Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Shed Manual reviewed in KentLive


A nice interview with John Coupe (pictured above making the shingles for a shed roof) on KentLive by Mary Harris about our new Shed Manual for Haynes. Here's a snippet:
“Sheds are for everyone," he said. "There is a section in the book on ‘she-sheds’ - so that’s a thing. And there’s a Men’s Shed Movement and there is one in Tunbridge Wells. They’re all around the world. They are a place for people to do their stuff. That means it might be tinkering with car engines or woodwork or escaping from the family or gardening.”
Well worth a quick read. And you can buy the Haynes Shed Manual here.
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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Nigel Nicolson's writing gazebo at Sissinghurst

 

The Shedworking staff gave itself the weekend off over Easter and motored down to Kent and more particularly to Sissinghurst. Not only is the National Trust property home to Vita Sackville-West's writing tower but also her son Nigel's marvellous writing gazebo which is next to the moat and has quite lovely views over the surrounding countryside (though none back towards the house). 

He built it in 1969 as a memorial to his father, Harold and after restoration work is now open again to the public. Nicolson used it as an office - he wrote his famous Portrait of a Marriage here - even when visitors were coming to the garden around him. Intriguingly, it is built to the same spec as the Apollo 11 lunar module (which also happily coincides with the oast architecture of the area). The NT is restocking the shelves with the same editions of the books he worked with and kept in the gazebo.

Here is Nicolson writing about the gazebo at the start of his book Long Life:
"It is a midsummer afternoon and I am sitting in the gazebo at Sissinghurst, having locked the door to separate myself from the strolling tourists. The windows face outwards on a familiar view, my favorite since childhood. In the foreground is the angle of the moat flagged with yellow iris, then a hedgerow rose in flower, then the green of growing corn and the darker green of trees, fading into the washy blue of the horizon ridge. I can see from here only two buildings: a white oast and a red roof. The view can be little changed since Jane Austen's day. The only movement is of an elderly lady dressed in white walking toward me up from the farm track.

"This is my summer office, but an office without telephone, light or heat, so I cannot use it in the winter. But of all places where I have lived, the Sissinghurst gazebo is the one with which I would most like to be identified. With the help of Francis Pym, the architect, I designed it and dedicated it to the memory of my father, Harold Nicolson, who died in 1968, the year before the gazebo was built."
And here's that view today (well, last Saturday morning).

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Monday, April 22, 2019

How healthy are shedworkers?


An interesting study of 406 shedworkers and other homeworking freelancers by PR Unlocked looks at their physical and mental wellbeing. The results show that
* A third eat lunch at their desk and 3% don’t take a lunch break at all - 41% take at least a 30-minute break and 21%  at least an hour
*  A quarter exercise every day or most days, a third are active some days, and 16% at least once a week. A fifth never find the time to exercise
* Just over a third have days when they don’t speak to or meet other people during working hours
An interesting survey - well worth a look, via the link above.

Image courtesy Smart Garden Offices

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Sunday, April 21, 2019

Garden office tiles

The harsh weather of winter can wreak havoc on the exterior of your shed, so come springtime, it’s no surprise things can look a little tired and run down, writes Suhayl Laher from Tiles Direct in this guest post. But, fear not - it’s easy to spruce up the outside of your shed to give it a whole new lease of life.

First things first, you should think about the entrance to your shed. Tidy up tired decking, patios and pathways leading to your shed with some stylish outdoor tiles. Hardwearing, durable and low-maintenance, this flooring choice is designed to withstand the elements and provide you with a practical solution - they even come with non-slip surfaces for that added element of safety.

Once the entranceway is done, you should then think about the exterior walls. Typically made from wood, a simple fix is to give your thirsty wooden wall panels a much-needed lick of paint or varnish.
Alternatively, why not use decorative outdoor tiles on lower walls or window sills to give a colourful and hardwearing touch to the exterior? Opting for a vibrant shade of tile is guaranteed to brighten up your whole garden, but if bold tones aren’t quite to your taste, you can always stick to a more neutral base colour complemented with pale pastels for a stunning, yet subtle finish.

With many traditional designs, the inside of a shed can often feel dark and gloomy even with a light and several windows. To counteract this, we’d always recommend decorating the interiors with a pale colour that will brighten the space up come rain or shine. Whether you want a minimalist Scandi-feel with pure white tiles or something a little more eye-catching such as Moroccan style zellige tiles or ornate, Victorian inspired designs, make sure your shed’s flooring is helping the aesthetic shine. ---------------------------------------

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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Singing teacher's garden studio


A nice example of a music room garden office from Booths Garden Studios. It measures 3.6m by 3.6m with a 1m flyover roof and decking. Features include anthracite windows surrounded by oak. French doors, and a storage area with book shelves and filing cabinets. Singing teacher owner Roz told Booths: "It's the best thing ever - I love it. It sometimes a den for the teenagers - they go in and play music too loud but it doesn't bother anyone. It's  been totally and utterly nothing but completely brilliant."
 

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Friday, April 19, 2019

Garden office showrooms: Green Retreats


We're kicking off an occasional column on garden office and garden room showrooms with a look at Green Retreat's offering at Westcott Venture Park between Bicester and Aylesbury, which they describe as the UK's largest indoor garden room showroom. It has been up and running since March last year and includes a range of fully finished garden room spaces including garden offices, gyms and social spaces. Free tea and coffee on arrival if you mention Shedworking (though to be honest, free tea and coffee on arrival even if you don't) and £200 off your order following a visit, even if you don't place it during your visit which is a nice touch.

Among the company's new models is The Annex which they describe as a "turn-key solution for those looking to easily add extra living space to their home that offers more privacy". It features living space, a bathroom, kitchen and bedroom.
 
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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Knock for Sale garden office property start up


Shed-based property startup Knock for Sale has raised £150k during its seed funding round, attracting investment from key players in the property industry including flatshare entrepreneur Rupert Hunt, founder of SpareRoom (who has invested £75k), Felix Milns, founder of Zulufish Residential, and actor and angel investor James Murray.
 
The platform, run by co-founders Kerrie Powell and Chris Allen from a garden office in West Sussex (pictured above), aims to boost the number of private home sales by providing a service that prints and posts cards from buyers to homeowners whose properties are not listed for sale. Rather than referral fees or commission, the site is funded by the fee for sending a card, which costs £5. The company will donate 5% of its profits to homeless charities.


Chris Allan and Kerrie Powell have worked together for 22 years and run a graphic design agency called Powell Allan alongside Knock for Sale, operating from the converted barn in their garden.

Speaking exclusively to Shedworking Kerrie said: "As designers, Chris and I share a common love for unique spaces. In 2011, after the birth of our son, we upped sticks to West Sussex. The prospect of having a detached workspace, in a rural setting, sold the property to us. Our workspace was once a 19th-century farm building, used as a piggery and cow infirmary. We also turned a tractor shed into a carport. Initially, we commuted to London, but now the studio has been renovated, there is no need. It is light and contemporary with a high pitched ceiling, exposed beams, wide oak floorboards with visible saw marks and a notable black pod that houses a bathroom and separates off a spare sleeping area. The space lends itself to creativity and buys us flexibility. Generally, we can juggle work and home-life seamlessly."



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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

New sheds raise value of homes, says new report


A new shed was the third most common home improvement made over the last five years in the UK, according to figures from Post Office Money, just behind garden landscaping and a new kitchen.

The report suggests that homeowners added an average of £40,000 to their properties by doing the improvements, with an average spend of £14,015. Overall, nearly two thirds of homeowners made improvements to their homes over the last five years, spending £295bn in total across the UK.

Post Office Money's analysis based upon the median asking price of a three-bed semi-detached home in the UK (£286,000) found that properties with these kinds of improvements were on the market for more than 19 per cent higher than the local median asking price.

Chrysanthy Pispinis, Post Office Money spokesperson, 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 who have made home improvements in the past five years did so with the express intention of moving, one in four improvers  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%).

Image courtesy Warwick Buildings ------------------------------------------
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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Garden office for Squeeze's Chris Difford


Singer-songwriter, guitarist and co-founder of the band Squeeze, Chris Difford is also now settling down to the life of a shedworker in a new garden office designed and built by Mark Burton from Tiny House Cabins. Chris has written an excellent blog post about the build (including his intriguing way of funding it...). He writes very lyrically about what he describes as "a place for me to sit and write to all of my hearts content." Here's a snippet:
"Mark and his team have built such an amazingly inspirational space to work, its kind and it’s calm. It sits underneath the many rooks' nests in the trees around us, they make a good sound, one you can’t really avoid. In my room I have my desk and my many things that keep me in my place, the womb of creativity I hope, where words will be tossed and fried, hung up and ironed out, found and stolen."
Well worth a read.
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Monday, April 15, 2019

Save 25% on a Dappr Aeropod


We reviewed the Aeropod three years ago here and Dappr, who make them, are now offering a quarter off the price when you visit them at their Grand Designs Live stand L190 next month. Read what we said about them at the above link and here's what they say about themselves:
DappR upcycle decommissioned aircraft parts into spectacular furniture, art pieces and garden office "pods". Combining aviation-grade materials and expert craftsmanship, DappR are pleased to offer you a piece of aviation history in a highly functional and eco-friendly garden office or summer-house space.
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Sunday, April 14, 2019

How to get married in a shed


Lusty Glaze, a beach-based events service at the eponymous beach near Newquay, have announced plans that mean you can get married in a beach hut in what they call a Beach Hut Elopement. Here's how they describe it:
You can now escape to the coast and elope in front of one of our pretty blue beach huts. You’ll be able to book a Beach Hut Elopement for any time of day; whether it’s during the day with a stunning seascape backdrop or as the sun sets below the horizon during the golden hour, it’s guaranteed to be beautiful – just the two of you, up to four of your loved ones and the ocean.
 We would be interested to hear from any readers who decide this is for them. ---------------------------------------
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Friday, April 12, 2019

Haynes Shed Manual: Buy the garden office of the book




Just a reminder that the garden office made for and featured in the Haynes Shed Manual is available to buy. More details at John's site secrets-of-shed-building here. Pictured top is the exterior, now nicely weathered from its original appearance in the book, a close-up of the roof's handmade shakes/shingles, and the current interior. Contact either John via his site link above or me by email for more details. -------------------------------------------------------
Friday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

How to build your own garden office: updates


We've been following several garden office builds on Shedworking this year. Above is Tracy Goodyear's who is nearing the end of her build. Here's her latest update:
This Friday, the electrician is coming to fit the Cat5 cable and the armoured electrical mains cable which will run from the house. As soon as that’s done, we’ll be ready to add the drywall and skim it. I did a Level 1 Plastering Course a couple of years ago at a night school at a local college, so I’m looking forward to dusting off the tools next weekend! Easter holidays can’t come soon enough!
Tracy is also the world's first owner of our brand new Haynes Shed Manual (see below) and was kind enough to say the following about it: "Really wish I had come across this book sooner as I probably would have been a little more adventurous with the style of roof and some of the other designs for the office- but this is a great read and takes you through the specifics, regardless of your experience."


 Elsewhere, Jack McConnell continues his video updates of his build. He's now onto the floor...

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

How to design your own garden office


A fascinating piece by freelance writer and interior design blogger Stacey Sheppard (who writes at The Design Sheppard and many other places) about designing her own garden office at an interior design course at Juliette's Interiors. It's a great post looking at everything from playing with layout options to choosing furniture, soft furnishing, design schemes, and creating mood boards (pictured above and below). Here's a snippet:
We worked on three possible options before settling on our final layout. We also had an opportunity to draw one elevation of the room to show how this would look. I actually really struggled with this aspect of the course. I don’t have a mathematical brain and I’m not very good at visualising spaces so this was a real challenge for me. I had to redo my floor plan three times as I kept making mistakes, but I was very proud of myself once it was done and it is such a useful skill to learn. I do wonder though whether I would have found this aspect a lot easier had we have done this on the computer. But either way, it was a really valuable part of the course and I learnt so much by doing it.
You can read the rest of the post here. Well worth a look.

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Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Christi (CJ) Daugherty: shedworker


Novelist and journalist Christi (CJ) Daugherty (author of the bestselling Night School series) writes in her garden office - which she calls The Wordshed - in the south of England as she explains in this video below.


She is also one of the many shedworkers who enjoys the company of pets in her shoffice as these photos below indicate.




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Monday, April 08, 2019

Buy the garden office featured in the Haynes Shed Manual



If you've already bought a copy of my new book, Haynes Shed Manual, many thanks. If so, you'll have enjoyed reading about the garden office build with a homemade shakes roof inside. And if not, well, there's a marvellous garden office build with a homemade shakes roof inside. Well, here's your chance to own that shed, pictured above and looking slightly different from the images in the book as it's weathered delightfully since it was built.

It's a really lovely piece of work. My co-author John Coupe worked exceptionally hard on it and it goes without saying that this is a unique build that you simply cannot find for sale anywhere else. And as an added bonus, is front and centre in the book - you can see exactly how it was made. We're looking to sell it for £2,500 as a base price with extras and delivery to be priced (sensibly, of course) according to the buyer's requirements as it needs extra resources put into it to turn it into a real comfortable workspace e.g. extra insulation. Naturally, we're happy to talk through all that's required. If you're interested, please drop me a line and we'll take it from there.


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Sunday, April 07, 2019

Little Free Libraries & Tiny Sheds - book review


If you like sheds and you like books, then you will certainly enjoy Little Free Libraries & Tiny Sheds: 12 Miniature Structures You Can Build. Written by Philip Schmidt and Little Free Library and published by Cool Springs Press (£16.99/$24.99 - part of the Quarto stable who also published my Book Towns book last year), the Little Free Library movement (motto:‘Take a book, return a book’)is probably the most successful library project of the 21st century – there are now more than 80,000 in 91 countries around the world.

These handmade tiny libraries, often built to look rather like oversized bird boxes, are placed at strategic locations in neighbourhoods such as front gardens, yards and parks, but also in coffee shops and near restaurants. Anybody can remove a volume and deposit another for others to share. 

The book features full instructions detailing how to build a dozen designs ranging in size from the popular small box model to a full shed structure. Among them is the blueprint for the first Little Free Library, built by Todd Bol in 2009, who wrote the forward but sadly died shortly before this book was published. As well as information on installation and maintenance, there are also sections on how to publicise your little free library, what to stock, how to encourage community involvment, and a lovely collection of some of the most interesting around the world. It's really nicely put together, genuinely useful, and supports a great cause.




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