Friday, April 12, 2024

Woodlands Home & Garden Group open a new distribution hub in Scotland

Specialist garden building manufacturer and retailer Woodlands Home & Garden Group has opened a new warehouse, distribution and sales hub in Scotland. The 40,000 sq.ft site is located in Glenrothes, Fife, and is part of Woodlands' development plans as it looks to expand its operation across the whole of Scotland.

The new hub will be managed by Chris Devanny who has extensive experience within the garden building market. In addition to overseeing the 22,000 sq.ft warehouse and distribution facility, he will also lead the development of sales, service, and installation operations across Scotland.

The Glenrothes site will also house a new Tiger garden building franchise, opening in partnership with Anchor Timber Buildings, which will house over 110 garden buildings in an 18,000 sq.ft indoor display area.  The showsite in Glenrothes has been operated by Anchor for over 40 years, and having established a successful reputation across the region, they took the decision to partner exclusively with Tiger earlier this year to help with their growth.

Ross Moran, Chief Executive at Woodlands Home & Garden Group said: “We are delighted to get this deal over the line and the opening of a new hub in Glenrothes provides us with the opportunity to further develop our sales growth and service across the whole of Scotland which we believe is a really important and exciting region for us. We have worked successfully with Anchor for many years, so the appointment of Chris as our General Manager not only ensures continuity for all our customers, but also provides the business with a highly experienced and ambitious individual.

“The new Tiger franchise is also another significant step forward for Tiger’s offline strategy, which is creating a network of franchise-operated locations across the UK to complement our existing online success and build on our position as the UK’s market leader in garden buildings."

The new showsite is located at Anchor Timber Buildings, Unit 8a Boston Road, Viewfield Industrial Estate, Glenrothes, Fife KY6 2RE and is open from 8am until 4.30pm on Monday to Friday and 9am until 3pm on Saturday. 

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Thursday, April 11, 2024

The average UK worker will spend £1,964 a year by returning to work full-time, says new research

New figures from personal finance comparison site finder.com suggest that the average commuter in the UK could spend £1,964 a year on returning to the office, roughly 7% of the average salary.

Finder calculated the average cost of commuting to and from work and buying lunch, to find out how much a worker could expect to pay if they returned to the office five days a week. They found that the average worker would spend an additional £1,964 per year on commuting and lunch costs on returning to the office full-time.

In London, this figure rises to 9.4% of average take-home pay, with workers in the capital expected to spend £3,076, with £2,206 of this figure attributable to commuting costs.

Employees in Yorkshire and The Humber would lose an average of 6.7% of their annual take-home salary, followed by the West Midlands at 6.6% then the North West and East Midlands (6.5%), and the South West and North East (6.4%).

Those in the South East and Wales would sacrifice an average of 6.3% of their salary by returning to the office full-time. In the East of England workers could expect to lose around 6.2% of their take home salary, and in Scotland, 6%.

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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 10, 2024

Multi-purpose garden office


 
A recent build from Cosy Garden Rooms underlines the flexibility of garden buildings. Pictured above is the 5m × 3.5m design, composite clad in soft green Hardie board with UPVC anthracite doors and windows, a front overhang with remote sensor LED lighting, double sliding doors, and a bathroom partition.
 
Here's what the customer said about it: "We love it. It is used as occasional guest accommodation but the bed is swapped out with a settee, etc, when not being used. Then it becomes an extra living space. And I have also used it as an office so it’s definitely multi purpose."

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Tuesday, April 09, 2024

13th and final London Cabmen's Shelter awarded Grade II listing

Excellent news this morning that the green cabmen's shelter on Wellington Place in St John’s Wood, London has now been listed at Grade II level by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Known locally as 'The Chapel' shelter it is the final example in the capital to be protected by listing.
 
As regular readers of Shedworking know, these wooden huts were built by the Cabmen's Shelter Fund as rest stops for licenced cab drivers when cabs were all horse-drawn. The first was built in 1875 and only 13 survive in the city today, continuing to serve modern-day taxi drivers. All 13 shelters were restored in a campaign by Heritage of London Trust during the 1980s and 1990s and they are still overseen by the Cabmen’s Shelter Fund, which celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2025.

Only drivers with 'The Knowledge' can take a seat inside but many huts offer takeaway refreshments to the public too.

"We’re really pleased that the Wellington Place shelter now has protected status, along with all the other remaining shelters," said Colin Evans, Trustee Cabmen's Shelter Fund. "We know how special the shelters are but we need the London taxi trade and public’s support more than ever so that this important part of our heritage and working class history lives on."

Image courtesy Historic England Archive 

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Malvern Garden Buildings offer a premium collection of garden buildings, displayed at 11 UK showsites.

 

Monday, April 08, 2024

Garden studio built with biowaste

An interesting case study in the Guardian featuring plant stylist Emma Sadie Thomson who built her home studio in Melbourne, Australia, out of recycled materials and biowaste. Here's a snippet:

Inside, Thomson’s main concern was how to insulate. From a friend who was working for Joost Bakker’s Future Food System project in Melbourne, Thomson learned about Durra Panel, a wheat straw insulation, originally designed in Sweden and made in Bendigo, and decided to use it for the inside walls and ceiling.

Well worth a read.

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Friday, April 05, 2024

Can I reclaim the VAT on the cost of my garden office?

No apologies for returning to the perennial question (s) of garden offices and tax, with Saint & Co Chartered Accountants the latest experts to pitch in with their thoughts on VAT, capital gains, capital allowances, and depreciation. Here's a snippet (click the link above to read the whole thing which is short and to the point):

Can I reclaim the VAT on the cost of my garden office?
If you are VAT registered and build it through your business then absolutely YES. Some key pointers below:
*Ensure the business pays for all costs, you cannot claim the vat back if you pay personally
*If you are planning to use the garden office for personal use as well you are only able to claim back a portion of the VAT
*Clients under the flat rate VAT scheme can only reclaim capital purchases no less than £2,000. VAT cannot be reclaimed for services. Ensure materials are bought separately to any installation costs
As always, we recommend you talk to your tax advisor before taking any financial decisions.

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

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Steel garden office

As we often remind potential shedworkers looking around for a garden office, while wood is by some distance the most popular build material, other build materials are available. Among them are the steel offerings from Portable Space who have recently launched a new model, the Como. It's fully insulated with double-glazed opening windows and doors made from high-quality galvanised stee.

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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 27, 2024

Garden prosecco bar

Garden offices are obviously excellent places to work, but all work and no play... Here's an example of an Arctic Cabins BBQ Hut put to less studious but more jolly use. The company says they've noticed increasing numbers of customers mentioning that they have plans to use their build as a gin/cocktail/prosecco santuary.

Among them is Laura from Retford in Nottinghamshire, mum of two primary school aged children, and who enjoys girls' nights out, who decided to recreate the bar experience of her pre-parenting days in her back garden. "I wanted a garden building," she said, "a log cabin, but a lot of the ones that I’ve looked at were just sheds. I didn’t want the girls feeling like we’d just put some chairs out in a shed. It feels like a safe place – I think this will be a sanctuary for us school mums!”

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Wednesday posts are sponsored by Booths Garden Studios, the UK's No.1 supplier of zero maintenance and portable garden studios

 

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Building a replica of Roald Dahl's writing shed

A fabulously-realised project by office design and build specialists K2 Space saw them build a replica of Roald Dahl's famous writing hut for the London office of the Roald Dahl Family Company which looks after the writer's literary and creative legacy. It comes complete with a thatched roof and vintage typewriter, and is used as a meeting space within the larger office area. Do enjoy the short video below which shows how it was all done:

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Malvern Garden Buildings offer a premium collection of garden buildings, displayed at 11 UK showsites.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Ruth Janette Ruck's writing hut


I have been reading Ruth Janette Ruck's first rural memoir Place of Stones for a book I'm writing which comes out next year about Wales. Not only is it really interesting, flicking through one of the follow-ups to it, Along Came a Llama, I was intrigued to discover that this later book was largely written in what Ruck calls her 'Writing Hut' close to her home. Here's her description of it:

The hut had once been a henhouse but, with the perches and nest boxes removed and the wall lined with hardboard and the floor with linoleum, it made a good and peaceful retreat for me. It was screened from the cottage by a dry-stone wall and overhung by a huge ash tree. Round about, clumps of bracken were beginning to unfurl and foxgloves were pushing up their flower spikes.

She goes on to describe that this secluded spot gave her a particularly fine view when she left the door open, particularly of birds in the branches of the ash, one that reminded her of an oil painting.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Garden office crime never pays

A man has been sentenced to four months in prison after being caught by an off duty police officer in Winchester, according to Hampshire Police.

Paul David Wild, 41, of Hyde Gate, Winchester pleaded guilty to burglary other than dwelling and possession of a controlled Class B drug at Basingstoke Magistrates Court on March 18.

The officer had just finished a night shift and was making his way home when he saw two men running across the road in Hyde Street. Pulling over in his vehicle, he got out to see if anyone needed help, to be told that one of the men had just found the other stealing items from his garden office.

He presented himself as an off duty police officer and detained him before carrying out a search and finding a number of items which belonged to the victim, including a laptop, Bluetooth speakers and three skateboards. All the stolen property was returned to the victim.

Police Staff Investigator Michael Longmore, said: “Thanks to the victim and this officer, Wild was caught and put before the court in just over 24 hours after the burglary took place. Burglary is an invasive crime and can leave victims feeling insecure and vulnerable in their own homes. I hope the speed at which this has been resolved has brought some comfort to the victim."

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

 

 

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Printing studio log cabin

As our staff are also (very) amateur letterpress printers, we were delighted to come across this build by Garden Affairs for far more professional letterpress outfit Ptolmaic Press run by Phil McMullen from his Wiltshire base. It's a 5.5m x 3m log cabin, with windows and doors factory painted in Reseda Green but the building itself supplied unpainted as Phil wanted to do that paint job himself. Inside, there's space for a drying rack and the floor has been reinforced to hold the weight of his 1926 'Arab' Foolscap Folio press, made by Wades of Halifax.

Pictured below are his printing presses (the Shedworking staff were particularly delighted to see the Adana 8 x 5 at work as we also have one of those in the basement office) and workspace.


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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 20, 2024

Garden studios site visits

Although you can get a feel for a garden office online, t's always good to take a look at them in person before you hand over your hard-earned money. Booths Garden Studios is among those suppliers which are happy to pass on details of customers who are happy to give you a quick tour of their Booths builds. Alternatively, or additionally, you can visit one of their three dedicated sites:

- the Booths Garden Studios factory 11 St Marks Rd, Corby, NN18 8AN

- the company's northern site at Megasheds, Windmill Garden Centre, Sealand Road, Chester CH5 2RH 

- and the southern site at Squires Garden Centre, Epsom Road, West Horsley, Leatherhead, KT24 6AR

Click the link above for various ways of contacting them to arrange a visit.

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Wednesday posts are sponsored by Booths Garden Studios, the UK's No.1 supplier of zero maintenance and portable garden studios

 

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Eleanor Dark’s garden studio

Pictured above is the garden studio of the Australian novelist Eleanor Dark, one of the country's leading 20th century novelists (The Timeless Land, Storm of Time, No Barrier). It's in the gardens of their home Varuna, in Katoomba, in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, and was her home - with husband Eric - from 1923 until her death in 1985. It was turned into what has become a very successful retreat for writers in 1989 by their son Mick on the death of Eric.

Of particular interest is Eleanor's garden office which is allocated as a writing space to whoever is booked into the smallest downstairs bedroom. The studio has a lovely view across the garden and writers who work there are encouraged to leave a few pages of their work-in-progress in the very same manuscript drawers that Eleanor used to store her own manuscripts in. Features include Eleanor's original desk which retains its cigarette burns and the custom built cabinet with a separate drawer for working on individual chapters.

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Malvern Garden Buildings offer a premium collection of garden buildings, displayed at 11 UK showsites.

 

Monday, March 18, 2024

UK Men’s Sheds host ‘The Parliament Shed’ in Westminster

UK Men’s Sheds Association (UKMSA) have erected a Men’s Shed at Portcullis House in the Palace of Westminster estate and will man it until March 22 in a drive to raise awareness of men’s wellbeing and the Men’s Shed movement.

‘The Parliament Shed’ has been custom-built and is designed to highlight the health, wellbeing and social benefits of community-run Men’s Sheds and the key areas where Sheds make an impact. Expert partners from partners and shedders such as the Zero Suicide Alliance and the Centre for Ageing Better are joining UKMSA and shedders from around the UK to explain the causes and promote the benefits of their work. Topics include: Suicide Prevention, Mental Health, Men’s Health and Loneliness. 

With more than 1,100 Men’s Sheds across the UK and over 33,000 ‘Shedders’, the UKMSA aims to use this platform to engage with people working in the parliamentary estate and government to raise the profile of the Men’s Sheds movement, and highlight the causes and partners engaged at the event.

Charlie Bethel, chief executive officer said: “Men’s Sheds work because they are a simple concept people can relate to. Whether it is a Shed building bird boxes or mending football boots and bikes to give to disadvantaged children in their communities, you can see a real pride and sense of achievement in everyone who comes through the door of a Shed."

In addition, UKMSA will be announcing a formal partnership with Royal British Legion at The Parliament Shed. "Many Sheds in the UK have veterans in. With the Royal British Legion we hope to increase that number by helping Sheds become more accessible, particularly for people with conditions such as PTSD. We believe this agreement will also see more Sheds opened and we can have more of an impact on communities across the UK. We are particularly proud to be working on establishing Dementia Sheds across the six RBL Care Homes," explained Bethel.

The Parliament Shed was donated by Wickes, Onduline and Power Sheds and has been adapted by Black Park Shed in Buckinghamshire for the week-long event in Parliament. Tools, equipment and supplies have been provided by Axminster Tools Ltd, TiteFix and Ronseal.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Friday finery: spring log cabin


With spring just around the corner, here's a lovely shot of an Arctic Cabins build enjoying the sun. Here's what Arctic Cabins say about it: "The appeal of log cabins lies in their connection to nature, their durability & the escape from the pressures of modern life. From the ancient log cabins to the modern-day BBQ retreats they continue to captivate." 

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

 

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Mudeford beach hut on sale for £480k


Brace yourself for the start of a new season of remarkable asking prices for beach huts. The latest comes from our old friend Mudeford, Christchurch, Dorset. On with beach hut specialists Denisons, it's a smidgeon under £500,000 (bought originally for £400 in the 1950s by the same family which has owned it all this time). Although the 16ft x 13ft 'Salad Days' hut is extremely well fitted out - sleeps seven (at a push), mezzanine, fridge freezer, gas cooker, camping toilet - it doesn't actually face the sea. Plus you have to factor in council tax of £630 and an annual license fee of nearly £3,000. If you're interested, do have a look at the Mudeford Sandbank Beach Hut Handbook.

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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 13, 2024

Tram car garden office comes to auction

Here's a chance to own a garden office with considerable pedigree. Going under the hammer at Charterhouse Auctions next month is this 100-year-old Bournemouth tram car, No. 113, built by the Brush Electrical Enginnering Company and in original condition. Lovely in itself, the 23ft x 7.5ft build which originally ran between Lansdowne and Southbourne has also spent the last decade as the garden office of Richard Lee who runs Plankbridge.

"It has been like an old friend in the workshop," says Richard, who found it at a farm in Milton Abbas, "with its peeling yellow and ochre paintwork, ruby coloured glass panels and lovely old painted signage with ‘NO SMOKING ALLOWED’, ‘15 SEATS EACH SIDE’ and ‘DO NOT SPIT IN THE CAR’."

Richard Bromell from Charterhouse (pictured above with Richard) said: " We never know what we are going to be asked to auction. In nearly 40 years of working in auctioneering, this is certainly the first time I have been asked to sell a full sized tram car! 

The estimate is £3,000-4,000.

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Wednesday posts are sponsored by Booths Garden Studios, the UK's No.1 supplier of zero maintenance and portable garden studios

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Garden art studio

A nice case study of how Laura Bird runs her Miss Bird’s School of Art from her Malvern Garden Buildings garden studio."My main goal was to have a space outside that I could teach in, so that my family could still hang out indoors," she explains. "I wanted my space to be calm and beautiful so that my students would never want to leave. 

"I live in a ground floor flat with my husband and daughter, so space isn’t plentiful. My garden studio is a saving grace as it allows me to teach my art students when the family are still in the home, or I can escape to do some painting when I need a little me time. During the summer months, it’s the perfect space to do arts and crafts with my daughter and her friends. As my garden space is so small, I needed the studio to be as big as it possibly could be, especially in length, in order to fit a group of ten children. I chose the one I did mainly because I loved the way it looked. I actually love looking at it when I’m in the house as it’s so beautiful!" 

Read the rest of the interview at the Malvern Garden Buildings site here

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Malvern Garden Buildings offer a premium collection of garden buildings, displayed at 11 UK showsites.

 

Monday, March 11, 2024

New Idler magazine out now

The latest issue of the Idler is out now featuring my regular sheds column, this time looking at a jewellery business run from a garden studio, and the lowdown on  the newbook from Hoxton Mini Press, British Cabins and Hideaways. I've got several other pieces in it too including a look at Edith Wharton's idling prowess, the short travelogue The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices by good chums Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins, and an interview with the author of a new book about a very famous royal miniature dollshouse (and in particular its library).

You can buy it in Waitrose, Waterstones, Smiths Travel outlets and in 70 Smiths High Street branches. It’s also available in around 50 independent bookshops and newsagents. Best thing of course is a subscription via the link above.

Friday, March 08, 2024

Friday Finery: Ian Archie Beck's dacha

No apologies for circling back to artist and writer Ian Archie Beck and his wonderful garden office 'dacha'. Here's his most recent portrait of it entitled 'Garden Studio Early Morning St Margarets', acrylic on canvas.

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

 

Thursday, March 07, 2024

Sauna Snug

Following on from last week's Trend Note that our staff have noticed increasing numbers of suppliers not merely suggesting uses for their garden buildings but actually building ones for specific uses, here's the Sauna Snug from  Plankbridge which is large enough for four people at a time.

The shepherd's hut specialists have seen a major uptick in customers interested in outdoor saunas so have come up with this 14ft design aimed at people with private gardens, as well as glamping and hospitality businesses. Features include a sustainable Scandinavian aspen lining sourced from Sweden, separate changing area, under-bench storage, and either wood-fired or electric.

"The growth in the wellness-at-home market has definitely been reflected in the number of enquiries we’ve received at Plankbridge over the past year or so for saunas, hot tubs and treatment rooms," said Plankbridge founder Richard Lee. "And while we’ve designed various bespoke sauna huts for customers before, including one for a ski lodge in the French Alps and another which is now sitting beside a swimming pond in Herefordshire, this is the first time we have taken an existing Plankbridge hut model – the Snug, which is based on the proportions of the Victorian originals and the most traditional of all our shepherd’s huts – and used it for this very specific purpose."

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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 06, 2024

Bothy: In Search of Simple Shelter

Coming your way in May, here's one for your shedworking bookshelf, Bothy: In Search of Simple Shelter
by Kat Hill. A thoughtful look at the bothy and the impact these remote huts in rural spots make, this travelogue is a history of these shelters in the UK with an emphasis on the themes of wilderness, simple living, and change (emotional and environmental). It's published by William Collins.

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Wednesday posts are sponsored by Booths Garden Studios, the UK's No.1 supplier of zero maintenance and portable garden studios

Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Greenwich garden studio: Before and after

We've seen some remarkable 'Before' and 'After' revamps on Shedworking over the years, but I think this is probably the finest. It's a garden studio in Greenwich, London, the work of MW Architects who turned the old derelict wash house above, into the reading room with micro lavatory and shower room you see below.

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Malvern Garden Buildings offer a premium collection of garden buildings, displayed at 11 UK showsites.