Shed of the Year 2016: Episode Two

On Friday night we saw the second episode of the fantastic ‘Shed of the Year’ and wasn’t it a great one! Last week’s episode saw the Unique and Historic shed categories where we were introduced to some very inspirational and far out spaces and this week was no different. So far the sheds which we have seen have been awe inspiring and quite frankly bonkers! During episode 2 we met some of the finalists that could be in the running to take the shed crown!

What happened in episode 2?

The Eco shed category finalists:

The first category in this episode is the Eco sheds; the sheds in this category are trying to save the planet one shed at a time! We got to celebrate Sheddies with ingenious recycling ideas and championing eco-friendly design.

love shack shed with landing

The first shed we were introduced to is the ‘Love Shack’ – Based in Devon and owned by festival lover Grant Oakley, the Love Shack is an eco-shed with a difference. This is the first eco entry which Shed of the Year has seen which has been on wheels. Grant designed the 8 x 12ft Love Shack so it can be put on a trailer and can hit the road! A regular at music festivals such as Glastonbury, this eco shed is used as a mini green room and chill out zone as well as a space for mini performances.

Constructed using a laminated ply structure on a wooden frame with steel uprights, a honeycomb floor with recycled floorboards and papier mache walls, the cost was a mere £600. The beautiful shingle tiles covering the shed are made from tractor inner tubes and decorated with old copper heating cylinders. In fact, everything inside this shed has been recycled or salvaged; the windows are even made from old washing machine doors and wine bottles!

This shed combines so many materials and styles it really shouldn’t work, but Grant has combined them beautifully with exquisite craftsmanship. This mobile rock n roll green room shed sets the standard for the eco category.

Next, we met Kevin Herbert in Berkshire who has created the ‘West Wing’ which is a retreat for the whole family. With 4 children in a 3 bedroom house, Kevin yearned for more space so he built this 12 x 10ft garden lodge from recycled materials at the bottom of his garden at a cost of £1,500.

Constructed with salvaged wood and built around an ancient A-frame structure which is easy to erect and known for its strength, the West Wing is a beautiful creation which houses a chill out space for adults complete with an attic bed plus a hidden children’s den which is built on the side of the main structure and accessed through a secret door moonlighting as a bookcase. In this magical wonderland, Kevin has managed to squeeze in 3 bunk beds and turret window around the tree trunk which is used for support.

One of our favourite features of this magical eco shed is the living meadow on the roof – 400 milk cartons and 2 and a half tons of soil have been added to the roof to create the beautiful wildflower garden which is the West Wing’s crowning glory.

This magical garden retreat has transformed Kevin’s everyday suburban garden into the stuff of fairy tales, this shed is definitely inventive and could surely fit into almost every category!

The third entry to the Eco shed category is based in the Norfolk Broads. Artist Kate Edwards and musician Charlotte Eve have built a 13 x 10ft shed entirely out of mud. It’s hard to believe that something this pretty is made exclusively out of dirt!

‘The Cob Shed’ was built using an ancient building technique called cobbing which has been used around the world since the dawn of civilisation. Over the course of 3 years, cobbing students chipped in to help construct this fine eco shed. They packed together 1000’s of handfuls of compacted cob to build the shed and left it to dry. The cost to build was £2000 and looks so professional. With not a sharp corner in sight, the modern feel to this shed is truly enchanting.

Every feature has been carefully planned to maximise eco credentials – The stained glass skylight is not only a beautiful decorative feature but has been installed to allow the light to enter the shed and to heat the cob floor which will slowly emit heat creating a toasty naturally warmed shed!

This muddy labour of love has been made organically from the mud that surrounds it and could stand for centuries. Constructed using an age-old building method that still has an important place in an eco-conscious modern world, The Cob Shed is an eco-shed dream.

The final entry for the Eco shed category is the ‘Strawdio’, this shed embodies everything the eco category stands for. Retired music composer Piers Partridge from Wraxall has spent £15,000 building a high-tech music studio in his back garden using bales of straw.

This epic construction was built using a straw bailing technique pioneered by 19th-century American frontier farmers, a historic building technique which still looks as fabulous in the modern day and took 3 years to build. The straw bale walls are compressed under a living breathing roof, a floral display of beautiful flowers and vibrant colours.

Inside this glorious eco shed is a fully working sound studio, Piers spent his career scoring music for films and much of his best work was created inside his beloved shed. The compressed straw has the advantage of perfect acoustics and the huge solar panel on the roof covers electricity costs.

Not only was this shed built using chemical-free materials, many of the instruments inside are also made from cheap recycled materials. This shed looks really rustic but is a technical piece of architectural genius.

Now it was time to reveal the winner of this category as voted for by the public… The winner was Kevin and the ‘West Wing’! A huge congratulations to Kevin who built a magical fairytale-esque lodge in his back garden using all eco-friendly materials, a true eco champion and our favourite of the bunch!

The Unexpected shed category finalists:

Now it was time to introduce a brand new category for Shed of the Year 2016 – the unexpected sheds. These sheds may look ordinary from the outside but they all have a hidden twist – prepare to be amazed at the all new unexpected category.

The first entry to the unexpected shed category is based in Berkshire, Peter and Erica live right next to the river Thames, idyllic as it looks and sounds, the whole property is prone to flooding. Peter and Erica have experienced first-hand the awful aftermath of when flooding occurs; having lost many of their possessions to flood water and even sewage they needed a practical garden sanctuary.

Following the last flood, retired lecturer Peter decided to spend £40,000 on a life changing refuge from the floods and rather than an ark he took the most typically British option and created the ingenious shed – ‘The Raisebury’.

The imposing modernist style creation is built using glued laminate wood and a polycarbonate roof. Complete with nesting boxes for birds with hidden viewing windows and mirrored aluminium which reflects and creates an optical illusion, this 20 x 23ft garden haven took 3 weeks to assemble and is currently used for tinkering and gardening.

This is not your average shed; the Raisebury has 4 hydraulic pistons which raise the entire shed 3ft off the ground in just 3 minutes! Peter and Erica plan to stash all their possessions into the shed during a flood where they will be kept safe and most importantly dry!

This incredible innovation of a shed is truly uplifting. They have designed an incredible elegant structure which is big, bold and a brave vision.

Next, we headed over to Hertfordshire to meet animal lover Mark Amey who’s shed has been taken over by a special guest…

Mark has over 100 animals in his garden, many are used in film and TV but there is one who needs a shed of its own! At the bottom of the garden is a 6.5x20ft shed which cost a total of £5000 to build and is home to Kid Croc, an African dwarf crocodile who has lived there for 8 years. Mark has a licence to house exotic animals and has recreated the tropical swamps of West Africa within his shed to make Kid feel right at home.

The ‘Crocodile shed’ has a concrete base with an elevated croc sanctuary complete with a pool, heating, and flowing water.

This suburban average looking shed epitomises the need for the unexpected category, it looks standard from the outside but inside is a thriving tropical ecosystem.

The third entry is something a little different; we headed over to Warwickshire to meet Jamie Taylor who showed us around his unusual shed. Behind his cottage there is a spooky secret, nestled at the back of his garden in a rather shady spot, a very different feeling from the pretty floral landscaped garden sits a small red brick chapel.

The story of a missing servant in 1865 makes many of the locals believe her ghost has returned and is retreating in Jamie’s chapel. The 10x13ft outhouse stood here for 100 years since the original adjoining cottage burnt down in a mysterious fire. ‘The Chapel’ is a surefire hit during Halloween parties and has even hosted a spooky seance where spirits were contacted.

Jamie spent £500 restoring this halfway house between this world and the spirit works, a true eeriness and poignancy fills the air in this spooky shed.

The 4th and final entry of the unexpected sheds category is based in a remote corner of Cornwall; an ordinary looking shed owned by Linda Hobbs houses an astonishing collection of dolls houses. Linda has been collecting dolls houses for over 16 years and has created a hidden fantasy world in her 10 x 14ft garden shed.

The 40 houses in Linda’s collection take you on a journey of miniature architectural history, from Tudor, Georgian and Gothic dolls houses and our personal favourite a stunning Art Deco dolls house worth up to £2000. There are over 200 individual rooms within the dolls houses which Linda has lovingly decorated herself using various themes and room décor which exceptional intricate details meaning surely she’s an interior design expert!

The Dolls house’ is a surreal experience, not just a shed full of kids toys but a space where Linda can loose herself in a magical miniature world of interiors and architecture.

All four contenders in this category have been responsible for some truly exciting and as the category title suggests, unexpected sheds! From Crocodile’s hiding inside to a moving shed, they have all proved as to why this is an exceptional category and we can’t wait to see what next year’s entries have to offer!

The winner of this category was the third contender – The Chapel, a historic outhouse which has a spooky resident. Not your average looking ‘garden shed’ but the voters must have loved the history and ghostly interior. The Chapel joins the West Wing and last week’s winners in the final of Shed of the Year.

Did you agree with this week’s winners? We’d love to hear your thoughts and who your favourite was; let us know in the comments below!

We can’t wait to see the finalists in next week’s episode on Friday 23th August at 8pm. We will be introduced to the entries of the Pub/Entertainment and Workshop/Studio shed entries. Be sure to look at our coverage of this episode next week. We are excited to see the extraordinary sheds our fellow Sheddies are creating!

Don’t forget to check out our Shed of the Year hub for the latest news

Did you miss episode one? Don’t worry you can catch up here

Image credits - Reader Sheds, Finalists