If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration for your own garden home offices or other structures for your outdoor spaces, you could do a lot worse than checking out the winner of this year’s Cuprinol Shed of the Year competition.
According to the Daily Telegraph, The Mushroom House was named the overall winner in the Channel 4 Amazing Spaces Shed of the Year show, hand-built out of red cedar wood by a doting dad for his 12-year-old daughter.
Ben Swanborough apparently went ahead with the ambitious construction project after his daughter Elsie gave him £500 of her own saved-up pocket money. There’s a secret trap door, a balcony, a glass floor panel that overlooks the stream at the bottom of the garden, a glass ceiling just perfect for a spot of stargazing and even stained glass windows!
A circular hammock chair has been suspended from the oak beams outside and there’s even room for a bit of studying thanks to the inclusion of a desk area in the stalk of the mushroom. Attention to detail is what it’s all about, with Elsie’s interests more than taken into account. Mr Swanborough went so far as to cut bricks out into the shape of the Deathly Hallows as a nod to her love of the Harry Potter books.
He explained: “I made it up as I went along, and just got carried away. Initially it was just going to be a round building, but my daughter insisted that it had to have a stalk. I had some 4m lengths of oak ready to use, so that dictated the size of it. It ended up being more of an octagon than round, because it had to go where it fitted.
“I also made my life really difficult because I decided to get some bendy ply and bend the whole top of the roof. It caused me so many problems, but I think that’s what makes it so wonderful to look at.”
Those of you thinking about your own building projects might well be tempted by using red cedar wood to bring it to fruition, like Mr Swanborough has done. An evergreen softwood, it’s renowned for its durability so would be a brilliant choice for outdoor structures. It’s really versatile and can be used both inside and outside. It’s also really resistant to twisting, warping and checking so perhaps a better option than other coniferous woods.
You would be wise, however, to apply a water-repellent surface coating or an applied finish to increase its service life. It responds well to the likes of oils, stains and paints so you shouldn’t have any problems in this regard.
For cladding, western red cedar is a really popular choice because it’s generally free from knots and looks really clean. If you’re looking for other options right now, Douglas fir is a good softwood, while both Scandinavian and Scottish larch are both very resilient choices as well.