Garden sheds are seldom thought of as beautiful spaces. More often than not they are considered dumping grounds for that which you don’t want in your main house. While they make for excellent storage space, they can be a lot more than that.
I’ve transformed my own shed into a veritable man cave where I retreat from time to time to recharge my batteries or simply to spend some time on my own and focus on my upcoming projects.
In the hopes that my DIY job around the shed will inspire you to look at your own with new eyes, I’m describing how I transformed my own shed into a space conducive to quiet time and creativity.
Determine what you need the shed for
I mean, apart from storing miscellaneous things and garden equipment. I have a 12 by 14 shed, which is big enough for my needs. I’m a professional architect and I wanted a space where I could retire from the world and could not even be accessed via mobile phones. If the door bell rings when I’m working in my shed giving wing to my fantasies, it’s for other people to answer. If no one else is at home to do that, I certainly am not.
I needed space big enough to accommodate my architectural drawing equipment – drawing boards, sheets of drawing paper, pencils, markers, sets of rulers, and a giant wastepaper basket. I also wanted a reclining chair, a couple of desks, and a chest of drawers.
Determine what needs to change
The windows and doors are creaking but they are otherwise fine. They aren’t even old. So in the true spirit of ‘if it’s not broken, why fix it’, I left them alone.
In fact, I left most things alone and instead created some furniture for the shed from old discarded items.
Item no. 1:
This, in fact, is two items carved out of one. The old lopsided table that had been lying in the garden the entire summer had itself cut in two. I carved out two tables from it – one rather small and one an elongated rectangle. The legs for the other table came from an old garden chair. I left the small desk alone and painted the bigger one white.
Item no. 2:
Again, two items carved out of one. I bought a bench from a pub not too far from where I live and lined it up against a wall. I cut the bench in two – separated the table from the sitting area. I fitted the entire seat with a cushion so that it could serve as a makeshift bed should I feel the need to nap out in the middle of my drawing epiphanies. The flat of the table I placed against a wall and fitted it with several rows of hooks to hang sundry things like my coat, blazer, sweatshirt, keys, etc.
Item no. 3:
A stack of six floating shelves ideas. I purchased a sheet of natural wood and cut it into six shelves of the same dimensions. I marked and drilled holes into the plastered wall, placed wall anchors into the holes and where I wanted the shelves to be, and screwed the shelves on. I painted them white, in keeping with the overall color scheme of the new shed.
Item no. 4:
I borrowed a chest of drawers discarded by a neighbor, painted it in (guess what) white, and fitted it with a new set of drawer handles.
I redid the flooring
This I did not do on my own (as if I could!). Professional help was sought and the hardwood floor with dangerously creaking planks gave way to a granite one. I hadn’t heard of stone floors in humble sheds prior to this, but I thought I might as well give it a go while I am transforming the rest of it. I got hold of the best granite suppliers in my area, who also sent people over to lay the floor. The flooring, in gray granite with a rough surface, was laid and finished in less than two days.
I repainted the walls
This was the easiest part of the DIY job. I painted the walls in a shade of pastel green, and had a great time doing it. (I suspect I’m still smelling of paint and turpentine!) I painted the window and door frames white, which has made for an eye-catching and pleasing combination.
All the pre-existing storage boxes were pushed to one side of the room, properly marked, and stacked on top of each other. The old Victorian wardrobe was left alone, but rearranged to make the most of its storing capacity. The garden equipment will be moved to the scullery in the house. I bought the revolving leather chair online, and have moved my architectural equipment into the shed. I haven’t accessorized the room (I mean, shed) yet but plan to do so in coming days.
Conclusion: I hope I have inspired you to think of your shed in proactive terms and extract the most out of it. Believe you me, the above might sound like a lot to do but is only a few weekends’ worth of work. Okay, it’s slightly more than that. It took me over six months to get everything done but then I do have a full-time job and am busy on weekdays. The results have been more than worth it though. And the best part of the remodeling has been that I did it my way (and that there was nobody to scream at me if things went wrong).