Small, versatile but extremely useful, the backyard shed can fulfill many roles, be it storage, mini-greenhouse or composting spot, or of course, an office. Sheds can be converted into occupiable spaces for a number of reasons; for a family expecting a second child and now needing a functional backyard office space, Dutch designers Denis Oudendijk and Jan Körbes of Refunc created this striking backyard structure using recycled windows and tires.
Confronted with an old, existing chalet-styled garden house, the designers carefully dismantled the old shed to re-use the materials for the new structure.
Built with a wooden frame that is covered with plexiglass plates and reinforced with salvaged steel, the new Maison Gomme (French for "rubber house") measures 8 by 2.5 meters (26.2 by 8.2 feet), and is covered with recycled tire shingles that have been cut to size and layered over the surfaces as a waterproofing measure, in addition to a breathable plastic membrane and stone-wool insulation to winter-proof it. (There's a glut of old tires out there that need to be recycled somehow; there are toxic components in tires that make them better to be reused whole rather than mulched. We've seen tires being re-used in structures like Earthships). The windows used are the insulated kind, taken from a window store gone out of business.
There are four openings in the roof and walls for ventilation, and the entry access for the office is at the side, outfitted with a window that stands at child's height (we imagine for impatient kids to check in on working parents). The storage section of the shed is accessed via a vertically hinged door that "opens its shutter like a spaceship" on the front. There's even a seating area made out of tires, and the interior is also clad with recycled wood pieces, creating a cozy but functional space.
Quirky sheds like this remind us that with a bit of creativity, re-used materials and resourcefulness, it's possible to build a shed that thinks out of the box and yet remains true to its utilitarian roots. Since this shed has been built in 2007, Refunc has moved on to build more furniture and vehicles in places like South Africa. More over at Refunc.