The Shed

17th July
2012
written by Dom

I know I’ve been banging on about making plans for the shed since forever, but I’ve finally got round to finishing "SHËD: Build your own DIY Garden Office for less than £2500". Find out more at gardenofficeplans.com

I started kicking around with the Google sketchup model that I started off with a couple of months ago, but figured that if it was going to be any use then it needed to:

  1. Be to scale
  2. Show the actual construction, rather than just the finished box

Unfortunately, sketchup isn’t a great way to build a model that actually shows the construction of this building. I kept getting about two thirds of the way through and running into the free version’s polygon limit. I committed myself to buying the Pro version only to find out that it would crash as I tried to build the various construction materials into different layers…

I had this idea that I wanted it to look like an “Ikea” plan, and loved Sketchup’s “sketchy” rendering, but the application itself wasn’t really up to the job. After various to-ings and fro-ings to architects and people with more powerful CAD packages (which I didn’t understand) I ended up with a series of fixed models which I could bring back into Sketchup in order to render – it’s less than ideal, as I’d like to offer you guys a model to download, so you can see how it all fits together… However getting the model right was stopping me from writing the plans, which is what people wanted…

In the end I discovered the concept of “Lean Publishing” – a method whereby I can self-publish my book and offer it for sale, while it’s still in its draft form. The book will (one day) be finished – to the point where I can put “THE END” at the end, but for now, it offers an illustrated set of walk-through instructions to build the shed you see on these pages. The plan is to build in feedback via a forum () so that readers/builders can ask questions or correct mistakes as they go along, making for a collaborative production and hopefully a better end product.

You can buy the book at http://leanpub.com/diygardenoffice Where you can also downlaod a “preview” version to check I’m offering what I say I am!

22nd June
2010
written by Dom

Voting has now closed for Shed of the Year 2010 and the winner will be announced during national shed week (Beginning July 5th). I’m chuffed to bits to reveal that the One Grand Designs shed has won the Garden Office category thanks to your votes!

The shed now gets judged (against some pretty stiff competition) by National Shed Week judges including Alex Johnson of Shedworking.co.uk, competition organiser Uncle Wilco of the shed blog and Sarah Beeny.

I’d best get the duster out!

21st May
2010
written by Dom

If you have liked what you’ve seen here, please take the time to vote for the shed in the 2010 “Shed of the year” competition – I think I stand to win some creosote or something but the kudos is what it’s all about ;-)
Vote for the shed here. (oh, and please RT, forward etc!)

21st January
2010
written by Dom

As anybody who knows me will attest, I have transferred my nicotine addiction to a far more pernicious and expensive addiction – Apple equipment. I have recently bought a second Apple Express ‘Airtunes’ extender – this allows me to stream music from any of my computers to any combination of other computers/stereo’s/speakers in my house – I have 8 devices I can now stream to – so, when I crank open Spotify on my Mac I can now send it to my new speakers in the shed (more later), the g4 imac in my kitchen, the stereo in my back room, the telly in my front room, the appleTV in my bedroom and airtunes speakers on the PCs in the kids rooms as well as the iPhones/iPods.

I’ve always had the problem that I want to listen to my music as I wander about the place, but I hate wearing headphones. When I was a teenager this was simple – I had a big old Kenwood 160W amp which I just used to crank up – this would annoy everybody in my street, but I thought it was pretty cool – I’d put the speakers in the windows just to make sure everybody else could hear it.

What I can do now is far more grown up – I can listen to the same piece of music – at a perfectly acceptable volume – throughout the house as it is streamed to all the speakers – I was trying to explain this at work the other day but my colleagues just looked at me askance – “How much money?” they asked – well – I don’t have loads of stereos, I only have one – speakers are generally a lot cheaper – I have a par of logitechs in the kitchen, and the kids have various quality 2.1 setups in their rooms. The Living room and our bedroom are served by the speakers in the tellies (both Samsung 26″ LCDs) – I reckon the whole setup probably cost less than one big fat 40″ LCD TV but is WAY cooler – it’s just VERY luxurious walking around the house hearing the same music coming from everywhere.

I do still have that childish streak however and have today installed my personal favourite purchase. – A set of Acoustic Energy Aego -M 2.1 speakers now adorn my shed. These puppies are VERY powerful – way more so than the Kenwood Amp of my teens, yet also clear, pin sharp and unobtrusive. I’ve spent the evening in the shed just listening to music – and the Kingspan insulation seems to work a treat for sound as well – nobody seems to be particularly bothered by my booming shed… Rock on!

Those tiny (white) speakers are among the loudest/clearest I have ever heard

Those tiny (white) speakers are among the loudest/clearest I have ever heard

21st January
2010
written by Dom

OK – fairly sure nobody’s actually watching any more – but let’s try(!) – The shed has been a functional (if wet at times) space for the last few months, but I’m finally getting round to making it somewhere I want to be… I had a damp-proof course issue which led me to install a “floating” floor – I didn’t realise that I was actually trapping any water which might make it down between the yard wall and the shed back wall in a non-breathing “swimming pool” in the bottom of the shed. This led to a fairly depressing couple of months where the (water based) varnish was lifting up off the floor and base of the walls – indeed in some sections the walls were beginning to develop a coating of mould – not good.

However, pulling the DPC in from between the brick foundation and base of the back wall and putting in the floating floor (loft boards screwed into standard scant) has utterly changed the interior. Pulling up the varnished plywood wasn’t easy but it’s allowed me to replace it with more comfortable (and far more practical) Coir matting – that’s doormats to you and me (5 of ‘em, great big ones – total cost about £60 – it’s like hard-wearing shag pile!)

instant carpet - been wanting to do this for ages - they're big doormats

instant carpet - been wanting to do this for ages - they're big doormats

26th November
2009
written by Dom

Since replacing the Home Hub this morning, my Airport Extreme router has come to life with all sorts of useful stuff – like a real-time wireless signal tracking graph.

Of course, once you load something like that up you can’t help playing with it…

I'm a slave to my technology

I'm a slave to my technology

Turns out my shed is rather too well insulated, and that the best place for me to be is in bed.

Well, if you insist…

20th September
2009
written by Dom

There's more stuff in there than my old shed - which was three times the size

There's more stuff in there than my old shed - which was three times the size


love the contrast between office and shed here...

love the contrast between office and shed here...


I’ve done the back of the shed now (in stealthy shiplap), but spent most of today in a happy, contemplative stupor packing all my stuff into the shed… I took Clint Eastwood’s garage in Gran Torino as my benchmark – I love that movie, and it’s sad, but the garage is one of my favourite parts of it. I can’t fit a 1970′s Ford Gran Torino in there, but I don’t think I’ve done too bad.
I’ve managed to get everything that was in the old shed, plus the contents of under the sink (mostly car stuff – axle stands, t-cut etc), under the stairs (tools, drill bits and more car stuff). Very happy with the whole Santa’s grotto feel of it.
Plus (as you can see in the second photo) I love the way it’s hidden away in the sleek modern box… It’s kinda like visiting one of those minimalist houses you see in magazines, opening a cupboard and seeing a great pile of every day sh*te just fall out all over the floor (Kids toys, dog bones, wires, teenagers clutter – you know; the sort of stuff which always seems to be missing from these houses)- of course, it’ll be a while before the rest of the back yard looks like a clean, minimalist box, but I’m working on it ;-)
15th September
2009
written by Dom

Finally found an angle where I can fit it all in! (standing on the garden wall)

Finally found an angle where I can fit it all in! (standing on the garden wall)


mmm sharp edges

mmm sharp edges


Managed to clear the worst of the crap outta the way(!)

Managed to clear the worst of the crap outta the way(!)


Exterior is just about complete now – I have to finish off the rear and side (I have some shiplap panels kindly donated by my father-in-law) which will make the shed look quite normal and boring from these angles (this is how I want it – it’s kinda “stealthy”) – means burglars hopefully won’t notice it from the back entry.
Only other exterior job is to smooth off the roof edge and fit the “splashproof flashing”

13th September
2009
written by Dom

The cladding is now all on, and I finished up the roof more tidily. Working on a multi-level deck to integrate it into the back yard more snugly.
Sorry can’t take better pics, but I’ve got the washing out now(!)

Had to take this from the back room(!)

Had to take this from the back room (must clean the windows!)


office by night

office by night


I have so much crap shoved into the rest of the yard that I can't get a good angle!

I have so much crap shoved into the rest of the yard that I can't get a good angle!


Can just see the decking here

Can just see the decking here


You can get some sense of the different planes at work around the patio door here

You can get some sense of the different planes at work around the patio door here

11th September
2009
written by Dom

I was working from home this morning – freezing cold in my back room (as always) staring out the window at the sunshine and shed. Thought to myself – why did I build this thing anyway?

very cosy it is too!

very cosy it is too!

So I took my lunch break and went to Argos ;-)

The cladding’s still not done yet so I’ve been very careful not to include the exterior – which’ll hopefully come at the weekend.

Officially Shedworking!

Officially Shedworking!

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