It was built on a complete whim out of about 60% wooden pallets picked up for free over several months from the industrial estate at the end of our road in Lewisham. I sketched out the rough plan for it on a train into Charing Cross one day and it then began to take over our lives for a while ( in a good way). We are a family of four and the shed has brought us all much closer together and has brought really joyful moments in the short time it has been finished.We built it as a 'holiday home', albeit one that is just a few steps away at the end of our own garden. I wanted it to inspire us to spend proper time together as a family - like we do when we 'get away from it all' on holiday. It's put together to feel like we are at the end of a country lane and by the time we dash the few steps across the garden to the shed we really do feel tucked away from it all. Already, many a weekend early morning we've dashed across in the rain to play Monopoly in our pyjamas in front of the wood burner. Judging by how many times we've done that, I think the shed does a pretty good job of creating that holiday home/ retreat feeling for us all.I also wanted to build the shed to get our two young lads (6 & 9 years old) away from the telly and the computer screen and into the mud and outdoors more often. Since we finished it just before Christmas, they've actually been out there every single day and we haven't even reached the balmy days of summer yet!We really do love living in London but yearn for our boys to enjoy the thrills and skills they'd get from living in the countryside. So I'm really chuffed that already I can send my eldest down to the shed to light the stove on his own, while I keep a careful eye from the kitchen. We've had a go at making our own sausages and cooked breakfast on the little stove in there for the whole family on New Year's Day. On Mother's Day, we boys served afternoon tea to my wife and the ladies of the family in there and we managed to get nine of us in quite comfortably for a snooze for the rest of the day.The little wood burner runs on a mixture of wood, including pallets that are still free and plentiful.The shed has also got a charity shop corner-sofa; a tiny desk just big enough for a laptop where I 'try to work' whilst listening to music; a second-hand rowing machine and an old running machine freed from taking up the whole of the sitting room. There's a bike store lean- to on one side of the shed and a log store on the other. At the moment it's got logs we cut down from the old garden.At the front, there's a little wooden swing hung from the veranda to make up for the rotting Argos trampoline that had to go to make room for the shed.Inside, I really wanted to make a feature of all the planks from the original pallets with all the nail holes, stencil marks and mud stains. Perhaps more importantly though, the shed has also got lots of references to the people and the places that over the years have inspired different parts of it.It's got a cupboard full of my dear departed dad's lovely old handsaws and tools displayed inside; a photo of a log cabin where we once holidayed in New England; a couple of dusty old paintings rescued from the family attic and it's got shelves in the eaves, full of every kind of knick knack. I reckon everything inside is either useful or beautiful in its own way. We've just managed to squeeze in the lawnmower, shovels, tins of paint and usual 'shed stuff' behind a sliding door in the back corner of the shed too. Right at the very back there's even a broken placard from a peace protest that I can't quite bear to part with yet. I reckon, actually, that's just the kind of useless sentimental rubbish that all sheds are supposed to be full of though.
Pallets all freebies rescued from an industrial estate. I found a brilliant tool for breaking them apart from an eccentric one-man inventor and 'pallet guru' online.Doors came from skips or eBay. Windows and skylight are all bargains from eBay too.I was told by that completely obsessed 'pallet guru' that the pallets I got are North American Cedar. They are a sort of honey colour and smell really lovely. Have spent years dreaming about building a shed in my back garden and even more years picking up ideas from holidays abroad. Finally got the whole thing done between Halloween and Christmas 2014.
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Home from Home
The Pub Shed
The Highland Retreat
The Lockdown Lavatory