26th August
written by Dom

Just finished boxing in the roof-light (pics to follow). Purchased £400 odd worth of top quality t&g cedar planking to finish the exterior (due to be delivered in 5 days or so, a new belt sander (£80 worth for £15!) and some varnish to finish out the office.
The job is coming to a close – which is at the same time wonderful and slightly poignant. It’s cost me more than a grand – so in one way I guess I’ve failed (I haven’t done the sums yet, but I reckon it’s getting dangerously close to double the original haphazard valuation) but I still feel I’ve done well – after all I have a truly great space, which does everything I want – looks to me like a grand design, is warm/cool and watertight, takes up no more room than my old shed, offers an office as well as a useable storage space for all the shit that’s been clogging up my house for so long- yet has cost me less than a twelfth of the price of my starting inspiration – the Ecospace Garden Studio.
What I suppose I’ve learnt is that those tossers on Grand Designs aren’t perhaps as objectionable as I first thought – when you have a dream of something it doesn’t matter how tight you are;- you will compromise the budget to make it good – when you’ve invested so much time, the money becomes less important than making it as good as you can.
While I was on holiday in Cornwall last week I hooked up with a very old friend who’s been living rough in an old stables for five years while waiting for the planning permission to come through – it kinda put my little project into context, yet made me proud of what I’ve managed to do in what has been (by my reckoning) about a month’s solid work.
I’m trying to convince my friend that his conversion might make a viable next feature for One Grand Designs – in the meantime I do have some other projects bubbling around – this blog has introduced me to the Arduino and Hackspace communities in Liverpool, and I still have my electric motorbike to finish (now that I actually have a shed to work on it in) – If you have any ideas for future projects, are contemplating your own “one grand design” or have any questions – please get in touch – I’ll make sure to feature them here.

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  1. 26/08/2009

    Hi Dominic, well done on getting it (almost) finished! Can’t wait to see the final pictures once everything is done – it always annoyed me on Grand Designs when at the end, they went back to an ‘almost finished’ house (as they must have ran out of filming time or something), so I’m looking forward to seeing yours once everything is in place. Looking great on the pictures so far though!

    I’m currently contemplating doing a DIY loft conversion – not an official one, but a glorified ‘boarded out for storage’ one. Wondering if I’ll be able to resist moving out of the shed if I do this…

    I need another shed you see, as I need somewhere to put my mountain bike, BBQ, and bits of DIY stuff. So I’m at a cross roads – have a second shed in an already small garden, or use this 8×6 shed as a shed and move the office in the house or into a better shed.

    When thinking of ‘better sheds,’ I went through all sorts of wacky ideas, from a shipping container with wooden cladding on, to a caravan, to a DIY camper van, to a shed on wheels, to an underground shed, etc. Girlfriend things I’m going mad in my old age (29). 🙂

  2. Dom

    Hi Stephen – I totally feel your pain – I did a similar loft conversion a couple of years ago, which my teenage son appropriated – the trouble with a loft conversion is that because it’s part of the house, it immediately becomes fair game for all those other things in the house that you’ve got no room for (like teenage sons) – which is kind of where the whole garden office thing started germinating in my head – as you’ll know; a shed is a peculiarly manly domain – mainly because nobody else really wants to hang around in the back yard. If you don’t mind me saying I’d say what you want is something like my shed – it fits very comfortably in my small terraced back yard without taking over, cost me (a lot) less than the loft conversion and is fit for both the purpose of a shed to keep tools/bikes/general clutter in and an office. The biggest deal though for me was whilst this is without doubt a substantial DIY project, because it’s in the back yard you can just get on with it without having to tidy everything away all the time – this is the biggest “gumption trap” for me on any project. I am planning on putting a set of instructions (ikea style) together for building the One Grand Designs shed – I say go for it (but then I would, wouldn’t I?) 😉

  3. 29/08/2009

    So you’ve beaten me! I totally identify with your comments about going over budget, my original estimate of £500 now seems quite laughable and naive. Not too far off on costings for the basic materials, but its all the extras and bits for detailing and finishing that seem to be the cause of major budget slippage. And I’ve yet to lay out for the shingles for the roof…

  4. 30/08/2009

    Hi Dom,

    I know what you mean about the shed being a separate space from the house. Though saying that, with it being Summer, my shed has been seen as fair game for my 1 and 2 year old children! Ended up putting a piece of string on the inside of the shed door to keep them out! 🙂

    Been watching lots of DIY shows recently (it’s been Tommy Walsh Day on Discovery Shed today!) so do fancy doing something like you’ve done. Would have to build it to fit my own custom (and weird-shaped) space though.

    Though every time I see a lorry with a shipping container on the back, I keep getting an urge to get a 10 foot long one of these and clad it with wood, stick some doors on it like your’s, and use that instead!

    If you don’t mind, I’d love to pop down to your back yard when it’s all complete to have a nosey & admire your handy work?!

  5. 04/05/2010

    Whoa, good read. I just now clicked a link to your blog and am already a fan. 😉

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