My Cool Shed Highlights Shed Porn Around the World (Book Review)

© Jay Carroll

This book will make you want a shed: deeply, madly and immediately. my cool shed is written as a celebration of sheds from the modest to the lavish. The authors toured Britain and beyond in search of the shed-porn, oops, examples, on display.

Sheds can serve many different functions: hobby place, retreat, or a hideaway. In fact many of the ones depicted are very low-tech, which is part of their appeal. What this lovely little book shows is that imagination, simplicity (and a good location) are key.

Just imagine a relaxing soak in a vintage hot tub in this wooden-clad little bathhouse, overlooking the ocean, listening to the whales.This small building belongs to a group of sheds that are off-grid vintage trailers, in Big Sur on the Pacific Ocean. Sigh.

© Lindsay Appel

This is a true tree house, owned by a former head of Greenpeace. The largest tree is over 145 years old and survivor of the American Civil War. The windows are 100 years old, from a Masonic temple. The trick was how to construct the house without damaging the trees in the forest. The goal was to "return to the feeling of the tree house experience from when we were young". That it does.

© Tina Hiller

This is a container and a library. Sitting in a gorgeous country landscape, next door to a historic house, it is a portable library for the owner of the house. Inside the container is lined with shelves, with a wooden ceiling, oak cabinetry and insulated with sheep's wool to keep the books dry.

© Penny Clay

Over to New South Wales, Australia, for this stunning retreat overlooking a sheep station. The building is a pre-fab: all the materials were brought in specially. It is made of corrugated copper sheet and recycled ironbark trees. The walls of the lower floor can be flung open, and serve as awnings; when it is empty it closes right up. It is surprisingly basic: a wood fireplace and gravity-fed water supply. It's hot in summer and cold in winter because the owner wants to "chisel back to the essence of life itself".

© thomasmeyerarchive.com

This log cabin belongs to a musician who likes working in small rooms. His inspiration was Le Corbusier's small seaside cabin, and he asked Piet Hein Eek to design it for him. It had to be impermanent and mobile, so it sits on wheels, which are hidden by wooden logs. When the shutters are lowered, it looks like a pile of logs.

© Tina Hiller

This is the shed of British sculptor Barbara Hepworth, in Cornwall. Although she died in 1975, her will stipulated that the studio be left unchanged. So the calendar is still open at May 20 and her overalls are still hanging where she left them.

© Tina Hiller

This is the interior of a French studio which juts out over the sea. Given the storms and lashing rain, the cabin is shipshape inside with a soft blue and ochre glow. Old fishermen's buoys and lanterns hang from the ceiling--some rescued from the water or washed up on the shore. The chair is upholstered with an old sail.

The book features 35 sheds in all and everyone is a delight.

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