Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Insurance for shedworkers

 Only 42% of homeworkers are confident that their home insurance covers the equipment – such as computers, tablets and printers – they use for work, a survey by Home Insurance suggests.

The comparison website compared over 300 home contents insurance policies and found that while most provide cover for business equipment,  5% only provide this cover as an optional extra, and 8% give no cover at all.  Of those policies providing cover, there was a significant variation in the sums insured, from just £500 to unlimited cover. The vast majority (87%) of policies exclude cover for business stock. Of the 44 policies which cover business stock, half provide just £500 worth of cover. 

Ben Wilson, home insurance spokesperson at, said: “With many companies offering flexible working to employees, it’s not unusual for people to work from home either on a fulltime or occasional basis. But if you do so regularly you need to let your home insurer know that you are using your home for business purposes. This doesn’t apply if you only work the odd day or two from home, for example to look after a sick child.

“Your insurer will want to know the type of work you undertake at home.  For example, whether it’s clerical work or whether you’re providing a service such as physiotherapy and have regular business visitors. As a rule of thumb, clerical work doesn’t make much difference to the cost of your cover because many policies cover administrative duties. However, receiving regular business visitors or storing stock could have a bigger impact on your insurance premium. However, some home insurers give a discount if your home is occupied during the day so it’s important to shop around to find the cover you need at a good price."

He added that failing to tell your insurer that you work from home could invalidate your policy if you need to make a claim.

“If you keep stock or product samples at home then you need to inform your insurer," he said. "Most contents insurance policies exclude cover for business stock, so you’ll probably need to buy a separate policy to cover this. Also, if in running your business you keep cash at home, then you’ll need to check your home insurance policy limits to make sure you have adequate cover. However, if you use equipment supplied by your employer, such as a work laptop, you should not put this on your own home insurance policy.”  ----------------------------------------------------
Wednesday posts are sponsored by The Stable Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Stay in John Steinbeck's Writer's Studio

Author John Steinbeck stayed and worked in this one bedroom building in Pacific Grove, California, known as The Writer's Studio - he wrote The Sea of Cortez here and it has now been sensitively renovated. You can rent it out on airbnb where it has a five star rating. Tomorrow, we'll take a look at another of Steinbeck's garden offices.
Tuesday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning

Monday, April 27, 2015


It's been a while since we talked about shedworking on wheels but the fine folk at Carisma Auto Design (which they inform me is 100% British) have been in touch to talk about their marvellous luxury mobile office offering which provides a private shedworkingesque workspace for up to four people (plus driver and passenger in front).

Standard features include onboard wifi, PC, front and rear facing LCD televisions, DVD/CD Player/Digital Radio, video conference facilities, sockets to charge laptops, etc, integrated sound system (Bang and Olufsen upgrade available), fridge for up to 4 wine bottles, air conditioning, full soundproofing, and heat/cooled reclining seats (massage system available).

Naturally there's a specially designed conference table (1.3m by 76cms) which fits over the existing stowaway tables, plus a choice of 400 leathers, 50 wood veneers and 25 Wilton range carpets
"All our work is hand-crafted and bespoke to clients' specification," a spokesman told me. "We're seeing an increase in demand for luxury mobile offices." --------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Catherine Simpson's 'Wendy House'

Catherine Simpson from Ilkeston fulfilled a lifetime dream when she ordered her bespoke built ‘Wendy House’ from Arctic Cabins. After her mother died, Catherine knew exactly what she would do in her memory and designed her ‘shed’ that she named the ‘Wendy House’ in honour of her mum.

Catherine’s Wendy House is 3m x 4m, insulated and built with redwood timber. It has a front canopy, decking, patio doors, two skylights and four UVPC, double glazed cream windows. Catherine wanted all the windows to let in as much natural light as possible and also had the cabin fitted with a small wood burning stove.

The Wendy House has two areas. One end of the building is fitted with shabby chic shelves, a work bench and moveable work lamps - this is where Catherine does her craft work. The other end has a comfy, leather sofa for reading and relaxing. There are shelves on the walls, bought from antique shops and a bookcase from Catherine’s childhood bedroom upcycled to make shelving. The shelves are full of treasures from Catherine’s mother’s house.

Catherine said “I knew exactly what I wanted and I am delighted with my Wendy House. It’s warm, cosy, it has a completely different atmosphere to the house, it’s my haven and the place I escape too." ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Homestead Timber Buildings - Manufacturers of Quality Timber Buildings

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

George Clarke launches Amazing Sheds

Look out for the launch of Amazing Sheds in early May at Grand Designs Live (May 2-10), a collaboration between TV presenter George Clarke and builder William Hardie, who have worked together on the Amazing Spaces television series. The first prefab shedlike atmospheres (flat-packed delivered then erected by the AS team) will come in two sizes and various colours and come with 'space saving furniture' including fold-out desks and day beds. No word yet on prices though there's 10 per cent off if you order one at the show.

Tuesday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning

Monday, April 20, 2015

Benjamin Britten: shedworker

As regular readers will have surmised, the Shedworking staff has been on holiday for a bit, sunning itself around the Suffolk riviera. One particularly exciting trip was to Aldeburgh and The Red House, the home of composer Benjamin Britten (whose shedworking we have covered briefly previously) and his partner singer Peter Pears.

It's a fantastic place with a marvellous interactive museum/gallery, but we were most delighted with Britten's first floor studio where he composed major works including the War Requiem and Missa Brevis in D. This was a former barn/hayloft which was rebuilt by the famous architect HT Cadbury-Brown in the late 1950s. It has great light and views of the orchard and countryside as well as a very pleasant feel.
"It is a lovely house, with a big garden all round," said Britten of his home, "and I've made myself a nice remote studio where I can bang away to my heart's content." The studio features Britten's Steinway plus his desk, other shedworking furniture and knickknacks. Well worth a visit if you are in the area.
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Shed the play: Royal Court, Liverpool

An interesting new play at the Royal Court, Liverpool, directed by Bob Eaton and starring Paul Broughton and Michael Starke, runs from April 10 to May 9. Here's the bumph.

"Spring is in the air and the spuds are in the ground. When two blokes want to sit down and have a laugh without being bothered by anyone else there’s no place better than an allotment shed. And when those two mates have been best buds for the more than 50 years there’s a lot of water has flowed under the bridge. Most of it funny but some of it troubled. It’s just another day in the shed and the banter flies thick and fast as they talk about the old days, girlfriends and the best way to boil a sprout. But things are never quite how they seem. Two giants of the Liverpool stage Paul Broughton and Michael Starke have written and star in this great new bittersweet comedy about friendships, secrets and sheds."
 Thanks to the eagle-eyed Helen Lindsay. ----------------------------------------------------
Wednesday posts are sponsored by The Stable Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Getting your garden office into shape

Get your garden office shed into shape! writes Will Hayes from Timberwise, this week's guest poster. Spring is upon us, the sunshine is out, but has your shed survived those treacherous winter months? Let’s start from the top. Check your roof for any cracks or crevices that may be allowing water to leak into your beloved shed. Timber sheds should always have roofing felt in order to stop penetrating rainwater.

Now like most things in life, you only get the quality that you pay for. There are two main types of felt that you can invest in; Sand Felt and Mineral Felt. Sand felt does the job but it can be susceptible to damage over time. Mineral roofing on the other hand is much tougher and thicker and can guarantee longevity over the years to come.

What panelling is best? Choosing the right type of build can be very important as some are more weatherproof than others. A tongue and groove build will help you channel any rainwater from progressing into your shed; this is accomplished through the interlocking panels. Shiplap cladding is slightly more advanced, it features a small groove in each timber; helping channel the water away from the shed quickly and efficiently.

Wooden garden sheds tend to be vulnerable to water damage which, if untreated, can possibly result in severe infestations such as dry rot or wet rot. Dry rot occurs when dry rot spores come into contact with wet timber, once this happens the rot will manifest progressively devouring the goodness and cellulose of the timber. Wet Rot is generally not as destructive as dry rot but nevertheless can cause severe damage if left untreated.

The key to keeping your shed preserved in good condition is not just to prevent the timber from getting wet but making sure that dampness can disperse and dry out. When building a wooden shed it is essential to make sure it is properly ventilated. Air and sunlight should be able to pass through the interior of your shed helping to alleviate any dampness preserving the condition of the wood. The base of the shed must be kept level, lifting the floor beams away from the ground allowing air to circulate underneath. In addition this will also make sure that damp leaves and debris do not gather against the walls causing mould.

The buildup of condensation is also a main cause of damp that you should always be aware of. Condensation occurs when moist air comes into contact with a cold surface such as your window and water droplets form. When this happens on your shed walls, the wall soaks up the moisture, causing damp and allowing mold to begin to grow. To avoid this make sure you do not leave any damp belongings or bags within your shed. Regular inspections and maintenance are the key to ensure your shed is tip-top and healthy all year round. Failure to do so can lead to detrimental effects, leaving you shedless for the summer. Protect, preserve and enjoy your summer of gardening. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tuesday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Shed Decor: How to decorate and furnish your favourite garden room

Whenever I'm interviewed by the media about the advantages of shedworking, high up on my list of reasons to invest in a garden office is that it is 'me space', somewhere where you can work but also indulge yourself a little. If you need any inspiration about how to turn your shedlike atmosphere into something really pleasant, then Sally Coulthard's new book Shed Decor is certainly for you.

The book is a follow-up to her also excellent Shed Chic which came out a few years ago. That tome was more about shed design and function, this one focuses on furnishing. The first half concentrates on six basic looks - rustic, vintage (my personal favourite), plain and simple, recycled, retro, and country (also popular among the Shedworking staff). Although it's nicely written as you'd expect from a writer with numerous successful design books under her belt), it's the photographs which really jump out and make the book. Each style is covered in detail with sections on essential elements and case studies, and while there is an obvious emphasis on the back garden shed, there are also beach huts, treehouses and various working spaces included.

The second half is a more hands-on section looking at actually how to make it happen, concentrating on subjects such as flooring, wall treatments, lighting, heating, storage, and seating, finishing off with a directory of where to go to find it all. All in all, it's a smashing book and an absolute must for anybody with a shed and it would be hard to imagine how it could be improved upon. On top of which Sally is a nice person so please do buy a copy.

Shedworking readers can take advantage of a special discount offer. So to order Shed Decor at the discounted price of £20 including p&p (RRP: £25 - UK only, please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas), telephone 01903 828503 or email and quote the offer code APG285.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Pylon treehouses

There's renewed interest in Ladybird books at the moment with a particularly fascinating exhibition Ladybird by Design at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea. Publishers are also bringing back those titles which went out of print quickly, including Pylon Treehouses. Thanks to Paul Hurst for sending in this especially hard to find book cover. ----------------------------------------------------
Wednesday posts are sponsored by The Stable Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here