the low energy garden building specialists. Click here for more details

Man Caves: the television series

Man Caves is a regular series on the DIY Network in the USA which focuses on how to make your own 'Man Cave'. So for example the upcoming Friday show looks at how to create a surfers paradise in your basement. The presenters are Jason Cameron and Tony “The Goose” Siragusa. Though not strictly designed for shedworking, there are many shedlike atmospheres on their site where you can also view back episodes if you live in the USA. Above is an example, the Golf Garage with indoor virtual-reality driving range, curved wall, a media centre and sports storage area for clubs and golf gear. I trust that the 'Woman Caves' series is in development too.
Thursday posts are sponsored by Vivid Green, the low energy garden building specialists. Click here for more details