Small sheds are a big deal in Britain, and the best of them are submitted to Uncle Wilco's shed of the year competition. Most of them are labours of love built by salt of the earth types like Alex Holland, who won a few years ago with his shed that I described as a glorious dump. They are places where you go share a pint and smoke with the blokes.
So I was actually surprised to see the Raisebury in the short list; Peter Kavenaugh's entry is rather posh, clearly architect-designed...
...or perhaps it is engineer-designed since an architect might find a place to hide those hydraulic pumps and jacks that raise the entire structure in case of flood, each of which probably cost more than most of the sheds in the competition.
The structural system is unusual too, with what what looks like floor framing turned on its side, disappearing as mirrored fins. I do like this building, and it is very slick, but it ain't no pub shed.
It is a lovely thing to look at and I am sure a lovely place to work, but I hope it doesn't win; I think it goes against the spirit of the competition. See more of the Raisebury.
Look at this one, short-listed in the eco-shed category, the one we usually cover. Kevin Herbert writes:
It is in three sections, largest part is for me, it has a bed in loft space and an area to relax and escape my four kids (love them really) second part is through secret bookcase for my ten and 11 year olds to sleep and play and the last part is for storage and workshop. 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.
And that's a shed. More at West Wing.
Then there is Charlotte Eve and Kate Edwards's cob shed. It simply doesn't get more eco than this. They write:
The cob shed is built using soil dug from our garden. So it is entirely recyclable and sustainable with almost zero embodied energy. The shed has been built by us and our 3 year old son, and over 200 other people from around the world who have come to learn how to build their own cob sheds and homes too....Every material in the shed has been chosen for its natural beauty and eco credentials. Curvaceous chunks of elm has been used for the fascia, the top soil dug out to make the floor has been put on the roof to pay the turf on. Reclaimed bricks and doors are used.
More at the Cob Shed.
I had doubts at first about Grant Oatley's Love Shack at first; I thought the shingles looked strange. but he writes:
Its a tiny little work of art that you could live in. It also fits on it's own trailer and can be towed to wherever you want it. It's clad with tiles made from reclaimed tractor inner tubes, and has a living roof.
More on the Love Shack
Piers Partridge should win just because of his classic name, but his Strawdio shed is pretty cool too.
The Strawdio was built out of Strawbales and is a hybrid "loadbearing" and timber supported structure. The roof is Wild Flower Meadow sitting on a pond liner. I made it myself with the help of an army of volunteers over 2 years after going on some courses with Barbara of amazon Nails.
More on the Strawdio.
I cover the eco-sheds; Alex Johnson of Shedworking covers the working sheds, but we both fell for this historic shed. It was used by the writer Dylan Thomas and it looks like quite the comfy place to work.
This was the shed used by Welsh writer Dylan Thomas to work on some of his most famous works. It stands on stilts above the estuary in Laugharne and has stunning views which would inspire anyone. It is furnished to re-create the interior as it would have been when Dylan was here. Originally built as a garage, it provided the perfect workplace for Dylan Thomas when he and his family moved into the Boathouse in Laugharne.
I will take it, cigarette butts and all. More at The Writing Shed.
Vote for the shed of your choice at Readershed.