When I told my neighbour I was knocking down my decrepit garage and replacing it with a shed, he gasped in horror.
“Why? Your house will be more saleable with a garage,” he said. I believe he’s wrong. Like most garages mine was ugly and full of junk, and I never parked a car in it. My shed, on the other hand, is useful and I adore it.
It’s my grown-up Wendy House, where I write, mess about making things, paint stuff and hoard my collection of vintage furniture (or old crap, as my partner likes to call it!).
It’s one of the best home investments I’ve ever made. I designed it with a storage shed at one end and a summerhouse-style room at the other and a local joiner made it. It cost about £2,000, including guttering and water butt, which are crucial to stop rain splashing in.
Inside, it’s basic with no electricity, as I ran out of money for that! However, I run an extension from the house, which works perfectly for plugging in a laptop. Decorating my shed has been great fun. I painted it green, treated it to some solar fairy lights and am about to hang some homemade bunting outside.
An old Formica table is positioned at the window so I can sit and look out, oblivious to the treadmill (my daughters’ insisted on but never use) and my upcycling projects.
I’m also thinking of insulating my shed after seeing interior designer Tracy Farr’s much posher version which, unlike mine, is useable all year round.
Tracy’s garden building is a superior shed, which is multi-functional and used as a sanctuary, home office, spare bedroom and her classroom for interior design courses, www.interiordesigncourses11.co.uk.
Tagged onto the end of her garage, it was built by a joiner and is testament to her design skills and her passion for upcycling.
It was inspired by Yorkshire’s Sally Coulthard, whose best-selling book, Shed Chic, is packed with great advice and some sensational photographs.
Made from timber with a metal roof to match the garage, it is packed with insulation. To help keep the shed feel inside, Tracy eschewed plasterboard and used 8ft by 4ft MDF boarding that looks like tongue and groove.
The theme for the interior is based on an old boathouse as Tracy, who is landlocked in Moor Monkton, near York, loves the sea.
The walls are painted in Farrow and Ball’s Pointing and she and her daughter Jo armed themselves with saws, sanders and paintbrushes to upcycle some old furniture for the new room.
They built the desk from the top and bottom of an old wardrobe, then painted and distressed it in shabby chic style.
The daybed is Tracy’s old dining table that she cut down and painted before adding two Ikea mattresses. The chair and mirror were bought at auction then painted and distressed and the handy coat hook was from a Wetherby antique fair.
Nautical-style soft furnishings were sourced from TK Maxx and Dunelm and the large shells are from a holiday in Grand Turk. Jo made the driftwood wind chime and painted the picture.
The total cost was about £7,000 but she has what amounts to another room and it was far cheaper than an extension to the house.
*Recommended reading: Shed Chic by Sally Coulthard, £16.99, published by Jacqui Small. We love Sally’s books, which are listed here www.sallycoulthard.co.uk
*For sheddies and would-be sheddies www.readersheds.co.uk is a must visit. It includes everything from man caves to makeshift pubs and Moroccan-style escapes. They’re all there. It also hosts the Shed of the Year competition.