The New Shedworking HQ

by John Coupe
(Kent, UK)

The New Shedworking HQ

The New Shedworking HQ

The New Shedworking HQ


Alex Johnson from shedworking.co.uk recently moved house and asked for suggestions for his new design.

The rules:
1) It must be big enough for a freelance journalist to work in, as well as storing lots of books, a cider press and some boxes of stuff which should really be in the house
2) It should be reasonably eco-friendly
3) It should be unique
4) Entries must be received by the end of June-ish 2009

The brief is wide-open, to encourage a diversity of entrants I suspect.


My Design features

1) Size and storage
For the average garden a large shed can be quite dominating yet you have a need for space as a successful; journalist, writer and shedworker. My guess is that a 3m x 4m shed would be just about right. The interior would be dry lined with plasterboard and painted pale green to provide a cool calm working environment

I have used a lean to on the end of the shed for the storage of excess 'stuff', garden tools hung on hooks on the main shed wall and there?s also plenty of space for bikes.

By using the lean to for storage the interior can be used to the maximum for books and 'cider-presses' that are used on a day to day basis


2) On the eco-shed front
I have assumed the shed is South facing. This should ensure a nice light interior with a minimal need for artificial light. The timber framed window has a double casement and the timber door has glazed panels. To boost the amount of light and also give good control of ventilation in the summer there are two opening skylights in the north facing roof slope. (the location on the north slope limits solar gain while still allowing in additional light).

In the winter a solar air heater/dehumidifier provides a boost to the electric underfloor heating (that's it just to the right of the window). This 'fit and forget' piece of kit has a solar collector plate which heats up the air in the morning on winter days, when the sun is at a low angle, an integral solar powered fan blows this warmed dry air into the shed reducing the need for additional electric heat. There is a dehumidifying effect which means that any books or papers stored in the office will not suffer from the damp and general heating bills will be less due to the dryer atmosphere. No electrical connection is required for this item.

The roof would be a 'warm roof' this means that insulation is fixed above the plywood decking of the roof. This ensures that the structure of the roof stays warm and will not be subject to condensation it also limits the amount of cold bridging that occurs when the insulation is fitted in-between the rafters.

The walls are of course insulated, sheep's wool must be about the greenest out there. A bit more expensive but hey Alex you're worth it.

3) Architecture
Hmmm... not my strong point however here we go...
I have chosen a hipped roof for two reasons:
-From the outside it visually reduces the bulk of the shed and a shed of this size can be quite imposing in the average garden.
-A hipped roof gives some shape and interest to the building.
-Internally the rafters of the hipped roof are geometrically attractive shed to give our Shedworking Hero some thing more interesting than a blank ceiling as he looks up for inspiration.

The height to eaves is 2.2m and with a 20 degree roof pitch (the shallowest angle for general use of felt tiles) gives an overall height of 2.75m so not too imposing.



Finally.....thankyou for reading about this design:

If you like it let me know in the comments section below.

If you can see some room for improvements then you know what to do.....let me know in the comments box below.

If I get enough comments I will try and get version two incorporating all your 'improvements' out in the next couple of weeks.

All the best

John

Comments for The New Shedworking HQ

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Jun 18, 2009
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Door opens outwards
by: John

I forgot when I posted this to mention that the door opens outwards and will have a locking stay so that it doesn't catch in the wind. Opening outwards means a space saving internally.

What better on a lovely summer morning such as this to be working in your garden office with the door open; bright sunlight flooding in, the cool fresh morning air and the sounds of birdsong.

Jun 19, 2009
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Another Comment
by: GreenBoy

Looking good John,

I like the idea of free heating, although given the need to use this throughout the year, I'm thinking a wood burning stove would be good! :) Although the detailing as it passes though the roof would be interesting...

I was going to post my own attempt, but I couldnt find it on Shedworking, and the comment link here doesnt allow uploads... oh well.

All the best.

Jun 19, 2009
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Looking forward to your ideas
by: John

Hi Greenboy,
The link to the page on shed working is here:
Shedworking competition

If you would like to upload an entry to this site in a similar way to me then it can be done at the bottom of this page here:
Secrets-of-shed-building - Shed Designs

Looking forward to seeing your ideas ;)

Cheers

John

Jun 21, 2009
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side branch
by: Anonymous

fine...the only concern is the additional part on the left side..i would add some windows and, maybe, a hatch door to that section. lastly, i would have alittle less slope to its roof.

Jun 21, 2009
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don't like the roof-line
by: Anonymous

I prefer the look of gable ends for the roofline, and the 'lean-to' on the end should also have a gabled-roof.

Jun 21, 2009
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Great Comments so far
by: John

Thankyou 'anonymous' for the comments so far! I forgot to mention that could you fill in the 'Name' box with your 'Name' or a 'Nickname' so that I can reply to your responses individually.

Great to see some design design suggestions for the roof. I'll have to see on the balance of opinion whether it's a Gable or Hip. I prefer the Hipped style, but this exercise is not about what I think more about getting a group idea of the best shed for Alex!!

Jun 21, 2009
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A bit more light for the lean to
by: Kenny

I think the design is appealing, I would just add a window into the lean to front so it isn't too dark during the daytime.(I think I would use the nook of the lean to for the desk)

Winter sunlight streaming through a window across a desk has quite an uplifting feel about it particularly for a writer who is looking for inspiration.:0)

Jun 21, 2009
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Happy Father's Day
by: Kate Simon and Maria

Kate likes it but is concerned that there isn't enough light.
Simon - I can't wait to do some woodwork in it.
Maria- I think it should be pink.

Jun 21, 2009
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Some feedback
by: GreenBoy

Hi John

I have been looking at your design proposal and thought is would summarise my thoughts below.

The assumption you have made on size is about right in my opinion, the 4m x 3m equates to approx 13feet x 9 foot 6 inches - plenty of space for a journalist to hack away at the keyboard and store his cider press... - what publications does Alex work on?

Height - i would go to the maximum that planning allows which is 2.5m to the eaves (8ft) to give an airy feel to the workspace, although there is another restriction of max height of 2.5 within 2m of the boundary, so this would be an issue if the shed needs to be close to the boundary (remembering the 1m minimum dictate).

I like the hipped roof, although I wouldn't want to construct it - but that's just a lack of ability on my behalf.

On the roof - you state you would have rooflights - why? The dining room in my house is approx 3m deep and i only have windows on one wall - and i work in here ok - in the corner furthest from the windows - and I would assume Alex would place a desk under the window. My reason for not likeing this is one of heat loss, and potential leakage... but again dependant on how well these things are built then it shouldnt be a problem.

I would make the door of the barn type with the uper half bein able to be opend seperately to the bottom to allow for extra air flow on the two days a year it gets too hot in this country.

Electric underfloor heating - this is a nice idea, and does free wallspace from radiators, however i am unsure how effective these are in keeping the place warm. I have seen a product by a company called "Warmup" but i am unsure if their online design tool is based on the room being designed being part of a larger building with some free heat transfer and the mass thermal affect. Anyway i am sure Alex is hardy and is used to being a little chilly - maybe the libral use of the cider he makes will keep the feeling of frostbyte away!!

Insulation. Sheeps wool is a lovely idea, however this will make lagging the roof dificult given your comments on the reason for a hipped roof being more interesting to look at instead of a flat ceiling - this is not insurmountable, but tricky. A phenolic foam would be easier to install, but not to eco friendly.

Exterior cladding. This may be a limitation of Sketchup but i am unsure of shiplap for a project like this. How about verticle T&G or board and batten? the verticval nature would lend an illusion of height, and look a little more contempory - i am basing this on the trend for 'home / garden office' buildings out there.

The lean to - is this accesable from the outside or inside?

Lighting - just a word on this i think uplighters would be good - placed at eaves height shining up onto the inside of the hipper roof would be very attractive.

Jun 21, 2009
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Insulation
by: Martin

For insulation, assuming your going to pack it in behind the plasterboards. Would straw be almost as effective but far cheaper? Looks are a personal thing for the outside really as I prefer that American Barn look. Then again its not my shed so Alex can have it how he likes it to look.

Jun 21, 2009
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Stable Door idea
by: Tim Baber

I suggest the door should be a stable door. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
I suggest a deep overhang, awning, slats or use of a shutter over the window and or door windows...or maybe a porch. Solar gain does not suit everyione, or every purpose, for some purposes sunshine across a desk for a writer/reader can be problematic.
I use automotive reflective foil on all my windows and have constructed folding shutters as this suits me better than allowing sunshine in!
I suggest for the boxes of intrusive household items maybe shelves at eave level inside , think of the cupboards in an ambulance in the otherwise wasted space along the top of the inside walls. Otherwise you might need to lose the intriguing ceiling view with a false ceiling giving loft space for such storage...which would be a shame losing the internal view looking up from the desk and the shed size would maybe be too dominating as suggested.
The more angles in a building the more complex it is to build, but since Alex is an enthusiast, a lot of time is spent there, and what is done without effort in general is enjoyed without much pleasure, I hope he embraces all the angles you have suggested!

Jun 21, 2009
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Very nice but make it gable ended
by: Anonymous

I agree with previous poster; it needs to be gable ended. I don't mind the pent roof on the annex - it's more space efficient.

Very nice though.

Andy Bantock

Jun 21, 2009
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Nice
by: Lawrence

I quite like it, but I would personally prefer to have a bigger window rather than the skylights.
As for insulation, surely the stuff made from recycled pop bottles would be greener, and cheaper as it is subsidised by one of the energy companies at the moment.

Jun 21, 2009
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Alex's shed design
by: Anonymous

My shed is approx 3M x 5M. It is East facing so it gets the morning sun to warm it up but doesn't get so much sun during the peak midday heat, it is triple aspect so sun does comes in the smaller South facing window. Also if you are using a computer you don't want too much sun light, however some nice wood blinds are on my wish list. In the winter it is freezing and my electricity bill is high so I am sure that the electric oil heater backed up by 3KW fan heater is eating power. The oil heater is on a timer to take advantage of off-peak electricity which is about 1/4 of the normal price. I think you really do need the best insulation you can get, eco friendly or not. My floor has no insulation and obviously has a few cms gap underneath to allow air to circulate so I chose the very thickest and best under carpet insulation. The carpet by the way was a cheap durable one as no matter how careful I am my commute to work involves walking across the garden and on wet days mud does get on your shoes.I feel a cheap carpet can be replaced from time to time. I have placed stepping stones from the front door to the shed which look good and reduce mud and I have a brush mat by the door.
My internal walls are wood clad which maintains an outside sort of feel and looks nice, they are filled with insulation wool, however if I ever have to replace the cladding I will stuff celotex in. I spend quite a lot of time on the phone and the back of the office is close to the neighbour so Celotex would also help to reduce my conversations being overheard.
My roof is full height and internally goes right up to the eaves which also looks great but probably doesn't help the heating bill and can't be used easily for storage, it also has wool behind the cladding.
From an aesthetic point of view I have put a little porch that runs the length of the front of the shed. This is also great on rainy days when fumbling with keys as it is wide enough to give cover.
The security on my door is two separate locks which are not great but I also have a WiFi CCTV camera inside pointing at the door so anyone trying to force it open will in theory be caught on camera. I think it is more of a deterent however because it is WiFi, if they do get in, they can't follow the cables to the recorder.
I used to have the shed connected to the main house alarm system with a key at the door to disable it but moving house and shed that isn't currently the case.(I have rebuilt the shed twice due to house moves) The CCTV system could be used to send me a text, sound alarms etc if I could be bothered to set it up and put up with false alarms etc. I still take my laptop in to the house most nights, insurance companies can be very inflexible with regard to break-ins on out-houses and garages.
I like the suggestion of the barn door, I have double doors which is also good for getting large desks and filing cabinets in and out.
Also aesthetically I chose to put the double doors in the middle of the frontage.




Jun 21, 2009
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looks ldeal
by: uncle wilco

John a great design for any shedworker.

maybe having some "green" roofing ie growing sedum plants on the leanto roof, may help with drainage and give Alex an eco wossname.

I would prefer a bigger window so Alex can look out to the garden...


I love the lean too for storage


cheers wilco
http://www.shedblog.co.uk

Jun 21, 2009
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Great Shed Design
by: Ben Cruz

Great design! Look forward to more ideas and community comments.

Jun 21, 2009
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The New Shed
by: Anonymous

You might try adding a Bay or Bow window for more light if you have the room!
Has anyone thought of runing water or a Lav ?

I would go with the 3m X 5m size.
Once you start adding shelves for books and stacking boxes the area shrinks drasticly!

Keep up the good work.

John

Jun 21, 2009
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the new shed working h.q
by: brian

I would have thought a bit of a porch or covered area at the door entrance would be good as this is a build from plan forum . This would act as a smoking area if visitors arrived.

Jun 21, 2009
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I want one!
by: Alastair

Looks good to me

Only feedback to offer is:

(1) a question about how well it'd cope with 'lots of books'? Humidity as well as temperature may be a factor to consider here.

(2)Could the design of the lean-to be made more integral to the design across the roofline . Aesthetically is seems more complex that it might be.

But overall, I want one!

Jun 21, 2009
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Great Comments so far
by: John - Admin

Greenboy, Kenny, Kate, Simon, Maria, Martin, Tim Baber, Andy, Lawrence, Uncle Wilco, Ben Cruz, John, Brian, Alastair (and everyone else who knows me!)

Thanks for your comments so far! Keep them coming.

It is great that so many people have taken the time on a Sunday to write a few (and in some cases more than a few!!) words. Don't feel put off even if all you have to say is "I like it" or "I don't like it" all your feedback is useful.

I really have my work cut out to produce the Mark Two version next week.

All the best

John

Jun 21, 2009
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green roof
by: ben ellis

Hey I like the design so far I am still to update the site with my shed build so far. The only comment I have is to seriously think about roof design. I personally wish that I had a bigger garden to have a larger roof space to have a green roof with a low pitch using plants as they are so effective and really blend into the garden surroundings. Any way I look forward to seeing updates and good luck if your unsure about anything there are many shed lovers here to help.

Many thanks

Ben

Jun 22, 2009
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Green roof
by: Anonymous

I'd agree with those who suggest a planted "green roof" - helps blend the shed in with the surroundings, insulates etc. And if you plant it with salad etc the owner could harvest his own lunch as a break from the writing!

Jun 22, 2009
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sky light
by: Anonymous

I like the Idea of a green roof,but I feel that with the lack of windows this would be complete with a Sky Light

Jun 22, 2009
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New Shed
by: Raymondo

Interesting design - looks like a miniature house, not as I would expect a shed!
Perhaps "outdoor office" would be a better description from the brief and also a rather in vogue phrase.
Sorry, not for me. I would spend too much time spotting the problems in the garden to get anything done.
Besides which if you are sharing with cider presses I fear there is not enough ventilation to remove the soporific air.
Thanks for the opportunity to comment; have you asked Prince Charles?

Jun 23, 2009
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Nice
by: Anonymous

I like the annex to the shed. I wanted to do the same so I can have a garden office as well as some extra space to store my garden tools etc...

Jun 23, 2009
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Shed Design.
by: Cegidfa

With a height of 2.2m and a rise of 20 degrees there could be a danger or the roof looking subordinate to the body i.e. a bit flat and uninspiring; thus not making the most of the inside view of a hipped roof. Like other commentees I like a gable roof, and would make the additional storage area gabled as well. This would add interest to the overall shape. I also agree that a north facing roof light is a good idea as it gives a soft light but not too much heat in the summer. If you were to perhaps lower the wall height to 2m this would make the roof relatively taller and more proportionate without making internal movement too restrictive. I hope that these comments whilst very personal are useful.

Jun 24, 2009
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Garden Office
by: paulbry

An office in the garden - something that I have been pondering for quite a while.

In terms of minimising impact and adding ventilation I really like the idea of living roofs grass, sedum what you will. Don't know if it could be made to work on your hipped roof, which I do like, esp as you say it does give an attractive set of rafters inside.

All good ideas for de-humidifying what about pv cells for battery charging to run a low voltage power circuit with an invertor to run the lap top?

Jun 26, 2009
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Canada Calling...
by: Metaxa

I'm on coastal Vancouver Island so similar weather, damp and temperate, I think? With a bit of summer.

There is nothing, nothing better that I did for my 10x20 (3mx6m) shed than put a metal roof on it.

I just happened to be at the metal yard when a commercial siding/roofing company dropped off a large load of "scraps" from a school re-clad.

Picked up enough to do my roof in heavy gauge for 4 cents per pound!

The sound of the rain on that roof is, to me, the best sound ever.

For heat...we are allowed to burn wood so I use what is called a trash burner, basically a wood stove but lighter weight, designed to heat a trapper's cabin or a wilderness cabin. I just use scraps of wood picked up from construction site bins.

If you lay a small, hot fire and add to it slowly there is no smoke to bother neighbours, etc.

Have fun in a shed,
Regards, Metaxa


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