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.”

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