Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Small garden office

 

There's a tendency to go large when buying a garden office. That's not always a bad thing, but sometimes there's simply no alternative to going small and as far as the Shedworking staff are concerned, small is good. Here's a nice example of a compact garden office from Cabinmaster for Dominic, a university lecturer who had previously been working from a desk in his house. 

“I did consider an extension, then a friend who is having a cabin built suggested I looked into having a cabin. The time scale for the build, being only a day and a half, coupled with the fact you can have the electricity and wifi connected to it in that same time frame were also very attractive, alongside the other factors like cost," said Dominic. "

It’s more than good, it’s great. I didn’t want it to have a lot of glass in it or window space as I am using it for an office so it needs to be less open, I liked the fact I could choose the doors, windows, etc, and their size and location on the building rather than having to choose from a set design. It’s taken work out of the home. With the internet being in the cabin it’s just so easy to organise all my work in there, then when I leave I can step straight back into the house and leave work behind!”

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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, June 27, 2022

Dot House garden studio



This build in North London from architects Boano Prišmontas (featured previously on Shedworking) falls somewhere between the garden office and tiny house categories. Here's what they say about it:

"Conceived as a multifunctional and flexible unit, it provides an ancillary and unique space to work, relax, watch a movie, read or play video games. Mainly used as a study and entertainment room, the 'Dot House' comprises a bathroom and a micro kitchen to provide an independent and self-sufficient micro-habitable space that could be used for visiting, family members, and guests."

So there are essentially two rooms, a main one and then a bathroom which is hidden behind a sliding door. Inside it's exposed birch FSC plywood on the ceiling, concrete tiles on the floor, and laminated plywood panels on the walls (with terrazzo tiles on the bathroom walls). Features include underfloor heating, an integrated foldable desk with a phone charging unit, and projector screen. Outside, it's clad in black cement corrugated panels, not the current flavour of the month charred timber. The whole thing was built in smart pre-fab style in a single day.

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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

 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Vitamin G Garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival


To be honest, the RHS garden show at Hampton Court next month is as poor in terms of garden offices as Chelsea was. Pick of the show is The Vitamin G Garden designed by Alan Williams of Landform and Jo Whiley (yes, that Jo Whiley) which focuses on how gardening is good for us physically and mentally. It features this studio with plenty of plants (and art) which opens out onto a meditation/yoga deck next to  a plunge pool and circular lawn.

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Welcome to your new teak garden room from Moonalabs. Unparalleled quality at an affordable price.

 

Friday, June 24, 2022

Oak frame garden office for sale



A really lovely oak frame garden studio on sale with Jackson-Stops for £850,000, which comes with a four bedroom Grade II Listed detached Georgian cottage set on a quiet country lane. According to the particulars: "The property sits in an idyllic position surrounded by its stunning cottage gardens with the benefit of a Garden Studio ideal for the creative or home office."

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

 

 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Garden office before and after


 
Nice 'before' and 'after' shots of this build by Swift Garden Rooms at Wilton, Salisbury. It's 3.5m x 2.5m stretching up to just over 2m in height. A particularly nice feature is the built-in cat flap in the window. A spokeswoman for Swift told us: "The clients had a clear vision on how they would use the space, requesting a ‘picture window’ on the east-facing wall and double French doors facing south. The picture window had to be placed exactly where our client planned to put his desk. The building took two weeks to complete."

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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, June 22, 2022

SMART opens new showroom

Congratulations to SMART Garden Offices who have today officially opened their new showroom in Bury St Edmunds with Deputy Lieutenant Mark Pendlington cutting the ribbon. The showroom features examples of their buildings, with indoor and outside areas, there's free parking (and tea and coffee) and dogs are welcome.
 


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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, June 21, 2022

Shed of the Year 2022 finalists announced


As Cuprinol’s Shed of the Year competition marks its 16th anniversary, this year’s shortlisted entries have been unveiled and the public vote is now open (closing July 15). Nip along to www.readersheds.co.uk to make your voice heard.

Two which have particularly caught the Shedworking's staff's eye are Jane's Folly (which we featured on Shedworking here) and The Apothecary Den (which will appear in the next issue of my column in the Idler magazine), with its marvellous homemade stained glass windows.

Following 2021’s record numbers, 2022 has seen equally fierce competition, with 260 entries vying for a spot in this year’s list of finalists. Among the creations are inviting home pubs, nature escapes, practical yet beautiful workshops, and state-of-the-art eco-friendly designs.

To be in for the chance to win, shed enthusiasts submitted their creations to one of seven categories - Budget, Cabin/Summerhouse, Lockdown, Nature’s Haven, Pub/Entertainment, Unexpected/Unique, and Workshop/Studio. Three entrants from each category have been carefully selected for the shortlist, and are now in the running for £1,000 in prize money, a plaque, and £100 of Cuprinol products.

Head judge and founder of the competition, Andrew Wilcox, was so impressed with the calibre of entrants this year, and comments: “We’ve seen some first-of-their-kind designs, making it nearly impossible to whittle down to just three from each category. One great thing that has come from successive lockdowns is how much it has inspired people’s creativity, and it’s great that this has been channelled into the design of their own little escapes.

“These past years, more than ever, have shown just how much a role our gardens and sheds can play in our lives and the different ways they can be used. It’s been great to see shed enthusiasts old and new come up with some truly fantastic ideas, which we hope will inspire the next generation of shed enthusiasts.”

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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, June 20, 2022

Shedworking in Nigel Nicolson's gazebo in Sissinghurst

I spent a very enjoyable day at the weekend working on a couple of new book projects in what Nigel Nicolson called his 'gazebo' at Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens, now owned by the National Trust. The weather was fine and all the people who stopped by were either extremely friendly or quietly reverential ("Ooh, look, shhh, he's writing a book in there"). It's a very sturdy timber building, an exact copy of the Apollo 11 lunar module, and the spot where Nigel wrote his famous Portrait of a Marriage about his mum and dad, Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson. It looks out onto a moat and fields and hills towards the horizon. It's a very pleasant spot for a garden office and some guest shedworking.


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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


Saturday, June 18, 2022

Slippers and shedworking: Working from home footwear - Part 2

Following yesterday's post, here's Part 2 of our look into slippers and their effect on your feet by Christophe Champs (pictured above) from the PODO Clinic and Workshop.

Unstable all the way up

Slippers aren’t just bad for your feet – the impact can also be felt around the ankle and upwards to your knees, hip, back and even your neck.

Your ankles are the most challenged and challenging joints of your body because they connect two small horizontal feet with a tall and vertical body. Any time one of your ankles is unstable, every joint above is impacted.

Overlooking your ankle stability is like neglecting the first impression you’ll make when entering a room. Both will leave you with no second chance and things could go wrong. An unstable ankle drags knees and hips down, inwards or outwards depending on your body type.

Orthotics and slippers

In my opinion, orthotics are great for most people’s feet, but they are not enough for your ankle health without proper shoes and pretty close to useless in a pair of slippers.

Orthotics and shoes work together. They are designed to be inside the shoe, and this is one of the key reasons you should never try orthotics or insoles directly on the floor (i.e., not in the shoe) with the foot on top. The firmness of the shoe sole and the action of the laces or Velcro are both part of the foot support that provides you with a better alignment, balance, and overall posture.

A pair of slippers with no heel or ankle support does not strap your foot and so the orthotics are not wrapped around your heels and arches. Therefore, if you tried to wear your orthotics in your slippers, you would miss out on this snug and pleasant feeling that reinforces the action of the orthotics and optimises their results. And of course, if the slipper has no back, the orthotics will simply fall out!

Alternatives

Start by wearing supportive and lace-up shoes in the house. These should support, protect and cushion the foot. They should stay on the foot as you walk: no toe curling. Remember, shoes are like glasses, they help only if you wear them and only if they fit you well. To address your asymmetry, which is common in most people, within your symmetrical shoes, contact your local podiatrist to have your biomechanics checked and find out if you can benefit from custom orthotics.  Save walking barefoot for sandy beaches or your fresh mowed lawn, and slippers for putting your feet up in front of the TV.

Conclusion

In short, slippers are not great if you spend most of your day standing or walking. For general, in-house use, choose proper footwear that will support your ankles and take the strain off your joints. Whatever indoor shoes you choose, ensure your posture is correct by seeking professional advice. A lot of emphasis is put on correcting our sitting position at a desk, and we tend to think we’re okay if we have a standing desk, but this isn’t the case. Just as much attention should be paid to your standing position, especially if you are standing for long hours at your desk (or anywhere else).

Basically, you need to put as much thought into your footwear as you do for every other item that is important to your home working hours.

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Welcome to your new teak garden room from Moonalabs. Unparalleled quality at an affordable price.

 

Friday, June 17, 2022

Slippers and shedworking: Working from home footwear - Part 1

The Shedworking staff are long-term slipper-wearers (pictured above). But just how good are they for your feet? We asked podiatrist and biomechanics expert Christophe Champs, founder of the PODO Clinic and Workshop in London, for his thoughts. So here, in a two-part guest post concluding tomorrow, is what he says...

Anyone who is serious about working from home knows that it is important to assign an appropriate space as a working environment and to source the right kit. Depending on the form your work takes, that equipment may include a decent ring light and a good external camera and mic. But surrounding yourself with good tech isn’t enough. Just because you’re not in a corporate workspace you’re not absolved from putting some thought into health and safety issues, and this may see you investing in a sit and stand desk, an ergonomic chair, or even blue light glasses. If you’ve got all of that covered, well done. But take a look down – at your feet. Are those slippers you’re wearing?

 

Slippers are convenient, feet go in and out within seconds. But this doesn’t make them the healthiest form of footwear. Their shape is not supportive and the materials they are made of are not reinforced.

 

Ideally anything you have on your feet for a long period should offer proper support and protection.

 

Providing your feet, which make up one quarter of your skeleton, with minimal support can negatively affect your aging body (however young you are).

 

Slippers can also contribute to falls. And as older and more vulnerable people are the number one users of slippers and the most at risk of a fall, it is not a great combination.

 

The more support your shoes can give you the less unbalanced and unstable you will be, and therefore the less likely you are to slip, trip or fall. And this applies to any age group.  So, choose a pair of comfy shoes for indoor wearing that offer support and then use them as you would a comfy pair of slippers.

 

Slippers are the chocolate of footwear: lovely, but not good for you if you have it all day, every day. 

Lockdown lessons

The lockdowns have shown us how dangerous slippers can be for our health.

 

In my experience, the number of people suffering joint pain has increased since the first lockdown, and this is as a direct result of people wearing unsupportive slippers at home for long periods while working.

 

When travelling to the office and working with other people, most of us wear shoes, not slippers and this helps to support and cushion our feet. But take this away and swap it for spending the entire day barefoot or with slippers on a hard floor and it is no surprise that joint and foot pain has increased.

 

Another change is the reduction in walking when working from home. When we walk (and I mean walk, not just take a few steps) we swing our arms, and this helps to take some of the load off the feet. Walking puts around 80% off the load on your feet, whereas stepping in an enclosed space with no arm swing applies 120% of your body weight on your feet. In turn this can result in increased joint and muscle pain.

 

Watch out for curly toes

With every step you take in slippers, your toes are forced to grasp the slipper to lift it off the ground and carry it until your next step. This is because your heel is not grabbed by the footwear. When the heal is secured within the shoe it helps to lift the entire shoe and carry it forward even as you bend your foot.

 

Your forefoot is beautifully designed to change direction and adapt to uneven surfaces, but this clever skill should never be overloaded or overused in the way it is with a slip-on slipper.

 

Those who spend a lot of their time on their toes or using their toes to grasp as they walk, often develop toe deformities such as hammer toe and bunions. Plus, the skin under the ball of your foot, as an auto-defence, tends to build up and become hard to cope with the extra pressures applied on the area.

Part 2 of this guest post will appear on Shedworking tomorrow.

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


Thursday, June 16, 2022

Fiery Fox Candles

 
Dorset-based Fiery Fox Candles run by Lisa Avey-Hebditch produces soy wax candles, melts, reed diffusers, and room/linen sprays, all of which are ethically sourced, paraffin free, vegan friendly, biodegradable, and  not tested on animals. And it's all done from a Dunster House garden office (pictured top in jubilee mode).

"It has taken alot of hard work, planning and patience to get here," says Lisa, "but we are finally settled into our new garden office studio. I love spending time in here to not only create but to relax and enjoy what we do."
 

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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, June 15, 2022

Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own manuscript

One of the key texts in the history of shedworking is writer and shedworker Virginia Woolf's 1929 essay, A Room of One's Own based on a lecture she gave at the University of Cambridge in 1928. Although you can buy it in book form, the University of Cambridge Digital Library has made her autograph manuscript of her transformation of the text from lecture to essay available to the public online. It's an intriguing read as you can see in the embed below. Here's what the library says about it:

The autograph manuscript shows Virginia Woolf starting and restarting sentences, crossing out, adding revisions and new ideas between the lines, in the margins, and on the blank pages. She worked so fast that when she came to prepare a typescript for the publisher, she found it hard to decipher what she had written, noting in her diary that ‘I used to make it up at such a rate that when I got pen & paper I was like a water bottle turned upside down. The writing was as quick as my hand could write; too quick, for I am now toiling to revise’.

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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, June 14, 2022

Dr Johnson: shedworker

 
 
Dr Samuel Johnson, he of dictionary fame, was also a shedworker, or to be more precise, a summerhouseworker. However, it was not actually his. 
 
In the last quarter of the 18th century, Johnson was a regular visitor to the Streatham Place home in London of brewing magnate Henry Thrale and his wife Hester. The extensive grounds were home to a rather secluded wooden thatched summerhouse and Johnson took a shine to it so much - he sat and read in it, and may also have written some of his book The Lives of Poets - that it was informally named after him. It's not clear when it was built, but a likely date is 1773. Pictured above is an image of it with Johnson inside hard at work by the 19th century artist William Clarkson Stanfield.
 
After the house was sole in 1825, the Thrales' daughter Susannah took it to her Ashgrove home in Knockholt, Kent. A plaque on the summerhouse, now lost, recorded that: "She erected it on rising ground in the very centre of the grove making all paths lead to it, and making the grove a kind of shrine to Dr Johnson’s memory." Sadly, it was rather neglected and fell into disrepair until it was bought by a Mr WH Wells in 1962 who donated it to Kenwood House where it was restored and re-erected in 1968.

Then tragedy. It burnt down in March 1991. However, using images of the original, London artist Alan Byrne spent more than two years constructing a replica - pictured below - in his back garden in Islington, slates replacing the thatch and with chestnut used for the main build.

Those interested in finding out more should read Shaun Traynor's article in The Author magazine, a piece by good friend of shedworking John 'Shedman' Davies for The Johnson Society about a visit to the replica, and a really thorough history of it by Donald N. Cook in The New Rambler.
 

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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, June 13, 2022

Garden office with gym


Garden offices that serve more than one purpose (i.e. more than simply a workplace) are becoming very popular. Here's Hollie Bottrill's, designed and built by Cabin Master, a model she picked after visiting their show site. Here's what she says about it:

"We wanted something natural looking and loved the look of the redwood cladding as we were keen that it was in keeping with the aesthetic of our house – the redwood has a really timeless feel to it, full of charm and character which is what we wanted. As we knew we were using the room as a dual purpose space – 60% gym and 40% office – we wanted to make sure that the layout worked for both areas, to almost create ‘zoned’ areas for each use. We also wanted to make sure both areas were inspiring places to be and that there was plenty of natural light."

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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

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Come and see me in Sissinghurst on June 18

I mentioned last month that I'll taking part in Sissinghurst's 'Off The Grid' summer workspace project for writers, artists, and creatives next Saturday on June 18. I'll be working in Nigel Nicolson's marvellous writing gazebo (pictured above, inspired by the Apollo 11 lunar module and which gets a mention in my latest book Rooms of Their Own) from when the gardens open to the public at 11am until about 4pm.

I'll be working but more than happy to chat to anybody who comes along, and I'll probaby be signing copies of my book in the shop at some point. And of course you can also enjoy the lovely gardens and Vita Sackville-West's writing tower (which has a whole section in the book).

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Welcome to your new teak garden room from Moonalabs. Unparalleled quality at an affordable price.

 

Friday, June 10, 2022

Modern Shed

Now here's pretty, the 3m x 2.5m Modern Shed design from Garden Affairs. It's the company's newest model, here with Rustic Oak Stain on the exterior of its ribbed spruce cladding (though also available in smooth cedar plank too).

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

Thursday, June 09, 2022

How working from home is dominating the work revolution in London

A new study from Kings College London indicates that nearly three quarters of people working in London overwhelmingly believe traditional working patterns will not return post-pandemic, mainly because of the cost and length of commuting. The full report via the link above is worth reading but here are some highlights:

  • Eight in 10 London workers who work from home at least one day a week say it has had a positive impact for them
  • Avoiding commuting is seen as the top benefit (80%), followed by the ability to manage home/social responsibilities (66%) with women more likely than men to cite this as a factor.
  • Nearly two thirds of London workers say they are now hybrid working, working from home at least one day a week and from their workplace fewer than five days a week.
  • Of those in work at the time, a third said they worked from home at least one day a week on average before the pandemic, but roughly double this proportion did so in the past four weeks.

Also importantly, two thirds of those questioned disagree that people who work from home don't work as hard as those who commute to a workplace (compared with 16% who agree with this view).

Dr Amanda Jones, lecturer in organisational behaviour and human resource management at King’s Business School which undertook the research, said: 

“The pandemic has created a palpable shift in perceptions about the acceptability of remote working. Everyone has seen it work, even for younger and newer employees, some of whom started jobs during the lockdowns. Many more people now have experience of working remotely, organisations and individuals have invested heavily in equipment and training, and those forced to work remotely during the lockdowns have developed remote working strategies. Consequently, many more people not only have the capacity to work remotely but consider it to be a normal, rather than exceptional and potentially stigmatising, practice.”

Image courtesy Cabin Master

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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.