It is always great fun to participate in the Shed of the Year competition, run by Uncle Wilco at Readersheds. I get to help choose the best of this very British obsession, the garden shed. Thousands of people vote, then a panel of judges picks the best of the lot from the readers choices. I was asked to be on the jury again this year, and admit that the winner was not my top choice. But it does have some very nice touches.
Steven Harwood says of his Kite Cabin in West Wales:
At 5 metres square,I designed it in my head and built it myself. Because it is on a very steep bank a platform was constructed on stilts first and then the cabin was built directly onto this. It incorporates a compost toilet room with hand washing facilities and boasts bunk beds, a woodburner and Sky TV. With a a wall of glass windows facing south, it makes the most of a fantastic view over the valley in which we live. A veranda in the front allows you to sit in the fresh air and take in the scenery and sound of local cows mooing.
Other judges said that it "took their breath away."
Rico Daniels, TV’s Salvager:
"Of all the sheds featured the Kite Cabin is the one I would most like to own and spend time in. The construction is both unusual and visually appealing, making novel use of a difficult plot. It creates the sort of hideaway that would lift your spirits as you approached it and again as you enjoyed the interior and the views it offers . It is well-appointed and low-impact making good use of alternative technology and the ease with which it sits in the landscape makes it a real contender in my view."
Grumpy's shed was popular; Chris Evans, a "TV personality and Radio 2 DJ" noted
"Grumpy's shed was a great shed but nothing that nice and welcoming should be called grumpy - I'm saying next year change the name and you’re in with a shout, son.
My personal favourite was the Disco Shed. I wrote:
I loved Grumpy's shed, it is a real working office, and looks comfortable and effective. But in the end, I cannot help but love the disco shed. it is mobile, it makes so many people happy, it spreads the idea of the shed to another generation. Not too many people are going to have the luxury of their own shed in their own back garden; the mobile, electronic shed that is accessible to everyone is the future.
Chris Evans, a DJ disagreed:
The disco shed so nearly got my vote for obvious reasons - DJ love etc - but let's face it, it's not a shed, it is in fact a vehicle born out of the most extreme capitalist culture and although, whilst spreading music, lights and fun where ere it may come to rest, pitch up and plug in, it is nevertheless, at its very core, a money-making wooden machine on wheels.
Oh well. I hope I get invited back next year. See all the finalists at Readershed; international winners coming soon.
I blew it last year too:
Shed of the Year Announced: The Rugby Pub