Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Garden office birds project

We've covered Alastair Humphreys and his garden office a couple of times before on Shedworking. The adventurer, author and motivational speaker has come up with an interesting way of connecting with the nature around his build. Here's what he says:
My latest strategy for procrastinating book writing: photographing the birds that visit my writing shed. I set up my camera and then use an app on my phone to take the photos when a bird arrives to distract me from my writing!

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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, November 29, 2021

Snowy garden offices

It's that time of year again when snow meets garden office and results in some lovely images. Here are winter 2021's first batch, beginning with naturalist Professor Miles Richardson's view from his writing shed in Derby above. Below is illustrator Bill McConkey's garden studio in the north of England.


And below is novelist Katy Dyer's writing shed in Barnsley enjoying its first ever snow.

And finally, from Scotland, another view from the garden office, this time it's Jean McGeoch's.

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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Beach hut advent calendar


For many years, the Shedworking staff in the runup to Christmas looked forward to the annual beach hut advent calendar down in Brighton & Hove but which sadly stopped running in 2018. The hardworking Hove Beach Hut Association said it was hoping to pick up the reins in 2019 but that was just before the world was hit by lockdowns and plans have understandably been put on the back burner. However, the assocation is holding a Winter Open Day on December 18 from 4pm until 6pm when many huts will be open to the public and with modest festive theme displays - look out for laminated posters such as the one below to indicate which huts are taking part. Fingers crossed that next year the advent calendar will return!

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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Building your own garden office

We did a 'five years later' post about Shedworking reader Mark Porter-Davison's selfbuild garden office odyssey recently and Mark very kindly supplied more images of his build and a few more details. Here's what Mark says about its history:

The short story is that I spotted a beautiful frame in a farmer's field in the borders. A guy had started it as a sort of showpiece for a canoe-building company he was going to run from one of the farm buildings. His plans had changed and a lady saw me taking a pic of 'my dream shed' and whispered that I could probably buy it, because the farmer wanted it removed. I ended up buying the frame and having it moved to a friend's house on a truck. From there I had to take it all apart, piece by piece, and move it on my car's roof to its new home at the end of our garden. Then I set about dusting down my CDT skills not touched since school and trying to rebuild, refactor and complete it using tools I picked up in Lidl. I'm delighted with the end result and it's become my home office and source of daily sanctity and solitude... all inspired by your book!







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Friday, November 26, 2021

Garden office cubes

A nice roundup piece about the garden office industry by Anna Jones for the BBC ('The 'bespoke luxury' of tiny garden office cubes') listing numerous possibilities and focusing on Ryan Williams's new office by Skypods (pictured above) from where he runs his social media marketing company KOMI. Here's a snippet about the situation in Australia:

Melanie Williamson set up her company, Backyard Pods, in 2015, in response to what she saw as a gap in the market for affordable flatpack garden offices and outbuildings. Her flatpack kits start at around A$5,000, (£2,729, $3,660) and she says that at times over the past few months, orders have been three times higher than normal.

She says she’s noticed a lot of interest among city-dwellers who are moving to smaller towns so they can benefit from cheaper property prices and bigger gardens with room for outdoor workspaces. “Sometimes they start consulting with us before they buy their property, because they are buying the property with the intention to do this,” she says.

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Thursday, November 25, 2021

Very simple garden office interior design

Garden office interior design seems to split shedworkers who either leave it pretty much as it was left by the suppliers with maybe the addition of a picture or two hung on a wall, and those who really spend time designing a scheme as they would in their home. The former will be interested in this storage shed which Canadian architect Jean Verville converted into a workspace/artwork he calls IN 1. It's about as minimalist as you can get, lined with OSB (oriented strand board) which is produced from pressurised wood chips.

It actually ranges over several levels including a double height ground floor and a first floor which can be reached via ladders in a hidden hatch. More photos, by Fran├žois Bodlet, at the link above. The Shedworking staff find it all rather restful.



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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Beach Hut apron

We're continuing our occasional look at possible Christmas presents with this rather attractive beach hut print apron from Anita Rose Designs available at The British Craft House. In addition to the lovely shedlike print, there is a double front pocket, adjustable neck strap, and long side ties. It measures 84cm long, by 65cm wide.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The Barn by Sally Coulthard

Before 21st century garden offices and their electrics, insulation, and green roofs, there was another much more basic form of shedworking. Friend of Shedworking Sally Coulthard - author of numerous books on sheds, nature, and history - combines all three of those areas of expertise in her latest book, The Barn: The Lives, Landscape and Lost Ways of an Old Yorkshire Farm. The book pivots around an old barn on her property in the Howardian Hills of Yorkshire as she narrates its history from threshing barn to a home for horses and cows, and later as a garage for the family cart. It's not an exceptional barn (though the witch marks are intriguing), but Sally uses it as a jumping off point to tell the sometimes rather grim story of the people who farmed the area and have often been rather whitewashed out of history. 

As well as plenty of fascinating material on rural life (hiring fairs, corn spirits, and a lot more about the guano industry than I had expected), it's also a very human history, focusing on the people whose lives changed over several centuries as times and technology changed around them, peppered with contemporary accounts from newspapers which really bring the book to life. For those of us from Yorkshire there is the added interest from its often hyperlocal examples of events (I worked as a journalist in some of the locations she mentions). Readable, fascinating, and just the right length, it's a reminder at a time when shepherds' huts are happily becoming more numerous again that the 30 second commute hasn't always been to a keyboard and a comfy chair.

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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, November 22, 2021

Working From Home Live

Whether you're an old hand at working from home or are considering your agile working options, then it's worth nipping along to the Working From Home Live business show (apparently Europe's largest business show) at London’s ExCeL which is on this week, November 24 and 25. It's new for 2021 following all the changes in working lives over the last two years and promises to focus on the future of remote working. It has all the usual features, lots of exhibitors including Moonalabs (on Stand C243) and other garden office providers as well as plenty of tech, accountancy, and security folk. There are also numerous seminars covering a wide range of homeworking and shedworking subjects. Best of all, it's free. Sign up to a free ticket here.

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Sunday, November 21, 2021

Garden office Christmas presents ideas

To be honest, the Shedworking HQ staff are a bit sniffy about the standards of lists of things to buy the home office worker in your life (which is highly likely of course to be you, dear reader), especially for Christmas. But Good Housekeeping has come up with one which is rather better than the normal run of the mill ones. Of the 20 they pick, our favourites are the Home Office candle (water lilies, patchouli and amber, above), the commuting mug (below), and the temperature control smart mug (below, below).


 
And I have a new book out just in time for Christmas, nothing to do with sheds but still something that would brighten up any garden office, Art Day By Day: 366 Brushes With History.

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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.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Paul Mason on writing shacks

A rather nice little podcast by writer and swimmer Paul Mason for the Royal Literary Fund all about the delights and attractions of garden offices and specifically writing sheds.

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Friday, November 19, 2021

Beyond the Workplace Zoo (book review)

Workplace strategist, environmental psychologist, and longstanding friend of Shedworking Nigel Oseland has a new book out, Beyond the Workplace Zoo. While it concentrates on traditional offices, what's wrong with them (essentially, too much like old zoos and too much thoughtless open planning), and how to fix them (make better use of space), it does touch on elements such as third place working which we follow with interest on this site as well as a mention of garden offices (Nigel works in one himself). 

He also looks at issues which are of interest to shedworkers in terms of humanising the workplace, focusing on the psychology of work and practical considerations such as thermal comfort, acoustics, lighting, etc, with particular emphasis on biophilia,the belief that humans work and live better when they are properly connected to nature e.g. putting plants in workplaces, providing views of nature from desks, etc. Even big boys such as Amazon are waking up to the benefits of this – their ‘Spheres’ headquarters in Seattle is essentially an enormous conservatory with more than 40,000 plants and 300 plant species as well as treehouse meeting rooms and major water features. Nigel's solution is what he describes as a 'landscaped office' which has obvious overlaps with garden offices.

It's a very interesting read, extremely well researched and authoritative, but not packed with academicspeak and so is properly accessible to the general reader. And at 188 pages, including photos and other illustrations, it's not a wristbreaker. Strongly recommended, whether you work in a garden office or not. Below, Nigel talks about it all in an interview on a Journal of Biophilic Design podcast.


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Thursday, November 18, 2021

How to get or improve a garden office internet connection

Getting an internet connection to your garden office (or boosting an existing connection) is one of those questions which comes up time and again in queries to Shedworking HQ and on Twitter. Gardens Illustrated is the latest to come up with a useful set of suggestions and tips and also links to places where you can buy the bits and bobs you'll need. Here's an excerpt:

"If you’re serious about your external Wi-Fi then how about a solution that’s specifically made for outdoor use? The Wavlink AC1200 is an outdoor access point that you can safely leave outside, broadcasting the internet across – on paper, but dependent on your ‘real world conditions’ – 2000 square feet of garden. This is the kind of ‘pro’ unit you’ll see attached to walls or poles, high up in pub gardens and parks and as such requires a little more technical set up than a simpler indoor extender positioned by a doorway or window."

Image courtesy Norwegian Log 

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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, November 17, 2021

15% discount on SMART's small garden offices

While stocks last, SMART are offering a 15% discount on certain of their Belle, Key, and Evolve models in three sizes 2.1m x 2.1m, 2.6m x 2.1m, and 3.2m x 2.1m (all internal dimensions). Spec for the smaller two is

  • Single door, 2 x top hung opening windows and 1 x eye level window
  • Popular 1 or Popular 2 interior
  • Interior lighting – 4 bar ceiling mounted spotlights.
  • 4 double sockets
  • Exterior lighting – 1 x contemporary column light

and for the larger one:

  • Double doors centrally fitted to front elevation, 1 x floor to ceiling glass panel and 1 x eye level window
  • Popular 1 or Popular 2 interior
  • Interior lighting – 4 bar ceiling mounted spotlights.
  • 6 double sockets
  • Exterior lighting – 2 x contemporary column lights (aside the doors)

The offer doesn't include base or electrical connection and only applies to installations within 75 miles of their production HQ at IP31 3RN. Full details at their website here.

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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, November 16, 2021

Win an Anderson shed

Here's a chance to win yourself a shed as a Christmas present to yourself. The Posh Shed Company is giving away one of its 2m x 1m Anderson models in it's 'Tin Hat' range as part of a free prize draw (click the link for details and how to enter). As they say: "It is designed to appeal to those seeking a traditional shed, solid yet understated in appearance and built to a standard to guarantee years of service" Comes with all the bits and pieces, galvanised steel roof, guttering, half-glazed door, all put together by the Posh Shed folk, though the trugs and decking pictured would be extra. Normally retailing for £1,500. Competition ends midnight December 12, winner announced December 22.

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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, November 15, 2021

Inside Bellway garden office


Almost exactly a year ago we reported on Bellway's new housing development at Alderley Park in Cheshire which offered garden offices as one of it's optional features. It wasn't easy to get hold of images so I'm very grateful to Edward Thomas Interiors - specialists in providing interiors for show homes, marketing suites, and retirement living spaces for house builders in the UK - who have more shots of what these garden offices can look like inside.

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Sunday, November 14, 2021

Third of UK workers would take a pay cut to work from home

A new study of workers in the UK by recruitment specialists Reed suggests that 35% of people would be happy to take a pay cut if they were allowed to work from home on a permanent basis. Of the 2,002 people questioned, another 10% were unsure if they would or not.

"The key thing is to ensure employees have a certain level of choice and autonomy over how, when and where they spend their working day," said Reed managing director Simon Wingate. "In a competitive labour market, businesses must think creatively and listen carefully to their staff to provide a tailored approach that works on both an individual and collective level. This will help to improve their chances of attracting and retaining the best talent."

Meanwhile, a survey by NUI Galway and Western Development Commission (WDC) indicated that carbon emissions produced by travel could be reduced by up to 60% if people were allowed to choose a remote working option. The findings follow a report in August in Northern Ireland for the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development in which only 3% of those working from home said they wanted to return to work in an office full time.

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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.