Monday, April 12, 2021

The New Mindful Home: garden office wellbeing

 


As we emerge into spring and out of lockdown, this could be a good time for you to assess how you decorate your (new?) garden office. The New Mindful Home by stylist and writer Joanna Thornhill is, as the title suggests, aimed at improving your emotional wellbeing by creating a home that calms and supports you. However, it's also a useful (and not too massive) guide to creating all kinds of supportive room layouts, with plenty of excellent colour illustrations and a useful resources section to track down the things you like the look of.

So there are useful chapters on 'Creating a sanctuary' which looks at how to use colour and adapt your room depending on your personality type, 'Mindful objects', and generally organising your space. Throughout, there's a welcome emphasis on responsible consumerism and planet-friendly materials - indeed there's an entire chapter on 'Becoming biophilic' which will be of particular interest to garden-based shedworkers. If you're wondering how to make your garden office both a nicer spot and more conducive to work in, this is a great starting point.

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Sunday, April 11, 2021

The rise of the 'she shed'

An excellent piece in today's Observer on women and sheds in which Nell Gard talks to several sheddies about their builds and how "women are discovering what a life-saver their own private sheds can be". Here's a snippet from writer Charlotte Philby about her garden office:

 “One of the top things on my wishlist was a writing shed. So when I saw this one, I was sold. There are writer’s sheds, and there are outdoor offices posing as writer’s sheds – this is very much the former. It’s replete with a remarkably high population of arachnids. The unintentional aesthetic is very much Beatrix Potter writing shed meets Camden Market stall circa 1994. The beauty of the space is the simplicity of it and being immersed in the garden."

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Sunday posts are sponsored by Henshalls Insurance, specialists in insuring garden offices and other garden buildings. Click here for more information.

 

Friday, April 09, 2021

Robert Burns: shedworker

 

This is the rural folly inspired by anchorites cells turned stone summerhouse known as The Hermitage in Friars Carse, near Dumfries in Scotland. It was built by a Captain Robert Riddell who was a friend of the writer Robert Burns and who lent it to him as a garden office writing shed in which to write poetry. Among works Burns composed here was the eponymous 'Written In Friars Carse Hermitage' which begins:

Thou whom chance may hither lead,

Be thou clad in russet weed,

Be thou deckt in silken stole,

Grave these maxims on they soul.

Burns also used his 'diamond' pen to write on the window pane and liked the spot so much he occasionally overnighted here. After Burns fell out with Riddell (probably over something he said about Riddell's wife during one of their drinking sessions in the hermitage), the building fell into disrepair. Below is what it looked like in 1882, half a dozen years after some restoration work. It was further restored in 2009, although there is some debate about how original the building is and its first location.

  

And in the video below you can see inside the hermitage.

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Thursday, April 08, 2021

Camden garden studio

An unusual but engaging looking garden office by Eckford Chong for a back garden in London, with the top section made of larch standing on top of a tiled plinth. Here's what the designers say about it: 

"Below the windows is a simple tiled plinth, which borrows from mid century utilitarian and Modernist architecture. The elegant steel doors and window frames fit and sit back within the reveal of the mass. The tiles themselves are set on a grid that aligns with the Larch above, grout lines and expansion joints meeting shadow gaps in the true Modernist ambition that celebrates the elegance which can be achieved through modern methods of manufacture."


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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, April 07, 2021

Mirrored garden office

There are various ways of making your garden office blend into your garden landscape, and here's an option to consider, using mirrors (previous examples covered on Shedworking are here and also here). This one above comes courtesy of Oxfordshire-based William Green Architects who put it together as part of a larger design on a Grade II listed property in a Northamptonshire village. Here's what they say about it:

"This mirrored garden office designed by our team becomes almost invisible within its surroundings. A garden office can be eco-friendly, ergonomically designed to either be a modern statement or hidden within the grounds and can provide all the space you require."

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Wednesday’s posts are sponsored by Norwegian Log Buildings  - Log cabins and garden buildings for a better quality of life. Click here for more details.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

'Al desko' working in the garden set to boom this year

Nearly half of people working from home are planning to go (horrible PR terminology klaxon) ‘Al Desko’ this year, taking their laptop into their garden once the sun gets going, according to a new survey by Lenovo.

Around 43% of the 1,000 UK adults questioned plan to work from their garden, with two thirds of these believing that being outdoors in the fresh air will make them more productive. Four out of 10 people said they are just bored with their normal inside work space and six out of 10 that they have felt trapped indoors during the winter.

Half plan to improve their garden, including adding better seating (45 per cent), making it more private (37 per cent) and building a covered space (33 per cent).

Repeating the results of many other similar surveys, 50 per cent of employees believe having flexibility where they work has a positive impact on their productivity.

Lenovo spokesman Philip Oldham said: “This past year has seen an enormous amount of change, particularly in the way that we work and how certain environments have actually helped boost our productivity. It’s been interesting to see how the UK lockdowns have increased the desire to get outdoors, and just how many people have made this a key part of their working practice. To us, it makes perfect sense to blend the enjoyment of being outdoors with being able to work efficiently."

Image courtesy Plankbridge 

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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

 

 

 

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Brexit means UK sheds can finally have curved walls again


Today marks the end of a long campaign against the bizarre EU ruling made back in September 1994 (officially 'Commission Regulation (EC) No. 2257/94') that required that sheds in general, including garden offices, as a minimum standard must not have "abnormal curvature".

This had a catastrophic effect on the UK shed market, particularly for producers of shepherds' huts and retro Anderson shelters. The binding law made by unelected Eurocrats in Luxembourg imposed a €100,000 fine on any company which made, sold, or indeed simply sketched in pencil plans for a shed which had walls deviating from nice tight right angles by even one degree. 

Although we officially left most of the constraints of EU law on December 1 last year, one or two pieces of outstanding legislation have remained in place and have required additional discussions. This regulation is one of those and shed producers are now, as the Daily Express puts it, "breathing a sigh of relief" that they are finally allowed to build proper British sheds which look like Le Corbusier's finest work.

As an indication of what the UK Shed Marketing Board has been up against, EU timber spokesoman Loof Lirpa denied that the law even existed, which is typical of them.

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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 31, 2021

Garden studio for a musician



A lovely garden studio designed by Paul Archer Design for a musician in the back garden of a Grade II listed Victorian terrace in Lambeth, London. One unique feature is a fan which regulates humidity to protect the musical scores on the back wall of the 'library'. Here's what the designers say about it:

"The tiled flooring flows through from the kitchen of the main house across the garden down into the lowered floor of the studio. The added height removes the sense of restriction, giving a sense of openness of the studio nestled in amongst the raised planters. Facing back towards the house, the two facing sides are glazed, providing another visual link to the new rear extension. This has been made possible with the cantilevered steel structure fixed along the rear and flank walls...Using glass in this way helped to minimise the wall thickness and maximise the footprint of the studio."

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Wednesday’s posts are sponsored by Norwegian Log Buildings  - Log cabins and garden buildings for a better quality of life. Click here for more details.

 

 

 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Garden office Airbnb business

Larger garden office buildings can also work as a business opportunity in themselves. Here's an example of using a Garden Affairs building in the Welsh countryside as Rose Lodge, an Airbnb holiday let. It's a standalone timber log cabin, measuring 4m x 8.5m with an additional porch, interior feature beams, and fully insulated. 

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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 29, 2021

Alcove homeworking pod

Hard on the heels of last week's look at Wilma by Moonalabs, here's the Alcove homeworking pod from the same company. It's the same idea, i.e. shedworking indoors, but a little spacier with room for up to three people, a rather nice long bench seating section, and a decent bookcase. The spec is similar to the Wilma (rubber plywood with various optional extras including casters) but it's larger, at 2.4m (l) x 1.2m (w) x 2m (h) and has a mahogonay table. Nice.



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

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Entries flooding in for Shed of The Year 2021

A garden sanctuary created by an NHS worker is among the many incredible entries for Cuprinol Shed of The Year 2021. Diane Goring, from Newport, who has been working tirelessly as an NHS Nurse Consultant throughout the pandemic, uses the space to unwind and enjoy her favourite pastime of arts and crafts. Key worker Robert Adam Bell, from South Yorkshire, has built himself a haven on a budget - complete with a secret whiskey cabinet - where he seeks peace and a space for woodworking.

The entries shine a light on how the pandemic has changed the role of the humble garden shed for many of us and come as competition sponsors Cuprinol make a last call for entries ahead of the competition closing on April 12.

Other noteworthy efforts include a yoga cabin built in just one week. Geraint Nicholas, from Essex, constructed it for his wife to teach her holistic classes in. And to boost well-being for the whole family, the shed also doubles as a lockdown cinema room and with the full spectrum smart lighting - complete with disco mode - to host kids parties.

Despite living in Merseyside, Mike Vermiglio and wife Sue have built a piece of 1930s Birmingham in their garden with a Peaky Blinders-themed shed. The Garrison has kept the family bubble entertained with its 50s-style jukebox and fully-stocked bar, in which they hope to screen the Liverpool Derby when lockdown ends.

Ruth Davidson, from West Midlands, has also entered her family’s garden boozer. Previously a chicken run, the Pink Flamingo Tiki Bar, built by her husband, was used to host Christmas Day and now contains a pizza oven for alfresco dining.

Entries have been flooding in since February and Cuprinol and competition founder Andrew 'Uncle Wilco' Wilcox are calling for all shed-enthusiasts to ensure their work of art receives deserved recognition by entering the much-loved competition before it closes.

Andrew said: “The entries we’ve received so far really show how the nation is pushing the boundaries when it comes to creating spaces for entertaining and relaxing in their gardens. The past twelve months have been amongst the most challenging ever for many of us, and it’s been fascinating to see how that has spurred sheddies onto ever more creative heights. With just a matter of weeks now until the deadline, we’d urge anyone thinking of entering to get their skates on.”

Now in its 15th year, Cuprinol Shed Of The Year 2021 invites entrants to submit their creations into one of the seven categories, which include the new lockdown category introduced last year. Cuprinol launched the new category to shed some light on how much the year has changed our relationships with our outhouses and how many ambitious projects were undertaken during lockdown.

Last year’s shed-building superstar Daniel Holloway walked away with the coveted title of Cuprinol Shed of the Year 2020 after wowing judges with his nature-inspired refuge Bedouin Tree-Shed, built around two tree trunks in his back garden. Ashley Bates took home the competition’s first ever Special Commendation in 2020, after setting up The Shed School to help educate children while lockdown closed classrooms.

Entries can be submitted via Readersheds.co.uk until 12 April.

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Sunday posts are sponsored by Henshalls Insurance, specialists in insuring garden offices and other garden buildings. Click here for more information.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Wilma: Multi-Function Family Nook




Open up the 'interior garden office' folder because there's a marvellous new model on the block. What they've named the 'Wilma' (which happily is the name of one of our member of staff's wife) comes from London-based Moonalabs who describe it as a "mini home office pod". It's aimed at families who want some kind of personal haven as well as shedworkers. "Wilma is a mini multi purpose nook for the
whole family," they say. "Watch Wilma transform from a mini office for your conference calls to a
colouring nook during playtime. Wilma adapts to the needs of the moment."

Features include a small quiet fan for ventilation, toughened octagonal glass windows, optional shelving, table, power sockets, an anti-static low-pile carpet with rubber lining, plus LED ceiling and table lights. Outside the rubber plywood frame is clad in fabric (20 colours to choose from, including black) with an acoustic HD foam lining. An optional extra is casters with lockable rubber wheels. The whole thing measures 1.2m (l) x 1.1m (w) x 2.1m (h).

Tomorrow, we'll bring you another faboulous interior shedworking atmosphere...

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

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Terrazzo Studio tropical garden office



A clever garden studio in Hackney, London, designed and built by Sonn Studio which also features a bedroom with custom forest green wraparound terrazzo cladding (a kind of marble and cement composite). It's also a good example of not needing a huge amount of room to have a garden office since it's the outside space of a one-bedroom garden flat on a Victorian terrace. Here's what Sonn say about it:

"The concept for the space was to provide a tropical haven within a tight urban context with a designed focused on views and flexibility. Engineered stone cladding wraps around the full building with dark grey aluminium framed glazing to the south and west facades. The natural coloured flecks within the stone reflect the planting within the garden. Iiternal walls are lined with dark stained cork and polished concrete flooring continues from the internal space to the outside."

It's on the shortlist of this year's annual Don't Move, Improve! competition run by New London Architecture to celebrate interesting domestic builds in London.

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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 24, 2021

Win a private tour of Cressida Cowell's writing shed

The National Literacy Trust is running an online auction to raise money for its fine work bringing books to children in need across the UK. One of the items is this wonderful chance to virtually meet Childrens' Laureate Cressida Cowell, author of the How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once series – and the Waterstones Children’s Laureate.

Over a private Zoom call, Cressida will take you on a virtual tour of her writing shed, chat what inspires her work, give yoy an exclusive look at her sketchbooks and take an exclusive peek at what she is currently writing.

You can bid here.

There are of course various t&c including: children to be accompanied on the call by an adult; date and time subject to mutual availability; prize to be claimed by 1 December 2021.

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Wednesday’s posts are sponsored by Norwegian Log Buildings  - Log cabins and garden buildings for a better quality of life. Click here for more details.

 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Kate Holland's cowshed book bindery (video)


Kate Holland is one of the UK's leading bookbinders, producing contemporary fine bindings and books for commissions and exhibitions - you can see her binding one of the shortlisted Booker Prize titles, The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner here. She also organises the national bookbinding competition sponsored by the Folio Society. Kate has very kindly prepared a video tour of her workplace, a converted cowshed at her home, for readers of Shedworking which you can enjoy below:

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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 22, 2021

Hybrid working the way forward, says major new report

Post Pandemic Places, a major new report from think tank Demos and Legal & General, has found that huge increases in shedworking and homeworking, coupled with a desire for continued flexibility, could support significant increases in local spending. Consequently, they are calling on the government to incentivise the establishment of more local offices and hybrid-working initiatives.

According to the new research, 65% of the working population were forced to change their place of work during 2020 as a result of the pandemic. Of these, 79% want to continue to have some form of remote working in future. However, the findings - taken from a poll of 20,000 adults - indicate that a desire to work remotely is not necessarily the same as wanting to work from home all of the time.

Relatively high levels of support were recorded for ‘local desk space’. This was particularly stark among younger people, with one fifth of those in their twenties rating it their top priority for employment premises in their locality. When asked how people were intending to spend their money once the restrictions were over, the research found that 36% of people plan to spend more money locally than they did before the pandemic. Among people required to work from home, this rose to 47%.

The report suggests there is an opportunity for government and business to support more hybrid working and flexible local desk space, to give people the flexibility they want and also make progress on the 'levelling up' agenda, by spreading spending power across a wider geographic area.

As a result of its findings, Demos is calling on the Government to promote remote working as a regeneration tool. An example would be introducing employee tax incentives, such as ‘remote-working vouchers’, similar in design to the current childcare voucher scheme.

"Throughout the pandemic, an overwhelming number of people were forced to change the location they work in, whether they were required to work from home or furloughed," said Kitty Ussher, Chief Economic Advisor at Demos and author of the report. "But for those people, as our new report out today demonstrates, they’ve built a new-found relationship with their local area that’s here to stay beyond the pandemic.

"This major shift to remote and flexible working has led to a desire for spending more cash and more time locally. In other words, flexible working has the opportunity to make local areas thrive beyond expectations. This presents an opportunity for Government to actively support hybrid working, not just because it’s what people want and because of its long-understood potential to narrow the gender pay gap, but also as a key tool for local regeneration."

Image courtesy Warwick Buildings 

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