Monday, May 11, 2015

From Garden Shed to Outdoor Office

Living in a small city house can sometimes be a challenge when it comes to space. It is a good problem to have as you live in a house in one of the major North American cities, but it can still present a challenge when it comes to organizing your daily activities. I live in one such house with my husband Marc and his two children who visit on the weekend. Besides common spaces such as kitchen, living and dining room, all other (small) rooms are designated bedrooms. That means that when I do my admin work, or when bills are getting paid it has to be either from the couch or dining room table. Definitely not an ideal situation.
Looking for a solution to solve that problem I resorted to the Internet and came across the WeWork  website, a co-working company that offers memberships to rent beautifully curated offices in major US and some European cities. Some memberships start as low a $45/month and give you the luxury of on-demand office and conference room space.
Seeing some office spaces featured on the We-Work website got me thinking and the idea was born to turn my garden shed into an inspirational outdoor work and hangout space for myself. It can sadly only be usable in the Summer time, but it will offer the convenience of separating work from family life. The shed is powered and has an amazing wi-fi connection so its potential wouldn't have been used to its fullest had this transformation not taken place. Once the work is done, the space can be easily transformed into an evening hang-out space.
Check out the info and images below on how this transformation evolved and what the end result is.
In retrospect, the entire process was labour intensive, yet so rewarding that I would do it a million times over.
Please drop me a line if you find this inspiring or would like some tips and help with your own space. I have a ton of ideas but sadly only one shed. And don't forget to check out the We-Work website as they are what got all of this started.

This was my starting point at the beginning of April. BBQ, garden tools, last year's yard waste and some random furniture pieces all crammed in a 10ft x 10ft space.
Step one included emptying the space, separating useful items from those that needed to go and painting the walls, the ceiling and the floor. I used a spray gun for a fast, yet messy, undertaking and opted for paint that I already had on hand as I wanted to keep the cost at the lower end.
The best part was, of course, decorating and curating the space. I salvaged and painted out the old doors and window frames that I found on the the street, got the colourful sari fabric from the local Value Village for $2. The desk came from another thrift store (i did a number on it too as it was sad looking in its original state), the rug and the basket in the corner are from Home Sense (Home Goods in the US) and the rest are random pieces that I already had.
I stripped an old scalloped lamp shade and sprayed it orange to serve as a chandelier.
I made this quirky (fully working) lamp a while ago using old lamp and pottery pieces and this space seems to be the perfect match for it. Artwork is from local craft shows, museum and magazine postcards, and my favourite is my kindergarten picture in the vintage yellow frame (framed within the window)
I have had this yellow bench for a while and it comes from a local antiques market. It normally lives underneath the window in the dining room as a catch all for books and papers, but for the summer it will provide additional seating in my office.

The tall cabinet is another thrift store find and offers extra storage for office supplies but also some small garden tools.
The grey and pink door is strategically positioned to hide the power plugs. Postcards were included in a copy of Frankie Magazine.
Washi tape, litte ferns and silly pencil holders make life better.

View from the desk is is that of the back yard which, in a couple of weeks, will be in full bloom.
And what is room without some plants. This corner offers enough light yet keeps them protected from harsh (Canadian) sun. They sit on an Ikea chest donated by a friend. The chest again offers some extra storage space for the garden tools, it is still a garden shed after all.

1 comment: