Until recently, the garden shed was little more than a shack primarily used for storing lawnmowers, garden tools and the jumble of goods we think we might need one day, but these humble, oft-neglected structures are increasingly being put to much better use in a new incarnation – as versatile shedquarters.
Sandy Geffen, executive director of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in South Africa explains that a significant driving force of this transformation has been the change in how we live and how we work; with many more people now working remotely, flexi-time or freelance.
“Although it’s wonderful not to have to wear a suit or high heels daily and sit in traffic for hours on end, for many the challenge is finding a quiet, private space to work at home, away from the multiple distractions of home life,” adds Geffen, and this is where the garden shed first really showed itself to be much more.
This revival of the humble garden shed has sparked people’s – and designer’s – imaginations and is proving very comfortable quarters for a multitude of other uses.
#1 Art studio
Whether you’re a painter, sculptor or scrapbooker, having your own art studio will give you the privacy you need to get the creative juices flowing and the space to safely store your art supplies. Large windows for natural light, shelves for storage and a table to work on is all you need – except, perhaps, a pretty flower garden and a bird feeder close by for inspiration.
#2 Workshop/hobby den
If DIY projects and woodworking are more your thing, a backyard shed provides the perfect work space. Depending on the size of the shed, you can fit all sorts of equipment and tools in your workshop and even install some shelving and a workbench to maximise available space.
#3 Mom’s haven
Some days we just need to get away from it all, even just for an hour or two. Whether you want to meditate, think, read, or just relax, a comfy shed makes a perfect haven. Drag in the old couch and a rug, a bookshelf and soft cushions. If yoga is your thing, put on some soft music, light some candles, perhaps a fan to create a gentle breeze.
#4 Dad cave
Dad’s also need some down time and a “man cave” can be the perfect place for him to do his own thing for a while. Add a television, refrigerator and a few assorted bits of furniture and he will love his new hangout. It’s also the perfect place for him and his mates to watch sports matches and cheer to their heart’s content.
Staying in shape is a great life choice, but gym equipment can clutter up a home and it’s hard to work out properly with regular distractions and interruptions. Moving your equipment out to the shed not only provides the perfect solution, it may also help encourage other members of your family to stay fit and active as it gives them easy access to your gym equipment.
#6 Al fresco dining area
South Africans love the great outdoors in summer so why not convert your shed into a garden dining den? Simply replace one wall with doors that fold back to open up completely and furnish with a rustic old table and two benches, pretty cushions and a sideboard if space allows.
#7 Kids play room
Children will love having their own little house in the garden and their toys will not constantly be underfoot. And if you turn transforming the shed into a playhouse a family event, it will be a fun bonding experience while also giving the children a chance to have a say and to be hands-on with their future playhouse
#8 Teenagers pad
Teens need their own space but we’re not always keen to have them lock themselves in their bedrooms, especially with friends, so why not create a den for them where they have privacy but are not out of sight. Bean bags, squishy old sofa, X-box or play station, old mini fridge and sound system will keep them very happy.
“There are now endless options in design and sizes available if your budget stretches to buying a new, purpose-built shed but with a little imagination and elbow grease an old shed in decent condition can easily be transformed,” concludes Geffen.
A converted shed will not only add value to your home it can also save you a considerable amount of money in the long run especially on the cost of off-site office space. Shedquarters are, in fact, an appreciating asset you can enjoy for years to come.