Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Garden office work couch

Maine-based children's author Julie Falatko has recently become a shedworker and like many other new garden office owners has been pondering exactly how to furnish her new space. She outlines her thoughts about a work couch here (and has posted more photos of the interior at her instagram page here). It's an interesting post that looks at the important of work rituals in being productive and is well worth a look. Here's a snippet:

"The biggest surprise is how much work I'm getting done on the couch/daybed/storage bench. It's super comfy, and a perfect place to read things over and write longhand... it's nice to have an analog spot to work, away from the distracting glow of my computer screen. But I stumbled into something else important, which is that, in my mind, I had designated the work couch as a place I would get work done, just like I had designated (and put pressure on) the shed as a productive work space. And then -- and this is important -- I happened to have some work I needed to do. I had a picture book I had to revise and get back to my editor. So the very first thing I did on that couch was focused and productive."

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Monday, August 30, 2021

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen's gin shed ginotorium


While garden offices have boomed during lockdown, so have the number of pub and bar sheds, and of course this year's winner of the Shed of the Year competition was a bar shed. The latest to hop onto this trend is interior designer and television broadcaster Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen who has been commissioned by the Craft Gin Club to build his own gin shed in his really rather lovely back garden.

He transformed his basic  6ft x 4ft timber shed into something rather more attractive, with a fully stocked gin bar featuring craft gins from around the world, LED lighting, blue and yellow mosaic tiling, bespoke wallpaper, a large banana plant, and an astroturf floor. Outside, he's used yellow hanging Chinese lanterns, decking with two green velvet bar stools, and plump patterned cushions.

“There are a dozen and one uses for an old she," said Laurence, "When you are making yourself a gin-otorium as I like to call it, it’s all about the decadence, a slightly sexy, slightly nightclubby sensation that you and I recognise as that first sip of gin and tonic. For the bar, I have created a new style which I’ve called ginoiserie. It’s about colour, finish, luxury and texture. It’s about indulgence and joy and somewhere where you can drink gin. My gin bar is a celebration of all that is luxe and indulgent.”

Jon Hulme, Co-Founder of Craft Gin Club said: “Over the past year, our homes have become our sanctuaries and investing in them has increasingly become a priority for many."

There is an associated competition run by the Craft Gin Club to win Laurence's gin shed plus a lot of gin. More details here.

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Friday, August 27, 2021

Music room

Here's an impressive music room in Glynde, East Sussex, designed by HAPA Architects (undertaken at their previous practice BBM Sustainable Design) and built by Laurence Turrell & Co. Here's what HAPA says about it:

"Heavyweight internal timber panels and cross laminated timber panels provide warm acoustic resonance. The building accommodates a large 3.5kWp photovoltaic array. Slate cladding compliments the unique shape. A large full length rooflight brings north light into the space, and a large overhang protects the picture window from high levels of sun in the summer."


 Photos: Steve Hall

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Thursday, August 26, 2021

Garden office fires report

With the rise in the number of garden offices and shedworkers has come the unsurprising but still very unwelcome news that fires in garden outbuildings are on the rise. According to insurer Zurich UK, reveal garden office, shed and garage fires increased by nearly a fifth  in 2020, compared to 2019.

Of 45 fire authorities, 33 saw a rise in shed and garage blazes, with an average increase of 25%. Fire and rescue services in Lancashire, Lincolnshire, West Sussex and North Yorkshire recorded the biggest surges in outbuilding fires, rising by 58%, 50%, 47% and 46% respectively. 

The authors of the report say that the trend appears to be driven by people across the country converting sheds and garages into offices, home gyms and garden bars.

Phil Ost, Head of Personal Lines at Zurich, said: “Homeowners up and down the country have converted outbuildings into everything from bars and yoga studios, to gyms and offices. But as Brits take refuge in their garden sheds and garages, it appears to have sparked a rise in accidental blazes. Sheds are a perfect environment for fires to take hold – often made of wood, sited outside and often home to flammable liquids like petrol for a lawnmower or oils and paint thinners."

An excellent first stop for discussing your garden office insurance needs is insurance brokers Henshall who can advise you on the right package for you.

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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.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Minka pods


Shedworking has assumed various guises over the years and I recently wrote my regular column for the Idler about shedworking in the future including indoor garden offices/pods. Here's another new and fine examaple, the semi-enclosed Minka pod from Duffy London. It's made from powder-coated mild steel and high-grade wood from Forest Stewardship Council-managed forests, mearsuring 2m x 1.8m x 2m, but with a six-person pod also available and a solar version (pictured bottom).

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Sunday, August 22, 2021

Ian Patterson: shedworker


Poet, academic, and translator Ian Patterson has a splendid writing shed which also houses his poetry library. In the video below from about the 55 second mark, you can see inside courtesy of his wife and fellow writer Olivia Laing who lovingly describes it as "the essence of him".

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Saturday, August 21, 2021

Garden office tax benefits


The most recent issue of chartered accountants McBrides' news update includes pertinent advice about various garden office tax issues. You can read the full thing here (pdf) but here's a snippet:

"It will be permissible for the initial cost of the structure and any other associated costs such as planning costs, architect fees and legal fees to be paid in full by the business. However, these costs will not qualify for tax relief as they will be treated as capital costs. VAT charged on these costs can be recovered in full if the garden office is intended for 100% business use. But if there is an intention for private use as well as business use, then the private proportion of the VAT should not be reclaimed (this will need to be based on a fair and reasonable calculation)."

Image courtesy SMART

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Friday, August 20, 2021

Circular garden offices

Technically, these prefab shedworkingesque buildings are not garden offices but pods for up to four people to sleep in at the Suntrap Forest Centre in Epping Forest. However, they do come from garden office manufacturer Archipod so if you like the look of them, it would be well worth getting in touch.

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Thursday, August 19, 2021

Kent Haruf: shedworker

Novelist Kent Haruf (Plainsong, Eventide, Benediction) wrote in a fairly straightforward writing shed at his home in Colorado (he is pictured top in front of it, and above is an interior shot) and it was here that he wrote his final book, Our Souls at Night as well as Benediction. There is an excellent piece about Haruf (and the shed) by Chris Outcalt at 5280 Magazine. Here's a snippet:

One step past the doorway of Kent Haruf’s writing shed and everything feels close. The back wall is less than eight feet away, and I can almost reach out and touch the walls on either side of me. The interior walls are draped with mismatched bedsheets, which are tacked to the beams of the structure, concealing a thick layer of insulation. Some of the sheets are pale blue and others are the color of lima beans.

Just to the left of the entryway, there is a small bookcase overflowing with old books. Many of the book jackets have faded and the corners are worn and there are distinct creases along the spines. The top shelf is taken up almost entirely by stories written by Faulkner, and a third of the way down, I notice a short story collection that includes The Bear. Kent’s desk spans most of the length of the back wall; it’s a light wooden desk with three drawers. There is a lamp in the far corner, and a brown suede chair. A large bull skull hangs from a nail to the left of the desk. Cathy told me Kent had hung the skull in his workspace as a reminder to not write bullshit.

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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, August 18, 2021

Reiko Kaneko: shedworker


An excellent interview on the site of manufacturer and retailer of modern design products SCP with ceramicist, designer, and educator Reiko Kaneko. Reiko works from the garden office studio built by her brother in the garden of her London home in 2019. It's a fascinating interview - with more photos inside and out at the first link - and here's a snippet:

“Going local is definitely the way forward. My first product, which was an egg cup, was made in China. At the time I had no way of really knowing what the working conditions were like, the health and safety aspects. I think as a business you have responsibility, because you are producing that much more stuff. So then I transitioned to Stoke-on-Trent as I wanted oversight on everything and I knew the staff there were treated well, took holidays, had good lives. Then I could then say hand on heart that everything was okay. That was important.”

Photos: Sarah Rainer 

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Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Gertrude Jekyll Holy Island garden shed

 

The Shedworking staff has recently returned from a holiday in Northumberland where we were delighted to come across this lovely potting shed in the walled garden designed by noted horticulturalist, writer and artist Gertrude Jekyll in 1911 on Lindisfarne. It was made as a companion to architect Edwin Lutyens' transformed castle on the island for Country Life magazine founder Edward Hudson. The garden was restored in 2003 to Jekyll's original design as you can see from the video 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, August 16, 2021

Glass garden office



Architectural glazing specialists AGS Ltd, have launched GlasHaus Design, a luxury glass garden room company, following the huge rise in demand for garden offices and garden rooms over the last 18 months. As these shots show, this is an interesting option for those considering going down the shedworking route as these bespoke builts offer excellent panoramic garden views as well as a very light interior. Features include double-glazed, energy-efficient glass as standard and SIP insulation panels.

Director of GlasHaus Design, Ed Dupuy, said: “The Coronavirus pandemic brought to light a gap in the residential market for a luxury structural glazing supplier. Having previously served companies such as Apple and Hugo Boss, we’re excited to bring our structural glazing knowledge and skills to the residential market. By offering tailor-made outdoor living solutions that capture the essence of a property, we hope to inspire houseproud homeowners to spend more time at home in comfort and style.” 

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Sunday, August 08, 2021

Shedworking on holiday


The Shedworking staff have voted themselves a short holiday. Normal service will be resumed next week.

Friday, August 06, 2021

Creme de Menthe shed crowned Cuprinol Shed of the Year 2021


Model and social media influencer Danielle Zarb-Cousin’s 1970s-inspired bar has been crowned the Cuprinol Shed of the Year 2021.

Danielle said she has channeled her heartbreak after splitting from her fiance - Love Island’s Jonny Mitchell - into building her Creme de Menthe shed. “I went through a bad time with the break-up. It was the worst thing that could've happened, going into lockdown and not being able to see anyone or not being able to date. Building the shed became a focus in a time of chaos. After building it, the shed became a place where I could sit and write. It was a little sanctuary for me and it's something I'm really proud of. The shed really represents that time in my life.” 

 Danielle, from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, says winning Cuprinol Shed Of The Year 2021 “feels amazing.” “I'm so happy I won. It's been a long process building the shed, so it's nice to know it's paid off.”

After moving in with her parents at the beginning of the first lockdown, Danielle transformed an old, unloved brown shed that they were planning to knock down, into a retro haven complete with an orange and mint green colour scheme and cocktail bar. 

“I’m really drawn to that era," says Danielle. "I love Elvis and Johnny Cash, and artists like that, so I made this whole moodboard and I didn't want it to be a gimmicky or fancy dress-type 70s, I wanted it to be more authentic.” 

Danielle has filled the shed with retro decorations, furnishings and vinyl records, which she collected from charity and vintage shops, and says she hopes to inspire young people on social media to challenge 'throwaway culture'.

Danielle has been using the space to write her blog on subjects from heartbreak and dating to lifestyle and is now in the process of turning it into a book. “I always sit in the shed and write because it's just so peaceful and quiet and I can really focus. I've also started writing some short stories, and I do that all from the shed. “Moving back in with my parents for lockdown was not ideal and I needed my own space, so it was a place I could go and write and not be disturbed.” 

Head judge and founder of the competition Uncle Wilco said: “We have been blown away by the creativity, passion and dedication on display from sheddies across the country. The amount of care and attention entrants have devoted to their sheds this year is inspiring. But it was Danielle’s Creme de Menthe bar and her use of colour, interior design and vintage decorations that really impressed us. We hope her win inspires a new generation of sheddies to get out in the garden and start building sanctuaries of their own.”


There's no garden office category but top prize in the workshop/studio section went to Ally Scott from Southampton, an artist and signwriter, with her creation The Peculiar Pear. She put together the shed after her mother died in 2016 and she decided to take the plunge to become self-employed using money left to her. “The shed changed my life. It sounds really cheesy but it did. I spoke to my friend and she said my mum would have 100% said ‘yes, Ally, buy the shed, start your own business and paint stuff’.” 

Ally’s shed creation started life as a 6x6 garden shed from a garden centre and says the shed was a “godsend” over lockdown. “I'm a 48-year-old single parent to Sam, who is 15, so it really helped give me and my teenager space, as it’s a room that wasn't my lounge that I could be creative in. The shed is underneath the trees and in the shade all day long, so it’s the perfect place when it's hot. And underneath the gazebo is very good for cocktails.”

Is this the end of the office?

There's a short but must-read post - The end of the office - by marketing guru Seth Godin today on his blog. Here's a snippet:

The office is a fairly modern phenomenon. We got by for millenia without them... As social creatures, many people very much need a place to go, a community to be part of, a sense of belonging and meaning. But it’s not at all clear that the 1957 office building is the best way to solve those problems.

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Thursday, August 05, 2021

First look at Piers Morgan's new garden office

We reported last November on controversial broadcaster Piers Morgan's plans to become a shedworker, going down the garden office path with Archipod. Above is the build taking shape, with the structure in place, battens and waterproof membrane on show. The next step is plastering the interior. It's not clear which of Piers' homes this is going to be sited in, but this is what the back garden at his London home looks like (he tweeted it out a couple of months ago) so this might be the location.

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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, August 04, 2021

Workers want more flexibility from their employers after COVID


While there is still much love around in the media for garden offices - the Telegraph has an article today (£) about building your own garden office for "as little as 5k" - at the same time there is also a lot of chat about why everybody should get back to the old ways of working. So it's a nice corrective to see the results from a new Ipsos survey for the World Economic Forum of 12,500 employed adults across 29 countries that shows two thirds say:

  • when COVID restrictions are no longer in effect, employers should be more flexible in terms of requiring employees to go to an offic
  • they are more productive with a flexible work schedul
  • they want flexibility in the amount of time they go into the offic

Unsurprisingly, these views are more popular among those with higher levels of education and income, women, younger adults, and parents of children under 18. 

Three in ten say they would consider looking for another job given the same salary and responsibility if their employer expected them to work away from home full time. Those under the age of 35 and parents are more likely to say so. Nearly half of those questioned in Australia and one third in South Africa and Great Britain do not expect to ever revert to the way things were.

On average globally, 35% say that, once the pandemic is over, they would prefer to work from home completely or more often than they used to (though to be fair, nearly as many (33%) say the opposite). 

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Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Peter Hanington: shedworker

 


Journalist and novelist Peter Hanington, whose latest thriller A Cursed Place, has just been published to excellent reviews, is also a shedworker (see images above) and tells us about his garden office life below:

"Like many of my male friends I had coveted all manner of different sheds before finally getting to walk into one of my own. The basic timber framed, shingle roofed shed was already there at the end of the garden when we moved in nearly 20 years ago. The previous owner had used it as extra storage space and with two small children we followed suit - filling it with bikes, football goals, paddling pools, plastic playhouses and castles, etc.

"As the kids grew, so the shed changed - GCSE and later A level arts projects, sewing, collaging, crafts, etc, and my wife and daughter put a plaque on the door that referenced the nicknames the family had affectionately given them:  'Slap & Dash - No Corner too Important to Cut.' When after years spent collecting polite rejection letters from agents and publishers I somehow managed to get a book deal, I got the family's okay to relocate to the shed. 

"Part of the appeal was the fact that the wifi wouldn't reach that far and so there were fewer technological distractions. Also, somehow that 20ft distance between the back of the house and the shed makes a difference - the walk from the kitchen and the unlocking of the shed door represents a change in purpose. I have a two-hour hourglass to encourage discipline and a CD player playing lyric-free music at least when I start scribbling, although if it's going well then the CD will end without me noticing and then the only sounds are squirrels or foxes on the roof, rats beneath the floorboards and the usual London street sounds. Heaven."

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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