The Garden Room
This garden room started life as embroiderer Louise Gardiner’s artisan shed at Chelsea Flower Show. It now takes pride of place at the foot of the garden of Emma and her partner’s Victorian home in Bromley.
Owner Emma explains…
We live in a one-bedroom ground floor flat in London, like many first-time buyers we wanted to get onto the property ladder, but London house prices make it virtually impossible.
Although our flat is small and was in need of a big makeover, the bones of it were great. From the first time I saw the flat I knew we needed to get a garden room to make full use of the space available to us and give us a place to work and focus away from the house.
We looked at several different options before deciding to go with Malvern. Our biggest issue was that the only access to our garden is through the house so whatever we did the parts and equipment would need to be small enough to fit through.
We were on a tight budget so were looking at a few DIY options, but when we added up the costs of the work that was involved and Malvern was a much better choice. The team came to assess the access to the house and recommended a company to build the base.
One of the biggest draws was that for a small fee the team at Malvern will take down your garden building and move it to a new location at any time. Given the flat is not our forever home, this gives us the option to take it with us when the time comes.
The main use is to provide a quiet space to work from home, and to have a space to get creative. My partner plays the guitar and I wanted somewhere to start doing my illustration work again. We also wanted extra space for entertaining.
We have been fairly traditional with our style choices in the house, so we wanted to be a little more creative in the garden room.
The garden itself goes from English country garden to tropical around the seating area in front of the garden room. With our love of the sea and surf, we wanted the garden room to be a little beachy pocket of our house, we went with a modern approach and chose a bohemian, scandi style with beach hut influences.
I was apprehensive about going for such a bold colour at first (it is black inside and out, floors, ceiling and walls) but that has been one of the biggest successes. I think the dark makes it blend in to the garden but also look smart and sophisticated.
Our garden room has changed the way we use the house. We now have a tranquil work space to concentrate on our hobbies and work, something we didn’t have before.
We have had incredibly positive reactions to the garden room from friends, family, neighbours and instagrammers. Having a she shed has actually opened up a world of people who appreciate a garden retreat. I sometimes think I might just move out of the house altogether and live in the garden!
Emma’s top tips for people considering buying a garden building:
- Check your local planing laws, most buildings are okay if they fall under 2 meters but make sure you check out you local area first – Malvern will be able to help you come up with a design that works for your requirements.
- Have a think about how you are going to use your garden room before you start looking at styles and sizes. Consider the furniture, the views, the plug sockets where you want a door. That way you know what will and won’t work before you start looking.
- Think about access to your garden, ours had to come through three doors and weave through the house. In most cases Malvern can do great things but they may need to make some modifications so it will fit.
- Consider that you will need to build a base for your room and also have an electrician connect it up to the house. (We didn’t plan this in advance and it took us ages to actually use our room because of it.)
- Decorating your garden room – go wild and get creative, it is unconnected from your house so you can be daring with your approach.