Sunday, September 22, 2019

Scottish Men’s Shed of the Year announced


There are shed of the year winners wherever you look at the moment. As well as the Shed of the Year announced last week, Aberchirder & District Men’s Shed has won the inaugural Scottish Men's Shed of the Year award (pictured left to right are James Paterson, secretary of Aberchirder & District Men’s Shed; Derek Keiller, SMSA chairman; and Mike O’Brien, chairman of Aberchirder & District Men’s Shed).

The Aberchirder branch was set up in 2016 by a group of seven friends and the shed was built the following year thanks to a land grant by Aberdeenshire Council - it features five cabins with toilets, kitchen, computer and social areas and was officially opened earlier this spring by the Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire Clare Russell.

A spokesman for the shed said: "The Shedders have worked with local schools, charities, businesses and residents to provide planters, fencing, garden seats, hanging baskets, firewood and chicken coups in addition to being the envy of the community with its homegrown fruit and veg." Aultbea Men’s Shed and Cromarty Firth Men’s Shed tied for the runner-up places and each receive a £250 cash prize and gift vouchers from Axminster Tools.

The event was held at the Carse of Gowrie Men’s Shed in Dundee and the trophy was designed by Derek Keiller, made using mahogany from a 100-year-old billiards table.

Jason Schroeder, executive officer at the SMSA and co-founder of the first Men’s Shed in Scotland in Aberdeenshire  in 2013, said: “Today’s event celebrates the success and growth of the Men’s Sheds Movement in Scotland.  By showcasing the award nominees and their life-changing impact it is hoped that more men will access Men’s Sheds to connect with their communities, to improve their health and wellbeing, and that new Men’s Sheds will continue to be developed across Scotland.” ---------------------------------------

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

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Free entry to Dylan Thomas's writing shed this weekend


The Cadw Open Doors programme is up and running this year and one of the most iconic garden offices in the world is available to view for free. The Dylan Thomas Boathouse and Writing Shed, the poet's last home and shedworking atmosphere, is throwing open its doors and throwing in an interactive sound sculpture installation by artist in residence, Laura Garrett for good measure. Doors are open 10am to 5pm today and tomorrow at the location in Laugharne Carmarthenshire SA33 4SD. -----------------------------------
Saturday posts are sponsored by iHUS Projects, specialists in the design and build of granny annexes for elderly and disabled care.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Shed of the Year 2019: Bux End


Congratulations to Chris Hield from Buxton who has won this year's Shed of the Year competition sponsored by Cuprinol with Bux End, a shed inspired by The Hobbit. More than 16,000 votes for 3,000 entrants in seven categories were cast this year, the 13th time it has run.

“I’m delighted – and in shock!" he told competition organiser Uncle Wilco. "We are massive Lord of the Rings fans so when we decided to build our own shed we knew it had to be a hobbit hole. It had to fit in with the wildlife and nature that we have cultivated in the rest of our garden so the grass roof was a big feature. Whenever we got any seeds for wild flowers we have just thrown them over the top of the shed and they have thrived."

In addition to the prestigious title, Chris wins £1,000, a wooden plaque, £100 worth of Cuprinol products and a massive crown for his shed. For more details see Uncle Wilco's Shed Blog and for more images of Bux End, go to its section on readersheds.co.uk.

And we were delighted that Mary Price's Artistintheshed won the workshop/studio category, the closest to a garden office section since that was discontinued some years ago. We've profiled Mary before on Shedworking and suggested it was a strong contender.


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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Goodbye to the Shed Manual shed


As part of producing the Shed Manual for Haynes earlier this year, we naturally had to produce several sheds. The one that was closest to my heart was the garden office and it has now finally gone to a good home where it is currently waiting for a new deck to be built for it overlooking its new owner's garden pond in an apple orchard.

If you'd like more information about how it was moved and transported (by road at 20-30mph), read John's account of it here - it's an excellent detailed post with plenty of images showing each step of the way. I rather like this one which makes it look like it is magically floating...


 
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shed-Manual-Haynes-Manuals-Coupe/dp/1785212206
 


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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, September 18, 2019

Writer's Block garden office




Writer’s Block is a spectacular garden office design by London-based Zac Monro Architects for a screenwriter which also features a large screen for watching films. "He wanted it in the quiet part of the garden," say the architects, "specifically where the compost heap stood steaming in the autumn light." It is made from locally-sourced timber with a hardwood-slatted exterior to blend in nicely with the garden (and as you can see from the image above also provides intriguing shadows) and a polished concrete base.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

One in seven UK workers is based at home


More than four million UK shedworkers and other homeworkers have ended the daily commute in favour of working from home, around one in seven UK workers. Analysis of ONS data carried out by Aviva Insurance indicates that Powys in Wales tops the homeworking table, closely followed by Kensington and Chelsea, and Brighton and Hove.

Workers in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland are least likely to be home-based according to the study. Scottish regions appear throughout the top 10 least common areas for home workers, with Aberdeen City and Inverclyde coming second and third on this list.

According to Aviva’s analysis, 14% of UK workers are home-based for their main job. This includes people who work in their home (5%), in the same grounds or building as their home (1%), or in different places, using their home as a base (8%). The ONS data shows the majority of people who work from home are self-employed, accounting for 60% of this group. Employed individuals make up 39% of home-workers, while the remaining small number are unpaid workers at the family home.

10 UK regions with highest proportion of home workers
UK Region
Percentage of workers who are primarily home-based
  1. Powys
25.7%
  1. Kensington and Chelsea
25.0%
  1. Brighton and Hove
24.9%
  1. Ceredigion
24.8%
  1. Devon
24.6%
  1. County of Herefordshire
24.6%
  1. Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
23.8%
  1. Camden
23.6%
  1. Richmond upon Thames
22.5%
  1. Pembrokeshire
22.1%

10 UK regions with lowest proportion of home workers
UK Region
Percentage of workers who are primarily home-based
  1. West Dunbartonshire
5.6%
  1. Aberdeen City
6.4%
  1. Inverclyde
6.6%
  1. Clackmannanshire
6.7%
  1. Hartlepool
7.2%
  1. Sandwell
7.3%
  1. Leicester
7.3%
  1. Dundee City
7.4%
  1. North Lanarkshire
7.5%
  1. Salford
7.6%

Adam Beckett, Product Director for Aviva UK General Insurance said: “Flexible working and home-working options are now part and parcel of many people’s lives. Advances in technology mean many individuals can work remotely in a whole host of careers, from web design to tutoring. And indeed, at Aviva we offer home-working options to many of our employees!

“If people are home-based, it’s important that they have the appropriate insurance for their business needs as well as their personal lives. Aviva covers home office equipment as part of our home insurance products, but people should inform their insurer if they plan to use their home for any business purpose other than office work. For example, people will usually require additional insurance if they store large amounts of stock or cash in their homes; and if customers visit their homes, the host will usually require public liability insurance. Similarly, if people use a vehicle for their work, they should make sure it’s insured for business use.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tuesday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning

Monday, September 16, 2019

Studio Shed offier


One of the biggest names in the garden offices in the USA, Colorado-based Studio Shed is offering 15% off all its products starting September 20 (slightly earlier if you subscribe to its newsletter). Click the link above for more details.

About Studio Shed | Customizable Prefab Backyard Sheds and Accessory Dwelling Units from Studio Shed on Vimeo.  -------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Harry Pierce Micro-Museum opens today



We've talked about Kurt Schwitters' Merz Barn on the Cylinders estate at Langdale in the Lake District before on Shedworking (and you can find lots more about it on their site here) so it's great news to hear that work on the site near Ambleside continues apace. This time the focus is on the landscape gardens there created by Harry Pierce in the 1940s and 1950s which are in the process of being restored.

The Harry Pierce Micro-Museum and Reading Room will be officially opened by the garden designer's grandson William at 2pm today. The reconstruction of Pierce's original drawing office on the site of the derelict original measures 4.3m by 3.2m so is among the smallest museums in the country containing a desk, drawings, books and plans he made to convert the former gunpowder works estate into experimental gardens, as well as writings about his experiences and contemporary photos.

The work has been made possible thanks to a grant from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, supported by the Cumbria Fells & Dales Local Action Group.
   
The original office was built by Pierce (who owned Cylinders in the early 1940s) as a garden office in which to create his plans for Mawson’s of Windermere where he was the chief designer. It was here where he met the German-born artist Schwitters and they began a lifelong friendship. It will be open daily from 10am to 5pm with no admission free. The painting below is a portrait of Harry by Schwitters.



There's an excellent article about the work by Mike Glover in Lancashire Life here. ---------------------------------------

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

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Cabin Porn: Inside


The original Cabin Porn book has been a great success (though we wish they'd called it something else - even the publishers seem a bit uncomfortable as they refer to it as Cabin P*rn throughout their publicity bumph). Out on October 3 from Particular Books is the follow-up, Cabin Porn: Inside, again by Zack Klein, the co-founder of Vimeo.

So the focus this time round is more on the interiors of shedlike atmospheres around the world, as the publishers put it "offering close-ups of the stunning architecture and interior design that make them truly remarkable. With more timeless photography and new design stories, Cabin P*rn: Inside brings fresh inspiration for your quiet place somewhere".

You can enjoy a sample of the book here.

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Friday, September 13, 2019

Roald Dahl's writing hut


It's Roald Dahl Day today so there's all sorts of Dahl-related events around the country. Naturally, it's his writing hut and garden office that we've been most interested in here on Shedworking over the years so here's a quick guide to some of the most interesting posts about him and his shedworking lifestyle:

Roald Dahl shows how to procrastinate in your garden office

 

Up close and personal inside Roald Dahl's shed

 

Roald Dahl on his writing shed (plus sausages and snooker)

 

Moving the writing hut

 

Conservation work in Roald Dahl's writing hut

 

Roald Dahl's writing shed was inspired by Dylan Thomas's writing shed

 

Roald Dahl's writing hut by Quentin Blake

 

There was a lot of fuss about moving the shed in 2011 which caused a huge rumpus and our reporting of it was noted in the Guardian by Mark Lawson. Here it is day-by-day if you want to follow it:

Controversy rages over restoration of Roald Dahl's writing shed: UPDATED

 

Dahl's shed: Day 2

 

Dahl's shed: Day 3

 

Dahl's Shed: Day 4

 

Dahl's Shed: the media U-turn 

 

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

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Building a garden office: part 8


One garden office build we've been following all year is at the roofing stage. Web designer and developer Jack McConnell is now chronicling stage 8 of the build (you can see the others here) and the video below shows him adding fascias, completing the rubber roof (which readers of my recent Shed Manual from Haynes will know pleases the authors), installing the window and door (with help from his father-in-law), and getting the trench dug for his electrics.

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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, September 11, 2019

Garden office therapy practice


As a therapist or counsellor, you want to be able offer your clients a private, comfortable and professional space for their consultations with you.
A lot of practitioners choose to rent a room in a building shared by fellow professionals. This generally means they only have to book the times they need for consultations, without the overhead of paying rent on a space that may lie empty for long periods of time. The therapy room offers flexibility, contact with other therapists, and a safe space for clients. 
A therapy practice from home?
But many counsellors and therapists choose working from home over a space which is not really theirs, and which both they and their clients have to travel to.
Turning a spare room into a therapy room has obvious benefits: it’s rent-free with no travel time or costs, and you can use it for other purposes if you need to. And if a client cancels at short notice, or you have spaces between appointments, you’re not left sitting in a room you’ve needlessly paid for, and can fill the time getting on with other things.
Many people seeking therapeutic treatments prefer a homely environment for their consultations over the more formal set-up of therapy rooms. Add in the fact that parking should be easier at your home than in a town centre location, and it starts to makes real sense to run your practice from home.
And you can really make a home consultation space your own, tailoring it to the specific needs of your clients.
No place like home?
Whilst appreciating the benefits of running their practice from home, our customers are clear, at the point at which they contact us, that they desperately want a physical separation between their work life and life in the house.
Our customers also tell us that the main benefits of a Garden Affairs building is that they come in any size & style & that we do not restrict them to a small range of sizes, quite the opposite.  We’ll work with you to create the environment that’s just right for you and your clients – a stylish, professional, light and airy space, which is well-insulated for use throughout the year.
The benefits of relocating your therapy or counselling practice into the garden:
 1. Privacy
As a client, it is a little awkward having to walk through your therapist’s cluttered utility room to get to your appointment, or bumping into one of their teenage children en route. And, as a therapist, do you really want your client in the heart of your personal space?
A garden room offers separation & privacy from your house. If you have side access to the garden, your client won’t even have to go into your house. Your private space remains private. 
2. Flexibility
You can set up your garden room exactly as you need it for your consultations, and then leave it that way. It will always be ready for your next client.
So if one of your appointments cancels or is running late, you don’t need to stress. You can just get on with what you’re doing in the house, in the knowledge that your therapy space is all set up and ready for when the time is right.
No more folding away the spare bed and taking down the family pictures in readiness for a client who doesn’t show!
3. Closeness to nature
It may be that your clients have experienced abuse, bereavement or some other trauma. Most will be in search of some form of healing. Working from a garden building presents plenty of opportunity to increase your clients’ sense of well-being and recovery.
Being in a garden, surrounded by nature, birds and plants, gives you a real opportunity to create an oasis of calm for your clients. You could do some planting around the building to create privacy, tall grasses in front perhaps, or scented flowers.

Running a therapy practice from a garden building

"The physical space of being in a garden or greener space feels good, for myself and my clients. I don’t have to leave the home space and if clients don’t show I can get on with whatever I like." Says Garden Affairs client, Emma, who runs a counselling practie for children from her garden.
Garden Counselling / Therapy Room
As a therapist or counsellor, you want to be able offer your clients a private, comfortable and professional space for their consultations with you.
A lot of practitioners choose to rent a room in a building shared by fellow professionals. This generally means they only have to book the times they need for consultations, without the overhead of paying rent on a space that may lie empty for long periods of time. The therapy room offers flexibility, contact with other therapists, and a safe space for clients. 
A therapy practice from home?
But many counsellors and therapists choose working from home over a space which is not really theirs, and which both they and their clients have to travel to.
Turning a spare room into a therapy room has obvious benefits: it’s rent-free with no travel time or costs, and you can use it for other purposes if you need to. And if a client cancels at short notice, or you have spaces between appointments, you’re not left sitting in a room you’ve needlessly paid for, and can fill the time getting on with other things.
Many people seeking therapeutic treatments prefer a homely environment for their consultations over the more formal set-up of therapy rooms. Add in the fact that parking should be easier at your home than in a town centre location, and it starts to makes real sense to run your practice from home.
And you can really make a home consultation space your own, tailoring it to the specific needs of your clients.
Garden counselling room

We were talking about garden offices as home libraries last week and today we turn our thoughts towards using a garden room as a base for a therapy practice. Garden Affairs have useful information about this on their site and above is an example.

"Our customers are clear that they desperately want a physical separation between their work life and life in the house," says Garden Affairs Director, Poppy Squire. "As a client, it is a little awkward having to walk through your therapist’s cluttered utility room to get to your appointment, or bumping into one of their teenage children en route. And, as a therapist, do you really want your client in the heart of your personal space? A garden room offers separation and privacy from your house. If you have side access to the garden, your client won’t even have to go into your house. Your private space remains private."

Happy GA customers include counsellor Una Cavanagh who says: “Apart from the fact it looks amazing from the outside, I love the serenity and calmness of it inside. As soon as I walk in, I’ve left the world outside. The feedback from clients has been really great too and I believe our work together is massively enhanced by being in such a great therapy room.” Emma, who runs a counselling practice for children from her garden office added: "The physical space of being in a garden or greener space feels good, for myself and my clients. I don’t have to leave the home space and if clients don’t show I can get on with whatever I like."

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Menus That Made History


Regular readers will know that as well as producing Shedworking, I also write books. The latest is Menus That Made History, co-written with my friend the actor Vince Franklin (Bodyguard, Thick of It, Cucumber, etc). Here's what some famous folk very kindly said about it:

An absolutely riveting book - reading it makes you intelligent, full of brilliant anecdotes - and very hungry indeed.' - Richard Curtis

'This brilliantly conceived and well-researched book is a source of real delight.' - Dr Annie Gray, BBC Radio 4's The Kitchen Cabinet

'Superbly written, a complete joy to read, and just about the perfect present for anyone even vaguely interested in food.' - Mark Diacono

'A gastronomic delight. You can savour it a course at a time, or you may consume the whole banquet in one sitting. It's delicious either way - utterly scrumptious, in fact!' - Mike Leigh

And here's the lowdown on what it's all about...
This fascinating miscellany of menus from around the world will educate as well as entertain, delighting both avid foodies and the general reader.

Each menu provides an insight into its particular historical moment - from the typical food on offer in a nineteenth-century workhouse to the opulence of George IV's gargantuan coronation dinner. Some menus are linked with a specific and unforgettable event such as The Hindenburg's last flight menu or the variety of meals on offer for First, Second and Third Class passengers on board RMS Titanic, while others give an insight into sport, such as the 1963 FA Cup Final Dinner or transport and travel with the luxury lunch on board the Orient Express. Also included are literary occasions like Charles' Dickens 1868 dinner at Delmonicos in New York as well as the purely fictional and fantastical fare of Ratty's picnic in The Wind in the Willows.
As always, it's available wherever good books are sold, ideally from your local independent bookseller, but also the usual suspects online such as Amazon.
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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

Shepherd's hut workshop tour


It's always interesting to take a look behind the curtains and see how garden offices are actually made. Here's Richard Lee from Dorset-based Plankbridge guiding us round his workshop which features shepherds' huts, large cabins, and some bespoke models. 

The Plankbridge team are also celebrating as they recently became the only shepherd's hut maker endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society.
 
 
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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, September 09, 2019

Garden office one year on


A fascinating post by digital marketing consultant Ryan Gibson looks not only at the ins and outs of a home office/gym build warts and all, but also includes a detailed breakdown of the financials involved. In particular, he works out whether it was a decent investment, taking into account savings made on commuting, coworking rent, etc. And here's his conclusion:
Just under 5 years and 2 months to break even. Of course this was far more than a financial decision but any decision made should have some loose justification. It’s worth noting that we have had the house valued and it’s now 35k above our overall investment. House values are incredibly subjective and mean nothing unless you sell the house but it’s another positive on the ROI front.
Well worth a read if you are considering going down the shedworking route and want to get a handle on the financials. Link to the whole blog post is at the top of this one.
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Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Garden office library




A nice blog post by Emma Mitchell at Smart Garden Offices looks at the attractions of combining a garden office with a home library. Essentially, she points out how nice it is be surrounded by nature as well as books, in a peaceful atmosphere, warmly insulated, and with decent shelving. Here's what she writes about climate control:
"Books are very sensitive to heat, humidity and damp, so installing a climate control unit is the ideal way to keep your building at a constant ambient temperature. Fully programmable, the climate control unit will provide warmth on the coldest of days and coolness on those scorching hot summer days."
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Saturday, September 07, 2019

Garden office with storage: before and after


It's always intriguing to see before and after shots of garden offices. Here's one from Garden Retreat for a shedworker in Earlsfield, London, a 3.8m x 2.4m x 2.5m high model with black windows and doors inkeeping with our current focus on black as the colour of the year.

The space is used as a garden office but also as a storage base for the owner to store equipment related to their businesses. Access problems meant that a kindly neighbour allowed the build team to pass the sections over the boundary into the garden. And before even that happened, an old shed and based had to be cleared to make room for the new structure which is cedar clad with an inuslated metal Rolaclad roof covering. -----------------------------------
Saturday posts are sponsored by iHUS Projects, specialists in the design and build of granny annexes for elderly and disabled care.

Friday, September 06, 2019

New garden office booklet from 3rdSpace



3rdSpace have just produced a really lovely new booklet which showcases some of their most interesting builds and the shedworkers who work inside them. It's so nice that I'm actually filing it with my other books about sheds and garden offices. If you'd like a copy, get in touch with them via the link above or perhaps on Twitter. -------------------------------------------------------
Friday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Thursday, September 05, 2019

New garden office video galleries


Garden Affairs has just launched an excellent new video gallery on their website with lots of excellent 'how to build' videos about roofs, double doors, floors, windows, and ceilings if you're going down the self-assembly route. They are also building up their video case studies including this excellent one featuring artist Susannah Lisle and her art studio.

GARDEN AFFAIRS Art Studio from Helen James Productions Ltd on Vimeo.

They are also offering 10% off the price of all their hardwood summerhouses by Scotts but you'll need to be speedy as the offer ends at the end of September.
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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.