In recent years there’s been something of a national preoccupation with small spaces, and in particular with sheds. And in celebration, the Shed of the Year 2016 competition is back. Judges have been busy whittling down entries from a staggering 2,825 to a shortlist of just 32, and are now reviewing the eight categories: Unexpected, Eco, Cabin/Summerhouse, Workshops/Studios, Pub/Entertainment, Budget, Historic and Unique. Here, we’ve picked five of our favourite shortlisted sheds that could inspire you and your outdoor space.
Boatcrash, with its jutting angles and nautical air, does indeed have the look of a minor marine accident. However, the shed, which was built by Jo Candy from St. Anne’s in Lancashire, was very much designed to look this way. Its frame is made of oak and silver birch saplings, its walls from straw bales and rendered lime, and its floor Indian sandstone. Overall, the aesthetic internally has something of the Arts&Crafts Movement about it, while the exterior wouldn’t look out of place in a boat showroom – an amazing project.
The Strawdio: Eco Category
Piers Partridge of Bristol is the man behind the Strawdio, so called for the straw that comprises its primary building material. Having enlisted the help of a team of local volunteers, self-taught builder Piers began working with timber, hazel rods, lime and straw to construct his lovely hideaway. Perhaps the Strawdio’s best feature is its wildflower meadow roof, which attracts the birds, butterflies and insects Piers likes to admire as he enjoys a coffee on the wide, sun-drenched veranda.
The Rotating Shed: Unique Category
This remarkable shed, as well as looking as slick and futuristic as a space shuttle, also revolves, covering a full 360 degrees in an effort to optimise the sun’s warming energy. Executed in high-quality timber with a copper roof by Bryan Lewis Jones from Denbighshire, although the Rotating Shed is listed in the Unique category, it also has great eco credentials.
Shed of Dreams: Cabin / Summerhouse Category
Oliver Renison has an allotment close to his home in Warwickshire. To accompany the carrots and onions, he decided to build a shed. Working to a relatively small budget of under £500, Oliver went for a Gothic arch-shaped shed that would effectively allow the walls and roof to be formed as one. It’s the genius in his repurposing of materials that really appeals to us. Windows are washing machine doors, wood is reclaimed and an old wood-burning stove has pride of position to keep Oliver toasty in the winter.
Old Garden Shed: Budget Category
This fairytale shed, with its crooked roof and visible timber frame, weathercock witch and ramshackle garden, is simply a joy to behold. Built in East Sussex by a chap named Brian, it is in essence an elaborate potting shed, but we like it no less for this prosaic fact. Inside there’s carefully hand-crafted wooden detailing, alongside artwork on the walls reminiscent of circus posters and carnival days.
With such an excellent selection of weird and wonderful shed creations, we will certainly be watching with bated breath when the winner of Shed of the Year 2016 is announced.