Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Garden office decor


A nice short blog post by marketing and social media consultant Lisa McLaughlin for Malvern Garden Buildings looks at how to design the interior of your garden office with a monochrome theme (pictured above). Here's a snippet:
I didn’t have a big budget to spend on creating the space. We painted the outside ourselves and I simply varnished the floor and white washed the walls. I already had much of the furniture, such as the vintage desk, retro office chair and old French leather club chair but I mixed these pieces with practical and affordable office furniture from Ikea. I then added the finishing touches; such as a cow hide rug, cushions, plants, pictures and vintage finds sourced from antique fairs to make it feel homely and cosy.
 Well worth a quick look.

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

Monday, March 18, 2019

Writing shed cat

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

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Free tickets to National Homebuilding & Renovating Show


Shedworking has free tickets to give away to you lucky readers for this year’s National Homebuilding & Renovating Show at the NEC, Birmingham, March 28-31 2019. There are various masterclasses , a new self-build stage and builder Sian Astley,  presenter of BBC2’s Your Home Made Perfect talking about fresh design ideas, cost-effective styling, and mixing traditional style with a contemporary edge, to underfloor heating and insulation.

There are more than 500 exhibitors and 16 free daily seminars and masterclasses, covering everything from eco heating to planning permission. Tickets to non-readers of Shedworking are £12 in advance or £18 on the door (children under 16 free) but for a special e-ticket free of charge, simply click http://homebuildingshow.co.uk/shedworking and follow the instructions. ---------------------------------------
Sunday posts are sponsored by eDEN Garden Rooms. Stunning, bespoke high quality garden rooms, to suit your unique space and style

Saturday, March 16, 2019

New shed and garden landscaping increase value of property


New research from Post Office Money indicates that homeowners spent £295bn in the last five years renovating their home, with home improvements like new sheds and garden landscaping providing the biggest return on investment.

Their figures show that while the most common improvement since 2014 was a new kitchen (25%), it was closely followed by garden landscaping (18%) and then a new shed (16%). These homeowners spent £14,015 on average - though the number of homeowners making improvements has dropped by 10% since 2016, the amount spent per home has increased from £12,000.

Those who have made changes to their home estimated that the improvements increased the value of their property by £40,000, from an average of £210,000 before the improvements to £250,000 afterwards. Overall, the report's authors argue that these kinds of works add about 10 per cent to the price of  a three-bed semi-detached home in the UK.

Post Office Money spokeswoman Chrysanthy Pispinis said: “Over the past few years, house price growth has slowed, so homeowners have turned to other options to add value to their homes – with renovations being a clear opportunity. Making the right changes to your home can increase its market value significantly; if improving your home’s asking price is your priority, it’s important to keep in mind the cost of the improvement and the value it could add.”

While only 5% of those surveyed made improvements to their home with the express intention of moving, one in four improvers (28%) did so because they thought it would be a good investment and would add value to their property. The most popular reason for making home improvements was to improve the look of a home (59%).

In order to fund these renovations, three quarters (74%) of homeowners used their savings to fund their renovation, one in five (18%) used a loan or credit card, while one in fifteen (7%) used equity release or mortgages to fund their improvements.

Chrysanthy Pispinis added: “Home improvements are not all about making changes which add value for re-sale. Nearly two thirds of the homeowners we polled had no plans to move. Renovations allow homeowners to create homes that reflect their needs and tastes, with the potential added benefit of adding value in the long term.”
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Saturday posts are sponsored by iHUS Projects, specialists in the design and build of granny annexes for elderly and disabled care.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Homesick: Why I live in a shed


Published in July by Quercus and described as 'The story of a personal housing crisis that led to a discovery of the true value of home', this is one to look out for if you're interested in tiny homes as well as shedworking. Here's the bumph:
Aged thirty-one, Catrina Davies was renting a box-room in a house in Bristol, which she shared with four other adults and a child. Working several jobs and never knowing if she could make the rent, she felt like she was breaking apart. Homesick for the landscape of her childhood, in the far west of Cornwall, Catrina decides to give up the box-room and face her demons. As a child, she saw her family and their security torn apart; now, she resolves to make a tiny, dilapidated shed a home of her own.

With the freedom to write, surf and make music, Catrina rebuilds the shed and, piece by piece, her own sense of self. On the border of civilisation and wilderness, between the woods and the sea, she discovers the true value of home, while trying to find her place in a fragile natural world. This is the story of a personal housing crisis and a country-wide one, grappling with class, economics, mental health and nature. It shows how housing can trap us or set us free, and what it means to feel at home.
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Friday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Virginia Woolf's writing hut as a cushion


Artist Amanda White has produced an excellent series of cut paper collages of writers' homes available as cushions and prints as well as calendars and greeting cards. Above is Virginia Woolf's writing shed at Monk's House, presenting the scene in which Leonard tells her that The Waves is marvellous. 
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Thursday posts are sponsored by Cabin Master: garden offices and studios to fit any size garden. Top quality contemporary or traditional buildings.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Herringbone studio


Probably our favourite build so far this year, this lovely Larch-clad herringbone-patterned garden office for an artist in Mapperley, Nottingham, comes from Sheltered Spaces. It's in an L shape, marking off an area for work from a rest area and with all main windows and French doors facing east for the morning sun. ------------------------------------------
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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Yoga garden studio


This garden room in Enfield, London, was built by eDEN Garden Rooms for a client who had previously been renting a village hall for her yoga business but wanted her own space at home, to improve both her work-life balance and what she could offer to customers in terms of small, private classes.
 
"More and more we are being asked to create spaces that combine a profession and a passion," says Mia Walmsley from eDEN. "This bespoke yoga studio is a fantastic example of just that, and shows how a garden room can not just add value to your business, but also bring a lifelong dream to reality."

The studio is 7.3 x 4.3m (its height fine for planning permission due to distance from the boundaries) with an internal height of 2.4m, and a dividing wall to store customers' bags as well as yoga equipment. 



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

Monday, March 11, 2019

High winds turn shed into treehouse


High winds in Dorchester, indeed. This one travelled three gardens to get stuck up in a tree. Be safe out there, shedworkers.
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Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The KODA Light Float


Kodasema are hedging their bets with this design which they call the Koda Light Float, targeting both the tiny house and the waterside shedworking market with a model they say could be "either a harbour cafĂ©, artist’s studio, not to mention a summer retreat or a fisherman’s dream.". It's built on floating pontoons using a timber frame with a plywood interior and finishes include this one pictured above with zinc cladding. In its compact 25.8m2 space it crams in a living room, bedroom, shower and lavatory, kitchen and terrace. ---------------------------------------
Sunday posts are sponsored by eDEN Garden Rooms. Stunning, bespoke high quality garden rooms, to suit your unique space and style

Friday, March 08, 2019

Musician's garden office


There's a really nice interview with bass-player, producer and composer Liran Donin who works out of a 3rd Space garden office on the company's website here. Here's a snippet:
Q. How has the new garden room helped in your process and work?
A. For me it’s a really mediative space, it just allows you to shut out the outside world. Entering a space that is quiet and allows you to just soak into it is so important. When I sit at the piano in the studio it is just joyful. I love having no distractions and it’s just the right environment to write in.
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Friday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Writer's Retreat


A lovely curved build in Newark for a writer by Sheltered Spaces including an extension of their existing garage. We particularly like the cedar shingles on the exterior (there's a section in our Haynes Shed Manual out next month on how to make shingles). Here's what they say about it:

Inside, the walls and floorboards were treated with Osmo White Stain to stop the yellowing of wood and to keep a subdued, but light quality to the space, and windows were set into the flat roof adding an extra dimension to the space, and whilst the brief was to create a hidden retreat the connection to the outside is formed by the light from above. The felted walls provide a reclusive space and alter the sound of the space for the better, and bring a warmth whilst providing a welcomed change to the mass of wooden surfaces.  We never wanted to hide the way the felt was applied to the walls, so we went for the upholstered look with gorgeous Blued steel forged nails.
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Thursday posts are sponsored by Cabin Master: garden offices and studios to fit any size garden. Top quality contemporary or traditional buildings.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Middle England by Jonathan Coe: a shed review


There was a spate of novels which featured sheds half a dozen years ago but sadly very few since. One recent example in which shedworking atmospheres feature is Middle England by Jonathan Coe. We asked John 'Shedman' Davies to review it for Shedworking:
“Genius. Loved it. Wonderful satire and some of the best shed sequences written in many a year!” That was my tweet after reading Middle England and I’m still of the same opinion about this marvellously humane, and far from one-sided take on the Brexit saga, the third in Coe’s series of novels about the Rotter family in Birmingham.

Nowhere is the satire more fun than in the scenes set in or around sheds. A garden centre features strongly as the setting of a kind of perverted Eden where you can take Aged P’s (as Wemmick refers to his father in Dicken’s Great Expectations) for tea. But it also used as the venue for meetings by one of Benjamin’s old school friends, now a publisher of local history books. He’s arranged to meet the author of ‘Postcards of old Droitwich and Feckenham’ to discuss its publication. The author thinks they should go and discuss things “somewhere less public,” and so begins a very funny peregrination to find a shed of a suitable size to host their meeting.

“At the rear of the Woodlands building, hidden from the car park, hidden from the main road, lay its most secret – but for many its most precious – enclave. For here were the sheds…structures designed to furnish the married Englishman with perhaps the thing he craved most of all: a place where he could escape his family without actually leaving home.”

It turns out the postcards book is just a pretext for a much darker project. As Benjamin says, ‘You never know what you’re going to find. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s nasty, a lot of the time it’s as weird as hell. But that’s England for you. We’re stuck with it.’

A rich vein of satire emerges from David Cameron’s love of his shepherd’s hut: "Dave has become a very different person since resigning. Very humble. Contemplative. He realized that it was time for him to take some big decisions in his life.’ ‘Such as?’ ‘Well, buying a shed for instance.'"

But the apologist eventually turns on Cameron in a fierce diatribe: ‘Cameron?’ said Nigel, his face twisting. ‘What a twat. What a grade-one, first-class, copper-bottomed arsehole. Sitting in his fucking shed writing his memoirs. Look at the mess he’s left behind.’

Middle England is brilliantly funny, in turns acidly and gently satirical, and very, very perceptive. The Rotter family’s continuing grief over the Birmingham bombing by the IRA, forms a sobering backdrop to all the talk of backstop.
John's latest collection of work Nest - New & Selected Poems is published by Red Hen Press in North America and as Jizz by Kingston University Press in the UK.




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Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Can my limited company pay for my garden office?


This is one of the most popular questions we field at Shedworking HQ (and one of the most common search terms bringing people to the site). As with all things, there are differences of opionion about how much of what you spend on your garden office you can claim back, so it's always good to gather more expert advice.

The most recent comes from Effective Accounting's founder Nicola Sorrell who looks at a range of issues such as VAT benefits, captial gains tax, and garden offices used for private business. Here's a snippet in answer to the question could it be tax efficient to pay for my garden office through my limited compay?
While you can certainly pay for your garden office through your limited company, as with all tax-based queries, there are lots of particulars to take into consideration, especially regarding tax relief.

As a garden office is normally classed as a structure, it is not usually possible to claim tax relief on one – including planning, building and installation – even if it is mobile. However, tax relief can be obtained through capital allowances on any furniture or equipment installed into the building such as desks and shelving units.

Despite thermal insulation, certain electrical wiring and plumbing technically being included within the structure of the building, you can actually claim a capital allowance on these. Running costs for the outbuilding, so electricity, gas and water can be claimed as business expenses. This also applies to repairs.
Nicola rightly points out that this is general advice and, as we always say, you need to talk to a tax advisor about your particular circumstances.

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

Monday, March 04, 2019

David Cameron's writing shed


One of the most famous writing sheds of recent times is that belonging to the ex-prime minister David Cameron (in fact it's a shepherd's hut) in which he said he was planning to write his memoirs. The always excellent Stephen Collins brings us news in The Guardian that he has been very busy indeed... -------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

How to build a garden office


Tracy Goodyear is Head of English at King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls in Birmingham and is also in the process of building her own garden office as she is documenting on her website The Learning Addict. As well as a self-build, it's also as upcycled/recycled as possible. Here's a snippet:
I’ve done hours of research, watched numerous YouTube videos, learnt about foundations, breathable membrane and cedar cladding and now I’m ready. To buy, these offices would cost between £8,000-£12,000. I don’t have that sort of money. At the moment, I’m aiming for something that costs around £2000, and endless Tracy hours! A bit of ambition never hurt anybody!
It's a very engaging blog and updated as and when. Here's a recent update:
I’ve been amazed by the generosity of people when I’ve shared my ideas for the office build. The saying ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’ really is true… a colleague at work has a husband who runs building sites– I asked on the off chance that he may have access to some off cuts of Tyvek Housewrap. This stuff is quite expensive, but is needed as a breathable membrane in between the OSB board and the cedar cladding on the outside of the building. I was amazed when she came into work and said ‘ I’ve got a present for you’. Here it was, 100m of housewrap for the price of 4 bottles of Peroni. 
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Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

5 garden buildings that can add value to your home


A nice little piece by Haynes [disclaimer: they are publishing my Shed Manual next month] about which shed-ish projects can help increase the value of your property, including sheds, greenhouses, wildlife houses, decking, and gazebos/pergolas. Here's a snippet on greenhouses:
Aluminium-framed greenhouses are cheap to buy, relatively easy to build and long-lasting. Timber-framed houses are pricier and require maintenance, but are more attractive and can boast better heat insulation properties. Most greenhouses come with standard horticultural glass, but if you have children, it’s worth upgrading to toughened glass, for safety.
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Saturday, March 02, 2019

Kath Hadden: shedworker (part 2)



This is the second in a two-part guest post by Devon-based artist and shedworker Kath Hadden following yesterday's introduction to how she began her garden office routine:
The main issue with working from home is making boundaries. I can decide when I work and when I don't. It is great in one sense because it means I can be flexible especially around the needs of my family, but also it does require some self discipline as sometimes the pull to clean the bathroom is stronger than the desire to fix a painting that has been on the go for weeks and I just cant get right, or the blank canvas that is waiting to be transformed into a special birthday gift.
When it snowed last year it really struck me about how important good boundaries are. Everyone was so excited to have a snow day, a free day off work, but I was a bit torn. I didnt know what to do with myself, my routine was all thrown upside down and my shed was going to be cold. I could still get to it, though should I go 'into work?'. Who was going to 'call it '? I worked at the kitchen table for about an hour because I felt guilty and then thought that was ridicuous and I should take the day off.  Sometimes I feel that because I work from home in a shed in the garden, people think I'm not really working or doing proper work or a proper job, it is just some self indulgent hobby. I do realise I am very fortunate to have a supportive husband who has encouraged me to pursue my dreams and I have a job that I love that is very varied, but it is not easy, particularly the unpredicatabiltiy of income. We are gettting more and more used to this now. It is far outweighed by the joy of seeing people delight in what I have made. 
Animals. Sometimes when I'm really concentrating I get completely freaked out by a squirrel suddenly scampering over the roof. Other times, the sound of the birds singing in the trees next to the shed is just a joy. They dont know I'm there watching them, i'ts great! Last summer I had to take a day out from my shed as I discovered there was a fox living right behind it and I became unreasonably and ridiculously terrified of going back in. This is one of the perils of working alone - there was no-one to tell me I was being a complete idiot. This was confimed further when my husband arrived home and I sent him out to do a wee behind the shed as Google had reliably informed me that this would prevent the fox from returning. I was back in work the next day. 
The shed is cold. I am often asked if there is heating or lighting but there is neither. I know this sounds like madness, it proabably is. In winter I just layer up but my hands do get a bit chilly and this January I have worked at the kitchen table instead. Last winter I had a technique of packing a couple of hot water bottles up my jumper before the final layer of fleece went on and this has kept me warm for long enough. In the summer the shed gets very warm and although that is lovely, the smell of the white spirit and oil paint can get a bit heady, so spring really is the optimum time for being in the shed.
There is no electricity and anyway plugging a heater in would make it too hot (it is not a large space) and most probably there is an increased risk of me going up in flames due to the type of paint I use. There are two windows that provide adequate light. I really like it like this but I do miss the fun of a shared studio, of being able to bounce ideas off each other. I do dream of having a bigger space, one day when everyone wants to buy my work and I'm super famous. I would definitely then have heating and a big window and a coffee machine and a sink. I do miss a sink. I would also love to run art classes. At the moment there's no room in my shed for that.  The other problem I am just remembering as I write this is that I am limited in the size of paintings I can produce. The largest canvas I can fit in the door is 1m20cm x 1m20cm. So I am limited in that sense. I am dreaming big. One day. 
Any tips for those wanting to follow the shedpath? ..... whatever you build shedwise (mine was cheap as chips) make sure you have really good foundations. Mine are solid concrete. We are 10 years in and standing strong.
Kath is on Facebook, instagram and twitter as @kathhaddenart and there is work for sale on her website. She is happy to discuss commissions and work can also be viewed by appointment.
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Saturday posts are sponsored by iHUS Projects, specialists in the design and build of granny annexes for elderly and disabled care.

Friday, March 01, 2019

Kath Hadden: shedworker


Devon-based artist Kath Hadden is also a shedworker. In the first of a two part guest post, she looks at how she first set up her garden office and why it has been so useful.
Lets call it a shed. I try and refer to it as my studio, but I feel a bit pretentious doing this and only leave it for more formal occassions. As a child I loved going to the garden centre with my mum and dad because while they meandered around the rows of bedding plants, I would happily play in the ' Wendy house ' area, always hankering after the one with two floors and a wonky roof. You know the one  we have all been stuck in it at some point trying to extract a toddler. 

Fast forward a few decades. Dad offered to build a Wendy house in the garden for our daughters and we drew up plans but sadly this never happened as dad passed away very suddenly. As my thoughts unravelled and I reflected on life,  I realised that in actual fact our girls were not at all interested in a Wendy house, it was in fact for me. It was about a connection, particularly now with my dad. So we bought a shed from Tesco Direct. This became my art studio. The children were all now at school and it was the perfect place to restart my painting and reignite some parts of me that had been buried in bringing up kids and losing loved ones. My husband saw something in me that needed to be nurtured and that brought me alive and so has encouraged me endlessly to pursue a career as an artist rather than return to the security of a salary and the madness of teaching. So here I am, 10 years later, working in a shed. 

It is great working in a shed. It's down the end of the garden and there are no issues with traffic or parking on my commute. It is free. It is quiet and I'm not bothered by anyone, (strangely no one really wants to join me in there because I have made it so inhospitable!). It is separate from the house, not just physically but mentally. It is untidy, paint splattered on the floor and the windows. I sometimes write thoughts on the wall because I can't find a bit of paper. No-one really goes in there except me. so I can leave it as it is and come back to it the next day (I don't have to clear up!). If I'm working in the house there are always distractions of jobs that need doing - as a creative I am quite easily distracted so this is important. 
Tomorrow, Kath looks at the boundaries of shedworking, animals and garden offices, and the perennial issue of heating your shed. Kath is on Facebook, instagram and twitter as @kathhaddenart and there is work for sale on her website. She is happy to discuss commissions and work can also be viewed by appointment. 

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

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Henry Moore's rotating garden office studio


Henry Moore Studios & Gardens at Perry Green have recently refurbished the sculptor's Summer House (pictured above) which was one of a number of studios and sheds in which he worked from 1940 onwards. Moore bought the Summer House in the early 1950s and erected it in the Hoglands garden. According to the charity: "It provided him with an informal space for drawing connected to the outdoors and with plenty of natural light. Originally mounted on a turntable, it could be rotated to change views and find the best conditions at different times of the day." Sadly, it is now static though still very much worth a visit.
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Thursday posts are sponsored by Cabin Master: garden offices and studios to fit any size garden. Top quality contemporary or traditional buildings.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Garden office with swimming pool


This 3.5 x 3m bespoke garden office with storage area and adjacent summer house by National Stables comes with an 11m outdoor heated swimming pool (plus slide and powered water jets) and a four bedroom house in Kennington, Ashford. It's on with Hobbs Parker Ashford for £695,000. ------------------------------------------
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