Two of the Grand Shed Projects at Grand Designs Live

I love to visit Grand Designs at Excel and as you'd expect look forward to the gardens, this year though, there was something a little different. There were sheds, and while these were fab - some of them were beyond shed-tastic - I felt the garden element was missing this year. 

That said I'm still going to share two of the sheds here today, so you can see what you think.  I'll share the others in future posts, as they really were something quite different and shed-blowingly different.

1. Bringing the outdoors in, Liam Sapsford

Liam was last year's Grand Designs Designer of the Year and designed the garden space around each of the sheds. It was a lovely space, as you'll see, but not quite what I expected. His shed though, was something else which stood out for the moss "pictures". 

A 3D moss picture by Liam Sapsford at Grand Designs Live 2017
 
A 3D moss "picture' by Liam Sapsford at Grand Designs Live 2017

Aren't they great? 

A really unusual way of bringing some greenery indoors and adding texture at the same time, and the moss pictures especially are low maintenance too.  The shed itself aims to blur the lines between an indoor and outdoor space, hence the name, and aims to deliver a garden space that can be used all year round.

Bringing the Outside in  by Liam Sapsford at Grand Designs Live 2017

A nice idea and beautifully done, but I suspect the biggest problem about sheds in the winter is that they're often at the end of the garden, and it's the getting to them that's more of the problem.

2. South Beach Miami

This shed designed by Garden Hideouts is "a place for busy women to escape to" and transport themselves to Miami complete with a dose of colour, fun and escapism. And it certainly does look a good place for cocktails doesn't it?

Cocktails on the sofa in this South Beach Miami Grand Designs Shed project
 
Good times neon sign in the south beach miami shed project at grand designs live 2017
A look at the interiors of the South Beach Miami grand shed project at grand designs live 2017

Two very different sheds, and definitely decor to challenge our preconceived ideas of sheds - I think we should all have one, what do you think?

A dolls house no more...

But the memories are still strong. 

In fact it's only relatively recently that I've dismantled my old dolls house, partly because of the space it took up and how it contravened my "clear under the bed policy" and also because, it's unlikely that I'll ever play with it again, although sorting it out for the final time I did quite enjoy myself. 

It was a handmade affair, crafted with love by my grandparents and parents and as we lived in Bungalow Road, it was a bungalow. The flat roof lifted off and doubled up as a garden, complete with a 'mirror' pond. Just don't ponder what happened to the water when the roof went back on!

My dolls house, hand made by my dad and grandad

Lifting the roof also unveiled the high-tech lighting system, a series of battery-powered coloured switches that lit up each room, and I think a standard lamp in the main room, clearly a sign of the times, which like many things fashion or interiors related come back again, and a number of decades later we have a standard lamp in our living room.  

Which now I look at it is red and white. Just like the exterior of my dolls house was. A spooky coincidence?

THE PORCH ROOF

THE PORCH ROOF

WITH WINDOWS

WITH WINDOWS

AND FRONT DOOR

AND FRONT DOOR

AND GARAGE DOORS THAT MATCH AS WELL.

AND GARAGE DOORS THAT MATCH AS WELL.

Inside was a bit of a mess. Most likely to having been moved around, although perhaps the garage less so as that seemed to be taking a more realistic role.

THE LIGHT SWITCHES WERE STILL IN ONE PIECE

THE LIGHT SWITCHES WERE STILL IN ONE PIECE

THE LIVING ROOM WAS A BIT TOPSY TURVY

THE LIVING ROOM WAS A BIT TOPSY TURVY

AND A SIMILAR SCENE IN THE BEDROOM

AND A SIMILAR SCENE IN THE BEDROOM

IN THE KITCHEN TOO

IN THE KITCHEN TOO

AND IN THE BATHROOM

AND IN THE BATHROOM

...AND AS EXPECTED THE GARAGE NEEDED A CLEAR OUT TOO

...AND AS EXPECTED THE GARAGE NEEDED A CLEAR OUT TOO

It seemed only right that I should put things in order, so some tidying up was undertaken. Much easier than a real-sized house!

ORDER IN THE BATHROOM

ORDER IN THE BATHROOM

SHIP SHAPE IN THE BEDROOM ONCE MORE

SHIP SHAPE IN THE BEDROOM ONCE MORE

AND THE TABLE'S SET FOR DINNER  

AND THE TABLE'S SET FOR DINNER

 

BUT NO PROGRESS IN THE GARAGE

BUT NO PROGRESS IN THE GARAGE

Note the yellow curtains and bedding set, yes the yellow thing is a long-held thing. And I had a smocked dress, in the same material as those curtains. It was always my windows dress, now I wonder if this is the reason why.

THE CAT REALLY DID SIT ON THE MAT

THE CAT REALLY DID SIT ON THE MAT

AND I REALLY DID TIDY THE GARAGE

AND I REALLY DID TIDY THE GARAGE

And can you tell by the decor that I'm a child of the Seventies?

ALL MY DOLLS HOUSE MEMORIES IN A BOX
MAKING ROOM FOR THE LIGHT PANEL

Once everything was sorted most of it was packed into a pretty storage box, and then quickly rearranged to make space for the lighting panel. So now I have a smaller box of parts of the inside and exterior of my dolls house, and of course I'll always have the memories.

A BOX OF DOLLS HOUSE MEMORIES

Do you still have any of your childhood toys?

My week this week: Projects

An obvious word for me, as I've always a project or two on the go, but this past week I think I've surpassed myself. 

Our long-term project to cut circles into our grass and add edging is coming to a close. You're right,  it's taken a while as we first started this last August! But we're getting there, finally. The next steps is to tackle two of the problem areas we have in our garden and a couple of weeks ago I spoke with Katie Rushworth from ITV's Love Your Garden and sought out some pro-tips on how to get started laying sleepers and talk through my gabion basket plan.

She was great to talk to and after our half-hour conversation I was motivated and equipped enough to order the sleepers which will form a raised bed around our lilac and where the old veg beds used to be and smarten up that part of the garden.  I also got on and ordered the gabion baskets I needed to get on with building the seating area and stand for our new pizza oven.   The sleepers and gabion baskets arrived yesterday and the pizza oven and logs are due today, so it feels like it's all coming together.

Which is just as well really as we're having a bit of a do in the garden in mid-June, and ask MOH keeps pointing out there's stuff to do in the house too. Yes, I know dear, that's why I have this mammoth list. Yes another project on the go, but alongside getting the garden and house ready, there's also the small matter of party arrangements too.

Back to the garden, that seems to be playing ball timing wise too;  all three of my peony plants are in bud, and I think it's the first time they've all coordinated their diaries; the giant fuchsias I bought a while back are now normal sized and I've big hopes for them and the plug plant bedding are growing steadily, whether they'll be in flower or not remains to be seen.

It's good to see the peonies flourish though as they're one of my favourite flowers, and I had them in my wedding bouquet ten years ago, so it'd be nice for them to make the party. I keep mentioning subtlety, like you do, that a nice bunch of peonies would make a lovely anniversary present, let's just hope he hasn't got his eye on the ones in the garden for that!

peonies in bud complete with ants, hmmn

While we're on flowers, my Gertrude Jekyll rose is thriving too. It has plenty of flowers and more to come and again it's significant as it was my fourth wedding anniversary present from MOH, and finally I've got it in the right place and it's flourishing.

Gertrude Jekyll rose in bud
Gertrude Jekyll in full bloom

But back to the projects

This weekend we're aiming to

  • install a three layer raised bed of sleepers where our old veg beds used to be,
  • assemble and lay out the gabion seating and pizza stand feature,
  • acquire enough 'rubble' to fill the 1 metre cube, which is the pizza stand.  We've already collected twelve sacks, and have another twelve to collect this evening, Gumtree is amazing!
  • take delivery of the pizza oven, 
  • cure the pizza oven before hopefully firing it up and eating our first pizza,
  • clear the greenhouse of plants ready for the allotment,
  • attend a family barbecue and 
  • celebrate my birthday on Monday, and it's a bit of a big one this year!

Wish us luck, and keep your fingers crossed for the rain that's forecast for the Bank Holiday stays away, as if we manage all of this I think I'll have earned a birthday glass (or two) of fizz!  

The Reading Residence