My Lovely Shed
This is the story of how one dilapidated chicken shed became a beautiful, multipurpose building. My lovely shed was charmingly integrated into the garden when we bought our Hampshire Cob property in 2008. The lichen covered roof and silvered timber cladding softened the disintegrating structure. It leaked, it was damp, the doors and windows were a hotchpotch. However, it had to serve as a woefully inadequate store for everything we couldn’t fit in the house plus garden paraphernalia and some rather impressive gym equipment we had acquired. The house needed a complete overhaul and that became the focus of our attention and budget for the year that followed but that’s another story…
During the next six years the Barn, as we grandly referred to it, slowly imploded. We allowed the garden to grow up around it so it was all but hidden from the house. By 2014 it was semi-derelict and in serious need of attention. It had to be demolished but at 23 meters long and over 5 meters wide this was a seriously big space. We knew we shouldn’t waste the opportunity to replace it with a similar size building. With three years of interior design experience under my belt, having graduated in 2011 from KLC I wanted a project that I could take from concept to completion including the building itself.
The Barn needed to work with the rural, cottage garden remaining an integral part of the established kitchen garden, a favourite spot due to the all-day sun and the outlook over surrounding fields. Also it shouldn’t detract from the house; it was after all a utilitarian, outbuilding. I designed a timber framed structure with timber cladding which would sit on the existing concrete base. We built in Douglas fir, cheaper than oak and less sophisticated, more appropriate for a functional structure. From the drive the building looks similar to the old barn with just two windows, timber garage size double doors and a single pedestrian door. However, what is revealed on entering is entirely surprising.
At each end of the Barn the roof trusses are glazed and underneath are four panels of glass framed in Douglas fir. The North end of the building is the Gym; this is the view of the Barn from the house. I debated whether we would want to sit looking out at gym kit. So I incorporated several details to enhance the scene; outside up-lighters pick out the building at night. The back wall of the gym is painted sunshine yellow and on this is a large painting which is also lit. The lighting, controlled automatically by timers, means that you see the outline of the building and the art, the gym equipment is silhouetted but not obvious.
The large Studio windows look out over open fields a wonderful spot to see all manner of wild life and agriculture, the outlook changes constantly. French doors open on to a small terrace and the kitchen garden beyond. We retained an old steel tank as a water butt, rain chains, reminiscing of those seen on holiday in Sri Lanka, hang from the guttering.
The open plan Studio space also has a contemporary panelled Study. For flexibility I designed a sliding bookcase using galvanised steel barn door hardware to enable the Study to be closed. With the Douglas fir roof trusses the bookcases add another dimension to the space. The slate floor finish, perfect for the underfloor heating and quiet colour scheme with a pops of colour create a good backdrop for the light filled space. A comfortable sofa bed and separate shower room provide extra guest accommodation when the house is full, especially useful at Christmas time. The coffee station ensures that everything is to hand without needing to return to the house.
The centre of the Barn through double doors is garage space with stairs to attic storage area. A door at the back leads straight to the garden for easy access with gardening equipment.
I managed the build project supported by a structural engineer to ensure the build loadings were correct. Having produced the Schedule of Works we went out to tender. Following some adjustments to the plans to make the overall cost more realistic, we shortened the building by 15 m sq. and reduced the number of roof trusses amongst other measures. We contracted a local builder who employed the trades; electrician, plumber/ heating engineer, carpenter, plaster, joiner and decorator as required. We found it necessary to put in a dedicated electricity supply since there was not sufficient capacity from the house. Subsequently having been unable to boost the Wi-Fi signal sufficiently it was necessary to put another telephone line in.
I’ve worked from home for over twenty years and find that this dedicated space which is separate from the main house allows for a greater degree of focus. There is space for a meeting room table, dedicated island unit for preparing sample boards and tall storage units. I have scheme boards on display and it an ideal environment for meeting with clients. We love this space, a great working space and a fantastic addition to our home.
Do you want a space like this?
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