Working at a very different scale to most of our projects, this was a delightful opportunity to have a completely free hand in design and detail, working for a wonderful, understanding client whose ideas and aesthetics went hand in hand with our own. Mostly because Josh was not only designer and builder, but also client. Some might call it cheating; he calls it his garden shed.
The structure is built off a base of oak beams sitting on six concrete blocks, minimising disturbance of the ground below. The walls are a framework of 4x2 pine carcassing, clad in ply and then tongue-and-groove boarding on the inside and Siberian Larch on the outside, with an insulation layer in between. The large corner windows project beyond the walls to create deep windowsills and a greater sense of space inside, with the weight of the living roof being supported on internal pillars. The double end window has no central division, maximising the sense of being within the garden when they are open.
A pair of bench seats with a table in between converts into a double bed, the seat cushions folding down to become the mattress, with storage for all the linen, pillows and duvets below the seats. Two 50 litre plastic drums (formerly home to industrial quantities of mango chutney!) are buried below a trapdoor in the pippy elm floor to create a small, but very useful, cool drinks cellar.
The living roof was created by devising a series of 4" deep troughs around the curve of the roof, covered with heavy duty pondliner then filled with garden soil. The local flora was left very much to its own devices here, on the basis that whatever can survive the rigours of living on the roof, rain or shine and without additional watering, can stay. In long dry spells it can sometimes start to resemble a giant Shredded Wheat, but it only takes a good rain shower or two for it to start greening up again.
Over the years since it was built, the shed has gradually blended into the garden, the trees growing up around it and the larch cladding mellowing down beautifully. One of the cats has a particular fondness for the place (the catflap was one of the first essential design details), especially when converted into a bed. Clearly this is a testament to the cosiness and comfort of the place, a sanctuary of calm, built using simple materials and modest dimensions.