Friday, July 31, 2009

BillyOh Pathfinder 'Sportsman' Log Cabin

A relaxing video to ease you into the weekend.
"A stunning log cabin with a spacious interior. The BillyOh Sportsman Cabin can be easily adapted to fit in any size garden. Ideal for use as a summerhouse, playhouse, garden office and much more."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rotosound: shedworkers

Guitar string manufacturers Rotosound are featured in the latest issue of The Institution of Engineering and Technology magazine. Journalist Jonathan Wilson meets James How, founder of Rotosound, whose string-winding machines were originally designed and built in his shed (they have since moved to rather larger shedworking premises in Sevenoaks).
Thanks to Andy from for the alert.
Thursday posts are sponsored by Vivid Green, the low energy garden building specialists. Click here for more details

The new generation of outdoor rooms

Garden offices are all over the media at the moment: today's Daily Telegraph has a good piece by Renée Green and photographs by Rebecca Bernstein, looking at the shedworking revolution in general and profiling Chris Hedley-Dent, a figurative painter and art teacher, in particular who bought a Stealth model from Roost. Here's a snippet:
"I could have built an extension or covered the patio, but I prefer to have a working space away from the house – keeping the paint and oil smells away from the rest of the family," [says Chris]. Despite being in rural Spreyton, the garden was relatively small and in an unusual rhombus shape. It posed some real design challenges. 'And I wanted something contemporary, not just a garden shed,’ he adds.
The piece quotes a study by ARA Research last year which estimates the garden building market "to increase by up to 25 per cent over the next three years, taking its market value to an estimated £155 million". This seems a high figure to me... There's a really nice gallery of garden offices at the top of the piece which is well worth a browse including the Pavilion (above) inspired by the Barcelona Pavilion by Mies van der Rohe from Stiff & Trevillion.
Thursday posts are sponsored by Vivid Green, the low energy garden building specialists. Click here for more details

Shedworking: la grande évasion

I was recently interviewed for the specialist French financial paper Les Echos by the very friendly Thomas Bourdou. Here's what I told him:
"Les Anglais disent shed, les Américains shack, pour parler en fait de la même chose en français: une cabane. Depuis cinq ans, les propositions pour Shedworking ont explosé. Les gens ont envie de travailler de chez eux, de s'isoler de la réalité."
I think there may have been wires crossed towards the end of the last sentence, but it's a really nice piece, and well worth a browse, even if your French is a little rusty.

Thursday posts are sponsored by Vivid Green, the low energy garden building specialists. Click here for more details

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Quiet Rooms

Quiet Room Designs was established by Helen Sanderson in 2005 to provide, well, 'quiet rooms' for businesses where people can go to sit, think and relax, maybe meditate, maybe pray - a kind of shedworking sanctuary. The company covers everything from design to installation. Among those who have installed them are Guardian News & Media, Bolton Wanderers Football Club and Devon County Council.

Recycled sheds

We frequently cover sheds and garden offices which have been made either wholly or partially from recycled/salvaged materials. But of course if you get lucky, you can get the whole thing in one bit. Shedworking reader Jon Sanders has written in with details of the start of his shedbuilding odyssey.
I have recently been very lucky as I have got totally free of charge a 28ft x 15ft workshop/shed! I got this from a local recycle site where people give things away rather than go to the landfill! I have to take it all apart and then transport and then re-assemble in my garden. The shed is already half down and made of wooden timber frame with corrugated plastic panels on the outside (doesn’t look as bad as it sounds) with two massive d/glazed windows and flooring to boot! I am currently concreting ‘Pads’ to accommodate the floor joists main beams ready for delivery and reconstructing.This workshop was originally a workshop for a carpenter (17 years since it was constructed) who used it to make his own kitchens in and fit, so it had saw benches extractor fans and all sorts in it at one time. It's absolutely huge.

Wednesday's posts are sponsored by The Garden Room Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here.

Shedworking in The Independent

A nice piece in The Independent by Kate Watson-Smyth looks at how the garden shed is being reinvented in the 12st century as a garden office. Here's a snippet:
"An Englishman's home is no longer his castle. It is, in fact, his shed. The humble garden shed, now often upgraded to a "garden room", has been quietly undergoing a rather spectacular makeover in recent years. Annual awards are now given out for the best shed and there are websites dedicated to "sheddies" and their fabulous creations."
There's a brief quote from me in it too. Well worth a browse. Pictured above, the shackup by the Hemingways for B&Q with porthole windows.
Wednesday's posts are sponsored by The Garden Room Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Duluth Potting Shed by Silvercocoon

We tend not to cover potting sheds on Shedworking (not that we don't like them) but we'll make an exception for this beauty. You can even vote for it at thehousevote.

Interview with Disco Shed

There's a nice interview with Paddy of the awardwinning Disco Shed on the amenable Shaun Keaveny's BBC 6Music show. Indeed Shaun is covering sheds all week (yesterday he spoke to Ian from The Cheese Shed) so do tune in every day: in his intro to Paddy's piece he described sheds as "the brains of the planet" which I think is cracking. You can listen to Paddy about 2 hours 44 minutes in on the iPlayer thingy on the BBC here.

Heather Bestel - shedworking tip of the month

Don’t let the summer holidays ruin your shedworking schedule; here are my top tips for a happy homeworking holiday.

1. Let your children ‘work’ with you. Have an area in the corner of the shed with toys, books, drawing equipment etc, so that you can be prepared when the little ones come to visit you in your home office.

2. Work around their schedule. Organise important calls while they are taking a nap or at a friend’s house. Take time off to be with them during the day and catch up on paperwork when they’re in bed.

3. Explain to clients when they call, that your children are around. They probably already know you work from home, they will be even more jealous to hear that you have the work-life balance just right too.

4. Enjoy the flexibility. Remember one of the major benefits of homeworking is having more time with the family. They are only young once, so relish your time together.
More stressbusting advice from Heather at her site A Little Bit of ME Time

Best Wooden Sheds: new blog

There's a new shed blog in the shedosphere, Best Wooden Sheds by Donald Rickerby. He told Shedworking: "I've been a carpenter since 1987 and I've built a few sheds over the years. Haven't built one in quite a while but I enjoy giving people advice and helping them through the process. Thought it would be fun to put it into a web site and hear what people have to say. If all goes well with this site, I hope to share my other interests in landscaping and gardening." Worth keeping an eye on.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Treehouse Gallery: The video

We mentioned the marvellous Treehouse Gallery project recently and jotta has a really nice sneak preview video of the whole thing.

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

The Gypsy Caravan Company

While we frequently wax lyrical about shepherds' huts, we rarely mention gypsy caravans on Shedworking which is most remiss since they make lovely shedworking atmsopheres too with the added benefit of being moveable. The Gypsy Caravan Company is run by Laurence Ward who told Shedworking: "Our company sells both secondhand and newly built gypsy caravans of different types, and though not aimed specifically at the home worker, a number of our clients have bought them for just that purpose." The caravans come with extending double bed, seating with lockers, pull out table, wardrobe, cupboards, fireplace, bookshelves and a secret den. It's a lovely web site too with a particularly pleasant links section.

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

DeskLitter: new online store for shedworkers

Nexus Publishing - the baby of HomeWorker Magazine publisher Dave Howell - has just launched a new online store – for the home-based business market. "The new store will bring together gadgets and other devices that all home-based businesses can use to not only make their businesses more profitable, but their home offices a comfortable, fun and efficient place to work," says Dave. The DeskLitter store evolved from the reviews section in HomeWorker Magazine and it’s accompanying blog. The store will initially showcase the product ranges from Blue Lounge and WildCharge and will have an exclusive link to old friend of Shedworking's Enterprise Nation.

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

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Virginia Woolf's garden office

Virginia Woolf's garden office at her home Monk's House, East Sussex, by Gigibird (Lynn). She used to play bowls with Leonard on the lawn. 

Ray Cirono's ecopods

Tiny House Design has a nice piece on these ecopods by Ray Cirono built from recycled and salvaged materials. Well worth a browse.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ceramic beach huts

Something summery for the weekend from lagranja, "A portable urban sculpture entirely realized in ceramics. A set of spaces - installations that thinking about sustainability."
Via materialicious

Friday, July 24, 2009

Grow your own garden office

We've looked at the possibility of growing your own garden office building before, particularly the Fab Tree Hab and here's another fine example as outline in Spiegelonline by Philip Bethge. The piece focuses on architects Ferdinand Ludwig, Oliver Storz and Hannes Schwertfeger who are designing buildings made entirely out of living trees, especially willows. Here's a snippet:
"Ludwig calls this technique "plant addition." To do it, he uses one-year-old willows that are thin and flexible but at least 10 meters (33 feet) long. Once the willows have matured to full strength, the strands will be able to support the eight-meter (26-foot) tower that Ludwig plans to begin building near Lake Constance in southern Germany at the end of July, as though they were steel beams."
It's quite complicated so you really do need to read the original article but this is not all pie in the sky: the group has already built some structures such as the "diagonal support frame", above, for a bird watching station in Bavaria. Do check out their marvellous slideshow of arbo-architecture too.
Via Treehugger

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Shed loads of ideas

To celebrate the coming of age of their branding and graphic design company Purple Circle, the company asked their clients and other respected illustrators, designers, photographers, creatives, to "take a few minutes out of their day to create their own shed of ideas – no matter what form that may take!" The results are very impressive and, as you might expect, rather creative too. Above is Adam Kirkman's submission but you can browse the whole darn lot here.

The Creative Shed from Adam Kirkman on Vimeo.

Thursday posts are sponsored by Vivid Green, the low energy garden building specialists. Click here for more details

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Shedworking book preview

We mentioned last week that Simon Draper was using images from the forthcoming book Shedworking: The Alternative Workplace Revolution at Citysol in New York and here's what it looked like. "There was an excellent response to it," says Simon, "and it attracted a lot of interest." It is looking likely that it will go on the road to other galleries and venues, maybe even including a solar power element.
Wednesday's posts are sponsored by The Garden Room Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here.

Apollo Spacecraft - looks a lot like a...

With all the stories about the moon landings, there's one angle which has got surprisingly little coverage, the size of the spacecraft. James Westwater points out that the command module was 10.5ft high with a diameter of nearly 13ft so there was room for three astronauts with their legs stretched out. The lunar module was a little bigger. One could almost say they were...
Photo from How Stuff Works
Wednesday's posts are sponsored by The Garden Room Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here.

Instant home add-on

A marvellous story in the Lancashire Telegraph by Ben Briggs tells the story of how a prefab shedlike atmosphere is helping Najma Panwaskar who has multiple sclerosis. Her husband Muhammad Panwaskar told the paper:
“For the past three years she has been stuck upstairs and could not get down. This will make a massive difference to the standard of her life and will change our lives completely.”
These modules include a bedroom and bathroom, removing th eneed for stairs, and arrive all kitted out. Thumbs up to Blackburn with Darwen Council for providing it. At the end of the article, Briggs reports that these pods cost around £65,000 and £15,000 to move which makes interesting comparison with garden office prices.
Wednesday's posts are sponsored by The Garden Room Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here.

The magic of treehouses

A nice piece in today's Independent by Brian Viner talks about the delights of treehouses for all the family (and planning issues) plus there's a nice piece about how to build your own. Well worth a browse.
Wednesday's posts are sponsored by The Garden Room Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Style your garden office

Although these tarpaulin covers from are aimed at garage owners who want to give their doors a bit of a makeover, there's no reason why they wouldn't make a smashing addition to your garden office. Click here for the full range of rooms (though there are also other possibilities too).

Choosing a shed - Roost

Devon-based Roost is a new garden office supplier which has two very attractive, and very different, pod models. The rather snazzy Oval (above) is SIPs-built and clad in red western cedar with a green roof and sliding door. Inside there is Dalsouple rubber flooring.The Aluminium (below) has a similar spec but with an aluminium cladding and includes a tiny kitchen.They also offer a bespoke service. Below is the Stealth. Here's what Roost designer Ben Huggins says about it:
"The slightly unusual shape of the garden leant itself to something angular and immediately conjured up images of ‘stealth’ technology, whereby the multi-angled surfaces on airplanes, boats and other vehicles make them virtually invisible to enemy radar."
Roost is keen to emphasise it's eco credentials - FSC timer, responsible insulation, the sedum roof, plus solar and wind power options.

Sidewalk sheds

An interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal by Barry Newman looks at what they call temporary 'sidewalk sheds'. Here's what Newman says:
"Sidewalk sheds consist of pipes, beams, planks and plywood. They can be a few feet or a few hundred feet long, and they make it possible to walk in New York without getting beaned by bricks falling off buildings. The bricks land on the sheds instead. During the real-estate boom, New York had between 4,000 and 6,000 sidewalk sheds. During the real-estate bust, New York still has between 4,000 and 6,000 sidewalk sheds. Construction sites have gone dark, but façades keep buckling and cornices keep cracking as if nothing had happened to the economy."
There's also a nice slideshow.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Nissen and Quonset Huts: help needed

Reader Hugh McDaniel writes to say that he is starting on the renovation of a Nissen and a Quonset hut.
"I need some plans to compare mine with so I keep the building in line with their original specification. Both are in remarkable condition, the Nissen Hut is going to make an excellent cinema and the Quonset I am spec'ing for my father in law as a country retreat. Any advice/help will be gratefully received. At the end of the project I will be having a party of all helpers (we are in Lincolnshire, close to Sturgate Airfield)."
Please let me know if you can help or just leave a comment below.

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

Getting a water supply to the shed

There are many different trades you can pursue from your garden office. Some, such as potters and dyers, need more water than, say, journalists. One reader of Shedworking has written in looking for some help:
"I need water and power. Not much power, Mac, printer, lights, microwave and spindryer. Crucially I need water. I'm wondering about a Shepherd's Hut but the water is a puzzle. In theory I could use a water butt to provide it, plus emptying the tumble dryer and collecting the the cold water in the shower before it gets hot enough to go under the water generates a bucket a day).

It's the drainage... If I had a sink which drained into a second water butt that might work. There's nothing awful in the water, just water and a trace of vinegar (probably good for the rhodedendrons). Have you got any ideas? In theory I could connect it to the mains with a hosepipe but it's a bit of a faff. I really don't want to be messing with the water board about drainage."
Any thoughts readers?

Photo by Peter Lindberg


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

Dienst Kunst en Cultuur Gemeente Rotterdam

I like this variation on a garden office theme. It's the public space at the Department of Art & Culture in Rotterdam: there's a 40m hallway with a 10m space and the brief included areas for lounging, meeting, displaying leaflets and housing a small library.
Via Judit Bellostes


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

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Paul Barton from Roomworks writes to say that they are regularly asked if they can produce really tiny garden office rooms. "So we've put one together - same super-insulated shell 100mm SIPS walls, floor, roof, etc - but just smaller," he says. "We were inspired by the Carre d'etoiles post on Shedworking recently and we will be incorporating something similar in our MOONROOM - satellite website on the launch pad! The working title for the ad campaign is "When you want more space and don't want it to cost the earth" We're trying to bring these in under £5,000 and the spec is high - so it'll be really good value."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Game Shed

A lovely shot of the royal game shed at Balmoral by Matthew Kuhnert. It's just behind the main house and was used to hang game after hunting and the scene of the famous moment in the film The Queen when the Queen goes to look at the shot stag.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Cinco Camp

A marvellous slideshow at The New York Times (plus accompanying article) focuses on Cinco Camp, Roger Black’s West Texas retreat which is made of five shipping containers on his 3,000-acre ranch. Well worth a browse with cracking photos by James H. Evans.Thanks to Alan Bucknam for the alert

Vivid Green looking for holiday lodge partner

Low energy building specialist and garden office supplier Vivid Green is looking for innovative leisure companies to help design an ultra low energy holiday lodge. "As well as reducing energy bills and creating a more comfortable environment for guests, the low energy/off-grid approach offers leisure companies the opportunity to extend their season at marginal cost," says VG's director Neil Johnston.

"At the extreme there is the potential to deliver very comfortable accommodation which is entirely off-grid but we accept most organisations will not want to go that far. However a building of this type could slash energy costs by 80-90% and, with the right renewable technologies, reduce or eliminate the cost of installing utilities”.

Using the ‘Passiv Haus’ standard as a guide, the company is confident it can heat a lodge of 50 square metres with no more than 1kW and reduce heating bills to less than £30 a month. Companies interested should contact Dr Johnston at or 01582 469076.

Garden room: Nagoya House

We often look at ways of bringing the garden into your garden office, but here's a particularly fabulous one at a lovely house in Nagoya designed by Suppose Design Office and showcased on the superduper dezeen who say:
"The house, situated on a narrow plot surrounded by neighbouring houses, accommodates the client’s desire for a vibrant garden by including a landscaped “garden room” bordering the main living space."
And here's what the Suppose folk say:
"It was our intention to treat rooms and gardens as equivalent, and make the relationship between inside and out closer, by creating a design featuring this garden-like room so that things normally decorating a room such as art, books, and furnishings would in a way almost be thrust into an exterior space."
Lots more photos at dezeen.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Shedman keeping busy

John 'Shedman' Davies and his shed are having a busy time of it at the moment. For the second year running, John was at Ledbury Poetry Festival outside the Burgage Hall, starting all kinds of conversations with the question 'What's the first shed you ever remember?' Visitors included actress Linda Thorson (The Avengers, Emmerdale), Dame Joan Bakewell (who remembers her Grandfather's fire hazard of a shed at the back of a Manchester terrace) and Roger McGough, who described how his friend with an allotment shed had tried to encourage him in the ways of the soil, but to no avail.

Highlights included the man who came into Shedman's shed and said 'I set fire to my mother', the Engaged Buddhist band The Boddhivistas who sang Shed California to the Eagles tune and Merys, the lovely lady pictured who brought Shedman a miniature homemade shed with a poem inside it. John helped to round off the festival with an hour long Breakfast Shed Show in Ledbury's famous Market Hall which he claims looks a bit like a half timbered elephant shed. Many of the stories will be posted by Shedman on his website and blogssoon.John is also very busy on another project, Our Storeys at North Middlesex University Hospital in Enfield till the end of July. You can meet him outside the Spice of Life Restaurant at the North Middlesex University Hospital on Monday 27th, Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th July from 10am-4pm and in Emsworth at Havant Literary Festival from 2nd-4th October.
Thursday posts are sponsored by Vivid Green, the low energy garden building specialists. Click here for more details