Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Female shedworking in Scotland: women and garden offices

A nice piece in The Sunday Post about the growing numbers of women in Scotland who are working out of garden offices and sheds, including Secret Seven sequel writer Pamela Butchart who we have written about previously here on Shedworking. Here's a snippet:
Caroline Haxton, director of Scotia Cabins which sells luxury “garden rooms”, said: “We have noticed a steady increase in ladies purchasing and customising sheds for their gardens. Just like men, women need their own space to do their own thing outwith the home and with, the costs of going out nowadays, people are changing how they socialise and looking to do this more at home.”
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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

How to recognise if you have woodworm in your shed

In this guest post, Jake Ryan from Wise Property Care looks at the problems of woodworm (image: Dave)

Temperatures are gradually beginning to increase as the summer season draws closer. However, this warm weather will also attract insects as woodworm will slowly start emerging from timber to begin mating and potentially laying eggs in your garden shed. The wood boring beetle normally emerge from timber between April and October to lay eggs. Therefore, at this time of year, it is important to know how to recognise the signs of woodworm before extensive damage can be done to your shed or garden office.


Woodworm is the generic name for the larvae stage of wood-boring beetles. Woodworm begin mating in May and will search for nearby timber to lay their eggs. These eggs eventually hatch and for up to five years, the larvae will eat their way through the wood. After this time, the fully grown beetle will then emerge from the timber in search of a mate and then will find new timber to lay its eggs in. New eggs are laid within the timber and the process starts all over again. While eating their way through the timber, the larvae create a series of tunnels which can eventually affect the structural integrity of a building.


Burrow Holes and Tunnels

If the timber within the shed or garden office has previously been infested with woodworm, you should notice small burrow holes in the wood. These holes are similar to holes found in a dart board and the exit route taken by beetles emerging from the wood in mating season. However these exit holes are not always a cause for concern as this is where beetles have burrowed out of the wood, it is not always a cause for concern. Burrow holes alone can not determine whether or not there is still larvae within the timber but the shed must be examined for other signs of woodworm if burrow holes are present. It is common to find raised “tunnels” within the wood alongside burrow holes. This indicates the route taken by larvae beetle as it eats its way through the wood.

Fine Powdery Dust

Fine, powdery dust known as frass may be evident near the burrow holes. This dust is known as frass and it is the faeces left behind by larvae beetles. The frass is quite similar to moist sawdust and indicates the garden office is infested with woodworm. Crumbly Edges

If the infestation is left to grow over time, the amount of burrow holes in the timber will naturally increase. As the number of exit holes increase near the edge of the timber, this will cause the timber to appear crumbly over time as a result. This is caused by wear and tear from the multiple burrow holes near the edge of the timber. Crumbly edges would suggest that the timber has been infested with woodworm for a long period and therefore must be treated immediately to avoid further damage to the shed.

Dead or Alive Beetles

The greatest indicator that a shed is infested with woodworm is finding dead or alive beetles in close proximity to the shed or emerging from exit holes in the timber. As beetles generally emerge from the timber during the summer, any signs of beeltes in close proximity of the shed in this time may be a cause for concern. The “Common Furniture Beetle” is a very common woodworm beetle to find in the United Kingdom. It is common to find dead “Common Furniture Beetles” as they tend to die shortly after mating. These beetles are small and brown in appearance


Not every woodworm infestation is a cause of concern but it is important to establish what damage has been caused by the infestation. If you suspect you have a woodworm infestation in your garden shed, it is strongly advisable to have the timber inspected by a qualified surveyor to establish what damage has been caused and if the woodworm has spread to any nearby timber in your garden or home. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tuesday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning

Monday, May 20, 2019

Green Switch at Chelsea Flower Show

The Green Switch garden which we mentioned in our roundup of Chelsea sheds last week is attracting plenty of positive comment. Just to recap, it's a living space with a shower and an office overlooking a series of waterfalls and a lovely mossy rock pool ((images courtesy Gardeners World Magazine and the RHS). Here's a video of it below:
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Plankbridge's shepherd's hut at Chelsea Flower Show

It's press day at Chelsea Flower Show today and below is a little video tour around Plankbridge's hut.
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Building My Garden Office: Part 5

One of the garden office builds we've been following this year is web designer and developer Jack McConnell who has done a marvellous job of producing videos as he goes along - you can see the others here. Here's what he says about this one, below:
In this video, I build the back wall (as well as cut some of the timber for my two side walls), and try and fight off the rain by building a gazebo over my construction site. The next video will be about how I built my two side walls.

Sunday posts are sponsored by eDEN Garden Rooms. Stunning, bespoke high quality garden rooms, to suit your unique space and style

Friday, May 17, 2019

Sheds at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Garden offices and sheds are a bit thin on the ground at this year's show which runs next week in the main show gardens. One garden worth a look if you're visiting is the Green Switch Designed by Kazuyuki Ishihara - it includes a two-storey shed-like atmosphere with a green sedum roof. The top section is a tea room with glass walls which also features a glass shower room... 

Of course there will be plenty of microarchitecture elsewhere at the show including the shepherd's hut below from Plankbridge, pictured here nearing completion back at their HQ.

Also keep an eye out for the Artisan Studios section, six garden buildings with arts and crafts people at work inside including sculptor Laura Jane Wylder creating a life-sized female artwork, fabric designer Natasha Hulse, ceramicist Corrie Bain, textilist Lola Lely, steam-bent wood from Charlie Whinney, and last but not at all least, Malvern Garden Buildings will exhibit a studio inspired by Virginia Woolf's writing lodge at Monk's House to mark the 90th anniversary of the publication of her essay A Room of One's Own. The interior will feature objects from the writer's era, researched with help from the National Trust team at Monk's House and the Virginia Woolf Appreciation Society of Great Britain.

Friday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Alice Feeney: shedworker

Surrey-based journalist and novelist Alice Feeney - Sometimes I Lie, I Know Who You Are - writes in her garden office shed (her Twitter location has her at 'The shed, England'). As she explained to Goodreads: "I work in my garden shed now with my co-writer, a giant black Labrador who is scared of feathers, and it really is the best job in the world." Here she is talking to Suffolk Libraries about Sometimes I Lie:
I wrote this novel while working full time as a producer on the BBC’s One O’clock News, so some parts were written in my garden shed at home, but others were written on the train to work or in my lunch breaks.
And here she is telling Christina McDonald about her shed writing routine:
I write more than ever before now that I don’t have to fit it around work, which is wonderful. I tend to start pretty early (I’ve been known to go to the writing shed at 0300 in the morning) and I take a break when my dog tells me to (he rests his head on my keyboard so I can’t type).
As she told the Daily Mail: "I spend most days in my garden shed, with just my dog and my characters for company. It's where I am most happy."

Thursday posts are sponsored by Cabin Master: garden offices and studios to fit any size garden. Top quality contemporary or traditional buildings.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

How to build your own garden office: The Learning Addict

Tracy Goodyear's garden office build (see here for previous updates) is nearing completion and she is continuing to provide useful updates on her blog as she goes along - the latest is here in which she covers the electrics going in, plasterboarding and plastering, whitewashing, and the installation of the first office plant! Read to the end of her blog post and you will also come across one of my favourite flooring designs. For anybody interested in building their own garden office, this is one of the best ongoing descriptions of how to go about it. ------------------------------------------
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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

International Dylan Thomas Day

It's the annual celebrations today of one of the most famous modern shedworkers, Dylan Thomas, the view from his writing hut captured here beautifully by Uncle Wilco of fame. Over the years we've written a huge amount about Thomas and his hut, here are some of our favourite stories:

The writing shed's doors

The mug of the writing shed

How his writing shed inspired Roald Dahl's writing shed

Inside Dylan's writing shed (video)

and you can find the entire collection by clicking here. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tuesday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning

Monday, May 13, 2019

Cressida Cowell's path to the writing shed in May

You can find out more about novelist Cressida Cowell and her shedworking story here, including what her path looks like in February. -------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Writer's study with roof terrace

A thing of beauty from Tierney Haynes architects (more photos of the interior at the link), a library and garden office for two writers in Connemara, Ireland, with an untreated cedar clad exterior. Lovely inside, it's the breathtaking sea views that the Shedworking staff particularly enjoy - there are stairs up to it from the back of the building and the high parapet planted with lavender acts as a buffer against the wind. ---------------------------------------
Sunday posts are sponsored by eDEN Garden Rooms. Stunning, bespoke high quality garden rooms, to suit your unique space and style

Friday, May 10, 2019

Taxi garden office

The Taxi - Unexpected from Garden #shedoftheyear

There are lots of alternative terms for garden offices - shoffice is a popular one - but there's always room for another. Above is what we might term a toffice, a taxi office, owned by Lee Connelly aka The Skinny Jean Gardener. He describes it as both a working and social space,  a former London Black Cab next to his allotment. It will be getting the Shedworking vote for Shed of the Year this time round. -------------------------------------------------------
Friday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Love Your hut of the Year 2019

It's beach hut competition time again with hut and shed insurerers Love Your Hut's annual beach hut competition now open for entries. You need to send them an email with five photos of your hut (and you enjoying it), an explanation of what you love about your hut, its location, whether you're a member of a Beach Hut Association and contact details. Pictured above is last year's winner Rebecca Munson with her daughter Lily.

The top 12 huts will appear in the always excellent Love Your Hut Calendar for 2020 and the three overall winners are also awarded a personalised plaque for their hut, plus a really nice food hamper.

 Closing date is August 25 and winners will be announced on September 13. We'll be putting up some of our favourite entries here on Shedworking in the coming weeks. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thursday posts are sponsored by Cabin Master: garden offices and studios to fit any size garden. Top quality contemporary or traditional buildings.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Massive rise in the number of homeworkers over last decade, says report

According to analysis by BBC 5 Live Wake Up To Money using figures from the ONS, there was  a 74% leap in the number of people working from their home and garden office between 2008 and 2018. Their figures indicate that 1.54 million people work from home for their main job compare to 884,000 ten years before.

As well as shedworkers and other homeworkers based entirely at home, the figures show there has also been an increase over the same period of in the number of people who work in 'third places' such as coffee shops and co-working spaces but with their home as a base, up by 200,000 to about 2.66 million.  

There's an interesting article about working from home in general to go with the figures on the BBC site where there are also links to the radio programme which discusses it. Among interviewees are a woman who takes the batteries out of her doorbell to prevent distractions,

Image courtesy Garden Affairs ------------------------------------------
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Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Multi-functional garden office with green roof

This garden office in Tunbridge Wells is an eDEN Garden Rooms build. As well as being fully insulated with underfloor heating, features include a main room, kitchenette, and ensuite shower room as the owners plan to use it as a home office, but also spare room accommodation for their returning adult children. It also includes a living roof.

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

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Uncle Wilco's top tips for Shed of the Year entries

Founder of the Shed of the Year competition Uncle Wilco has come up with some suggestions for impressing the judges and what to consider when submitting your shed creations. So here we go with five of the best...

Stand Out

Think about how your shed could be unique from all other entries. We’ve genuinely seen it all over the past 13 years - you need to consider the competition. Can your shed top a Roman temple or a shed made out of a boat? If the answer’s no, you might need to up your game!

Get Hands On

We love workshop sheds & sheddies who make. Do you create something special in your shed, is it a hub of interesting activity like bee-keeping or a secret boozer? Is it the headquarters of your business or is the exterior totally out of sync with what goes on indoors? We love the weird and wonderful.

Nature’s Haven

We’ve got a whole new category this year - ‘Nature’s Haven’. Inspired by sponsors Cuprinol who develop woodcare products to complement the natural environment. How does your shed attract nature? Is it a haven for wildlife, like last year's winner the ‘Bee-Eco Shed’, or is it a haven hidden within a tree? We’re really excited to see the entries in this category.

Who’s It For?

Is your shed a hub for family & friends, is it the venue for any neighbourhood gathering worth going to, or maybe your tranquil place where you get away from it all? We think all spaces tell a story and one man’s relaxation is another man’s mayhem - the contrast always surprises the judges so make sure to include the shed’s uses in your entry.

Inspire Us

Does your shed inspire others to create their perfect spaces? We love it when we get entries that make us think ‘that’s genius’ or ‘I wish I’d thought of that’. Shout about why your entry is different and what inspired you to come up with it. ---------------------------------------

Sunday posts are sponsored by eDEN Garden Rooms. Stunning, bespoke high quality garden rooms, to suit your unique space and style

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Interview with 2018 Shed of the Year winner George Smallwood

George Smallwood shares his tips for this year’s entrants and what’s inspiring his latest projects.

Can you tell us about what inspired your design last year?

I have always liked wildlife and am an avid viewer of David Attenborough documentaries - they inspired me to change my shed. I wanted something premium that allowed me to use the space in an efficient way. The shed I built was specifically designed to encourage wildlife to share it with me - not to keep bugs, bees and birds out.

Your entry was quite unique in that you were already producing around 14 litres of honey a year - have you increased your number of hives and what do you do with the produce?

Yes - it’s a hobby of mine and I love it. This year’s batch has already been given away but I’ve kept some jars to use as wedding favours. I’m looking into how to turn it into a product too - I think lip balm is looking most likely at the moment. The plan at the minute is to do a harvest at the end of July, but if we have a good spring, I might get some in May.

This year, Cuprinol Shed of the Year has a new category - Nature’s Haven. Having won the overall competition last year with an eco shed with a self-watering system and beehives, what do you think we might see in this category in 2019?

Hopefully one similar to mine! I think it would be great to see a design that incorporates different aspects of building and joins human requirements seamlessly with those of the natural environment.

What would your advice be to this year’s entrants?

The best advice I can give is to build a shed for yourself. You have to build it because you want to, otherwise there’s no point - personal passion shines through. Entrants really need to think about the balance between clever design and practicality as well - there’s little use in designing something beautifully complicated that isn’t fit for purpose.

How has life changed for you since winning Shed of the Year?

Well for starters, you can find me on Google - that always makes me laugh! I’ve been approached by BBC Radio 1 and am regularly talking to media which is not my usual gig. I think it’s what you make of it.

How have you transformed your shed with the Cuprinol paint you won as part of your prize?

My winning shed was fully completed, so I’ve actually set the paint aside for my next project. I’m hoping to create a glamping shed, but one that embraces nature, which is what I think Cuprinol does so well - it works within a natural environment without looking garish. I want to insulate it with sheep’s wool and use as many natural materials as possible.

What would you say is the best thing about having a shed? What are those of us without one missing out on?

For me, it’s being able to get an inside look at the nature in my garden. Working with bees is so satisfying - they take a lot of work but it’s brilliant to see solitary bees joining hives. I’ve also got a camera in my hedgehog house and seeing the changes over the course of a year is fascinating - the different wildlife that comes with the seasons never fails to interest me. Admittedly, the storage is handy too! I love being out in my garden, the challenge of using the space to best effect. Honestly, I don’t really understand people who want to cover their gardens in paving - it’s so unimaginative!

How do you like to spend time in the garden?

My garden keeps me really busy! I have different sections; one for storage, one for watering equipment and I’ve got a pond, where the water is recycled to feed the garden plants. It’s a brilliant little ecosystem. This year I’ve got frog spawn for the first year too, which is great. I’ve got a garden on the shed roof with plants that I tend to and then for chilling out I’ve got a seating area and a space I call ‘hammock world’! It’s a great space for switching off, you can hear the world outside but you can’t see it.

What feature are you most proud of?

My design really made me consider different features - it created problems that I needed to think of solutions for, so as not to compromise on the end results - I’m proud of the solutions I came up with.

Originally I’d planned to access different levels via a basic ladder but that wasn’t efficient so I designed the stilted staircase which I think is a real feature. I wanted a curtain rail, but couldn’t find anything in-keeping with the design, so I got creative! I used a trellis instead and gate handles to loop the curtain through.

I’m a big fan of ‘growing your own’ too, but it can take a lot of work so I’m particularly pleased with the self-watering system. I created herb drain pipes, so when it rains the water is filtered through two downpipes. I had to heat the plastic in order to bend them into shape so that the water went straight to the route of the plants. I locked in the bent sections with gravel, but topped the end of the drains with soil and herbs. It means that the plants take care of themselves and I just have to keep an eye.

What feature was most impressive for the judges?

I think they really loved that the shed doubles up as a home for the bees. It’s quite unusual to find working hives in urban spaces, so that was definitely a stand out for them. They also commented on the staircase and the pulley system with my hanging baskets which was designed to keep the door open as required.

Do you still use the shed in the same way as you did?

Yes, I do, although I’m not immune to the struggles that all shed users have, namely resisting the urge to fill it with ‘stuff’! I’m still working out the best way to use the bird house and the palette board is going to be used as part of my wedding, so that’s a nice touch.

Have you made any modifications or changed anything since last summer?

I was really happy with the design when I won, so I don’t want to make too many changes really. There are a couple of new challenges; I’m keen to encourage the birds to share the space but it’s not easy to do and keeping cats off the roof means it’s even harder! I’d really love to create a bird sanctuary so I think that would be the next key upgrade and I’m going to introduce new herbs and vegetables later this year with some more ‘year round’ plants.

Are there any features, in hindsight, that you wish you’d included or added as part of your entry?

I’m happy with the features, but there are things I’ve learnt since that I wish I’d known when I started the project. The key one, and it sounds basic, is that every centimetre counts! The stairs are quite high so I’ve redone the drive since I built the shed to combat that and I wish I’d sometimes built the structure closer to the wall.

I also wish I knew a little more about ventilation and roofing. I kept the roofing quite basic but it requires regular upkeep, so I wish I’d maybe spent more time understanding the best approach to avoid any damp. -----------------------------------
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Friday, May 03, 2019

'Nature's Haven' is the new category in this year's Shed of the Year

Entries are open for his year's Shed of the Year competion - in its 13th incarnation - and will close on June 17. Sponsored again by Cuprinol, this year there will be an extra category in the competition, ‘Nature’s Haven’.

According to a Cuprinol spokesperson: "The new category addition represents a new opportunity for entrants to submit designs inspired by nature, demonstrating the shift towards an unlandscaped outdoors, as keen gardeners nationwide embrace a trend for garden maintenance that allows the natural to thrive"

Research from Cuprinol indicates that more than a third of Brits will allow nature to take over part of the garden this summer, leaving a section unmaintained to embrace the wild outdoors.

Founder and Head Judge Uncle Wilco, said: “Since the competition started, we’ve seen some brilliantly creative uses of sheds across the UK. We’ve always had designs that highlight their natural surroundings, but creating a space that works seamlessly with the environment and supports the growth of the garden it’s in is an impressive achievement. That’s why we’ve introduced the ‘Nature’s Haven’ category into the mix.”

Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director at Cuprinol, added: “There is so much more to our sheds and outbuildings than storage for DIY tools gathering dust - Shed of the Year is a celebration of great British creativity. The garden is an extension of the home and a place where people are increasingly looking to spend more time - it’s like adding another room to your house if you get it right."

Entries, which need to include at least two photos of your design along with an explanation of your inspiration and what makes your shed stand out, can be submitted via year’s categories are;Nature’s Haven, Unexpected, Cabin/Summerhouse, Workshop/Studio, Pub & Entertainment, Budget, Historic, Unique, and the recently added #notashed. -------------------------------------------------------
Friday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Shedworking and the Haynes Shed Manual on BBC Three Counties radio

Andy Collins was kind enough to invite me onto his BBC Three Counties radio breakfast show yesterday morning to chat about sheds, shedworking, and my new Haynes Shed Manual. If you'd like to listen to me discussing the world of sheds (including beach huts and cider-making) then you have 28 days until it gets wiped from the BBC's Sounds thingy via this link - I'm on from the 1.36.23 mark (if you start up a little earlier, you'll hear a remarkable story about what one non-league football goalkeeper does every time his team concedes a penalty). ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thursday posts are sponsored by Cabin Master: garden offices and studios to fit any size garden. Top quality contemporary or traditional buildings.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Public invited to help build new display in Virginia Woolf's writing hut

Last year the National Trust ran a series of events at their properties under the banner Women & Powwer - at Monk’s House, they created an audio-visual interpretation of Virginia Woolf’s ‘A Room of One’s Own’ in her writing hut using images sent in by the public of their own 'rooms of their own'. As the NT puts it: "As Virginia Woolf inhabited the writing hut; our plan is to transform the interior realm of the writing hut into a interconnected stream of consciousness between words, sound and image."

The NT is not accepting any more image submissions but you can still take part as they explain: "Another way to get involved is by sending in your copy of 'A Room of One's Own'. Highlight your favourite paragraph, phrase, sentence or even word and your book will become part of our new display in Virginia Woolf's writing hut. Your book can be underlined, highlighted, or even covered in doodles."

They are particularly keen for you to get in touch via social media with images of your own creative space, especially at their instagram account @monkshousent using #aroomofonesown #virginiawoolf and #monkshouse.
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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Sheds in art in the new Idler magazine

The latest issue of the excellent Idler magazine is out now with my usual columns on sheds (this time on sheds in art) and snooker (which also features my dad, The Goodies, and my mum teaching me to bowl like Derek Underwood). Here's a snippet:
Artists' sheds have always featured heavily in the annual Shed of the Year competition. One of my favourites is artist and gallery owner SerenaHall's Southwold Glass Hut which was a finalist in the competition in 2017. Produced as a tribute to her late parents over a period of three years, the glass panels of the shed have all been decorated by hand using a range of techniques including sandblasting and glass fusing. A work of art in itself, Serena also works and writes in the shed which is usually in her studio.
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 29, 2019

How to build a successful garden office

This is a guest post by Dean Horsley, owner of Cheshire Oak Structures, who offers his advice on building an oak home office.

Over the last 12 plus years that we have been in business, we have seen substantial changes in the way people are working from home. Before the arrival of broadband, home offices were often seen as an extension of a place of work, rather than a substitute for it. They were places where our clients would have the opportunity to do those extra hours at weekends or work the occasional day from. But now, with fast internet speeds both ubiquitous and wireless, the home office has become the de facto place of work for an increasing proportion of the population.

And as this move away from the commute has taken place, we have seen more demands from those who want their own home offices, and with over twelve years in the oak home office trade, we feel we have some pointers to those who are thinking of 'commuting away from the commute!'
1. What is the home office needed for?
This question defines what your home office will need to be. And it should consider more than just the here and now. Will you need space if you need to take someone else on to help with the business? Will you entertain clients on the premises? If you are a limited company then where will you store the six years of records you are obliged to keep? Will the office need to have any special equipment which might require different utilities or a dedicated internet line?

All of these questions will help decide the floor space necessary for your home office. At Cheshire Oak Structures, we have built many offices and workshops for our clients over the years, and no two have been exactly alike. Because of this, it is worth remembering that oak offices are capable of being quite bespoke to the needs of the client – and we can give you the benefit of our years of experience in suggesting what would work in your case.

We designed and built this oak frame garden office (pictured top) at the request of a client who wanted a calm, tranquil office sympathetic to the garden surroundings.  We achieved this by positioning the oak structure amongst the trees and shrubs in the garden and using a cedar shingle roof which tones in beautifully. The client even moved in before we finished the build as he was so pleased with the peaceful, calm environment and could really concentrate on his business. The oak veranda give an additional seating area and allows the oak office to used for garden seating.

2. Don’t be afraid to make it your area

One thing we have found in our long experience at Cheshire Oak Structures is that a home office should have the style of its owner imprinted upon it. It’s not just a cosmetic design but an actual intrinsically important aspect of your home office: if you are to work there successfully, then you need to feel confident in your abilities and one way to help facilitate that is to be the master of your own surroundings.

In recent years, especially since the turbulent times of 2008, we have seen a move toward interior designs that reinforce individualism and also a trend toward what could be described as ‘mindfulness.’ Often using natural materials, with less clutter, and with ample daylight available, our oak wood home offices are a good starting point to help you reconnect with a more natural feel in your daily life.

When a project design brief requires natural light, a bright and airy atmosphere, our designs can feature oak patio doors, French doors or full height oak windows to create a light, bright, airy office ideal for keeping your mind clear and uncluttered.  Exposed beams and rafters also create a light, airy environment. There’s nothing like good light and fresh air to help with working efficiently and creatively which is what this client included in their design brief to us.

3. Design your home office for easy maintenance

This sounds like common sense but it is often overlooked in the excitement of building and planning your perfect oak home office. And yet, being able to keep the office clean and well maintained helps ensure two things. Firstly, it helps you feel in control of your office - a disorganised office is the sign that things are generally not well with the individual or business running it. The second reason is that it simply helps you enjoy it more.

With this in mind it is important to start with the basics: so the type of desk and how easy it is to clean the floor area. Even simple considerations that help ‘manage the dreaded paper flow’ are important, so positions of in-trays and bins are important to avoid any paper mountains emerging. Dust will show up on darker surfaces sooner than on lighter ones, and any glasswork that is exposed to sunlight will illuminate marks and dust on its surface which, if not in direct view, would normally not be so apparent.
Our office designs can include allowances for built in cupboards and storage to make the most efficient and streamlined use of the space. Planning storage at the design stage ensures effect use of space and avoids unnecessary clutter building up in the future which is what often happens if you don’t build in storage at the start of a project.

4. Don’t forget, a home office adds some value

Setting up an oak home office at your property should not be considered solely as an expense. It is actually an investment in the property itself, and a good home office can improve the value of your home. Combine that with the reduced need for commuting, the extra time saved, then the cost this, over time, will become increasingly attractive. It won’t be enough to offset the building overall of course, but it will be useful nonetheless.

Our structures are very versatile and can incorporate two or more functions in one building.  This oak frame building is an office and also garage area with patio seating area within the garden, adding useable space, facilities and value to the original property.

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