It's that time of year again when we wait with bated breath to learn who the winner is in the Shed of the Year competition. Readers have voted on the short list of favorites in each category, and judges will pick the best, with the winner being announced on a reality TV show. Being TreeHugger, we concentrate on the eco-sheds, where there are some really interesting finalists.
Garden sheds are a particularly British phenomenon, a hangover from the days when there was an outhouse at the back of the deep lot. These became garden sheds, which became home offices, pubs, workshops and studios. There are fancy ones designed by architects and scrappy ones built by salt-of-the-earth types. I particularly like the West Wing; it is a bit big to really be called a shed, but then there are four kids using it too. It has a sleeping loft and a passage through secret bookcase to a space where the kids can play, plus a workshop. Lots going on here. Kevin Herbert writes:
My shed is made from 90% recycled materials ,It is a project that has taken me 8 years to build(health reasons,won't bore you)the roof is wild turf but because of angle I used 400 milk cartons cut in half,which took a year to collect,popped holes in and layered bottom with shingle for drainage.The two tonnes of soil and turf plopped on top.My kids helped me a lot good fun. A man needs a shed.
It's actually a THOW, a tiny home on wheels. Grant Oatley says "It's clad with tiles made from reclaimed tractor inner tubes, and has a living roof. " not much documentation; I am surprised it made the short list. Not much more on Readersheds.
The Cob Shed
It is a lovely shed, built by Charlotte, Eve and Kate Edwards and oh, about 200 other people from about ten countries, learning how to build with cob, defined as " a natural building material made from subsoil, water, some kind of fibrous organic material (typically straw), and sometimes lime." They dug it all up on site.
The shed has a turf roof, reclaimed windows and doors, and is finished internally and externally with a lime render. It also has a cob floor finished with a clay plaster, beeswax and linseed oil. The cob walls and floor act like a storage heater - soaking up the sun's heat and slowly releasing it back into the shed to keep a warm and even temperature. A stained glass roof panel allows more sunlight to flood into the studio and land on the cob floor.
More on Readershed.
This is perhaps my favourite, a wonderful straw bale music studio (hence Strawdio) built by the wonderfully named musician Piers Partridge, who writes about it pretty wonderfully too:
Building was fun. Never done anything like it before. For a whole summer we became part of a community of generous hearted volunteers and neighbours who would turn up to slap on some lime, lift some rafters, roll out some turf, cut some hazel rods, bring up another load of bales from the barn. We installed a light pipe to bring in more natural light and spent happy hours moulding shapes into the lime. It was an adventure - we learnt together as we went along. My 91 year old Mum turned up and sculpted a perfect toad into one of the walls. There's also a badger, a blackbird and a sheaf of straw. Lime plaster is great for modelling. So different from plaster board
"Build one yourself. Everyone should have a Strawdio." I agree. More at Readershed.