I built the shed both as a writer's retreat in which to write my novels and as a place of tranquility for my wife and I to relax. We designed it in a steampunk style, based on books like Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues under the Sea.It has a submarine-style door, a hatch down to the engine room, a round window and a circular Captain's table. It is on a raised platform to give the impression of being out at sea. Installation of blue lighting underneath simulates the waters of an ocean. We named it The Tempest after our dog, 'Storm' who sadly passed away in January this year, and after our favourite Shakespeare play. The sounds of waves crashing, played through an onboard speaker, completes the experience of being at sea (sea sickness pills to the ready!)
"The Tempest" came about when we decided to re-lay our old rotting decking with durable hardwood. We wanted to create something unique, so I built into it a zig-zag path leading to a shore with lapping waves, made from overlapping hardwood. The next stage was to build a platform out of more decking on which "The Tempest" could stand. When I had done this, it was over to Jules, my wife to oil all the decking. This was to give it protection and bring out the beautiful tones of the wood. This is where we hit a problem, as Jules could not get to the decking under the platform to oil it (hindsight is a wonderful thing). The weight of the platform was immense and I eventually used ancient technology to overcome it. This came in the form of fence posts, which I used as rollers to move the platform from one end of the decking to another. I was amazed how easily it moved, even with people sat on it. With it all beautifully oiled, I started the main build. I used loglap timber from a local wood yard for most of it. I cut the submarine door out of thick timber using a jigsaw, which was at the limit of its capacity. I pinned copper piping around the door with copper nails and fixed the door to the frame with brass hinges. Jules managed to purchase a genuine reclaimed working porthole that I fitted in the door. We also sourced an octopus handle for the door. I cut a circular window in one of the walls, fitting a wheel in it as a frame, before fixing with glass and trimming with rope and copper. The circle I cut from the wall I then used to make the Captains table . I made another window in the opposite wall in a diamond shape and two more windows at the front, for which I made sun-ray shutters. The roof I made vaulted, which involved building a platform of planks so I could reach to make the roof frame. I used loglap facing downwards for the construction of the roof and overlaid with high quality felt. Inside I made a circular dive hatch to the engine room, which houses the power sockets. I also created a jellyfish light out of copper piping and a copper lampshade. I fitted this with a colour changing bulb. I also made a triangular table with flowing sea patterns on top for a lighthouse light that had been handmade from Cornish snake-stone. This was an old purchase that we had bought from the maker when on holiday there many years ago. We also placed a model ship on the table as if heading towards the lighthouse. The table top lifts off for extra storage. I fitted lights to the engine room and blue lights underneath the platform to simulate the sea. The final thing I made was the sign, which I hand carved from walnut and trimmed with copper. Jules made sure everything was shipshape and Bristol fashion, by painting it all with a breathable and waterproof wood finish.
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