When Coronavirus first hit, like most families, my husband and I were suddenly facing a work from home situation. Add to that two children who were no longer at school and very quickly, life felt chaotic. We set up a makeshift office in our bedroom but our house is small and noise travels quickly so it certainly wasn't a long term solution. It wasn't all bad however. We found that we enjoyed having more time to spend together. Every day we'd go for walks and the kids loved having my husband home for lunch. Once the restrictions were lifted, he went back to his rented office, but a seed had been planted. We realized that for what he paid in rent we could essentially build an office shed in our backyard. It would give him a quiet space to work in, away from the house and in the long term would benefit us with some much needed extra square footage. So, in July of 2020 we designed, bought and transformed a humble shed into a garden office retreat.
We found a local shed company which handily had a 3D shed designing program on their website. My goal was to get as much light into the room as possible so I decided on a simple glass panel door and clerestory windows. Seeing a render of the shed was so helpful in the planning process but I must admit that once the shed was actually in our backyard it was shocking how big it felt!
After a few days, it started to grow on us and I could get down to the important business of planning the interior. I should state at this point that our DIY house building skills are limited and so I had to come up with a plan that would look clean and finished but was also achievable to execute. I settled on the idea of cedar wood planks. We didn't feel comfortable attempting drywall or plaster and I also wanted to create a natural feeling in the space since it was going to be part of the outdoors. The planks turned out to be a wise choice once we got over the installation learning curve. In the end, I much prefer the character that they added and the smell of cedar inside is heavenly!
We stained them with a whitewash to prevent them developing an orange hue and maintain the lightness of the room. We echoed this in the ceiling and floor by covering the chipboard with thin panels of plywood and staining the beams with the same whitewash to create a feeling of expansion.
Although I love neutral decor I really wanted to add a touch of boldness to the space so I painted the back wall a deep, rich blue. I used Blue Note by Benjamin Moore in a matte finish to allow the texture of the wood to come through and I love the depth and masculinity it brings to the space.
Then, once all of the hard work was complete I was able to work on my favorite part of styling the room! I used desks in an L-shape to create maximum workspace and created a long shelf from a long plank of pine held by leather straps. Color from a favorite movie poster is picked up in the vibrant yellow of a painted chair and an antique brick mold displays old cameras. The exterior is painted in a warm grey and I custom mixed the door shade by adding white to Cushing Green by Benjamin Moore. An exterior light and succulent filled window box remove all traces of shed!
In reimagining the humble shed we've not only given my husband a peaceful place to work from home, we've added a room that I know our family will use in many other formats as our needs change. I'll admit-I often sneak out there myself for a moment of quiet in the afternoon!
If you're in need of a home office space but feel overwhelmed by the process then we'd love to help! Our E-Design services offer an affordable and flexible take on interior design.
Contact us today and let us bring your vision to life.
Lamp is sold out, similar option here
Tabletop in White & Oak
Trestle leg is old but similar here
Blue Note by Benjamin Moore
Cushing Green by Benjamin Moore
Grey custom mix but similar to Granite Grey by Behr