As space becomes more of a premium at home and in the garden, sheds, summerhouses and garden rooms are growing in popularity across the UK. But the humble garden shed is not just popular for storage, more and more of us are turning our sheds into quirky retreats for our hobbies, interests and even business. The Cuprinol Shed of the Year competition celebrates this very British love for the shed and this year witnessed over 2,000 entries, which were as diverse as a shed styled on the Tardis from Doctor Who and a mini post office museum. But the winner was John Plumridge from Shrewsbury who turned his shed into a a fully functioning pub, complete with a beer bottle collection of more than 500 real ales and 110 ciders, all on display for fellow local shed fanatics who often pop in for a swift pint.
John has has taken the concept to new heights with his quaintly named Woodhenge Pub Shed. No need to go to his local to enjoy a pint – he simply walks down his garden into his amazing shed. He spent four years converting the structure into a cosy ‘pub shed’ with working bar, tables and chairs. Mr Plumridge, from Shrewsbury, beat more than 2,000 entries to win the top £1,000 prize and see his creation named 2012 Shed of the Year. Mr Plumridge, from Shrewsbury, said:
When I was told I’d won the competition, I was absolutely thrilled. Normally I’m a very chatty and jovial person, but I did find myself lost for words and I must confess to having ‘shed’ a tear. I’ve been working on ‘Woodhenge’ for around four years now and have enjoyed every minute of it. I can’t even hazard a guess at the cost involved, but it’s a great venue for our family and friends to party in and the good thing is we haven’t got too far to get home.
The winner was announced at the recent launch of National Shed Week, and in preparation for the accolade, ‘sheddies’ up and down the UK have spent the last year restoring, renovating and patiently pottering in preparation for the annual celebration of their unique garden getaways. The Shed of the year judges included ‘Head Sheddie’ and creator of the competition Uncle Wilco, property guru and self confessed shed fan Sarah Beeny, author of the excellent Sandman series Neil Gaiman, self-proclaimed sheddie and author of Shedworking Alex Johnson, and 2011 Shed of the Year winner Jon Earl. Sarah Beeny said: ‘Shed of the Year is a great inspiration and clearly encourages people to get creative with their sheds.
With more than 15 million shed owners in the UK, there was plenty of entries for the judges to choose from. Those in London submitted the most shed entries with 63 sheds, closely followed by Kent with 42 entries and then Lancashire and Essex with 35 shed entries each. And it was a category that’s particularly close to Lazy Susan’s heart which proved the most popular this year seeing more than 125 entries in the Garden Room section. No surprise too that 29% of the entrants also use their outdoor hideaway as a place to work. Some of Lazy Susan’s favourite entries this year are as follows. So why not take a little garden room inspiration from the winners of this year’s Shed of the Year competition and perhaps will see you in the 2013 competition…
Security was the most important issue in the design stage of this shed. It was to be used as an office, so it was also important to let a fair amount of natural light in. The idea of long narrow windows was the perfect solution. It also incorporates a solid ply fire door for extra security. Hopefully you would need a few noisy power tools and a lot of time to break in to this shed and the owner was trying for a contemporary look so the windows seemed to work quite well and painting the shed with a Muted Clay colour gave it the modern look he desired. It is made from 2 x 2 timber and features nsulation – 30mm kingspan and Glazing – 24mm double glazed unit.
The Tardis Shed
A traditional wooden shed was never an option for John Williams. A huge Doctor Who fan since the age of 10, John decided to replicate the Tardis for storing his garden furniture and childrens’ toys. “My shed is based on the current 2010 Tardis from the TV show,” says John. “It’s the largest design and therefore more practical for storage purposes, as well as being an attractive novelty garden feature.” John drew up his own plans based on photographs, using eight sheets of 8ftx4ft oriental ply, 18mm to 25mm thick. He also made all the sign work from scratch, using polycarbonate sheeting. The impressive structure in his garden in Newport, Monmouthshire – which won the Shed of the Year Tardis category – even has speakers which play sound effects. “They provide the famous take-off and landing, door opening and cloister bell sounds,” says John, 44. It cost about £700, which included £150 for a table circular saw, while the wood was the most expensive building material. Sadly, unlike the “real” thing, it isn’t vastly bigger on the inside than the outside.
The Water Shed
Geoff Hill’s floating shed is reached by rowing boat. Realising that not everyone has the space or money for their own shed, Geoff decided to build a floating one that anyone can use for free. The shed, moored at Smuggler’s Cove near Aberdovey, Gwynedd, sits on a galvanised steel frame attached to four floats covered in marine ply. Geoff spent about £1,500 building it then added deckchairs, a radio and a few books – and he now lets visitors row out to it from a boatyard he runs nearby. He says: “The idea is that visitors can take and leave things so it changes all the time. “They may find a useful bolt they’ve been searching for and leave a ball of string. It’s completely random. “People generally row out and spend a couple of hours out there. They’ll make a cup of tea, potter around or read a book.” “People have asked if it’s an art installation and are puzzled by its purpose. But they’re trying to read too much into it. It’s simply a silly idea I had one day.” Geoff won Shed of the Year’s Unique category. For more information see www.thewatershedwales.co.uk
Paula’s Bostin Betty Beach and Bathing Machine
This Birmingham Beach and Bathing Machine (still searching for a sea view!) known as Betty is used as a garden office from which the Big Holiday House website is run and is named in honour of HMTQ in her diamond jubilee year. Inside, apart from all the usual office stuff, it has a day bed for essential afternoon naps, which converts into a double bed for working late. There is a wood burner with oven for making drinks and hot snackettes to keep the working day running smoothly. Bostin Betty has large cast iron wheels on a steel chassis with a timber frame. The shed part is a Keops Cottage log cabin with a canopy. It is fully insulated in the roof and floor and has double glazing so very cosy all year round. Building Betty has been a labour of love and they’ve had a lot of laughs and much help and advice along the way.
The Solar Shed
The Solar Shed came up as an idea from a customer who did not want to place her Solar Panels on the roof of her very old cottage. So they built her a bespoke garden structure for the job. Impressed with this, they decided to do their own and over the winter they started and came up with The Solar Shed. An all in one eco center for a green lifestyle. 8 x 250w solar panels on the roof, correct angle, perfect south(ish). Underneath and inside they set about designing it to meet their needs. They have a log making area where they can make fuel from recycled paper and wood shavings, a log store for the burners in the house. They’ve attached several thousand liters worth of water storage and have fitted the butts with pumps so they don’t have to carry watering cans around the allotment. It also houses the drainage rods and sand bags that are always at hand for the little emergencies in life. The Solar Shed has been fitted with several PIR activated solar lights so it lights up at night. Solar Shed is adjacent to Compost Lodge, the main shed which now acts as a small renewable energy workshop so his customers can come and try before they buy.
The Post Office
When Steve Knight bought an old postbox from an antiques centre 15 years ago it was the start of a collection that just kept on growing and growing. A couple of years later he found another… And he now owns 115 boxes plus countless pieces of ex-post office equipment and memorabilia. The collection needed a home so in 2006 Steve bought a shed and started to hold open days, which now attract dozens of visitors. He says: “Children love it, especially the old money we have to use in the stamp machines, and they like dressing up in the uniforms.” The shed, in Halstead, Essex, which won the Shed of the Year Cabin/Summerhouse category is a standard 8m x 3m but has enough memorabilia to equip a 1950’s post office. Steve, 51, and his team of two assistants are now trying to get it recognised as an official museum and he plans to build another – bigger – shed to give his collection more room. He adds: “We have some important pieces, which should be correctly conserved. I want to make sure their future is secure.” Visitors are welcome to visit Colne Valley Postal History Museum by prior arrangement or on open days.
This is the Normal Shed of the year for 2012, but we still love it. This shed is just the right size for garden tools but not big enough to become another storage location for household junk. It has nice proportions and makes a pleasing feature for the size of garden. The design also incorporates a loft storage features which further utilise the space. The rainwater from the roof is collected in a storage system for use on the allotment. Lots of recycled materials are used which include welsh slate and leaded windows from a reclamation yard. The door was scrounged from a friend who was throwing it out and parts from a double bed are in there too. The base was constructed using surplus slabs from a friends greenhouse mounted on concrete piles. The shed consists mainly of 4 X 2’s joined using some very ingenious brackets that I found in a tooling catalogue and clad in shiplap. Finally the whole shed was given a coat of Seagrass and Country Cream Garden Shades paint. The latest addition is an internal light powered by a solar panel on the roof.
About Lazy Susan
Lazy Susan is a small family business that specialise exclusively in wicker, rattan and metal garden furniture, specifically cast aluminium. Visit www.lazysusanfurniture.co.uk to find out more and view our complete product range.No images available in this Gallery Type. Please check admin setting.